(Due to current world events, please check in with each place before heading out to ensure that they are accepting people. So your time will not be wasted.)
Events – Annual
Grand Prix/Formula One (F1) – Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX 78617
One of the largest events to visit Austin every year. Huge artists usually put on concerts. The main events are at the track, but the city will be full of other events around the same time. Plan and book early; this event brings in people from all over the world. I highly recommend driving yourself in or taking one of the busses instead of depending on rideshare services. Usually happens in October.
SXSW – multiple locations in mostly downtown Austin, TX
SXSW helped put Austin on the map. This festival has grown so much over the years. It started out being mostly about live music. But now it is an event to experience and make connections in so many other areas. Usually happens in March.
Cyclo Vietnamese & Chinese – 13000 N Interstate Hwy 35 #102, Austin, TX 78753
I used to go here a lot when it was named Hoa My. The portions back then were huge and the food was great. I think there has been a change in ownership with higher prices and smaller portions. But it might still be worth a try.
Mod Pizza – multiple locations
This is usually my first pick for grab and go pizza. Thin crust, but also has gluten-free and cauliflower crusts. The kicker here is unlimited toppings for the same price. Build-your-own or order one of their recommended combinations. Only two sizes – personal or what might be classified as a small to medium size at other places. They try to bill themselves as providing fast service, but I’ve been greatly disappointed on that at many of their locations if there is a line. Doesn’t seem like they encourage their employees to focus on the customers. That being said, I love the options and the price. My order is: pesto sauce, arugula, cilantro, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, asiago cheese, bacon, salami, spicy sausage, artichokes, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper. Then after it’s cooked, I top if with half balsamic fig glaze and half sri-rancha sauce. Mmmmm! 🙂
Mozart’s – 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
One of my all-time favorite Austin spots. A coffee joint right on the lake. Great sunsets on the water. You can see lots of fish below. Many decks. Lots of people and the traffic and parking can get horrendous as there are several popular spots in this area. But I highly recommend it if you can get in on a less busy day. Great spot to relax by the water. They also have a big Christmas lights show.
Radio Coffee & Beer – 4204 Menchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78704
Great atmosphere. Feels spread out even though there are a ton of people here sometimes. Check out the Veracruz All Natural food truck for great tacos. Lots of dogs. Cool neighborhood vibe. I was thrown off by the parking for a long time. You’ll see everyone fighting for the spaces off Fort View Road, but there is a lot more parking in the lot on the other side of the building with the entrance primarily off Menchaca Road.
Taqueria Los Jaliscienses #2 – 6201 E Hwy 290, Austin, TX 78723
One of the stranger buildings I’ve ever eaten in. I don’t even know how to describe it. Very orange is one description. 🙂 But the shape is so unique. It is also connected to a motel and the only bathroom to use is the one for the people using the pool. You have to walk outside to use it. And get a key from the waitress. The quality of the tortillas has gone downhill that last two times I’ve been here. And the prices have gone up a lot. This is old Austin and I think the pressure of the increasing prices has put a lot of stress on this place. I don’t like the attitude of the servers at all. That being said, it still usually has good food. I order the Pechuga De Pollo Marinada plate. I also order the horchata or the fresh lemonade.
The County Line – multiple locations
A sit-down restaurant-style BBQ joint. Founded in Austin. More expensive than usual as far as BBQ goes, but I’ve always liked the food. And that’s saying something as BBQ is generally not my first choice. Their Riverwalk location has outdoor seating that is great for people watching.
Tiff’s Treats – multiple locations
Born in Austin. Now in multiple states. A great Texas business success story. The smell from the fresh cookies is worth a trip to the location, but they focus on cookie deliveries. Great for gifts. Really good taste, soft, chewy, and a selection of all your standard favorite flavors in addition to other creations. Closest I’ve tasted to homemade.
