Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Travel Week: Ultimate Austin Guide

Haute Table's Austin Guide
If you've followed Haute Table for any amount of time, you'll know I attended The University of Texas at Austin (aka the world's greatest, I'm not biased at all) and therefore got to live in the capital city of the Lone Star State for four amazing years. I adored my time, and I'm kind of biding my time until I can get back. Now onto what this post is about, the ultimate guide to everything to see, eat and do in Austin, Texas. I hope you enjoy and let me know your favorites — xoxo darling, Hayden.
P.S. Obviously, this guide was written with the idea COVID-19 will eventually allow us to do life activities. Again, please check individual businesses to see if they are open.

What to Do:

Museums/Sites:

Austin Central Library

Austin Central Library

If you want to see a beautiful modern library in action, this is a must-visit. Located in downtown, right on Lady Bird Lake, this building has a beautiful rooftop where you can enjoy free wifi and views for miles. Plus, the thing has so many seating options, which is great if you need to get work done and a cookbook kitchen. It's amazing. 

Bullock Museum

Want to know more about the history of Texas? Or maybe you want to see a movie in an IMAX theater? Bob Bullock is here for you! Plus, they have really good rotating/visiting exhibits on the first floor. And you have to take a photo with the giant star out front. 
Laguna Gloria

Laguna Gloria

This beautiful house on the Colorado River has beautiful grounds, modern outdoor art and tours. It's also next to an art school where you'll see creatives headed to make something beautiful. It's a great place for photoshoots and to collect your thoughts. 
Texas Capitol

Texas Capitol

I mean...what's the point of going if you don't go on a Capitol tour? Or at least go in and see the architecture, history and just overall insane aspect of this pink capitol. The grounds are littered with statues and are great for late-night deep chats while you lay in the soft grass. 
The University of Texas Campus

The University of Texas Campus

Okay, the first step here is to just walk around campus. Parts of it are gorgeous, with huge oak trees, historic architecture and little nooks and crannies you might not know about. Highlights include: the Main Building (aka the Tower, which you can go up in and take a tour), Battle Hall (and the Architecture and Planning Library upstairs), Gearing Hall (it has a great view of the Tower), the Six-Pack (the six buildings directly in front of the Tower) and the Texas Union (food options, places to sit, a beautiful ballroom).

You should see a live music show at the Cactus Cafe in the Texas Union. A trip to the beautiful Blanton Museum of Art should not be missed — they have amazing artists like Andy Warhol on display. The Harry Ransom Center is home to so many artifacts it's impossible to understand how they maintain them. You can see a Gutenberg Bible, Frida Kahlo's self-portrait and more. The LBJ Presidential Library is an interesting architectural marvel, and the exhibits are incredibly well done. Everything about it screams a Texas President was here. Other museums include: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the Texas Memorial Museum. Lastly, attend a UT football game — they are epic and amazing. 

Outdoors:

Barton Springs

Barton Springs

As you probably know, Texas gets really hot, like really hot. Barton Springs ranges from 68–70 degrees all year round. Now, in December, that's really freaking cold, but in August, it feels beautiful. The pool is fed from underground springs, and the closer you get to the middle, the more you'll feel vegetation. They have diving boards and rope swings, but I like to just float around. 
Lady Bird Lake Trail

Lady Bird Lake Trail

This runs around the entirety of Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake to locals) and showcases the best views of downtown Austin. You probably shouldn't do all of it in one walk (unless your endurance is amazing), but each section offers something cool. 
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

One of my favorite places in Austin, this center consists of the most beautiful gardens, a delightful cafe and fun for the lil ones in your family. Plus, it's all about my favorite first lady's love of the environment, which we can all support. 

