What to do when visiting Austin in 2016

So you’ve decide to visit Austin.  Great! Do you have 1 day, or 3 days or a long week?  Whatever amount of time you have schedule, this is a fun and relaxed list of things to do when visiting Austin.

I’ve visited each of these places, done all the tours, and re-visit many of them frequently.   To keep things simple, I’ve arranged them so that you

One thing you should probably know when you visit  is that you will need a  car to get around.  You can drive to each of the places I’ve mentioned, and once you are there won’t need to drive.  But getting between them is much easier with 4-wheels.

Day 1 of your visit to Austin

Morning

Get up and do what the locals do  Take a walk around Ladybird Lake.  The hike and bike trail is a popular, flat trail circling the lake that runs just south of downtown Austin.  You will have some great views of downtown, have the opportunity to visit some incredible landmarks and if you are lucky even meet a local who will probably talk your ear off.  This is the best way to live like a local, and get a great day to day Austin experience.  Since you will be near downtown, you can pretty much grab a bite to eat anywhere and have something local and tasty.

Afternoon

Texas State Capitol TourTour the Texas State Capitol.  If you have extra time, check out the Blanton Art Museum.

Evening

Dinner at a great local restaurant (you might want to call them for reservations (Barley Swine, Uchi, Andiamo, La Condessa,  Finish the evening with a nightcap in the historic Driskill Hotel Bar, which is the most likely place to see a celebrity in Austin.

Day 2 – Visiting Austin

Morning

Places to Visit in Austin Ladybird Johnson Wildflower CenterOne of my very favorite places to visit in the mornings is the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.  This world-class facility is part garden center and part texas history museum.  Of course you could always go in the afternoon, but I’ve been all different times of the day and prefer the AM.

Afternoon

Hit up South Congress, or as the locals call it SoCo.  Lunch will be at a food truck (you can’t go wrong with any of them).  Take your time walking up and down congress looking into all the funky Austin stores and antique shops, or just kick back at Guerro’s, have some queso and a beer, and just watch the people go by.

Evening

Tonight you are going to have some fun downtown.  Start by finding a spot to park near 2nd st.  The basement of City Hall is a good, affordable option.  Again there are lots of botiques and local stores that stretch along 2nd st most of which are very local to Austin.  Head over to the Living room Lounge at the W Hotel which is becoming quite a hangout, and try to get some last minute Tickets to the ACL show.

austin_pedicabIf that doesn’t work out jump in a pedi-cab and ask them to take you over to 6th st, where you can walk around and look at all the drunk people, or stop into a bar, listen to some local music, and have a cocktail or two.

3-Days  to visit Austin

Morning

It’s time you had a breakfast taco.  And the best place in Austin for a breakfast taco is Maria’s Taco X-press.  Grab a taco, or a plate of migas, and go sit on the back patio.  Strike up a conversation with a local if you are so inclined.  You never know where it may lead you.

Afternoon

The LBJ library is an incredible snapshot of the Johnson presidency.  His life, and times all in one building.  There is a bunch about the space race, trip to the moon, and vietnam war, and I highly recommend going.

Evening

If it is the right time of the year, you can see a ton of bats flying out from under the Congress Ave bridge.  Hint:  The best place to see the bats isn’t on the bridge, but from the hike and bike trail below.

What to do at the Austin Airport

Visiting AustinEven if you are stuck at Austin Bergstrom Airport for an extended layover, there is still a lot to do.  Grab a breakfast taco a  Leftys (far west concourse).  Spend the rest of the browsing the selection at Bookpeople (Central Terminal) or pick up a longhorn t-shirt at ().  For lunch try a burger at Waterloo Ice House (East Terminal) or a sandwich at the local favorite Thundercloud Subs (East Terminal).  In the afternoon listen to some live music (Baggage Claim or Central Terminal) or get a massage (in the west concourse), and for dinner try out some world famous BBQ at the Salt Lick (West Terminal) The day wouldn’t be complete without a scoop of ice cream from Amy’s (West Terminal).

I hope you enjoyed visiting Austin – let me know what you did (or didn’t do) in the comments below.