Last weekend four of us finally made it to the ever-trending Austin. It was my first time in Texas, and way too short, but I LOVED IT!! As 90% of our Uber drivers reminded us, however, Austin is very different from the rest of Texas. But still, I had the best time eating all the barbecue and meeting the friendliest people.
Speaking of Ubers, every driver we had (and we had many as it's not a walkable city), was eager to speak with us, hear about our adventures in the city, and happy to provide more than enough recommendations for our short trip there. Two of us were coming from DC, while the other two were coming from New York City. To say the least, we were not used to this geniality from strangers.
While we've been keen to visit Austin, what really made us finally pull the trigger and book it all was a J Cole concert. He was playing in NYC and DC, but on Mondays and Tuesdays- just not ideal for us hard-working young professionals (lol). So when we found out he was playing in Austin on a Saturday, it just made sense. It also didn't hurt that we found Southwest flights from LGA for under 20k miles. (FYI that's the equivalent of only half the bonus miles you'd receive from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Meaning just on the bonus miles alone, you've got more than 1 roundtrip flight under your belt). DONE!
Long Weekend in Austin
1. Eat the barbecue, obviously
Before arriving, everyone told us about Franklin's, but they also warned us about the 8am get-in-line-to-wait-until-it-opens-at-10am deal. Since we only had 3 full days in the city, we thought this might be wasting our exploring time. So we asked our Uber, which became a trend, and he recommended Terry Black's. It was the best brisket I've ever had. They also have this magical system where the sides are served buffet style in containers from a flimsy little paper plate to pint-size styrofoam cups, whichever you choose.
2. Eat the tacos
Another successful recommendation was for breakfast tacos (or normal) at Torchey's. Beware they are not the normal-sized tacos you are thinking. "Everything is bigger in Texas"
3. If you are TRULY here for the experience, disregard your waistline and get the queso at Kerbey's
It is guacamole topped with queso. Yes, what dreams are indeed made of. Equally as important, they have $2 mimosas. I had to interrogate the poor waiter to truly understand that these were real, prosecco-infused orange juice drinks. They were, and the $2 glasses soon turned into $12 pitchers. WHATALIFE!
4. Rainey Street
The Rainey Street Historic District is a strip of historic homes in downtown Austin that have been converted into bars and restaurants. Go here. Eat. Drink. Be Merry.
5. Airbnb over Hotels, as usual
We had one of the best Airbnb hosts I've had to date! Alexis had dozens of little amenities, from snacks and bagels, to shampoo and conditioner, to a few courteous check-ins to see if all was alright or if we needed any additional reccs. We were in the university campus section of the city, which seemed to be 10 minutes away from everything. I would 100% stay there again!
It was nearly 100 degrees while we were there so this natural springs pool was a blessing. $8 for non-residents, and they do have credit card machines in case you don't have ca$h money.
We attempted to endure the deathly heat for a bit to check out the HOPE Outdoor Gallery in downtown Austin. The graffiti park is actually an educational projected managed by a non-profit group (HOPE Events) and started back in 2011. It was "developed to provide muralists, street artists, arts education classes and community groups the opportunity to display large scale art pieces driven by inspirational, positive & educational messaging". I recommend checking it out, just don't be like Sameea and sit down on anything because spray paint sticks to everything. Including your bum.
8. Live music
I WENT TO A HONKY TONK! And I've never seen a banjo played so fast in my life. However, do not be like me and request the song Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins while at The White Horse. No matter how many Texas Mules you've consumed. (Hilarious song, though)
There is live music everywhere in Austin - not just honky tonks - and an overall cool, funky vibe throughout the city.
10. Purple 'Ritas
Next door to the Picnic Food Truck Park, is Baby Acapulco, the Mexican restaurant home to the Purple 'Rita. At least that's what the sign said, so we took a gamble. Apparently, these margaritas are so strong you're only allowed to be served 2. The bartender happily explained to us his point system: Normal drinks are worth 1 point each, but the purple 'ritas are worth 3. Your maximum point expenditure is 6. And yes, for the record, they are STRONG. We each had 1 and split 2 more and were giggling our way to the J Cole Concert...
Overall Austin was a city I could vibe with, and I definitely recommend a visit. I know I'll be back, for longer next time, very soon!