A Weekend in Austin, TX

A couple months ago Adam and I went to Austin, TX for a long weekend. We flew out Thursday night and came back Sunday morning, so we had 2 full days of exploring! 

Day 1 | Politics and Beer

We started our first day with an Austin staple – breakfast tacos at Torchy’s. Actually, I got one breakfast taco and on regular taco. We also split an order of chips and queso. It was all delicious, but The Wrangler breakfast taco was my favorite!

After breakfast we made our way to the state capitol. The capitol building is open to visitors and they offer free tours every 30-45 minutes (reservations not required). 

We lucked out that a tour was just about to depart when we arrived, so we didn’t have to wait. Our tour guide was very informative and I highly recommend taking a tour. You’ll learn so much more and find everything so much easier. 

The capitol building is full of so many great details. The hinges on the doors were my favorite, but I also loved how Texas is spelled out in the light fixtures in the House. 

After our tour of the capitol we headed to the LBJ Presidential Library. This was what Adam was most excited to see and if I’m being honest, something I wasn’t very excited about. Turns out I was wrong and the LBJ Library ended up being one of my favorite places on our trip!

We watched all of the videos and read all of the events on his/the country’s timeline. I knew very little about LBJ before our visit and was blown away by what I learned. In his 20s he was a teacher at a Mexican-American school in South Texas and witnessed firsthand the poverty and discrimination that his students faced. So as President he was a champion for education, urban renewal, passed Medicare, and of course the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. He also appointed the first African American cabinet member and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. LBJ and the First Lady also supported environmental beautification and conservation and supported the arts and humanities.
Unfortunately, his legacy also includes the Vietnam War (that he inherited). LBJ ended up not running for a second term hoping that new leadership would help the country get out of the war. 

I don’t want to get too political, but I got a little emotional witnessing the stark contrast between a President who cared about the poor, minorities, and the environment vs. our current sack of garbage President. Also, watching some of the footage of civil rights protestors from over 50 years ago looked way too similar to the racists marching in Charlottesville less than 2 years ago. Sigh…

ANYWAY, after we finished at the LBJ Library we decided to walk around the University of Texas Campus. We walked by the football stadium and all the way to the UT Tower. It was about 1.5 miles roundtrip, but it was really pretty and mostly shaded.

By then we were done walking and ready for a snack and beer so we headed to Lazarus Brewing for chips, guacamole, and beer. 

For dinner we went to Pinthouse Pizza and shared a pizza plus more beer. We ordered the Ooh La La pizza and it was excellent! It’s the second time we’ve ordered a pizza with a drizzle of honey while traveling (Spicy Salami pizza at Oven and Shaker in Portland) and we’ve loved both so maybe that’s the secret to pizza perfection. I know it sounds kinda weird, but it’s delicious!

That night we had grand plans to go out and take two step lessions at The White Horse or listen to live music at one of the bars, but we ended up just going back to the hotel and relaxing. And honestly, it’s exactly what we needed. We’ve been super busy lately, so just lying in bed doing nothing was perfect! Oh, and we walked to Popbar for dipped gelato bars…

Day 2 | Food, Food, and More Food

Our second day in Austin was all about food. If you’ve been following for long, you know that we love to do food tours when we travel, so I booked the Best of Austin Food Truck Tour with Austin Eats Food Tours. The tour met near the SFC Farmer’s Market, so we got there early to walk around the market and split a pastry.

The tour stops seem to change a bit, so I won’t list out everywhere we went, but we had brisket kolaches at Kerlin BBQ, BBQ brisket and pork at LA Barbeque, Nashville Hot Chicken at Tumble 22, campfire churros at Churro Co. and more! Everything was delicious! 

It was our first time having kolaches and you know we love hot chicken, so we thought the tour was pretty perfect. We definitely got way more food on this tour than others we’ve taken. Plus that dessert was ah-maz-ing! The only downside was that I had to split it with Adam…give me all the churros!

After our tour we decided to explore a bit of South 1st Street. Of course we had to stop at the Greetings from Austin mural and get our picture taken.

We also stopped at Art for the People to do a bit of shopping. I love finding unique, handmade souvenirs when traveling, so stores like these are 100% my jam. They had SO many beautiful items all made by local artisans and the people in the shop were incredibly friendly. We ended up buying this Eli Halpin framed bison canvas print, a hand painted Austin magnet, and this card of a bulldog dressed like Willie Nelson for Adam’s dad. 

OK, and here’s where we made our fatal mistake. We split a donut from Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts…after eating all of that food on the tour. If you couldn’t tell from the name, they aren’t regular sized donuts, they’re massive and covered in delicious toppings. 

So we had planned to either explore Zilker Park, walk the boardwalk, or check out Rainey Street’s bars and restaurants (we did go to Craft Pride on the food tour), but we ended up at the hotel feeling too uncomfortably full to do anything. Eventually we dragged ourselves out of bed and walked to dinner. We couldn’t decide where to eat and it needed to be walking distance, so we went to Fareground. It’s a food hall with six local vendors so we were able to each pick our own meal. I had sushi at Ni-Kome and Adam got a burger from Contigo. We both liked our food and it ended up working out really well for our indecision.

Overall, we had an amazing time in Austin. Our trip ended up being more about relaxing than seeing/doing everything, but that’s exactly what we needed. We’ve both been super busy and stressed at work, so we just needed some time away. We’d both love to go back for another weekend and see/eat everything we missed on this trip!

Travel Notes:
We stayed at the W Austin (thanks to a killer Priceline Express deal). The location was unbeatable and it was very swanky, but I would never pay full price to stay there. They don’t offer free wi-fi and parking is valet only. All of the extras add up when you’re already paying for an expensive room. BUT, it was worth it for the price I paid on Priceline (over half off!).

We stopped at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co for dinner/beer the night we arrived and loved it! The beer was good and the food was delicious! Adam loved their wings! Highly recommend. 

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