5 Things to do in Austin, Texas

Ummmm, I ain't getting in there Ummmm, I ain't getting in there

When I was recently down in Austin, I got a chance to have a beer with Erica, the female half of the couple that does the great travel and photography website, Over Yonderlust.  I asked her to do a guest post for my site and she promptly put together these list of suggestions for one of my favorite cities in the world, Austin, Texas.  I went to college there and if I settle down in any city in the States in the near future, its right up at the top of my list.  Enjoy.

5 Things You MUST DO in Austin

best things to do in austin -- Texas Rollerderby Lonestar Rollergirls

I’d never last in there

Yes, I will be the first to admit that I am one of those annoying Texans that are proud of their culture and where they live. If you lived in Austin, Texas too, you would feel the same way. There are a few must-dos when you come into town and I make sure to show off the following whenever I have friends come and visit.

1.)   Texas Rollerderby/Lonestar Rollergirls

Sure, I may be a bit biased since I am a referee, however, this is unlike any experience you will ever have. The girls here in Austin started the current rollerderby revival and we have two leagues in town – banked track and flat track. I personally prefer the banked track (TXRD) since the girls are able to be a little more dramatic. Think hockey meets wrestling… with chicks… and beer.

2.)   Trailer Eats

There is a culinary revolution going on in Austin. Young 20-somethings are opening food trailers offering gourmet cheap eats that easily rival some of the best and most expensive places to eat in town. My personal favorites are Gourgough’s Donuts – offering amazing freshly made fried dough with yummy toppings – and Graj Mahal – an Indian food dive.

 things to do in austin -- Mexican Martinis at Trudy’s

be afraid, be very afraid

3.)   Mexican Martinis at Trudy’s

There is one thing that I have high expectations of – TexMex. Trudy’s has amazing food and my most favorite thing to partake is the renowned Mexican Martini. They limit you to purchasing only TWO due to the potency of these things. It is like a condensed margarita in a shaker complete with green olives and unlimited chips and salsa to make your night perfect.

4.)   The Greenbelt and Hamilton’s Pool

Not all of Texas is desert and wasteland. Austin is full of trees, lakes, swimming holes and hike and bike trails. My “zen” place is Sculpture Falls – a 2 mile hike into the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Kick back in the water with a beer in hand while soaking up some rays. It is one of my favorite things to do during the spring and summer months.

things to do in austin texas -- Greenbelt and Hamilton’s Pool austin texas

Sold! Take me to the Pool.

5.)   South Congress Avenue

This part of Congress not only overlooks the capitol and downtown, but also has the most swanky vintage stores and oddities you can find anywhere in town. Treat yourself to Homeslice’s awesome New York style pizza (that wins awards every year) or to a piece of chocolate covered bacon from Big Top, a 1930s pharmacy inspired candy store, owned by the White Ghost Shivers’ 7 ft tall ukulele player.

While there are a billion things to do in Austin, and each experience can vary widely, these are definitely some of my most favorite things to do while here.

Author: Erica is one half of Over Yonderlust. She and Shaun (the other half) are childhood sweethearts traveling the world the same way they’ve traveled through life: no regrets, no missed opportunities and no rock unturned. Follow them as they add stamps to their passports one country at a time.

 

 

 

Photo Credits from Flickr Creative Commons:

Photo 1: Some rights reserved by Dviry

Photo 2: Some rights reserved by Darcie

Photo 3: Some rights reserved by ptr_crg

Thumbnail (South Congress at night): Some rights reserved by Steve DeMent

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I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all. Read more by Michael Hodson and connect on Google Plus.

40 Responses to “5 Things to do in Austin, Texas” Subscribe

  1. Charles McCool February 7, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    I “discovered” Hamilton Pool on my last visit to Austin. So nice! I will have to allot more time next visit because I saw all of those food trailers when I went to Chuy’s. I have to mention The Donut Hole in Lakeway; perhaps the best doughnut(s) I have ever had. Plenty of Mexican food trainers out there, too. Now, I am hungry!

    • Erica February 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

      Chuy’s is pretty amazing! Did you get the amazing creamy jalapeno dip for your chips? YUM! Austin definitely takes a while if you want to see much of it. I always tell my visiting friends to expect to gain weight!

  2. Tijmen February 7, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Maybe its because i’m from Europe, but I had never heard of Texas Rollerderby in my life. Looks awesome though :)

    • Erica February 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

      @Tijmen: There are a few girls in the league working with some EU communities to get people involved and a rollerderby league going!

  3. Jaime February 7, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    I have been so many times & I love Austin!!! The city is amazing and so damn pretty. I am lucky to have a few friends living there that have always been able to show me a different side of it each time I go.

    I’m a bit jealous that y’all met each other!

    • Erica February 9, 2011 at 4:34 am #

      Hey now – we were only like 2 1/2 hours away! You could have taken a sick day!

  4. Steve February 7, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I’ve only been to San Antonio in Texas, but I keep hearing about how many things there are to do in Austin. A friend of mine was just there and loved it. Those Mexican Martinis look really good.

    • Erica February 9, 2011 at 4:35 am #

      @Steve: San Antonio is a very different city. My dad lives there so I get to visit every now and then but my heart is in Austin. :D

  5. Christy @ Technosyncratic February 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Rollerderby!! Always wanted to play… but I weigh 95 lbs and would likely get pulverized. :P

    My partner loves Austin, but my first time visiting will be in March for SXSW. So this list is timely – I’m definitely going to pull it out and try all of your suggestions while we’re there!

