Austin, or ATX for short, is located in Central Texas and serves as the the state's Capitol. It is known as the "Live Music Capital of the World" and rivals Portland, Oregon for ownership of the phrase "Keep Austin (or Portland) Weird".
Just last weekend I visited for a long weekend to celebrate a bachelorette party with the bride-to-be and 9 other ladies. A handful of them had visited before, and 1 woman moved from Seattle to Austin in May, so we had a handful of insider tour guides.
"Y'all" made some great recommendations for what to see, do, eat, and drink on Facebook and we had a great weekend itinerary made by the Matron of Honor. We took on Austin like it was our job!
It was so hard to narrow everything down to my 5 favorites for this fun and lively city. My Fav 5 for Austin, Texas are:
1. Licha's Cantina is located on the very popular 6th Street in Austin. While 6th Street, or "Dirty Sixth," is known for it's endless supply of bars, Licha's Cantina is a quiet little gem located on East 6th Street, a few miles away from the madness.
We visited Licha's on our very first night for drinks and dinner. We quickly dove into catching up with each other, meeting the girls we didn't yet know, eating baskets of chips with red and green salsas, and drinking buckets of Coronitas or so many margaritas.
The menu at Licha's includes so, so many great options. One of the girls ordered the beef tongue!
After much hesitation I went with the Huitlacoche Quesadilla. The description for it says only corn smut sautéed with epazote. Ughhh what? Between googling and asking too many questions of our waiter I learned that corn smut is, like a mushroom, a fungus that grows on the corn plant and a Mexican Delicacy used in quesadillas, soups, and other foods. Epazote is Mexican Tea. Being that it was my first time in Texas and my very first meal was at a Mexican soul food restaurant, I felt I had to be adventurous!
Let's back up a smidge and look at everything that went into my dinner. It was a quesadilla made with a blue corn tortilla that's stuffed with queso asadero (a semi-firm Mexican cheese), corn smut (a Mexican delicacy corn-mushroom), and epazote (tea) then topped with generous drizzles of avocado salsa and sesame cream, . It felt a little like a magic spell and the flavors were insane. Essentially the best veggie quesidilla I've ever had.
2. South Congress Avenue is chock-full of stores and places to eat and drink. We spent an entire afternoon hopping up, down, and across South Congress Avenue, or "SoCo" as the kids call it.
Allen's Boots was probably the biggest store I've ever been in and the selection of boots was insane. They have it all, truly, with boots of every style, material, and cut and prices on the high end in the $700, $800, $900+ range!
I never meant to buy a second pair of boots while in Austin but I have no regrets about my American Flag ankle boots.
The TOMS Store was another favorite on South Congress Avenue. I've owned many pairs of TOMS and love their company and what it stands for. The store was in a little house and also serves COFFEE! Shopping, shoes, and coffee - TOMS what can't you do?
Our lunch on South Congress was at Hopdoddy Burgers. It can be hard to find a place that works for such a large group with varying levels of meat-eating and food pickiness but this place was a winner - the food was excellent and the service was quick.
My lunch was the ahi tuna burger (below, left) made with sushi-grade tuna, sunflower sprouts, nori chips, teriyaki, honey wasabi, picked ginger, lettuce, onion, and tomato. The nori (seaweed) chips are the little crunchies on top of the burger and they were insanely flavorful! It was similar to putting potato chips on a sandwich, crunchy and flavorful. Hopdoddy makes their burger buns are fresh daily and it shows, the bread was exceptionally tasty. Also truffle fries!
3. Of course it was incredible being on the water in hot and humid Texas. We stayed at an AirBNB with a community pool and spent as much time as possible in that small pool with our big rafts!
I was floating in the Bride's giant engagement ring in while she cruised around the pool on a GIANT unicorn. Even our drinks had little rafts. See the bottom of this page for where to find them.
We didn't just float around a pool but also down the San Marcos River with Texas State Tubes. The company allows you to rent coolers, radios, waterproof phone cases, and even rafts for the coolers.
We tied our rafts to each other and worried about nothing, it was a perfect way to spend a day! We floated for hours in the cool water, drinking all the while and surprisingly remembering to reapply sunscreen. We made plenty of new friends while on our journey and certainly took naps when we returned home water logged and tired.
4. Broken Spoke Dancehall is the "last of the true Texas Dancehalls" and a two-step back in time.
We went for their two-step dance lesson which is held just about every night. The sassy and entertaining leader of the dance lesson is the daughter of the Broken Spoke's owner. We stomped around in our new boots and had a blast, despite not actually mastering the dance! Per every other dance floor on Earth there were more women than men boot scooting around.
We had a dinner reservation just after the lesson so we didn't get to stay and watch the dance floor come alive, unfortunately. I'd love to go back again and see how lively the Broken Spoke gets late into an Austin night!
5. My favorite, FAVORITE thing in ATX were the Austin Bats on the Congress Avenue Bridge. Every night hundreds of humans gather on the bridge, under the bridge on boats, rafts, and kayaks, or in the park just next to the bridge to watch the thousands of bats flee from their sleeping quarters under the bridge out into the night to feast on bugs.
At first I wasn't excited, but scared, to watch this occurrence. I read more about it and decided that I had to go! I actually went by myself, without the other 10 ladies, and LOVED watching the bats fly.
Once it was just dark enough the escape began! Bats poured from the center of the bridge, flowing out into the sky like a quiet and never ending river. You can see how they flew directly away from the water and over the trees to the right in a long parade. This went on steadily for 12 minutes! It was truly a stream of bats that never seemed to end. After about 15 minutes there were just a few slow bats trickling out.
If I ever go back to Austin I will watch this every night, I swear! It was so interesting and strangely peaceful. Anything we can do to get rid of more mosquitoes is a-OK by me!
One last favorite was my bike-taxi ride from the "bat" bridge to nearby Rainey Street. I'd never taken such transportation before. My driver was so kind, only charged me $10, and blasted Justin Timberlake while we cruised down the streets of Austin. I felt like a queen!
While I didn't expect to like Texas I absolutely loved Austin. Everyone I have proclaimed that statement to has laughed and told me "Austin isn't Texas!"
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Hello, I'm Angela.
Figs and Flights is all about traveling near and far & eating great food both at home and away.
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