I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Austin. Seriously, it’s the best. You’ve got the awesome downtown area, full of live music, amazing shopping, and plenty of shows and events, and then just outside of downtown you have the gorgeous hill country with some of the most beautiful views ever and a much quieter atmosphere.
Before I even became a bee, I remember reading the Honeymoon in my Hometown posts and wishing I could write one all about Austin. I’m so excited to have a chance to share some of the things I love about my hometown!
Where I’m from is actually a bit north of Austin itself, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on for this installment of Honeymoon in my Hometown. I know you’re dying to hear my recommendations, so let’s get started!
Let’s pretend you’re headed to Austin for a weekend getaway. You only have from Friday after work through Sunday afternoon, so you want to hit the high points, and you don’t have a lot of time.
Friday, as soon as I got off of work, I would head to my favorite Austin restaurant – Chuy’s! I know I’ve waxed poetic over my love of Chuy’s before, so I won’t repeat myself. I will say, however, that I NEVER visit Chuy’s without ordering at least one frozen margarita with a shot of sangria on top. You. Will. Die. It’s amazing. Oh, and don’t forget the creamy jalapeno!
After dinner, it’s time for some shopping! Mr. Cardigan and I love to just walk around and window shop in random stores, so this is perfect for us. After we finish up at Chuy’s, it’s time to head down the road a bit to my favorite shopping center in Austin: The Domain. It’s more on the high-end side (including stores like Tiffany’s, Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Louis Vuitton) and it’s a blast to visit! It’s a giant shopping center that actually includes an apartment complex, so it’s always full of people (and cute dogs!) and there is never any lack of fun things to see. I’d make sure and hit Sur La Table and the Apple store while I’m there, just ‘cause those are my and Mr. Cardy’s favorites! If we were feeling hungry, we might stop at the chocolate shop for some dessert and eat it at this cute little sitting area where they’re always playing music (and there are plenty of opportunities for people watching)!
Look how pretty it is! (Source)
When Mr. Cardy and I have had our fill of window-shopping and people watching, we’d head over to the far end of the Domain to catch a movie. Now, this isn’t any ordinary movie theater, trust me. It’s got a full restaurant and bar and it includes lounge-style chairs, free blankets (movie theaters are always cold!) and some of the best food you’ve ever eaten. The chairs even have a call button on them for if you need any food or drinks during the movie! Mr. Cardy and I have been dying to visit ever since it opened, but…um…we’re poor. It’s definitely not cheap to visit, but from what I hear it’s totally worth it!
Um yea, this is what the chairs looks like. (Source)
After the movie, we’d probably be tired, so it’s back to the hotel for us! Sorry, no good hotel recommendations from me. It’s hard to know what the best hotels in Austin are when you, ya know, live there.
Okay, so now we’ve got some rest. We’re feeling much better and ready to have a fun-filled Saturday. First things first: breakfast. Mr. Cardigan and I take our breakfast very seriously when we’re in Austin, and there is one place we absolutely MUST go to every time we’re in Austin: DeeDee’s Tacos. It’s a bit of a drive from the rest of Austin, about 25 minutes away from North Austin (where most of these other places are) but it is oh-so worth it. It’s a really pretty drive, and things are pretty spread apart in Texas anyways, so we’re used to it. DeeDee’s is this itsy bitsy little restaurant in an itsy bitsy town called Lago Vista. There are maybe five tables in the whole place, and on any given morning it is totally packed with locals. We’d order a breakfast taco or two, and don’t forget the salsa—I have dreams about that stuff. It’s ah-may-zing.
After we stuff our faces with breakfast tacos, we’d probably take a quick trip out to the lake for a little while. I mean, we drove all this way and the lake is less than 5 minutes away. Why not visit?! We’d head over to Bar-K park and stroll around for a bit and maybe even take a quick dip in the lake.
Once we’re finished at the lake, it’s time to head to The Arboretum. It’s a great shopping center that has what is, hands down, my favorite ice cream shop ever: Amy’s Ice Cream. The ice cream is ridiculously fabulous, and if you’re feeling up to it, they’ll spike it for you! That’s my kind of ice cream! Mr. Cardy and I would go grab our ice cream and then head over to the picnic area. There are some super cute cow statues there, and if you walk down the path a bit there is a pretty little pond with ducks and a hill that’s really fun to roll down (not like I would know from experience or anything…).
The cows! (Source)
The pond! You can kind of see the hill in the background there! (Source)
I could waste hours here just looking at the pretty trees and enjoying myself, but if we got bored at all, Mr. Cardy and I could just walk back to the shopping area and do some more window shopping! On mornings that we have breakfast at DeeDee’s we’re never hungry for lunch, but if we got hungry there are plenty of places to eat in the Arboretum – including a Cheesecake Factory! But, trust me, we want to save room for dinner!
When we’re done hanging out at the domain, it’s time to head back to the hotel room and gussy up for our fancy date night. We’re actually heading into downtown Austin for this one! Dinner is at (another) one of our favorite restaurants – The Roaring Fork. OMG, y’all, their food is killer. I don’t even have any specific recommendations for you because everything is just so good. Just eat. A lot.
Once dinner is done and we’re completely and totally stuffed, it’s time to walk off some of the food! If we had time, we might do a bit more window shopping in the area, or even walk a few blocks down to the Capital, but the main attraction is a show just a few blocks down at Esther’s Follies. Mr. Cardy and I have been two or three times now, and even though the show doesn’t vary much, it never fails to make us laugh until our sides hurt. A lot of the jokes are political (and/or really raunchy), so don’t go if you’re easily offended! Oh, and be careful of sitting on the aisles or near the front if you’re not a fan of audience participation.
See the creepy looking guy in the tux? He’ll totally make you laugh until your face hurts. Love him. (Source)
Once the show is over, we’d probably be hungry again because laughing burns so many calories, right? Just go with me on this one. Since our hotel is probably back in North Austin, we’d head back that direction and stop for a late night drink (and snack!) at Baby Acapulco’s. I’d order the Purple Margarita because it’s one of the best drinks in the whole world. There’s a reason they won’t let you order more than two (hint: it includes Everclear)! After Baby A’s, we’d probably be ready to turn in, so it’s time to head back to the hotel room.
Now it’s Sunday morning, the last day of our little mini-vacation! We don’t have much time, but we’d grab a quick breakfast at Kerby Lane (yum!) and then head out for some relaxing and pretty views at Mt. Bonnel. The absolute best time to visit here is at sunset, but it’s beautiful any time of day.
Of course, if you ever go to Mt. Bonnell, don’t forget to don your tennis shoes! It takes 100 stairs to get to the top! Once we finished here, we might even head down the road to visit Laguna Gloria too! Sound familiar? We took some of our engagement photos there!
And, that’s it! All of my favorite things about Austin, crammed into one weekend. It sounds like a perfect trip to me!
Have you ever been to Austin? What are some of your favorite places there? If you actually try any of the places I mentioned, I’d love to hear about your experiences!
See all the posts in the Honeymoon in my Hometown Series here!