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Austin is one of the most popular cities in Texas to visit. It’s the capital, has a great food scene, and there are tons of great neighborhoods to explore. This travel itinerary will help you decide what to do for a long weekend in Austin, Texas.
While you could spend a lot longer visiting, a long weekend in the perfect amount of time to visit Austin! You will be able to do so much without feeling rushed. Let’s get to everything you should do in Austin during a long weekend.
Where to Stay in Austin
While Austin is a bigger city, it’s still pretty easy to get around by walking, biking, taking public transportation, or using Uber/Lyft. You won’t have to rent a car unless you’re planning on taking day trips from Austin into the country.
Look for a place to stay in the East Cesar Chavez neighborhood. While it’s being gentrified, there are still a fair number of long-time local businesses and residents in the area to give it a local feel.
Depending on your travel budget and how you like to travel will determine what type of accommodation you want. Hostels are great for budget travelers and hotels are typically better for those with a bigger budget who want the amenities and comfort of a private room in a hotel. Airbnbs are generally somewhere in the middle as some are entire houses or apartments and others are a private room in a local’s house.
Your preferences will determine which one you want to book. If you’re feeling lost in planning your trip, we offer our Travel Planning Services to help you plan the trip of your dreams!
What to Do in Austin
When visiting Austin, you’ll want to check out all the different neighborhoods in the city and eat everything!
Think of a street with a bunch of different themed, nice house parties: This is Rainey Street in Austin.
Rainey Street is all houses that have been converted into bars, each with their own unique theme or concept.
One was made of big shipping containers, and another was circus themed with slides and an interior that looked like a big tent.
It’s a very unique atmosphere and definitely a place to check out in Austin, especially because it’s something no other cities have.
South Congress and South 1st
South Congress Ave. and South 1st St. are two nearly parallel streets just south of downtown Austin. You can actually walk right from downtown Austin across the river on either bridge to get there.
If you’re visiting Austin from October to March, go to the Congress Ave. Bridge about 20 minutes before sunset. It’s home to about 1.5 million bats, and you can see them fly out from under the bridge at this time.
Both South Congress and South 1st are filled with stores, cafes, bars, and restaurants. There are a lot of unique stores and restaurants, so it’s a great place to shop and eat. You could easily spend an entire day exploring the area.
As a bonus, there are also a lot of really cool murals hidden along both S. Congress and S. 1st.
Dirty Sixth and 6th Street
West 6th Street stretches across all of downtown Austin and is best known for its wide array of bars that can get incredibly crazy at night.
West 6th St. is sort of divided into two sections. The section of bars further west has more of a post-college/young professional vibe, whereas the more eastern section, often labeled Dirty Sixth, has the crazier, more wild party scene.
Oftentimes, they shut down Dirty Sixth Street to cars so people can stumble across the street to the next bar or get to the nearest food truck for their bar time eats.
There’s even a chunk of 6th Street that’s east of I-35 (East 6th Street) that’s more mellow, but has a few more chill bars and restaurants.
Zilker Park is just southwest of downtown Austin along the Colorado River. It’s a huge park with amazing trails to walk or run. There are plenty of wide open green spaces where you can relax, picnic, people-watch, or really just do whatever.
Barton Springs Pool is a public swimming “pool” located in Zilker Park and is open all year for swimming.
The entrance fee fluctuates throughout the year. It’s generally free in winter because there are fewer people who go swimming since the air temperature is much colder than in summer.
The water temperature stays between 68°F and 74°F all year though.
Austin is the capital of Texas, so the capitol building is a thing to see there. You can get a tour of the Capitol, but you can also just go in and walk around.
Beware of the many Confederate statues and memorials. This might give you that ‘Oh yeah, we’re still in Texas’ feeling, even though Austin has the feel of other progressive cities like Denver, Portland, and Seattle.