Mayfield Park

Want to see Peacocks and cool old buildings? Maybe go on a nature trail hike? Mayfield Park is perfect! It's not far from the next item on the list and has a parking lot, restrooms and plenty of picnicking spaces. 
Mt. Bonnell

Mt. Bonnell

A great spot for sunsets, Mt. Bonnell is a public park up on a hill with views down onto the Colorado River. One of the best parts is seeing the insane river mansions. It's a bit steep so wear the right shoes. Insiders Tip: If you go down to the far end (right if you are facing the park) you can do the whole thing at a slight incline instead of taking the stairs that are in the middle. 
Pease Park

Pease Park

A linear park not far from UT's campus, this was the site of many of my walks. There's public art, playgrounds, plenty of space to distance and just enjoy nature. You might even spot some wildlife near the creek! 
Zilker Park

Zilker Park

Austin's version of Central Park, Zilker is home to Austin City Limits (ACL), a huge Christmas light display, the botanic gardens, many trails, Barton Springs (see above), a little tikes train and probably more that I'm forgetting about. If you love dogs, there are always tons running around. I love to bring a picnic and just find a shaded spot to people watch. 

Shopping:

I Love You So Much Mural

South Congress

Pretty much every shop on SoCo is adorable. Plus, it has the "I Love You So Much" mural, tons of dining options and awesome views of the skyline. If you're looking for cowboy boots (which you should have) Allen Boot Company is the place to go. Big Top Candy Shop is another cool place to pop into for vintage candy and ultra-thick malts. 
Book People

Book People

If you are a book-lover or even just like looking at books, Book People is Austin's best. Multiple floors are stuffed to the gills with books from all over the world — from local Texas mysteries to biographies about foreign diplomats. They also have a really good circuit of authors who stop in to sign books, give talks and more. 
The Domain

The Domain

This is the best mall in Austin. With plenty of options from aggressively expensive to the likes of H&M there are also a ton of delicious restaurants, an outpost of Jeni's Ice Cream and more. Love milkshakes? The Yard dishes up insane freakshakes. 
East Austin Succulents/Tillery Street Plant Company

East Austin Succulents/Tillery Street Plant Company

I adore this plant store. It's massive, has every succulent you could ever want and is the perfect place for a photoshoot. Get a plant and get lost in the maze of greenery. 

Longhorn Fashions

Are you looking for cute burnt orange clothes? Longhorn Fashions in West Campus is your next stop. They have great gameday looks plus the best buttons with baby Sam Ehlinger and leather jacket-clad  Matthew McConaughey.
Whole Foods

Whole Foods

Did you know the OG Whole Foods is in Austin? Yep! Right on Lamar in the middle of town. They have a state-of-the-art parking garage (by that I mean it tells you what spots are open) underneath, an ice skating rink on the roof during the colder months and the largest hot food bar I've ever seen. 

Entertainment:

Continental Club

Continental Club

Maybe the best place to see a live music show in Austin, if the walls could talk, they'd tell you about the likes of Buck Owens, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Plant. It's dark, intimate and just the way live music should be. My family has a tradition of seeing Dale Watson on Thanksgiving every year. 
Esther's Follies

Esther's Follies

Austin's version of SNL does shows almost every night. It's hilarious and so relevant to the local climate. You'll learn about Texan politicians and probably hear some more national news as well. Each skit is unique, and the cast has been putting the shows on since 1977. 
Paramount Theater

Paramount Theatre

The most beautiful theater in Austin, Paramount, is host to tons of different events. I've seen premieres, talks and movies all from the decadently decorated balcony. In the summer, they do classic movie parties — see Giant or a Hitchcock!
Rainey Street

Rainey Street

My preferred "going-out" street, Rainey, is comprised of old bungalows converted into bars. In the drinking section below, I've included my favorite bar, but there are also tons of foodtrucks and other options as well. I would highly recommend visiting on a Thursday or Friday. 
Alamo Drafthouse Ritz

Alamo Drafthouse Ritz

Alamo Drafthouse has become quite the chain, so you might have one in your city. But the Ritz version on 6th Street is just special. They put on events that no other Alamo can compete with. I've been to so many sing-alongs (90s jams, boy bands, etc.), quote-alongs and more. They even have a stage so when people get wild, they can go up there. I love it. Make sure to check their calendar for events before you head to ATX. 

