Monday, July 20, 2015

A Few Days in Austin

It doesn't take very long after arriving in Austin, Texas to realize that you are in fact in one of the best cities in America.  It's got great food, plenty to do, and a fun-loving culture that's just bursting at the seams in an explosion of patio bars and fantastic street art.  I've been there for just a few days on two separate occasions, but this is a city that will keep you coming back for more.

Around Town: 

Make sure you check out Tesoro's on the inside too -- they have a fantastic array of crafts, textiles, and jewelry with prices ranging towards affordable.

The Frost Bank Tower looms large over the city skyline, and with it's urban legend origin of a disgruntled architect who was rejected from UT only to design his building in Austin with the face of a Temple Owl, it makes for a fun conversation piece. 
The Shopping:
South Congress will keep you busy if you are in the mood for local goods and vintage finds.  Head to favorites like Uncommon Objects for quirky antiques or Tesoro's for eclectic goods.  Basically you can just walk down the street and stop in any store that strikes your fancy, and you'll be in good hands.

Oversized bohemian elephants at Tesoro's would make any adult want to suddenly buy stuffed animals again. 
And yes, there was tons of blue and white pottery at every turn.
Plus I unlocked a new obsession with dinosaur terrariums with these lovelies from The Plaid Pigeon.
Day Trip
Want to get out of the main drag for awhile?  We went swimming at Barton Springs (it's a chilly 68 degrees year round so jump in bravely because it feels like ice!) and drove up into the hilltops to the pinterest-favorite, The Oasis. 

Advice: The Oasis is lovely, and a great place to get a drink.  But food here is mediocre at best inside the actual restaurant.  

Barton Springs Pool

Outside of the actual pool is an open shallow area where you are welcome to bring your dog and enjoy the cool running water.  
Eat and Drink
If you are in Austin, you should plan on just giving up on any sort of dietary plan.  Here are a few reasons why:

The Huevos Rancheros at The 1886 Cafe and Bakery inside The Driskill Hotel.  Let the picture do all the explaining you need.

The Driskill also has a great cocktail bar upstairs and we were able to catch live bluegrass music later that evening with our Austin-themed drink.

Don't think, just bite in and enjoy the sinfully decadent combination of donut, maple icing, and bacon at Gordough's.  We did this post-bathing suit so no guilt was involved.
I read mixed reviews online, but our group thought the seven layer chicken salad and the jumbo lump crab salad seen above at Corner Restaurant were fantastic.  

And their margaritas didn't dissapoint.
For a night out, you can't beat patio hopping down Rainey Street.  But if you want to get that old-school Sixth Street chaos, we loved Burnside's Tavern -- well priced drinks, and great live music that reminded me of time spent in Nashville.

Also at Burnside's you can get one of the best beers I've had recently -- Shiner Bock Prickly Pear. It's fantastically dangerous because it's easy to drink but not too sweet. Hopefully it will make it's way across the country to Harris Teeter...

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