Hope Outdoor Gallery
The Hope Outdoor Gallery is a piece of outdoor, public art that’s open to anyone. It’s a failed condo development that got turned into a community art project that’s covered in graffiti and street art.
Anyone can go in, climb around, and contribute to the artwork. If you want to contribute, make sure you bring a can or two of spray paint!
The Hope Outdoor Gallery is going to be relocated in 2018, according to an article in the Austin-American Statesman.
Austin is home to the original Whole Foods. It’s not necessarily a “must-see in Austin,” but it’s pretty neat and is absolutely huge! Plus, it’s not far away from other things and is close to the instagrammable ATX sculpture.
Where to Eat in Austin:
Austin, as most of Texas, is famous for its barbecue. There are a few different spots you can go, but la Barbecue is an excellent choice!
The other, probably more famous, place is Franklin Barbecue. Supposedly, la Barbecue’s pitmaster used to work at Franklin and then decided to start his own. Whether that’s 100% true or not, la Barbecue was delicious!
Make sure you get there early and be prepared to wait in line! If you arrive right after they open, you can wait about 2 hours in line!
Luckily, la Barbecue is combined with a small market, so you can get food or drinks while waiting.
The wait was well worth it as the food was absolutely delicious!
Forthright is a great breakfast or brunch spot in downtown Austin. Order the wild mushroom toast and breakfast tacos with black bean, egg, and avocado. They have great drink options too!
Home Slice Pizza
Home Slice Pizza is a delicious, little pizza-by-the-slice restaurant where you can get a slice of pizza for a quick snack while exploring South Congress Ave.
For a quick, outstanding dessert, the Churro Co. is where it’s at. This little food truck offers big taste with delicious churros and churro sundaes.
Get the Date Night churro sundae, which consists of churros tossed in popcorn sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel drizzle and a dash of sea salt.
Four Brothers ATX
The Venezuelan food at Four Brothers ATX was awesome. They have incredible vegan arepas and are located in 4 different spots throughout Austin.
Blenders and Bowls
Blenders and Bowls is dubbed ‘Austin’s favorite açaí cafe,’ according to their website, and while we can’t vouch for that, it was delicious. The cool breakfast can help you cool off and beat the Texas heat.
Veracruz Tacos is one of the highest rated taco places in Austin, and the reviews are definitely justified! These were some of the best tacos we’ve ever eaten.
It’s just a food truck surrounded by some picnic tables. Be prepared for a short wait in line. Seating will probably be tight too, but it’s worth it because the tacos are soooo delicious! We definitely recommend getting the Migas.
Easy Tiger is a bakery and beer garden located along a small river near downtown Austin. It offers a unique atmosphere and great beer. The outdoor ping pong along the river is a nice touch to the already unique atmosphere.
Located all throughout Austin, Juiceland offers fresh, affordable, and healthy juices, smoothies, and food. It’s a great place to stop for something healthy while exploring Austin.
Amy’s Ice Cream
You can never go wrong with ice cream, and Amy’s Ice Cream is probably the most famous place for ice cream in Austin. It’s right on South Congress Ave and is super delicious. If you can’t decide on a flavor, get the Mexican vanilla ice cream with Oreo topping.
Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (ABGB)
AGBG, as it’s known, is a bit outside of downtown Austin to the south. It’d be easiest to take a bus or Uber/Lyft there, but if you’re up for a long walk, it is walkable.
Their beer is really good, but their pizza really stands out! AGBG also has a huge outdoor beer garden and live music which adds to the ambiance.
Juan in a Million
Juan in a Million has been around in Austin on East Cesar Chavez for a long time, even before the more recent gentrification of this area.
It’s one of the best breakfast places in East Austin. They’re best known for their generous portions, delicious breakfast burritos, and cheap prices. It’s great for budget travelers and for those who want an authentic local experience as it’s been around for a long-time.
Austin has a lot to offer, especially if you’re into food trucks and to-die-for barbecue.
While there is so much more that you could do here, Austin is a great place to visit for a long weekend!