Where to eat & drink: 

My full Austin dining guide can be found here — these are just my absolute favorites! 

Breakfast

Banger's of Austin

Banger's

Bangers is great for any time of the day, but the most viral aspect is definitely Sunday brunch. The giant beer garden on Rainey Street, comprised of old houses, is the perfect place to sit outside almost any time of the year. They have the largest craft beer tap wall in Texas, so if you enjoy sudsy IPAs or light kolschs, it's for you. Now, back to brunch. They serve the "manmosa," which is an entire bottle of champagne dumped into a huge beer mug with a bit of OJ (see it in all its glory here). It's a wild experience but a definite must if you're visiting. My favorite thing is the chicken sausage and waffles but it doesn't appear to be on the menu anymore...however, anything is good!
Counter Cafe

Counter Cafe

Aside from being a classic diner, Counter Cafe uses local foods to craft even better southern delights. I prefer the Lamar location — it's tiny and only perfect if it's you and one other person. On weekends the wait gets long, but it's so worth it. If you can, grab a picnic table outside because it's kind of a see and be seen kinda situation. I highly recommend the biscuits and gravy or one of their specials. Once you're done with your epic meal, walk over to BookPeople (it's across the street!). 
Elizabeth Street Cafe

Elizabeth Street Cafe

My favorite aesthetically pleasing brunch in Austin is Elizabeth Street Cafe. I even have the cookbook because it too is pretty. They dish up Vietnamese bánh mì and noodles as well as French pastries. Brunch is where it is at. If you're by yourself, grab a seat at the counter and treat yourself to an iced Vietnamese coffee and a chocolate croissant. If you're with a group, try to get the table in the corner (with the black & white tile floor) and order the scrambled eggs and ginger sausage bánh mì. Order the house-baked brioche french toast served with blueberry Thai basil compote, brown butter syrup and is topped with sweetened condensed milk ice cream...yes, ice cream.
Hillside Farmacy

Hillside Farmacy

My A#1 spot in Austin for breakfast has and always will be Hillside. Why? No. 1: The place is so freaking adorable. Located in an old pharmacy (you see what they did there), the walls are lined with giant chests of old medical supplies. The outdoor seating consists of tables lined up along one long bench and yellow umbrellas reminiscent of a Gray Malin painting. This mint-green building can do no wrong in the design category in my mind. The Big Brekkie (two eggs, greens, bacon, home fries and toast) is one of the first-ever meals where I cleaned my plate, it was that good...I even ate the greens, which always seem weird at breakfast. I need to go back and try their dinner service, but y'all the breakfast is just so good I can't make myself. 
Josephine House

Josephine House

Probably one of the most adorable places to eat a Saturday brunch with your gal pals, Josephine House is a classic. Located in my dream neighborhood, Clarksville, this adorable navy house occupies a corner lot with tables spilling onto the lawn and a neon sign to die for. The lemon ricotta pancakes are as good as they sound, so creamy, served with fresh berries and house cultured butter. P.S. They do steak dinners on Monday that I've always wanted to take part in. 
Kerbey Lane Cafe

Kerbey Lane Cafe

The most classic Austin breakfast diner, Kerbey, is open 24/7, 365 days. The Pigott family always goes on Thanksgiving morning (their cranberry-orange pancakes are delightful), and it saw many a late-night, post-final mimosa toast by my friends and I. You can pick any juice they have with their mimosas, that's a fun little hack. Everyone in Austin talks about Kerbey queso being in the top three, it's not my absolute favorite because it is so liquidy it gets everywhere. Pretty much everything on the menu is good — down to the side salad, which at times I made a meal of because who eats vegetables in college? There are a ton of locations, but the one right by UT's campus will always hold a special place in my heart. 
Texas French Bread

