After one day in Houston (read: the Houston guide), we continued our Texas road trip. We made one stop to check out the San Antonio missions, but due to some time limitations, we decided to continue to Austin and keep San Antonio for next time. We stayed two nights in Austin which meant we had one and a half days to explore the capital of Texas. Plenty enough time to do and see a thing or two. So here's my mini guide to Austin! It's not the ULTIMATE guide (like this one), but I'll tell about some places I really liked in Austin.
I was excited to go to Austin since I heard this was the most hipster/cool city in Texas. And it definitely was. As we approached the city on South Congress Avenue, we saw cool little restaurants and the most bling/gangsta lowrider cars I've ever seen (including hydraulics).
Hotel San José
When doing some hotel research, there are two names that constantly popped up: Hotel Saint Cecilia and Hotel San José. They're both located on South Congress Avenue, as well as the Austin Motel, and they're all part of the Bunkhouse hotel group. The vibe at San José is hippie chic, with lots of greenery and colorful fabrics. The service at this hotel could be better, and it felt like sometimes when we asked things they were a little snotty.
On the other hand, things I particularly liked about this hotel: the Malin+Goetz products in the bathroom, the softest bedsheets ever, the secluded feel even though it's located on a busy street, the colorful bathrobes and the convenient location. It's a little pricey so they could improve the service, and breakfast included would be nice. I'd give it a 7.5/10.
> 1316 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
South Congress Avenue / Congress Avenue
The Contemporary Austin
We visited this museum on our second day but to be honest, it was quite disappointing. The building looks really cool from the outside but I wouldn't recommend visiting. Although the building is huge there are only two "museum floors", which feels like a deception. And I didn't like the exhibition that was on, so maybe that plays a big role too. I'd recommend checking out which exhibition there is before going.
> 700 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Now let's rewind back to day one, when we walked to the Capitol!
Texas State Capitol
This Capitol is one of the major attractions in Austin, the capital of Texas. It's larger than the Capitol in Washington D.C. and with more than 400 rooms it's one of the largest capitols in the U.S. There are self-guided tours and free guided tours starting every 15 minutes. We just wandered around for a bit since it was pretty busy on this Easter weekend. I recommend climbing all the way upstairs for a dizzying but amazing view of the Capitol.
> 1100 Congress Ave, 78701 Austin, TX
In serious need of refreshments, we stopped for fresh juices and ice cream at the Squeezery. We just happened to have found it and we loved it! The guy who worked there was super friendly. While everyone went for juices, I had a fresh coconut filled with cacao avocado ice cream (vegan!), which might be the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had. Not too sweet, creamy but light, and refreshing! The lunch options also looked amazing here, and it's a nice change from all the heavy food you'll have at most places in Texas.
> 612 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
We continued exploring Downtown Austin without a real aim. There's an interesting mix of architecture, from cathedrals to Romanesque and Victorian style buildings to big skyscrapers, so it's fun to just wander around if the weather allows it.
June's All Day
After chilling by the pool a bit we were ready to head out for dinner. I'd spotted June's on South Congress Ave earlier that day. So we went there for dinner (the fun thing about being the foodie of the family is that I usually get to pick the restaurants). It's a laid-back restaurant/wine bar with a small menu. My sister and I shared the snapper carpaccio with avocado, fermented citrus and tangerine, the Boston lettuce salad with black truffle dressing and mimolette and french fries. It was all really delicious, comparable to some high-standard restaurants I went to in New York (a similar vibe as well). This was definitely my favorite restaurant in Austin.
> 1722 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Back to the hotel, ready for bed... Since I took way too many photos in Austin I'll be sharing part two of our stay in Austin in my next post! Check out part two here.