A Whirlwind Weekend in Austin

January 28, 2013

In the past couple of years, I’ve realized that one of my favorite pastimes is planning trips to new cities. I love scouting out the great restaurants, the famous landmarks, and the quirky little things that make a city unique. I’ve also been tremendously grateful for the recommendations of local blog friends whenever I visit a new place; invariably the places they point me to are the highlights of my trip.

In that spirit, I’m starting a new series, A Whirlwind Weekend, where you can share the best of your stomping ground – a best of the best of where you live.

I already have a few others from other delightful bloggers around the country. I can’t wait to share their cities with you, and hope you’ll want to share yours as well!

In the meantime, let’s get things going with the city I know best. Austin, of course. Here’s where I’d take you if you came to visit for a day or two:

1. I’d take you out for breakfast at Texas French Bread. You can order
whatever you want, but I’d strongly recommend Aliceโ€™s French Toast (and because that’s not carb-y enough, throw in a cinnamon sugar croissant and pain au chocolat. Just to be safe). And if you happen to want lunch or dinner, Hopdoddy serves unbelievably good burgers, with the Primetime being my favorite.

2. It’s famous for a reason! You shouldn’t miss Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. I’m a history nerd, but even the non-history buffs I’ve taken have really enjoyed it. A great, brief overview of the sixties and LBJ’s life and presidency.

3. Calories don’t count on vacation, so we’ll stop in and grab a treat at Lick, where there are the coolest ice cream flavors you can imagine; I had coconut avocado curd last time and. . .whew, it was amazing. (Bart does not approve of non-traditional ice cream flavors and would strongly disagree with my pick. He’d recommend a giant doughnut from Gourdough’s instead. The Son of a Peach one is fantastic). 

4. The weather is perfect and getting outdoors is a must. We’ll take advantage of the gorgeous day at Mount Bonnell, where you can climb several flights of stairs to the top of the hill and look over the lake, see the 360 bridge, and the downtown skyline. (If you have kids, my favorite outdoor spot is the Austin Nature and Science Center. It’s free, mostly shaded, has a mini-zoo, and you can dig in giant sandpits for dinosaur skeletons). 

5. The locals would stone me if I didn’t show you BookPeople, a fabulous three-story independent bookstore, where I could happily spend several days. And then you can pop across the street to the flagship Whole Foods (Austin is where the chain started!) and grab a snack or a full meal and eat it on the roof (which has a playground!) You’ll also see your fill of the kind of people that embody Austin’s unofficial slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

6. You didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway
that a trip to Austin wouldn’t be complete without visiting South Congress. It has tons of gorgeous boutiques, quirky little stores, great restaurants, and dozens of food trucks.

Want to share your city?
Email Me!

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  • Reply Ali January 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I've read three posts and already love everything about your blog. I can't wait to try out some of your children's books recommendations, I'm a nut about those.

  • Reply Jenn January 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    This is great – my parents are planning an anniversary trip to Austin next month. I'm sending them this link!

  • Reply Shelly January 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Very cool post, planning little trips is one of my favorite things to do too!

  • Reply heidikins January 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I love this! I kind of did something like this for SLC last week, but I can't wait to read the rest of this series! (And would love to contribute, if you don't feel it's double-blogging something I just recently posted).


  • Reply Kayla @ Freckles in April January 28, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    So excited for this series!!

  • Reply Lexilooo January 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    What a fun idea for a series! Also, now I really want ice cream and a doughnut….

  • Reply Chrissie January 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Austin sounds lovely! All of those great stops, plus the beautiful weather? I'm sold! Definitely saving this link in case I ever visit the city someday. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply preethi January 28, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I'm kind of really mad at you for not sharing Lick before I was there. Ice cream with goat cheese? I think there is probably nothing better.

    Also, I'd LOVE to do one on DC.

    • Reply preethi January 28, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Or Philly, now that I think about it – because I love that city more than I can say.

  • Reply Erica January 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Hmm…I'm on the fence with weird ice cream flavors. I've had olive oil, lavendar, and a few other weirdies, and they are good, but something just isn't right about them. I might have to agree with Bart.

  • Reply Packrat January 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    The nice weather, the bookstores, and fun food sound delightful. Sorry, no city to share, just mountains and rivers.

  • Reply RA January 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Funnn! I am pro weird ice cream flavors. Our local awesome ice cream place has corn ice cream, and they sprinkle cinnamon on it for you! How would Bart feel about that?

    And you know that I will take any excuse to wax poetic about The Mushroom Capital of the World. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Kristy January 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    No choice but to get on a plane to Austin this very weekend. Done.

  • Reply Becca January 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    What a great idea!

    I'll team up with Preethi and take everyone on a mini tour of Philly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Ash January 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Love this idea! My two favorite cities (that I've lived near and know fairly well) are Seattle and San Francisco. Of course, after reading your food recommendations, I'm totally for hitting up Austin in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Hawke January 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Sounds perfect. We will see you in March. I wonder if they have any non-dairy "ice-cream"?

  • Reply Amber January 29, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Wow!!! How have I not done most of these things??? Actually NONE of them other than hop doddys. Thanks for this ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply chanel January 29, 2013 at 3:30 am

    Austin is the ONLY place in TX I would consider living- you make it even cooler than I knew. I was only there briefly once 7 years ago and stopped at the LBJ library- it was AWESOME!

    this will be a great series! looking forward to it!

  • Reply Lindsay January 29, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Love this! I think Salt Lake is too overdone since there are so many Utah bloggers (no offense meant to anyone, since I now live in Utah), but I'd love to share things to do in my little hometown in Idaho. I guess it would probably have to be things in several areas around it, since my town only has 3,000 people and not a lot going for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Jones January 29, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Great choices for a great city. Whole Foods started in Austin but the original store was down the street alittle North on Lamar. It was badly flooded in the late 80s. The new store is their flagship store and the largest of all their stores. The original store was tiny, crowded but had great good and that's the important part that they kept. I've eaten at TFB more times than I can count but I've never had breakfast there. I have added it to my list of things I must do. I think a visit to Austin would not be complete with out some awesome breakfast tacos. While they are available at many places, the absolute best ones are at Mi Madres on Manor Road near the UT campus. If you've never had one, Janssen, they are delish and the experience of eating there is lots of fun.

  • Reply Amanda Whitaker January 30, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for the Austin must see list. We visit San Antonio sometimes, but never know what to do in Austin. Can't wait to check out these places.

  • Reply Jodi January 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    you are right, you can never have enough good food on vacation! That is our favorite thing to find. And I definitely think Santa Barbara should be on that list because it's amazing.

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