I’m back in New York (and in class!) after three weeks hopping through the US. I can tick New Orleans, Austin, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Las Vegas, San Diego and LA off my bucket list! We had the best time in Austin so I thought I’d jot down some notes here. It’s the perfect place for a weekend break – accessible, pretty inexpensive, easy to get around and jammed with tonnes of interesting food and music options. I can’t wait to go back.
We stayed in a great Airbnb in East Austin. If you did a poll of our Uber drivers, the consensus is it isn’t the nicest of Austin neighbourhoods but we loved it. As we were waiting on the street for an Uber on our first night there, a police officer did pull over to ask us if we’d heard gun shots but we actually felt really safe there. East Austin is gentrifying quickly and there are so many great restaurants, bars and food trucks nearby. We also enjoyed the South Congress area, which is accessible from East Austin by a very cheap Uber ride.
We stayed for three days which was the perfect amount of time. While public transport isn’t the best in Austin (or so we’ve been told, we didn’t use it), we found it surprisingly easy to get around. An Uber was never more than a few minutes away and the city was easily walkable (especially as we didn’t stray too far from East Austin).
Bufalina – we stayed really close to this super cute pizza place and one night when it was pouring with rain we decided not to bother fighting for a table and ordered in. We had the roasted mushroom pizza with caramelized onion, comté and mozzarella, a simple green salad and an amazing farro salad with pesto, radish and ricotta salata (which I’m dying to recreate!).
Dolce Neve – mascarpone and fig and hazelnut gelato. And a waffle cone made in house. ‘Nuff said.
Elizabeth’s – after days of fried goodness in New Orleans, we were crazing something fresh, spicy and light when we got to Austin. Elizabeth’s definitely delivered. I think the wait for a table can be long but there’s a patio where you can sit with drinks and we were happy to sit at a table outside (with heaters and blankets) so we got seated straight away. We enjoyed the pho and huge pots of freshly brewed tea. We took some pastries to go on impulse and I’m still thinking about the pistachio éclair weeks later.
Veracuz – Austin has the best food truck scene I’ve ever encountered. We got a great juice and lots of fresh tacos for less than $20. Eggs are not my jam but everyone was ordering the breakfast tacos.
Launderette – this was our last stop in Austin. We had a great lunch here before heading to the airport. It is one of the prettiest fit outs I’ve ever seen and the food was great – fresh and interesting, including a great tea menu. Service was super friendly too.
Coffee and beer
We found seriously great coffee at Flat Track. It doesn’t serve anything else apart from coffee but it’s well worth a visit just for that. It served the best coffee I’ve had since I arrived in the US five months ago which is why it’s only place we visited twice during our stay!
Brew & Brew also serves good coffee, a small selection of pastries and a variety of beers. Chill vibe, plenty of space and free wi-fi. It’s just around the corner from Practice Yoga Austin.
Easy Tiger – it’s a pretty great place that can accommodate those in need of both coffee and pastries or beer and pretzels. We played Connect 4 while we ate and there’s a great outdoor space on the canal with ping pong tables too.
Practice Yoga Austin is a great donation based yoga studio in East Austin. I did a sweaty vinyasa class here with a lovely teacher. Everyone was super friendly and low fuss. I love going to a yoga class when I travel. As someone who loves a bit of routine, it is so reassuring to me that every yoga studio on earth has the same smell, moves through the same poses and speaks the same language.
We spent a morning walking the Lady Bird Johnson boardwalk before heading downtown. I can never visit enough book shops and I especially loved Book People and South Congress Books. There are tonnes of hipster eating options and clothing stores around South Congress Books too – it’s such an easy place to spend an afternoon.
For next time: I loved Austin and would happily go back. I think it might be my favourite US city so far. I would happily live there if it wasn’t so far away from Australia (the gun laws don’t thrill me either). Anyway, on my list for the next time I go to Austin are the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, House Wine, Odd Duck, Sway Thai, La Barbeque, Cow Tipping Creamery, the Elizabeth Ney Museum and lots more food trucks!