Wanderlust: Austin, TX Edition
This weekend my husband and I were lucky enough to travel to Austin, Texas to visit my sister Delilah and her family. This was actually my second visit to Austin, but unfortunately when I was there 3 years ago I ended up catching the flu and spent a good majority of my trip in bed. I really love this city. Personally it reminds me of a combination between Nashville, Charlotte & DC. You’ll find: boutique dining, quirky locals, bike lanes galore, alternative bars, great music and an endless supply of food trucks, art & culture. We automatically felt so welcomed and everyone was beyond friendly. If you're into outdoor activities, delicious & highly varied food options and good music/nightlife then go ahead and add Austin to your travel bucket-list!
I feel like we fit a solid amount of things into our short 3-day stay. We did a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of eating and spent the other majority of our trip driving and walking around the city exploring. We had the luxury of being shown around by my sister and her husband who have lived in Austin for 7 years and know the city well. Unfortunately, it rained for the first day & a half which put a damper on our "Barton Springs" excursion which I was very excited to check out. "Barton Springs" is a natural spring located near downtown in Zilker Park. It is definitely on the top of our to-do list for next visit!
The upside to this rainy day was our trip to 'Austin Pizza & Play' which allowed all of us to regress back to our 7-year old selves. My niece (who is actually 7) thought she'd died and gone to a heaven where all of the adults suddenly get an abnormal amount of energy & turn into the best play-mates ever... We spent the afternoon racing go-carts, chasing each other through the dark laughing until we nearly peed ourselves during laser tag, embracing our competitive sides in dozens of arcade games and battling it out racing to the top of rock climbing walls.
We walked through the Mexic-Arte Museum where my sister works and the MACC (Mexican-American Cultural Center) where she used to work. My brother-in-law is a muralist and sign maker in the area and we spent a little time driving around and checking out all of his artwork. We sprinted to the Congress Avenue Bridge for fear of being "late" and ended up standing around for an hour waiting for the infamous 1.5 million bats to fly out at dusk, as they are said to do between the months on March-November, but to our dismay never came out :( Buuuuut, I must say, it was all worth it just to watch this hilarious 3-year old stomping her feet screaming to her mom, "Bats aren't even real, this is all a big fat lie!", and quite honestly at that point in time I felt like doing/saying the exact same thing myself.
We got to check out the "OG" Whole Foods flagship store which features a wine bar, smoothie bar, juice bar, build your own salad/soup/ramen/pho/anything-and-everything-you-could-ever-imagine bar, multiple in-store restaurants, rooftop terrace and beer garden. I came in excited, immediately switched to feeling overwhelmed by my lunch options and left empty handed. If you know me, you know how difficult making food-based decisions is for me. So, as much as this was my "foodie heaven", it was also my hell. I need less options, people! And don't even get me started on the food trucks! We had dinner on Rainey Street where 7 or so food trucks gather in a big semi-circle and you're standing there surrounded by every ethnicity and type of cuisine you could ever wish for, each one with their own extensive mouth-watering menus. There was a "Grilled Cheese" truck, White Girl Asian, Thai, Greek, BBQ, Vietnamese, Indian and American (the list could go on and on). WHY oh WHY didn't the good lord bless me with two stomachs. Needless to say, the food decision-making was a struggle during our entire trip but I can honestly say there wasn't one meal in which I didn't moan out loud with enjoyment.
On our sunny day we walked down to the riverfront and rented canoes and kayaks which allowed us to see downtown from such a spectacular vantage point. I couldn't get over the amount of people we saw running, paddle-boarding, kayaking and biking around the city. I didn't realize how "outdoorsy" and health conscience Austinites are but it kind of made me fall in love with the place. I think I have summarized jusssst about everything we did. The rest of this post is going to consist of an obnoxious amount of photos recapping our travels and food adventures ;) Enjoy!
We enjoyed pastries & Iced Lavender Mocha Latte's at the East Tiger next door to our Hotel
Delicious tofu breakfast taco at Cherrywood Coffeehouse, latte's at Medici, Ai Weiwei bicylce sculpture downtown & acai bowl goodness at Juiceland!
Dinner & drinks at Fresa's Chicken (HIGHLY recommend), dessert at Voodoo Doughnuts (definitely don't recommend), Prickly Pear at the JW Marriott bar (swanky vibe, great decor) & shopping in SoCo (a must)
The most delicious avocado toast at Cafe No' Se', Turbo Coffee's at Jo's with the "I love you so much" right-of-passage selfie & our adventure at the OG Whole Foods (my husband was not so overwhelmed and decided on a club)
Lunch at Michi Ramen & Dessert at Bananarchy (both delicious) followed by Austin Pizza & Play fun! NOTE: My laser tag name was Elite. Yes, I won. Yes, I'm a total badass.
The capital in the distance, Lavender-Poppy Energy ball & Acai Bowl at Blenders and Bowls & Kayaking on the river!
My favorite meal at Hillside Farmacy: Wasabi Bloody Mary, Lavender Mint Vodka Spritzer, Lemon Kale Caesar Salad, Avocado Fried Egg Sandwich with micro greens & extra crispy Bacon... this restaurant was SO quaint & fresh!
We had such a WONDERFUL trip! I absolutely can't wait to return, hopefully for a longer stay this go round. I definitely recommend trying to spend more than 3 days if you ever visit! As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed and please feel free to ask any questions about our travels! Until next time, Austin!