Texas French Bread

Located just off UT's campus, Texas French Bread is not your typical college joint. It's like a classy bakery one would find in a bougie spot of a major city. Every meal I've ever eaten has been delightful (their lunch special is A+), but the banana walnut pancakes are just perfection. I used to love taking my laptop and having a solo brunch at one of the communal tables and working the day away. Be sure to grab a ginger cookie to-go for later!
Veracruz All Natural

Veracruz All Natural

My absolute, favorite breakfast tacos in Austin...them's fighting words, I know. The foodtruck at Radio Coffee is where I usually smash two to three of their potato, egg and cheese (although all are phenom because they are in fresh tortillas). The wait can get long, but that is the beauty of the place, just find a table under some shade and stay for a spell. 

Lunch/Dinner

Black's

Black's

BBQ in Austin is a big sticking point for most people. But I will tell you my favorite is Black's — it's a spin-off of a few different places (or they are spin-offs of it). I'm a big believer in a good BBQ place has to be judged holistically, a la sides, atmosphere, options, etc. which Black's has. Their mac & cheese is delightful, they do great specials, it's nicely air-conditioned, and the meet is good. There usually isn't a crazy line — maybe right at noon for the lunch rush. They even have a back patio that is lovely to sit on, when it's not 100 degrees out. Overall, it's the most solid BBQ option in Austin. 
Cabo Bob's

Cabo Bob's

If you like Chipotle, welcome to the better version. It's local, it's fresh, it's delicious. They make the tortillas right in front of you, and they have queso that is perfection in a bucket. It's fast-casual, and the best location is near campus. You'll see the most eclectic mix of people from frat boys to parents to old alums (myself included). Everyone loves their burritos, I'm a big fan of the bowls (and I add every type of salsa they have on top). Sit outside at one of the picnic tables so you can people watch as everyone walks by. 
Contigo

Contigo

The first restaurant I really remember eating at in Austin is Contigo. I've since hosted birthday dinners there and just enjoyed every aspect of their dining experience. Most of the restaurant is outside, with long, modern picnic tables full of people just enjoying life. Their food is playful — crispy green beans, a kid-sized burger as an appetizer, flavored lemonades, etc. I think it's best at dusk when Texas is debuting one of its famous sunsets, and you can sip on a rose with your friends/family. 
Easy Tiger

Easy Tiger

The 6th Street location of this beer garden meets bakery is where it is at. Yes, it is on 6th, which is not my favorite place in Austin, but this is a haven of happiness. When you walk in it's all about the bakery but make a hard right, head down the stairs and you feel transported to an old German pub. Then go out the backdoors and bam, beer garden on the water! One of my favorite things about this place is you can get a beer and a tiny baguette with bread...yep, just bread. It's delightful. They also do great pretzels, pastries and sausages. 
Fresa's

Fresa's on South First

Prickly pear margaritas at their finest flow from Fresa's on South First. The adorable outdoor eating area, under ginormous trees, is where you should pop a squat any time of the year. They do chicken al carbon and the yucatan spice is my favorite. The Mexican rice is perfectly seasoned, and I love the variety of sauces and salsas they offer. Queso and ice cream round out the menu of things I think you should order. 
Grizzelda's

Grizzeldas

If you enjoy an aesthetic dining experience, Grizzeldas is for you! With palm print wallpaper, a lit-up green bar, tropically influenced chairs, you'll feel like you've walked into a bougie beachside restaurant. The sweet potato dish tastes like Thanksgiving with Mexican brown sugar, and diced pecans. End the night with a Mexican chocolate popsicle. 
Hopfields

Hopfields

Self-described as a gastropub, Hopfields dark interiors and cozy setting dishes out Euro-inspired cuisine. The jambon beurre is reminiscent of all the ham sandwiches I ate in Paris and the pommes frites are an ideal appetizer. Make sure to try one of the many craft beers they tap into at the bar as well. 
Launderette

