Best of Austin, Texas
If you don’t know, now you know. I went to Austin, Texas last week with a few (aka 10) of my closest gal pals. I am still smiling ear to ear because I had so much fun. I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed that much, danced that freely or had that much fun in the sweltering heat.
When my friend Nicole asked me what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday a few months back, I said “nothing”. To which she said wasn’t going to happen and that I needed to pick something or else we’d have a party at her house or mine. Now, I love parties and hanging with friends but I don’t really love throwing a party for my own birthday. I’d much rather go DO something to celebrate and include those that are closest to me, of course.
If I have learned anything in the past 30 years it’s that I cherish time with others as well as fun experiences. I’d much rather look back on memories than things. This experience is one I will hold close to me forever and am so grateful she pushed me to make a decision. (Oh yeah, 30 years has also taught me I’m terrible at making decisions).
I finally told her I was thinking about Austin, TX. RANDOM, I know. However, it had been on my radar for years as a foodie destination. I thought, what better time to go then for my birthday? I figured I’d invite a few people and then it would end up being me & Nicole gallivanting around Austin for a few days.
Then, I booked my ticket, and within the week 10 others had also booked their ticket. I’m not sure if it’s because everyone has been dying to go to Austin or if they wanted to hang out with me. Either way, I’ll take it and am SO SO glad I decided to book the trip.
If you’ve ever been considering Austin, I’d recommend it fully. Beware, it is hot as HEEEEECK down there so plan accordingly, pack a swim towel, swim suit and some extra room for food in that stomach of yours…
To Do in Austin
While there is a TON to do in Austin and the outlying areas, I’m only going to mention the things that we did and enjoyed! This is a great reminder for me if I ever go back, but hopefully it will help those looking for things to do in Austin, enjoy!
This large body of water/pool/spring fed hole in the ground is the COOLEST escape you will find in Austin. It is located in Zilker Park which has plenty of walkable/runable trails. We spent most of our time flip flopping between laying out on the grass and then hopping back in the water. Remember to stop by the Dollar Store or Walmart for noodles & pool floats so you can last longer in the water!
Pro Tip: They ask you if you are a resident or not, if you are confident enough and say yes, you’ll score yourself a $3 admission over the $8 admission. Be confident.
I couldn’t travel with a few of my closest CrossFit buddies and NOT hit a CrossFit gym. I have to say this may have been one of the friendlier gyms I have ever dropped into. It could be because I went with 4 friends but the coach, Melissa was super welcoming and decided to put up with us. We had a blast working out at a new gym and even crushed the workout.
The workout that was programmed that day was:
Deadlifts @ 185#
Box Jumps @ 20″
Rest 3 minutes
Rest 3 minutes
21 American KB Swings @ 35#
12 Pull Ups
30 min Time Cap (which all my bada$$ friends were under!)
Pro Tip: Always reach out to a CrossFit gym before dropping in to ask if it’s okay and make sure you arrive early to sign a waiver and so as to not disrupt class.
This is a man made municipal pool that is GIANT. We ended up going here because we tried to go to Twin Falls along the Greenbelt trail and it was dried up, yes apparently that is a thing in Texas. In 100+ degree weather we had no choice but to find the closest body of water ASAP. There was plenty of shaded area to relax in and the pool was slightly warmer than Barton Springs so we lasted longer in the water itself.
Pro Tip: Once again if you are confident enough to say you are from Austin, you will receive a discount on admission, fake it til ya make it friends!
Greetings from Austin Sign
Our server at Brunch told us about this sign, good thing we found it because we look fresssssh in the photo (see above). May be touristy but it makes for a sick picture.
Where? 1720 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
Ok, this is JUST a grocery store. But a retired RD I met on the plane told me I had to go here. She understood my love of all things food 🙂 We gathered all of our needs at the local H-E-B which was walkable-ish from our AirBnB. Saves you money to buy groceries for a house full of 11 (STARVING) girls.
Pro Tip: Bring your own bags so you aren’t charged for theirs!
Hello Peacocks! If you have ever wanted to walk amongst the peacocks, this is your chance. There are also some walkable trails around the sanctuary but most of us forgot appropriate shoes, so we hung out and watched the beautiful birds instead.
Where? 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703
This is one of the easiest hikes I’ve ever done. It’s a flight (or 3) of stairs to the top of the city. It is an amazing view of the city, river and multi-million dollar homes in the area. Totally doable hike whether a beginner, not in top shape, and/or hungover.
Where? 3800 Bonnell Dr, Austin, TX 78731-5846
The Salt Lick
While this will also be on my food list, the experience of this place is totally worth it. If you ask the locals they all have their favorite BBQ. While we only had BBQ at The Salt Lick, I can tell you it was pretty amazing and I’m not even a little bit sad about it. The experience is great. It’s BYOB, you get to sit at a long community table and with all you can eat you can eat to your heart’s content. Forgot to BYOB? No problem! They have a winery next door, you can’t go wrong!
Pro Tip: If you have a group of 10 or more, you can book a reservation. Highly recommend getting the all-you-can-eat and being extra nice to your server so you can take extras home.
Whole Food HQ
Well, you knew this was coming! We went here right after our workout at CrossFit Central because it is down the street. The options at this Whole Foods are out of this world. It’s a good thing I don’t live close or I would’ve bought the entire store. Check out all the local options, don’t skip out on the meat/bacon/poultry section and make sure you save room for the prepared foods & 5 million flavors of kombucha.
Pro Tip: Eat before you go, otherwise you’ll have to find a second job to support your grocery problem.
The Night Life
You didnt think a group of 11 girls would skip out on the night life did you? There are 3 major areas that we were told to hit up, Rainey Street, 6th Street & SoCo. We only hit up the first 2 but heard good things about SoCo as well.
This reminded me of Key West. Everyone is outside and there are bars after bars after bars. We hit up a few but were too tired to keep going. Rainey street is known for their old houses turned into bars with their own personalities. We found one bar with a slide and we were hooked.
There are good and not so good sides of this street. We ended up at Buck Wild where we got stuck because a Tornado Warning/Downpour started as soon as we entered. We made the best of it played some basketball, took some selfies in the Photo Booth and danced the night away. Oh, we also may have gone outside to dance in the rain…
How to get around town?
Well I’m sure you can rent a car, but with 11 girls and not wanting to worry about making 1 person drive or worry about having a drink and driving, we decided to find our way around the city by other means!
The good news is that it is a very walkable city. We stayed more on the South side near South Congress Ave but we were able to walk up and down South Congress Ave and get to alot of shops, grocery stores, coffee shops, food establishments, bars and more. To get to the North side of the city and to The Salt Lick, we opted for using Uber & Lyft.
We never had a hard time finding a ride and were able to get 2 cars when we all needed to go somewhere. We used the app Splitwise to easily share the cost of our Ubers/Lyfts and it all worked out perfectly.
I cannot wait to go back to Austin and/or on my next gal pals trip! Where would you recommend we go next?! Let me know in the comments!
Stay tuned for my Friday Favorites this week where I’ll share all of our Austin Eats, because afterall, food is my favorite thing ever! Alongside coffee & fitness obviously 😉