This is the ultimate destination for mouth watering food, entertainment, adventure, and a good glimpse at Southwestern culture. Did I mention mouth watering food ? You can find packages for as low as $500 on Expedia. I recommend staying in the downtown area of Austin. 6th street is a popular bar / restaurant area so you want to be walking distance away without having to drive.
If you’re going to Austin, definitely consider renting a car because outside the city itself there are plenty of things to do. I found this awesome app called Turo which is the airbnb for cars. There is no hassle and no long wait times at airport car rental companies. There’s a substantial selection of cars so you might just get to drive around in the car of your dreams for the weekend. I drove around in a Jeep Wrangler with the top down and it was a m a z i n g. Get $25 off your first rental =)
1. Franklin’s BBQ.
With over 3,000 Yelp reviews averaging 4.5 stars – Franklin’s BBQ is the epitome of delicious BBQ cuisine arguably in the entire country. Franklin’s is a must if you’re in Austin. I recommend going on a Thursday morning and plan on waiting in line for at least 2 hours. If you think that’s crazy – between Friday and Sunday people line up from as early as 6 AM for the 11 AM opening time. One word: Brisket. The super friendly employees come around every few minutes to tell you what your estimated wait time is and what is left of the meats. When the meat sells out, Franklin’s closes for the day – this usually happens around 2/3PM. You know what they say … the early bird gets the worm.
2. Chicken Fried Steak
Don’t worry, I haven’t heard of this either until I got to Texas. Jack Allen’s Kitchen is a farm to kitchen upscale Southwestern restaurant. Their deep fried steak is served with home made gravy, mashed potatoes, and fresh vegetables – it’s one of the best in Austin, and at $14 – you will probably not eat again for the rest of the day.
3. Jacob’s Well
Jacob’s Well is a popular swimming hole in in the Village of Wimberly. Water in the well flows from over 140 feet below the surface. It is an absolutely enchanting natural spring to visit. Reservations are required ! Entrance costs only $9 (cards accepted only) and you can bring food and drinks and stay for a whole day. I highly recommend bringing water to always stay hydrated as it is not only hot, but there are also no stores in close proximity.
The water is beautiful but it is freezing !
4. Kraus Springs
Welcome to the biggest pool party you will ever attend (& the cheapest too).
Nested about 40 minutes away from Austin, Kraus Springs is a hidden gem that I am so happy I found. If you are looking for a beautiful place to swim, a great crowd, and a striking hike – this is the place to be.
For a $7 cash only entrance fee – you will be a part of a huge “pool (natural spring)” party, you’ll have access to a camp grounds and fishing, and lot’s of space to explore! Recommendations for Kraus springs: treat this like a beach day and bring something to sit on, a cooler (no bottles allowed), and most importantly water shoes.
5. The Oasis at Lake Travis
If you already added 1-4 to your Austin bucket list, sneak this one in to the top. The Oasis at Lake Travis has the most beautiful sunset you will ever see. The Oasis is the largest outdoor restaurant in Texas and visitors from all over come to watch the sunset. The location is very petite and lively – there is around a one and a half hour wait time for a table outside during the sunset hour. Luckily you can get drinks and explore the beautiful small oasis.
6. 6th Street
6th street, a.k.a, dirty sixth – is one of the most iconic streets in Austin. The west, east, and “dirty” sides of sixth street offer a huge variety of bars, pubs, and clubs. You should start in the classy and haunted Driskill hotel –and end with one dollar shots, play a jumbo game of jenga and then visit a boozy arcade. Party ends at 2 AM – but with the University of Texas a few blocks away, you are sure to find an after party.
7. Other Cool Things to See & Do
See some cool airstreams:
Shoot a gun … or a rifle at Red’s Indoor Range:
Eat a donut at Voodoo Donuts – they offer donut’s with bacon (you know, if you’re into that type of thing) :
Visit the Hamilton Pool, another really cool natural preserve just outside of Austin, reservations absolutely necessary in the summer months and should be done at least 10 days in advance:
Visit The Barton Springs – a huge, warm natural outdoor pool in Austin – home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander:
Explore The Texas State Capitol: