Sara & Chris's Wedding - Austin, TX - February 16, 2008

Visiting Austin

Austin is a great town with a ton of great things to do, eat, see, and listen to. We couldn’t possibly list everything, but we hope this gives you a place to start planning your trip.

Don’t Miss | History | Food | Entertainment | Outdoors | Kids | Shopping

Don’t Miss

Our top five things to see and do in Austin.

Texas Capitol
The center of Austin and Texas. Not only is it taller than the US Capitol, ours is pink! The capitol and grounds are open every day and free to the public. See if you can spot the albino squirrel that lives on the grounds!
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Sixth Street
The center of Austin’s nightlife and live music scene. You’ll find good food, drinks, dozens of bands any night of the week, and plenty of colorful characters.
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Texas State History Museum
Named for governor Bob Bullock, the State History Museum has lots of relics from Texas’s past and an IMAX theater to boot. (Get it, boot? Come on!)
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Zilker Park
If the weather is nice, head downtown for jogging, swimming, kayaking, and more in this green strip on the banks of Lady Bird Lake. The dog park and the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue at Auditorium Shores are two fun things to see here.
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South Congress
Eclectic shopping for everyone. Parts and Labour comes highly recommended, but all of the stores are great.
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History

Learn about our state’s history and absorb some culture while you’re here.

Blanton Museum of Art
Austin’s newest fine arts museum has a rotating collection of weird modern art and a huge fixed collection spanning the ages.
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Austin Museum of Art
Two locations, downtown and Laguna Gloria on the shores of Lake Austin, offer various small exhibits that are always surprising.
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Texas State Cemetery
Texas legends from Sam Houston to Ann Richards were laid to rest here. The grounds are gorgeous.
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LBJ Presidental Library
Admission is free. Don’t miss the animatronic LBJ and the replica of the Oval Office in LBJ’s time.
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O. Henry Museum
See the home of Austin’s quirkiest writer. Surely you remember “The Gift of the Magi” from high school.
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Elisabet Ney Museum
Elisabet Ney immigrated from Germany to become one of the state’s most celebrated sculptors. Two of her marble statues grace the entrance to the capitol rotunda. You can tour her home and studio, a tiny castle in always-offbeat Hyde Park.
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South Austin Museum of Popular Culture
We’ve never actually been there so we have no idea what to tell you about it. Sure sounds intriguing, though, doesn’t it?
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Haunted Tours of Downtown Austin
Surely you will learn something new or at least weird on these fringe tours of forgotten Austin landmarks.
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Food

If you can’t find something good to eat in Austin, you’re not looking hard enough. Here are a few of our many favorites.

Breakfast
Kerbey Lane It’s against the law to not try the pancakes.
Stubb’s Their Gospel Brunch has great music, amazing food, and bottomless mimosas.
Threadgill’s The Sunday Brunch is the same idea: funky music, hearty country eats, and lots of crazy stuff on the walls.
Taco Xpress Best breakfast tacos in Austin. Maria will welcome you with open arms from her perch on the roof.
Round Rock Doughnuts Most north Austinites swear by these local delights.
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Barbecue
Iron Works Sweet sauce and huge beef ribs.
The Salt Lick It’s a drive to this Texas landmark, but well worth it. So good!
Rudy’s Local quick and easy favorite. Chris loves the turkey, sausage, and banana pudding.
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Restaurant Row
Barton Springs Road features half a dozen great restaurants all in a row, right next to Zilker Park.
Shady Grove Great burgers and chicken fried steaks with a huge outdoor area. Do try a nice cold Shady Thang.
Romeo’s This Italian joint is annually voted the most romantic restaurant in town.
Austin Java Breakfast, dinner, coffee, desserts: everything is good at Austin Java.
Chuy’s Deep down, every Austinite loves the Tex-Mex at Chuy’s.
Green Mesquite Even more barbecue. You seriously can’t go wrong on Barton Springs.
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Comfort Food
Mother’s Cafe and Garden Best vegetarian restaurant around. They burned down last year but should be back soon. Sit in the indoor garden – it is (or was) gorgeous.
Hyde Park Bar and Grill Across the street is a funky little bistro. Get the fries. Outstanding!
Texas Chili Parlor Spicy, brown, thick, and meaty. A Texas classic done right.
Phil’s Ice House All of the burgers are named after Austin neighborhoods. Get the sampler and then head over to Amy’s next door for ice cream. You will not be disappointed.
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Fancy Schmancy
1886 Cafe at the Driskill One of the most historic hotels in Austin. Tea at the Driskill was LBJ and Lady Bird’s first date.
Old Pecan Street Cafe A great restaurant right in the middle of Sixth Street craziness.
Musashino Sushi and Japanese food to die for. Most people think it’s the best in town.
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Dessert
La Dolce Vita Gelato, delicious pastries, and fine liqueurs in Hyde Park.
Amy’s Ice Creams Chris’s favorite ice cream, well, anywhere. Try the Guinness flavor if they have it. Seriously.
Sandy’s Grungy drive-up burger shack, but the custard and milkshakes are delicious.
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Entertainment

Austin is sometimes called the Live Music Capital of the World. You can see a band playing just about anywhere, anytime. Besides Sixth Street, here are some great places to catch a good show.

Warehouse District
Two blocks south of 6th is 4th where you’ll find good food, drink, music, and a more grown-up sensibility.
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Continental Club
A very famous club on South Congress. There’s live music here every night.
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Alamo Drafthouse
Skip the restaurant and have dinner at this movie theater that features good food, local beers, and a fun atmosphere. Locations on 6th, in south Austin, and in north Austin too.
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Outdoors

Austinites are crazy about the outdoors. From the greenbelt and trails that run straight through downtown to the state parks that surround us in the Hill Country, you definitely find a place to soak up some sun and get some fresh air. (Unless it’s too cold in February, which is always a possibility.)

Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail
Town Lake was recently renamed Lady Bird Lake, for its benefactor Lady Bird Johnson, who helped build it. About 10 miles of trails flank both sides of the lake that winds through downtown. You can jog, stroll, ride a bike, or just admire all the sweaty, fit people who congregate there.
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Mount Bonnell
The highest point in Austin, but it doesn’t require climbing gear. There are 100 steps to the top, and a great view of the hill country and Lake Austin. Chris and Sara got engaged at the top!
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Innerspace Caverns
Afraid of the sun? Head underground and see these famous caves just north of Round Rock.
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The Hutto Hippo
If you happen to drive through the tiny town of Hutto on your way to Austin, be sure to stop and take a picture at this goofy landmark.
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Enchanted Rock
An hour or so outside Austin lies this huge rock, a great place to hike and climb. Stop in Fredricksburg for a glass of local wine or some authentic German food on the way home.
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Segway Tours
If hiking’s not for you, hop on a cool, dorky scooter and tour downtown!
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Kids

Someday we hope to take our kids to all these fun places.

Austin Children’s Museum
Right downtown, there’s the famous kids’ museum. Check it out!
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Austin Zoo
It’s small, more of a sanctuary for abandoned animals than a zoo.
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Zilker Zephyr
This cute little train winds through Zilker park and offers some great views of Lady Bird Lake.
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Hill Country Flyer
This is the real deal. A train that tours the hill country, starting in the north Austin suburb of Cedar Park.
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Town Lake Park
On the shores of Lady Bird Lake, this park has some great sights and a water garden that lights up at night.
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Shopping

There are a million great local businesses in Austin, and a ton of fancy shops too. Here are a few places to get started.

Round Rock Premium Outlets
A huge outlet mall north of town. They have everything.
San Marcos Prime Outlets
The number one tourist destination in Texas isn’t the Alamo. It’s the San Marcos outlet mall!
The Domain
A row of upscale shops like Barney’s, Tiffany, and Apple right near our house. Who’d have thunk it?