I think I would really love Austin – that’s what everyone told me before I went. Plus when I was looking for restaurants and cool cafes it was way easier to find them in Austin than Dallas, but we just couldn’t hit them all. Our problem was that we only had two days and it rained the entire time. So I really loved Texas overall and the bits and pieces that we saw in Austin were really cool but I’ll definitely have to go back to get a real feel of the city.
HILTON GARDEN INN Again, it’s hard to say because of the rain but I don’t think downtown Austin is the best place to stay. On a map, it looked great because all the restaurants were nearby but at night it is a little bit sketchy and we ended up driving everywhere anyways. The hotel looks nicer in the photos and was fairly expensive for what we were getting. I would recommend finding a different area in Austin to stay.
BREAKFAST @ 1886 CAFE & BAKERY There are not a ton of cute breakfast places within walking distance of our hotel, especially during the week. Brunch is always easy to find on the weekends but a brunch-like breakfast on a Thursday was tough. This place was good, not my favourite place of all time but had really good food. My waffle was in the shape of Texas – that’s a win for me.
SHAKE & BURGERS @ SHAKE SHACK This was my first time at a Shake Shack and it was damn good. It’s gourmet fast food – it’s still fast but you pay a little bit more and it feels like you’re eating real food. Chris and I both got the SmokeShack Burger, a chocolate shake and we shared cheese fries. Plus they have dog parking and menu items just for your furry friend!
ANIMAL STYLE @ IN-N-OUT It’s classic, even if it’s not the best burgers around. Plus the animal style fries makes up for the burger. I still love going though, I feel like it’s a good American experience and it’s so cheap.
DONUTS @ GOURDOUGH’S These are more than just your average donut. They are a full out meal. I tried the Freebird and Chris had the Blackout. We liked mine better only because you could actually taste the donut without being overwhelmed by chocolate. They are huge and filling so make sure you’re hungry or if you eat dinner there before I would share one between two people. I wish we would have eaten real food there, the menu is filled with donut items. You want a burger? It comes between a donut. Donut hole dumplings. Donut dough mozza sticks. You get the idea – you need to go.
MORE DONUTS @ KRISPY KREME I know this is nothing special and you can get them everywhere, but we decided they ARE THE BEST. I’ve tried so many donuts and keeping it simple and classic is the way to go. I didn’t even want special topings, just the original Krispy Kreme and boy, did it hit the spot. When we walked in they gave us a “sample” aka a full donut right off the conveyor belt. It was donut heaven.
HOPE OUTDOOR GALLERY @ CASTLE HILL This is hands down the highlight of Austin. When we first pulled up I won’t lie we debated how shady the spot was based on some of the people hanging around. But good thing we got out because the graffiti is a work of art and a cultural monument in the middle of the city. Although there is a lot of vandalism looking graffiti but there are also amazing pieces of art. What we didn’t know, but would do next time is bring our own spray can and put our mark on the art walls.
COWBOY BOOTS @ CAVENDERS There are plenty of boot stores around town but this one was a good taste of Western culture, even coming from Calgary. They are a big warehouse and so the prices for good quality boots is there.
The potential for Austin is there, I just needed more time to really get a feel of the city and have clear skies to walk around. I did really enjoy the things we got to do and eat – next time we need to hit up live music. I put together a YouTube video of my couple days in Austin, check it out!