October 19, 2015
How to Fall in Love with Austin in a Weekend
Ok, that is a really cheesy way to start this blog. Clearly I went to Texas this weekend and clearly I’m trying to be funny.
I wanted to share my weekend in Austin and some quality ways to spend a few days in the city that I now consider the Vegas of Texas.
I was traveling to Charlotte this week and my sister was in Houston this week for work training. She wanted to hit up Austin after the training because why not? I have never been to Austin but have heard great things about it. So we decided to make a weekend out of it and have some fun in Austin.
I have been to Texas before recently, but in Houston. I did not LOVE Houston but was willing to give Texas some more chances since Austin and Dallas are supposed totally different. So when the opportunity to go to Austin arose, of course, I took it!
Austin pretty much had me at hello. The city has a young, colorful, musical vibe that just spoke to my spirit. People say that a lot of people fall in love with Austin on a visit. I guess I fall in that majority. Here is my advice on how to fall in love with Austin in a weekend.
1. Hunker down!
Getting in the city: Austin’s airport is about 20 minutes from downtown. I took a cab at rush hour. It was expensive – at least I thought so. Super shuttle is another option or the city bus – the cheapest option.
Side note: I hate being negative but Austin does has a negative. The traffic! It’s a fast growing city that has not changed its infrastructure. It’s not as bad as Houston, but traffic is lame. On a positive note: At least it’s proof that people want to live in Austin!
Accommodations: We stayed downtown at the Omni. This was a great location central to the plethora of bars and food. Plus they had a rooftop pool. For the first weekend ever I highly recommend staying downtown to be central.
Getting around the city: We used Uber, taxis, and our feet. Austin is very walkable, especially in the downtown area.
2. Ride ’em cowboy!
I highly recommend renting a bike from B-cycle for a day. This is a fantastic way to get around the city and see the sights. A day rental is $8. This gives you access to all the docking stations around the city and they do a great job of putting docking stations in the happening places. Once rented, you have 30 minutes to ride to the next docking station. Once docked you can walk around that part of town. Then grab another bike and get to the next part of town! We did this on Saturday and had a blast riding around the city.
Another college town! Austin is home to the University of Texas (hook ’em) meaning there are tons of young people around!
3. Drink the Moonshine!
Food: Austin has no shortage of food or drinks to indulge in. Our biggest food commitment of the trip – Franklin Barbecue.
My sister had been talking up this place for quite some time and for good reason. The line is at least 4 hours long. People stand in it for that long every day starting at 5 am! The place does not open until 11 am. They sell out of their 1800 lbs of meat every day around 3 pm! And President Obama is the only person ever to be granted special permission to cut the line.
So here is the low down about Franklin BBQ: If you want meat you have to get there early. My sister got there at 7 am on Saturday and we were able to eat at 12 noon.
I suggest making it fun! Tailgate! Bring drinks and food. Make friends! Our line neighbors were super nice and let us borrow chairs. It is a great way to meet people.
Once you are in: we tried everything. Pork ribs, beef ribs, pulled pork, brisket, sausage. It was all good and tender. We ordered sides to cut the meat and for dessert Texas Pecan pie. That pie, though! Delicious.
Apparently, Aaron Franklin’s (the chef) secret is just salt and pepper. No rub. Oh yeah and butter. He is a James Beard award winner and very into his method of cooking rather than the seasoning. His method works!
If you don’t want to spend half the day in line, there are plenty of other places to eat. We ate at Moonshine Grill for dinner once – a local favorite. The southern comfort food with a Texas twist was also worth the wait. Kirby Lane Cafes are scattered around the city and a great place to enjoy brunch and their seasonal menu. We were able to try their migas – Austin’s version of scrambled eggs – scrambled with salsa.
4. Find Water!
If you have a car available to you, I highly recommend trekking out to Hamilton Pool to enjoy one of Texas’ natural springs. Texas has been dry so the waterfall was not as impressive, but the pool was beautiful and you can swim to cool down on hot summer days.
There is also water in Austin proper: The Colorado River runs through the city and Travis Lake. Additionally Lady Bird Lake is surrounded by bike and running trails.
5. Cowboy Up!
Shopping: It was not hard to find shopping in Austin. South Congress (So Co) is the place to be for shopping. The minute I knew I was traveling to Austin was the minute I knew I wanted cowboy boots. After a little research – there are two shops in town: Heritage Boot and Allen Boots. Both are on So Co. I looked at both and my recommendation to anyone is Heritage Boot.
The smell of leather walking in immediately made the store intimate and friendly. The sales people were super helpful. All the boots are handmade and one of a kind. Be prepared to spend at least $300, but the other store was the same price but not the same quality. Allen Boots had more of selection but what good is having a selection when the quality is lower? I found the perfect boots at Heritage within a few minutes while I looked at Allen Boots for an hour.
