We’ve been traveling to Austin for several years now, and in that time we’ve seen the city change for the better. It’s now one of our favorite spots to visit (particularly to escape the frigid Philly winters).
Below, we cover some of our must-visit destination for any trip to Austin, including the best places for coffee, outdoor activities, and (of course) tacos.
Where to Stay
- Downtown – We’ve stayed at the JW Marriot (beautiful and very nice) and the Hyatt Regency (great views of downtown). The best area to stay if you want to walk most places.
- East Austin – More residential than downtown, more up and coming. Lots of food trucks and old Austin institutions. The best area to stay if you’re going to be in town for more than a couple of days.
- Near the University of Texas – Located north of downtown, it’s a bit farther from the action, but you can often find much cheaper accommodation. Just be sure to avoid staying in this area during homecoming or parents’ weekend.
Where to Eat Tacos
- Tacos Guerrero – A taco food truck located in a parking lot in East Austin that’s one of Trav’s favorite meals of all-time. The tacos are classic, Mexican street tacos (corn tortilla, meat, onions, and cilantro) and the little abuelita making them is so cute you’ll want to make her your Mexican grandma. Cash-only.
- Torchy’s Tacos – Heather’s favorite taco spot in the world. Delicious chips, guac, and queso, plus a creative assortment of over the top tacos (try the Trailer Park).
- Veracruz – A food truck known for their breakfast tacos (get the migas). And an incredible fish taco if you’re looking for a lighter option. Be prepared to wait in line on the weekends.
- Pueblo Viejo – Another fantastic food truck for simple street tacos.
- Tamale House East – The best fish taco in Austin (tied with Veracruz). The portions are generous — one taco was enough for Trav.
Other Austin Restaurants We Love
- Swift’s Attic – An excellent happy hour with tasty appetizers and small plates. Cozy atmosphere, great for a date.
- Eberly – One of the most beautiful restaurants in Austin. An excellent spot for cocktail hour.
- Launderette – Built inside a converted laundromat, it’s the most upscale Austin restaurant we’ve visited. It’s a popular spot, so we recommend getting a reservation well in advance.
- Loro – Asian fusion barbecue. Easy to get a table and a great place for sharing plates.
- La Barbecue – An incredible BBQ spot, much easier to get into than the more famous Franklin Barbecue.
- Fareground – A food hall located in a historic building across from the JW Marriot. Plenty of options for every taste.
- Hopdoddy – Delicious fast casual burgers and sandwiches (our favorite burger in Austin).
- Dolce Neve Gelato – Best gelato in Austin.
- Amy’s Ice Creams – Decent ice cream spot, though it’s no Jeni’s or Salt & Straw.
Where to Drink
- Whisler’s – A big outdoor garden, great for parties and big groups. There’s also a mezcal bar upstairs.
- Easy Tiger – A German beer garden, perfect for hanging out and playing ping pong or eating baked goods.
- Speakeasy – Three levels, featuring a bar, mezzanine, bowling alley, and cool rooftop deck.
- The ABGB – A brewery with outdoor seating and tasty pizza (plus good beer, of course).
- St. Elmo Brewing – Another brewery that’s worth checking out. A bit out of the way, so plan to drive or Uber.
- Zilker Brewing – Another great brewery with tasty fried chicken to munch on while you drink.
- Lazarus Brewing – Our final brewery pick, Lazarus also offers housemade kombucha, wine, an espresso bar, and an on-site restaurant.
Favorite Austin Coffee Spots
- Houndstooth Coffee – A great spot for coffee if you’re staying downtown.
- Caffe Medici – Excellent coffee with locations across Austin.
- Wright Bros Brew & Brew – Located next to a bagel shop, you can get coffee and/or beer.
- Jo’s – Serving Intelligentsia Coffee, they’re known for their special iced coffee and pastries.
- Cuvée Coffee – One of the oldest coffee roasters in Austin. They don’t allow WiFi in order to encourage people to hang out, relax, and talk.
- Radio Coffee & Beer – Really good coffee, plus Veracruz tacos, wine, beer, and fun events like movie nights.
- Kayaking and stand up paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake – The weather is gorgeous in Austin, and people spend a ton of time on the lake.
- Bike tours – A fun way to see the city, learn about the history, and burn off some of those tacos :).
- Scootering around town – Another way to see the city if biking isn’t your thing.
- Live music – Austin calls itself “the live music capital of the world,” and it doesn’t disappoint. No matter the night of the week, there’s live music everywhere.
- The White Horse – An old school cowboy bar in East Austin. With line dancing, country western music, and a dive bar atmosphere, it’s like stepping back in time.
- Rainey Street – A tree-lined street with old bungalows that have been converted into restaurants and bars. Fun place for a bar crawl.
- Shopping on South Congress (SoCo) – All kinds of eclectic local shops for clothing, sunglasses, and home goods. Pair with coffee and Torchy’s Tacos for best results.
- Zilker Park – A great park to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a dip in the Barton Springs Pool or Barton Creek to escape the Austin summer heat.
Want to see all of our favorite Austin destinations on a map that you can access from your phone? We’ve pinned each location mentioned in this guide on the Google Map below:
Even after visiting Austin three times, there’s still so much we haven’t seen. The city is a traveler’s paradise (particularly for foodies). We can’t wait to return and check out all the new spots that keep popping up.
Prefer listening to reading? Check out the accompanying podcast episode.