Austin Travel Guide

AUSTIN TRAVEL GUIDE

Restaurants, outdoor adventures, culture, book stores, day trips, and family fun

I’ve lived in Austin for over 20 years, and I’m always excited to welcome people to our city. I hope this guide is helpful, please let me know if you find it useful! There are some other Austin travel guides that are really helpful. If you’re coming to town with kids, definitely check do512family for a calendar of local events. For other events in Austin, check do512 and the Austin Chronicle (available in hard copy all over town, published on Thursdays).

Bluebonnets!

RESTAURANTS

LITTLE DELI– Step back into the 50s in this tiny shopping center tucked away in a neighborhood. They have delicious pizza, sandwiches, soups, and salads. On nice days the picnic tables are swarming with kids in the early evening hours. Closed Sundays.

BLACK STAR CO-OP– A brew pub that pays its workers fair wages, no tips please! Local food and delicious beers available in pints or flights. Nice outdoor seating. Located at the Crestview stop on the train.  Kid friendly.

TACODELI– Everyone in Austin has to pick a team for breakfast tacos, it’s a rule. I’m team Tacodeli. Great options for vegetarians and vegans, lots of locations in Austin. For breakfast my favorites are the freakin vegan and migas tacos, at lunch try the papadulce. If you like it hot, check out the doña sauce. So good.

QUICKIE PICKIE– Check out the 11th Street location while you’re wandering on the East Side. Tacos, salads, coffee, draft beer, and a few groceries too! Cute outdoor seating, easy parking.

BLUE DAHLIA– A little French bistro with two locations in Austin, both have outdoor seating. Delicious tartines and salads, coffee, and brunch.

SWAD– A gem of a vegetarian Indian food restaurant hidden away in a dismal strip mall. It’s spicy, it’s delicious, and I think it’s still closed on Tuesdays. This is the real deal. It’s the closest thing you’re going to get to Raj in Houston.

TAM DELI– The best banh mi in Austin, plus delicious pastry and always entertaining service.  Another gem in a strip mall in north Austin.

TASTE OF ETHIOPIA– Locations in Pflugerville and South Austin. If you’re lucky enough to run into Woinee, the heart of the operation, just enjoy a chat and try to absorb some of her amazing love. The food is divine. Lunch buffet plus coffee equals heaven.

 

BOULDIN CREEK CAFE– Vegetarian utopia. Everything here is good. I’m in a rut with the Tofu Broccoli Salad, or sometimes the Veggie Royale. Total Austin vibe, sometimes accompanied by Total Austin waitlist. Run across the street and grab a cupcake at Sugar Mama’s.

SANTA RITA– This place is never as crowded as other Tex-Mex options in town, including for brunch. If you hate waiting in lines and love delicious food, check it out. You can also find the rare treat of Negra Modelo on tap here.

Mayfield Park has some great climbing trees.

OUTDOORS

MAYFIELD PARK– This Austin park has it all- peacocks, koi ponds, hiking trails, picnic tables, and lots of space to play. It’s right next door to AMOA Laguna Gloria, too.

MCKINNEY FALLS STATE PARK– Close to Austin Airport, this park has trails, a fishing hole, picnic tables, and camping.  It can be a bit crowded at the falls but it’s worthwhile. The trails are often less crowded.

SHOAL CREEK GREENBELT/PEASE PARK– This park and trail go right through north Austin, and it’s a great way to bike downtown. You can find a splash pad, playground volleyball courts, off-leash dog park, and currently a really cool stickwork art installation by Patrick Dougherty called Yippee Ki Yay.

 

McKinney Falls State Park in Austin is a nice place to cool off.

CULTURE

BULLOCK MUSEUM

BLANTON MUSEUM

AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY DOWNTOWN

FARMER’S MARKETS

PARAMOUNT THEATER

 

BOOK STORES (AND THE RESTAURANTS NEAR THEM)

BOOK PEOPLE– Austin’s largest independent book store has 2 stories of new books, magazines, kids’ books, and toys. They have a great space for story time, which happens on Saturdays. Check their calendar for author events and book clubs. This store is right across from the flagship Whole Foods as well as restaurants and stores. Across Lamar, 24 Diner has amazing milkshakes. Walk up Lamar a bit to Shoal Creek Saloon for crawfish in season and luscious gumbo any time.

AUSTIN BOOKS AND COMICS– Comic book store in north-central Austin, spitting distance from Book Woman and the North Lamar Half Price Books. Kids’ comics, graphic novels, and loads of other comics. The Sidekick store is a discount comic store behind ABC, Guzu Gallery right next door is fun to check out, and Outlaw Moon has games and game meet-ups. All in one spot! You could definitely walk to Mandola’s from here and get some amazing Italian food.

HALF PRICE BOOKS– The location at 5555 North Lamar used to be a grocery store, it’s huge! It’s next door to a huge Goodwill and also to Titaya’s, which has some of the best Thai food in Austin. Walk past Titaya’s and find the Cloth Pocket fabric store and also Book Woman.

BOOK WOMAN– Austin’s premier feminist book store. Lots of gifts and a great kids’ book section!  Close to the North Lamar Half Price Books and Titaya’s.

MALVERN BOOKS– Independent book store focusing on independent publishers and emerging voices. Hey, it used to be the porn store! Easy walk to delicious Texas French Bread, Juiceland, Spider House, Wheatsville, Thai Kitchen, or Dirty Martin’s. I’m starving, sorry.

RECYCLED READS– Sells donated books and old library stock from Austin Public Library. Innovator in sustainability, lots of events, central location. Check out Austin Diner nearby for delicious eggs.

The Austin Nature Center has a dino pit, native animals, a hiking trail, and lots of spaces for outdoor play.

FAMILY FUN

CENTRAL MARKET

SPLASH PADS

AUSTIN NATURE AND SCIENCE CENTER

ZILKER BOTANICAL GARDEN

DINOSAUR PARK

AUSTIN BOULDERING PROJECT

 

 

DAY TRIPS

SAN MARCOS

SAN ANTONIO

GEORGETOWN

BASTROP

WACO

FREDERICKSBURG

SHERWOOD FOREST FAIRE (Spring only)

PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK

 

Please let me know if you have comments on my Austin Travel Guide! Welcome to Austin!