Where to Stay
We stayed in East Austin in an Airbnb and loved the location. We were in walking distance to 6th street, bars, and food and just a quick ride to downtown, Rainey Street, and South Congress.
What to Eat
Our question to locals about food was, "What is there to eat here besides BBQ?" because every other restaurant you see is BBQ, when we googled where to eat in Austin the top hits were all BBQ spots, and when we asked for recommendations from our friends all we got was more BBQ. We were stoked to eat BBQ the first day and it was amazing, but it's not something we want to eat everyday. Through asking the locals, we found out that food trucks are basically the way to go to find variety.
BBQ, BBQ, and more BBQ
Franklin's is the most popular and well known BBQ restaurant in Austin, but we decided to avoid the crowds and do a still highly recommended BBQ spot called Micklethwait. It's a food truck in East Austin with shaded picnic tables for seating (and apparently a bucket of free beer, but we didn't see it). We got the brisket (melted in your mouth), ribs (so tender), barbacoa (super tasty), lemon poppy cole slaw, and jalapeño cheese grits – delicious!
Food Trucks, Food Trucks, and More Food Trucks
Dee Dee is an authentic Northern Thai inspired food truck in East Austin. So tasty and spicy – we got the Pad Kaprow and Om Gai, but don't miss the mango sticky rice.
Little Lucy is a late night donut shop on Rainey street right in the middle of the action. They have mini donuts and you can choose your toppings and dipping sauces.
Drinks and Live Music
Kitty Cohen's was the first bar we wearily wandered into when we finally arrived after 15 hours on the road because it was just a block away from our Airbnb. It turned out to be one of our favorite spots – it's a cute tiki themed bar with a pool on the patio and lots of fans to keep you cool. Stop in on Wine Wednesday for half priced bottles of wine!
Whislers is a rustic-chic cocktail lounge with a big patio and misters which is basically a must if you are going to enjoy sitting on a patio in steamy Austin. It's located on 6th street, the main strip of bars and restaurants in East Austin – a great spot to start and end the night.
Shangri-La is a tiki bar also located on 6th street. It looks like a divey bar inside but the shady patio out back provides more of the tiki vibes. Their tiki inspired cocktails were just sugary frozen drinks (not very strong), so we didn't drink those.
Rainy Street is a strip of old houses that have been renovated into bars. They are super charming and most of them have live music either outside on the lawn or inside the house.
We saw some really fun live music at Lustre Pearl. The stage is set up on the back balcony, so we enjoyed some whiskey and dancing outside watching a band, super fun vibes.
What to Do:
Shopping on South Congress
There's lots of cute vintage shops and, of course, lots of live music. We spent a few hours wandering the main strip one day, and then we went back another night to watch a soul band at C-Boys.
Barton Springs is the local watering hole in Austin. It was recommended to us by all of the locals we met when we asked what people do during the day because it's too hot to do much else besides seek air conditioning. It's a man made pool where you can fish, swim, rent paddle boards, etc.
Soulcycle is Manda's favorite spin studio that she's been dying to take me to. We've enjoyed spinning together in Denver for the past year, so we jumped on the opportunity to ride Soulcycle together. We had a blast and left totally drenched in sweat, but it was worth it for the party on a bike!