So this post will be slightly different from my typical travel guides, as we were traveling with a group of friends for a long weekend. Matt and I always love to do as much exploring as possible, but when there is a big group it is harder to plan a ton of activities, etc. Needless to say, if you are traveling to Austin with a group, hopefully this helps and if you are going alone or with one other person, there are some great recommendations as well! But, I must say Austin is a great destination for a friends trip – such a fun vibe, and so many fun activities to do and see!
Our original reason behind this trip was picking someone warm and new for this time of year. Our luck had it that we took the NY winter with us all the way to Austin, because temps were in the low 40’s and the wind was out of control most of the days we were there. With that being said, Austin is such an amazing city that thrives with its outdoor lifestyle, whether that may be a restaurant/bar or being out on the water. We made the best of the nicer days we had, but if the weather was on our side, we would have packed much more into our itinerary.
Before I dive into what we did and where we ate as a group, I arrived a day earlier then most of my friends and was so excited to finally get to spend some time with my blogger gal-pal, Courtney! We had been counting down the days until my trip and it was so nice to catch up in person, rather than text or over the phone. She took me to what may be my favorite meal of the trip, Clark’s Oyster Bar. It was warm out this day so we sat on the patio and started off with the brussels and both ordered the Crab Louie salad for our entree. My mouth is still watering thinking about this meal! It honestly was the perfect start to the weekend and I finally got to meet her adorable daughter Kinsley and hubby, Alex. Trying to plan a trip back with Matt asap (he arrived the next day, so never had a chance to meet up).
Friday the four of us who arrived the night before had the entire day before the rest of the crew arrived (there were 11 of us in total). My two girlfriends and I signed up for an early morning Soul Cycle class to start the day. Afterwards, we headed to Forthright for the best avocado toast I may have ever had and a yummy iced cashew milk latte. We tried taking the rest of the group back here on Saturday morning, but the place was PACKED. Highly recommend, but try going at an off time (we arrived around 8:15am on Friday the first time).
After lunch with Courtney, I met back up with my girlfriends for a few drinks and sunshine on Rainey Street. Hands down, my favorite area to hang out in Austin. These renovated houses turned bungalow bars are for the most part an open air concept with large lawn space (and games). You will find people popping in and out of the bars, grabbing a bite at a food truck and then popping back into another bar (all with their pup in tow and often live music). It is such a causal, laid back atmosphere, a welcomed change from the hustle and bustle of NYC. A few favorites: UnBARlieveable, Container Bar and Lustre Pearl. We made sure to come back once everyone arrived as well!
Saturday was our first full day with everyone in Austin. It also happened to be the coldest! Needless to say, we pretty much spent our day eating and drinking our way through Austin. We had a reservation at Lambert’s BBQ and to be honest, we all agreed the BBQ was just okay. The bloody mary’s on the other hand were great! It was a great option for a group our size though, but you also have to pre-choose your meal and hit a spend limit (if with a big group), so just an FYI if looking to go. We all heard that Salt Lick was the best BBQ in Austin, but it was about a 45 minute drive and we didn’t want to make a day of it originally (thinking we’d want to be out and about and in the warm sun).
After a late lunch, we walked around town a bit, but honestly the wind was so strong we decided to just hop into a few bars back on Rainey Street. They were PACKED. It was so fun to experience a weekend there, listening to live music and grabbing drinks with friends. Later that night we had made another reservation at Moonshine for dinner. They ended up giving us a private room, which made the night that much more fun. Once again, we had to meet a minimum (and it was a steep one, as we still fell $200 short), but the appetizers and meal were delicious! The girls decided to order chicken and waffles to spilt in addition to our meals and it was some of the best friend chicken I have had. We lingered at dinner for awhile and ended up calling it a night afterwards since we had a big day on the water ahead.
Sunday was the day we were all looking forward to the most. We rented a boat through Austin’s Boat Tours to cruise around Lake travis for the day. We opted for the additional cost of transportation to and from and it was 100% worth it (it is a party bus so we could all be together). The day on the lake was great, we filled our coolers, hung out in the sun and grilled some BBQ while on the boat. It was the perfect last full day of our trip. Depending on the weather, Lake Travis is typically packed with boaters, so it is a fun scene to experience. Our weather was still a bit chilly, so there weren’t too many other boats out, but we still had a great time.
Monday morning the majority of our group caught early flights back to the city. Four of us had planned to seize the day and catch a later flight that evening. We all had been craving tacos and heard that Torchy’s Tacos wouldn’t disappoint. After fueling up for the day we popped in and out of a few stores that were in the area, ByGeorge (luxury/higher end boutique) and Favor the Kind (Boho Chic) were two of my favorites! We ended the day with popping over to Barton Springs Pool to check it out. To be honest, we went on a cold, gloomy day so it appeared less than exciting, but I can imagine how fun it is on a hot sunny day!