Launderette

Located in an old launderette, you would have no idea that people used to wash their clothes in this modern restaurant. With somewhat mid-century modern design, a super cool neon sign and plenty of outdoor seating it's a great weeknight dinner place. The burger is phenomenal — thick, juicy and incredibly high quality — but I think the true winner is the homemade birthday cake ice cream sandwich. 
Lucy's Fried Chicken

Lucy's Fried Chicken

There is a lot of fried chicken in the city limits of Austin but Lucy's might just be the best. Take your whole family and get a metal bucket filled to the brim with crispy, crunchy, succulent chicken. They also serve slices of interesting pie flavors like sweet tea, s'mores and lime. 
Madam Mam's

Madam Mam's

Honestly, my go-to, right-off-campus restaurant is Madam Mam's. Their Thai food is what I compare every other city's to. The source of my joy lies in their panang curry with the softest rice. I miss it just writing about it. The restaurant itself is off 26th, in the bottom of a modern apartment complex. There isn't anything too special about the atmosphere — aside from being exceptionally clean — but they do put water pitchers on your table, which is so necessary. 
Mattie's

Mattie's

If you are looking for a nice meal out, maybe it's your last night in ATX, Mattie's at Green Pastures is where it is AT. Located in a massive, historic house in south Austin, the restaurant is what you want a southern eatery to be. The wood floors creak, the bar is full of people ordering mint juleps, there are peacocks walking in the lawn and maybe even a wedding going on somewhere on the property. The biscuits and fried chicken are must-orders (I know, you're shocked). If you need any more knowledge on it, know that I had my graduation dinner there and that was a big deal.
Matt's El Rancho

Matt's El Rancho

Looking for the most classic Denver Tex-Mex experience? The one where it's so crowded you'll end up drinking at least one margarita at the bar while talking to families who are generations deep in Austin and visitors in for the football game weekend? That is Matt's to a T. Located in a giant building off South Lamar, the parking lot is insane on a weekend night. It feels like what I think a fancy ranch house would look like. All of the food is classic, we always have the queso but switch it up when it comes to entrees almost every time. 
Mighty Cone

Mighty Cone

This foodtruck convinced me to like coleslaw, so I think that say's enough? Just kidding! A Mighty Cone is kind of like a taco, but in a paper cone (think those cups you get at the water cooler). The best one (in my opinion) is the classic chicken — fried chicken breast topped with mango-jalapeño coleslaw and a ancho chili sauce all wrapped in a flour tortilla. Everything is so flavorful and it's a great meal if you're headed to Zilker Park next door because it's handheld. 
P. Terry's

P. Terry's

This is every UT student's burger joint because it is dirt cheap, they are everywhere and the lemonade, shakes and cookies are delightful. You can spot them from quite aways away because of their aquamarine mid-century modern design. The one on I-35 looks like a spaceship out of Star Wars, I swear. Have a cheeseburger, a thick chocolate shake and take a cookie to go (my mom loves them so much I bought a ton of them and made her a birthday cake out of them). 
Pinthouse Pizza

Pinthouse Pizza

Pinthouse has been my family's go-to pizza place in Austin for years. The Burnet, South Lamar and the newer (super fancy) north Austin location all have excellent service, good thin crust pizzas and a craft beer selection most places would be envious of. They also have killer salads that come on small baking sheets — just perfect for sharing. Each location has long, communal tables so you could be sitting next to a family or Hannah and I chatting about our dessert plans, and I kind of love that. 
Torchy's Tacos

