The city that moved me to Texas full-time, the city I met my now husband in, the city I got engaged in, the city where I spent four years at The University of Texas. Simply put, my favorite city in the state: Austin. And it’s about time I put together a curated travel guide for the Capital of Texas!
We love Austin for all the reasons above and more, but what we love most – it’s just a two hour drive from our home in Houston. Austin is just such a cool city, with great eats, cool vibes and beautiful terrain. It’s nice to get away from HTX, even if it’s just for a quick weekend trip.
For this roadtrip, my friends at Mazda loaned us a vehicle to get up to Austin and drive around for the weekend. My very first car was a Mazda, so I have a deep connection with the brand and their vehicles.
We packed up our Mazda CX-30 SUV and made the quick trip over to Austin, while utilizing the Apple Carplay feature – it mirrors your phone screen to the in-vehicle, Mazda CONNECT display screen for less distractions and ease of use for apps like GoogleMaps or iTunes. It’s seriously the best, seamless feature.
I’ll be the first to admit that picking and choosing what made my 48 hours in Austin, Texas list was beyond difficult. I’d probably need at least 20,000 words to properly note everywhere you should eat, stay and things to do in Austin. But rest assured, all these recommendations are places we’ve personally been to, stayed at, or done in the great city of ATX. Living and going to school there for four years certainly helped to get my feet wet like a local, too. So read on to plan your own weekend trip to Austin!
48 Hours in Austin, Texas
Places to stay
AT&T Hotel and Conference Center // Right next to my old stomping grounds on The University of Texas campus, this hotel puts you right in the college campus action should you appreciate such. Spacious and well-appointed, the hotel has a great outdoor space and a fun bar (especially on Texas football game days!)
The Driskill // An iconic Austin hotel. Rick surprised me with a stay at the Driskill the weekend he proposed to me back in 2017. Truly a special spot that holds tons of memories. Plus, it’s right in the thick of all the city’s downtown action, off of 6th street. We love The Driskill Bar for a nightcap or to catch some live music from a local band. Ask for a room away from 6th street if you’d like a quieter stay.
The Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt // We love this hotel because it’s pet-friendly, plus it’s in a cool and happening part of downtown, right off Rainey Street. The high-rise is well appointed, the rooms are cozy and the coffee shop is delicious. Rainey Street is an ultra-walkable area, too!
WHERE TO EAT
Blenders & Bowls // (Breakfast) There are a few different locations throughout the city. This is one of our must-stop spots whenever we visit Austin. We love their Acai bowls for breakfast, so fresh and tasty!
BarChi Sushi // (Lunch or dinner) A regular spot back in my college days though now, we love BarChi. It’s downtown amongst tons of cool spots, and their sushi is delicious. On Sundays they have all day happy hour!
Cafe No Se // (Lunch or dinner) Connected to the South Congress Hotel, this restaurant is a hip spot with a great patio. Their burger is one of the best I’ve ever had!
Enoteca // (Dinner) Rick and I most recently tried this cozy spot on South Congress. The staff is attentive and the food is delicious. Highly recommend getting a wood-fired pizza!
Kerby Lane Cafe // (Breakfast) An Austin staple, Kerby Lane is one of our favorite spots for breakfast. Don’t miss the Migas or Pancakes. Seriously so good!
Maudie’s // (Lunch or dinner) A delicious and affordable Tex-Mex restaurant with locations all around Austin. I personally love the location off of 360, because the patio has great views.
South Congress Cafe // (Brunch, lunch and dinner) One of my favorite spots in Austin, I love this SoCo spot and love their brunch even more. Situated in the midst of the SoCo hustle and bustle, this restaurant is an Austin staple housed in the original 1940s drug store structure.
WHAT TO DO
Lake Austin, Lake Travis + Town Lake // Austin is home to not one but three beautiful and sizable lakes. When the temperatures are warm enough, we love renting a boat and spending a few hours cruising around the lake, and sometimes even wakeboarding. The views alone are worth it. Town Lake (also known as Lady Bird Lake) is situated right in the center of downtown Austin, and while you can’t rent boats or launch your own, you can rent paddleboards and kayaks. Fun fact, Rick and I got engaged at Town Lake!
Mount Bonnell // An awesome spot to get in a hike or simply look out at the beautiful vistas in the middle of the city. We love Mount Bonnell and it’s considered the highest point in Austin, at over 750 feet. If you’re not much of a hiker, simply walk up the handful of stairs for a great photo opportunity!
Stone House Vineyards // Head west out of Austin and take a drive through the Hill Country towards Spicewood where you’ll find this quaint vineyard and estate house nestled along Lake Travis. We loved our time at Stone House Vineyards. The grounds are beautiful and the wine is quite delicious. Be sure to make reservations for tastings!
Shopping // There are plenty of shopping spots in and around Austin. Most notably are South Congress and The Domain. South Congress has become a bustling spot, filled with delicious restaurants, unique shops and more. Definitely stop in to ByGeorge andNeighborhood Goods for her STAG Provisions and Tecovas boots for him. Plus, don’t miss out on Allen Boots, it’s a SoCo staple.