    • Erica February 9, 2011 at 4:36 am #

      @Christy: You can do it! One of my favorite skaters is super tiny. She uses her small stature to weave in and out! Not sure when you’re going to be in town but I know there is a bout on March 12!

  6. Andrea February 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    Austin always sounds like so much fun! I’ve only ever been to Dallas, but if we ever get around to our cross-country US road trip, we’re definitely going to spend some time there. Growing up in Alabama, I’m ashamed I missed it.

    • Erica February 9, 2011 at 4:39 am #

      Dallas is… different. Completely different culture and people. :P If you ever need suggestions on places to eat or things to do, I’m your woman!

  7. Zablon February 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    i could go and see Texas Rollerderby/Lonestar Rollergirls

    • Erica February 9, 2011 at 4:40 am #

      @Zablon: It is so awesome!

  8. Cherie @Technomadia.com February 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I grew up in Austin, and I’m always amazed with how much more there is to discover! It’s a regular stop in our full time travels, and I’m so looking forward to our trip there this March where we’ll speak on the topic of nomadism at SXSW! Now.. to decide where to eat first :)

    • Erica February 9, 2011 at 4:41 am #

      @Cherie: I can only imagine how hard it will be to pick the first restaurant to enjoy while “home”. Too many to choose from!

      We’ll see you soon! Miss your faces!

  9. Nomadic Matt February 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    #6- Attend SXSW!!!!

    • Jeff February 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      Agree about SXSW, the best music festival in the world (IMHO); also a film festival and multimedia/hi-tech conference. I’ve lived in Austin since the 90’s and try never to miss SXSW but will this year to be in Patagonia.

  10. Rebecca February 13, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    LOVE Austin. Spent a week there working at the end of 2009 but didn’t get to see as much as I’d like, so I plan to return… And do all these things!

    • Michael Hodson February 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      simply a great, great city — enjoy

  11. Abbey Hesser February 16, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    Ok. So. This is probably the best concise big picture list of places to go in Austin that I’ve seen. I spent my college days in this great city as well and am constantly trying to convey to people how amazing it is. But it’s a hard city to pin down. How do you really give people a feel for what this city has to offer? I lived there 4 years and hardly saw everything I wanted to see. But I found it a bit easier recently when I went to Austin for a weekend and got to pick my top list of things to do while I was there. Though I’ve never been to a rollerderby there (though I am a big fan in general) I did hit soco, Trudy’s, the Salt Lick trailer off MLK and the green belt, so I can’t argue more that those should be on the list. I’d add 6th street on a weekend (because… duh… beer) and maybe a coffee at Spiderhouse just to get a feel for the weirder side of Austin.

  12. Texas Homesites February 22, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    We love Austin. There is always something to do and it is such a unique town. One of our favorite local places to visit is the Texas Hill Country. The Texas Hill Country is beautiful and offers great homesites and communities for families to live in.

  13. Ryan May 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    SALT LICK! Is a MUST!

    • Ryan May 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      BTW it’s BYOB

  14. MARIA March 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Me+hubby might visit Austin for a short trip (5-7 days) at the end of March or early April, mostly for his company training purposes so 3 days at least I will be exploring the city by myself. Most likely we will be staying in downtown Austion. We are from Honolulu. I’m interested in arts & cultures (museums, historic buildings and outdoor festivals with food vendors), vintage shops, flea markets, and dining out. Any suggestions? :)

  15. Elizabeth February 28, 2013 at 2:18 am #

    Love the list! 2 questions: where is the best place to find food trucks? 2) food recommendations? We are staying at the downtown marriott would love to do mainly walking. Ps: i’m pregnant so not too much walking (haha).

    • Michael Hodson February 28, 2013 at 6:14 am #

      Elizabeth, it has been a while since I was down in Austin, but… I can hook you up with the experts. Click on the link on this post to Over Yonderlust. They have been back in Austin for a while and they are awesome folks. They will answer any of your Austin questions quickly. Have fun!

  16. Elizabeth February 28, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    Pss: ive been drooling over pics of hamilton for months! Cant wait to finally make it to austin to go!!

  17. Heather April 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    I just returned from a trip to Austin. I found this blog post before i left and i am now a Trudy’s freak! I never would have know if i hadnt started here.

  18. Andrea August 4, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Oh, awesome – we’re headed there this fall so will have to take these suggestions

  19. Caroline Eubanks August 4, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    I’m imagining this to be an epic hangout between you guys. Looks like I need to head to Austin immediately.

  20. Ysmay August 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    I love Austin so much, and I am thrilled to see other people spreading the Austin love! :) And yes, the roller derby girls rock!

  21. Jonny Duncan August 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Ive never made it to the USA yet. But when I do eventually, Austin is definitely on my list of cities to visit. Which may sound strange to some people who don’t know about it. But I heard from so many texans iv’e met travelling how good it is there!

  22. Arianwen August 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Sculpture Falls looks lush! What a lovely place to kick back and relax! :)

  23. Austin Texas Relocation Guide August 11, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    It’s always so hard to see Top 5 lists for Austin, as there are so many hidden jewels. I was glad to see the Food Trailers and South Congress on the list. Austin is a great place and glad you enjoyes.

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