Torchy's Tacos

What can I say about maybe my favorite regional chain ever? Torchy's changed the way I look at tacos...truly. It was the first restaurant my roommate and I ate at. I ate a Democrat here on my first day of classes and on the day I walked across the stage to get my diploma. The location on Guad by UT just feels like home. They serve my favorite queso — so spicy — and their breakfast tacos (potato, egg and cheese for me) are something I eat at least twice a month...yeah. They do good margs and each restaurant is decorated with road reflectors, which I think is awesome. They are not authentic tacos, but I love them for what they are. 
Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

Combining two of my favorite cuisines, this far south Austin restaurant cranks out some of the best brisket tacos I've ever tasted. Have them with a topo and enjoy the fresh air at one of the tables near the foodtruck. 
Via 313

Via 313

If you love Detroit-style pizza, which you should because it is amazing — this is a must-visit in Denver. The crust gets this crispy, cheesy taste and the cheese is so melty...and now I'm hungry. The classic pepperoni would be my first suggestion but I also love The Cadillac (gorgonzola, fig preserves, prosciutto di parma, parmesan and a balsamic glaze) — the fig just gives it this rich taste. Located on Guad, the place just feels cool but beware, on weekend nights it can be insane!

Dessert

Amy's Ice Creams

Amy's Ice Creams

The classic Austin ice cream shop, Amy's is similar to Coldstone in that they do the mashing in of toppings but their ice cream is so much better. Plus, they haver so many cool toppings — from golden oreos to any kind of candy you could ever want. The Mexican vanilla ice cream is the best flavor...don't even try to debate me. 
Cow Tipping Creamery

Cow Tipping Creamery

CTC crafts sundaes that are basically bad-for-you parfaits. They layer soft serve ice cream with toppings, sauces and more into these beautiful creations. The "It's Your Birthday" is one of my favorites, complete with funfetti cake chunks, birthday cake crumbs, a white chocolate sauce and, of course, sprinkles. The bubble waffles are also delightful. 
Dolce Neve

Dolce Neve

A favorite of moms everywhere, Dolce Neve does the most interesting flavors of gelato and they do them so well. Located on South First in a cute house, I like going for something sweet after a long walk at Zilker Park. Favorite flavors include: crema dolce neve (custard studded with lemon zest), pecan & honey and chocolate with sea salt. 
Gordough's

Gordough's

Everything is bigger in Texas, including insane donuts. To be honest, I don't even know if you can consider what they are doing donuts, because it's more like a massive (beautiful) dessert on top of a donut. You should probably share one but let's be honest I never do because then you can get more flavors and try a bite of everyone's. Favorites include: Black Out (brownie batter, chocolate fudge icing, chocolate covered brownie bites all doused in chocolate syrup), Mama's Cake (yellow cake batter filling with chocolate fudge icing) and Miss Shortcake (cream cheese icing with fresh cut strawberries). 
La Patisserie

La Patisserie

My go-to bakery in Austin for every French pastry you could want. They make cute macarons (including heart shaped versions near Valentine's Day), delicious cronuts and more. Plus, the South First location is downright adorable. 

Tiff's Treats

Tiff's is technically a cookie delivery service with shops that sell cookies if you are just needing a few. I've had a lot of warm cookies in my life but nothing compares to these treats. They have this salty quality that probably comes from an excessive use of butter, but that just makes them even better. The snickerdoodle and classic chocolate chip are my go-tos. If you have a student at UT, send them a dozen while they are studying for exams, my mom used to and it was a life saver. 

Coffee Shops

Batch

Batch

Maybe my favorite place to be in Austin, Batch has. a cool indoor space and a big backyard full of picnic tables. They make kolaches — the chocolate pecan is *chef's kiss*. Their meat filled pockets of goodness use Micklewait Craft Meats and they serve up great craft beer and pretty cheap coffee. I spent almost every day during my senior year here applying for jobs. It's just that good. Oh, I even wrote a Spoon article about it
Fleet

Fleet

This shop is tiny. As in there are three small stools and the counter. But they make some of the best chai lattes in Austin. The employees are nice, they do have wifi and I think I passed finance because I sat in there and studied my butt off while being fueled by their drinks.  
Mozart's

Mozart's

Probably the most visited coffee shop of students in Austin, Mozart's is massive. Their deck is mutli-level and they sell delicious pastries, good coffee, have a ton of wifi and do the most amazing holiday light show. Seriously, in December it is impossible to find a seat at night. But the rest of the year, despite it being insane all the time I've never not found a seat somewhere. Make sure to check the very bottom deck, accessed by going through the restaurant, out to the right and down the stairs. 