Torchy’s Tacos – multiple locations
I’m not sure the restaurant as a whole lives up to the hype, but I definitely recommend the Hillbilly Queso and the tomatillo salsa. I’m not a huge fan of their tacos, but the ones I order are the Democrat and the Crossroads. They usually have a special taco of the month. I recommend checking those out when they have them.
The Oasis On Lake Travis – 6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732
No matter where you get seated, you’re paying for the view. So be sure to be seated where you can actually see it. Highly-overpriced food. I’m not a fan at all. I think this used to be a better place, but the hype and increasing Austin prices got the best of them. That being said, I like their salsa. Nothing mind-blowing, but I always find myself finishing it quickly. I thought the beef fajitas tasted well enough.
Rowing Dock – 2418 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746
One of my favorite things to do is kayak the lake in downtown Austin. Great views of the skyline and the water is usually very calm. I recommend the ocean kayaks for beginners, but the water is deep so please know how to swim or for sure wear the provided life jacket. Paddleboarding is also the latest craze in Austin. Start here at the Rowing Dock for all your rental needs.
Barton Springs Municipal Pool – 2201 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746
It will probably be too cold to visit in the beginning of March, but if you like taking a dip in a huge spring-fed 68-degree pool, check this iconic Austin spot out.
Covert Park at Mount Bonnell – 3800 Mt Bonnell Rd, Austin, TX 78731
Another iconic Austin spot. Very steep cliff views. Provides a great spot for views of the lake and downtown. There are two ways to the top: up several flights of steep stairs, or a rocky path that starts on the far right side of the parking area. Not recommended if you have concerns about falling.
Hamilton Pool Preserve – 24300 Hamilton Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
One of my favorite places in Texas. Reservations are needed. And they book up weeks if not more in advance. So if you think you’ll want to visit, secure your spot as soon as possible. And the last time I checked, they only accepted cash. There is a quick but steep hike down to the pool. Please research path options accordingly if there are any concerns about physically being able to make the hike.
Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue – 210 Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, Austin, TX 78704
A fan of live music? So is Austin. Check out the Austin Chronicle for the plethora of event listings. And then come take a picture with Stevie along a great trail in downtown Austin. Also highly recommend walking down a bit and checking out a great view of the lake and the skyline on the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge or the South 1st bridge.
BookPeople – 603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
They bill themselves as Texas’ largest independent bookstore. I used to spend hours in here. I don’t think you could ever exhaust browsing this store. It is curated very well. They had a great selection of magazines also. And lots of neat and eclectic cards, gifts, and toy items. Highly recommend checking them out. The only thing is that the parking can get pretty hectic. I’d recommend just going for a space in the parking garages located around the building.
Half Price Books – multiple locations
Are you looking for an organized used bookstore with a huge selection. This is it. Their prices are not exactly the lowest. But they make up for it with the selection. They also sell used DVDs and CDs. At least for now. If you’re looking to kill some time, you can spend hours browsing here. The only thing I’d say is don’t waste your time trying to resell books to them. They’ll literally give you pennies on the dollar.
Royal Blue Grocery – multiple locations
Actually this is a convenience store. But it is fancier than your normal convenience store. And their prepared foods are really delicious. I’ve liked the Thai dishes at their Austin locations.
The Domain – 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin, TX 78758
Upscale shopping center in Austin that has a lot of restaurants, shopping, bars, and hotels. Great place to walk around. Lots of new development in this area that includes tons of office space and apartments. Also close to the soccer stadium. Can get really packed over here, but there is usually parking not too far away from where you want to be. I like to go to the Restoration Hardware store.
Whole Foods Market – 525 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
Did you know that Whole Foods was founded in Austin? This is their flagship store in Austin. I call it the mall of food. It is huge. And has an outstanding selection of all foods, included prepared foods. Definitely recommend stopping by if you are a foodie. But beware, the prices are expensive. The location is prime real estate and the prices have followed accordingly. There is additional parking in the garage below the store.