I am so excited for my cowboy boots but slightly afraid to ever wear them because I don’t want to get them dirty.
6. Learn the Texas Two Step!
Night Life: I think any traveler can find something to do on any night in Austin.
To start off: Bats! If you go to Austin in the summer, a sight to see around dusk is the bats flying under and eventually over the Congress Avenue bridge. The bridge was packed with people waiting to see them. There is also a little grassy knoll for families who want to pack a picnic and enjoy the bats with their kids.
This was scary cool because I didn’t want a bat anywhere near me, but it was a cool sight seeing 1 or 2 bats flying then eventually 100s. There were some interesting characters at the bat bridge including a man with a bat hat and two men trying to sell drinks and warn you about rabies.
After the bats, Austin has multiple streets just full of bars waiting for you to wander down. Here’s my take on the streets.
6th Avenue closer to downtown is referred to as the dirty 6th. It’s closed off and people just walk from bar to bar. It is definitely a younger fresh out of college crowd.
West 6th is supposedly the older more established crowd. It was very crowded on Saturday with lots of people. A plus – tons of food trucks!
Rainey Street is a historic part of Austin and visually the coolest street to bar hop. The bars are old houses converted to bars. This street was super packed with people in onesies the night we went there.
Life Lesson of the Trip: My time for clubbing every weekend is over. I love to dance. I love music, but I am over “da club.” Being pushed around by drunk 20 somethings is a thing of the past for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll do a club if necessary (birthdays, bachelorettes, etc), but all I need is some good food, drink, and music and I’m good.
7. Listen to the Beat of the City!
Speaking of music – Austin is the live music capital of the country! Live music is happening at every corner, especially if you go on a weekend during a festival. We missed Austin City Limits by a weekend, but music is literally is available at every corner. Take in a show or two if you can!
Overall, I give Austin an A for the weekend. I fell in love because of the great food, the people are extraordinarily nice, and the town is happening in every way. I highly recommend a weekend trip to Austin but be prepared to fall in love. Oh and keep Austin weird!
Ok, so I found another not so great thing about Austin: no professional sports. Houston and Dallas have Austin beat, but Texas provides a little sports outlet. Since I am a sports blogger it’s always nice to have professional sports to watch.
Speaking of sports outlet, here’s my week round up of sports…
The nice thing about traveling in the states is that you can still watch sports without worrying about crazy time changes.
Everything’s bigger in October…
The playoffs continue in baseball and we are now in the American and National League Championship Series.
Texas is out. The Kansas City Royals took out the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays came back to beat the Texas Rangers.
The Chicago Cubs advanced past the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets took out the Dodgers.
This all made for a very blue – the color not the mood – championship series.
Currently in the American League Series: The Royals are leading the Blue Jays 2-0.
The Mets are also leading the National League Series 2-0 against the Cubs.
The party continues tonight with Kansas City in Toronto!
Don’t Mess with the Rankings…
Overall, the college football rankings stayed just where they should be after this weekend, but that’s not for a lack of trying.
A few upsets happened: Memphis over Ole Miss and Alabama over the Aggies.
The game of the week that everyone is talking about: Michigan versus Michigan State. Michigan pretty much had this game locked up until the final seconds when they tried to punt away the ball to Michigan State. The kicker mishandled the snap and instead of just falling on the ball with seconds left – this would have won them the game by the way – he continued to try to kick it. He then fumbled the ball and the ball was recovered by Michigan State who ran it into the end zone for a touchdown.
The reaction of Michigan fans was priceless. I suggest you find a replay on ESPN, Youtube, Facebook. This game was huge because Michigan State was undefeated. Looks like they still are.
Another replay to find: The Stanford catch. They beat UCLA on Thursday.
USC continues to spiral downhill. They lost their head coach and to Notre Dame.
Iowa is fix in’ to be a contender with their dominating win over Northwestern.
Ohio State beat Penn State convincingly to continue their undefeated streak.
Halfway into the season, quite a few undefeateds are left so the coming weeks of college football are going to be interesting leading up to the conference title games.
This ain’t their first Rodeo…
Five teams are undefeated in the NFL. The veterans of the mix include:
The Patriots coming off a bye week beat the Colts without deflated balls.
The Packers held off the Chargers who were coming off a last-minute loss to the Steelers on Monday.
The Panthers are a bit new to this feeling and beat the struggling Seahawks.
The Bengals have felt this but usually choke later in the season. They are still going strong after beating the Bills.
The Broncos won in overtime after a nail-biter against the Browns. The Browns should have won if they didn’t go for a 2 point conversion instead of the normal extra point during the game! Yeah, I’m still not over that loss.
Just a note: They finally won a game! The Lions beat the Bears in overtime.
Thank you for reading my Austin blog! I dare you to travel there and not love it!
Do you have any cities you have visited and fallen in love with in a few days? Let me know so I can plan a trip!
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