Radio

With an outdoor patio to rival literally anyone's, Radio is more of an outdoor space than a coffee shop. You go inside for your iced latte but immediately grab a spot under a tree to enjoy the Austin weather and get some work done (they have solid wifi). Grab some food at one of the foodtrucks and stay the whole day.

Bars

Cain & Abel's
Cain & Abel's
This is the college bar for UT, but they do really good drinks and their food is also pretty good. Would I avoid it on a football Saturday or a Friday night? Absolutely, but if you are visiting and want that quintessential college place, Abel's is it. Have a Texas Tea (see the photo above) — vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, simple syrup, tequila and coke (but sub the coke out for club soda or sprite, it's so much better that way). The breakfast tacos are $3.95 and it might be the best deal, you get two with half a plate of potatoes...it's amazing. Sitting on the patio is a see and be seen kind of thing for the college students, but the booths are cozy and I've spent many an afternoon sipping on margaritas or dollar beers in them. 
Container Bar

Container Bar

Located on Rainey Street, this bar is made out of shipping containers, but you never go in those. It's all about the dance floor where they crank out the best mix of music if you are in your 20s. It's a mix of modern with Bey and throwbacks to the Backstreet Boys. I hate going out like this but if someone says Container Bar I'm instantly down because I know I can dance the night away. Plus, the drinks are really good, even though they are expensive! 
Garage

Garage

My favorite classy bar is located in the bottom of a parking garage...get the name now? It's dark, has a speakeasy feel to it and the cocktails are a delight. The place is lit by candles so you don't get disturbed by anyone and it's just a good place for a catch-up between you and a friend. 
Irene's

Irene's

One of my favorite 'gramable places, Irene's is off West 6th and has a neon sign that is meant for you to take a photo in front of. They do great ice cream cones but the best part is their froze. Seriously, I've tried re-creating it and I can't get close to it's creamy, boozy perfection. Sit outside and knock back a few of these on a warm summer's day. 

Breweries 

There are a ton of breweries in Austin, all of which are good, but these are my top three for the sake of brevity. 

Austin Beerworks

Located in north Austin, this brewery is an OG on the scene. Their taproom has high ceilings and long communal tables reminiscent of a German pub like HB. I haven't had a bad beer here, but my favorites include: Bloodwork Orange (IPA) and La Verdad (Mexican-style lager). 
Live Oak

Live Oak

Maybe my favorite brewery I've ever been to, Live Oak's outdoor seating area is beautiful. It's out near the airport (kind of hard to find) but they have the most beautiful oak tree grove where the breeze is always flowing. Their flights come in a wooden carrier that is just so cool. You cannot go wrong with their Hefeweizen, Pilz and limited offerings. 
St. Elmo

St. Elmo

My second favorite brewery in Austin, and up there in my list of best I've ever had is St. Elmo. They have a great aesthetic and the beer is so clean (as in clear and delightful). The Carl Kolsch is a go-to beer of mine on football game Saturdays but all of their beer is good. Catch a game inside or head outside to their beer garden. 

Where to Stay: 

This historic 6th Street hotel is in the heart of it all. In walking distance of tons of restaurants, nightlife spots and a quick Uber to most of the places in this guide, it's just ideal. Built in 1886, everything about it is classic. Make sure to grab breakfast at 1886 Bakery & Cafe for the Texas-shaped waffle and maybe take a ghost tour...it's supposedly super haunted. 

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