As you walk down 6th Street, lined with Texan flags and hip buildings turned into bars, you’ll get a little confused at where you are. You’re in the south, right? But everything is so hipster, and there’s live music blaring from all corners of the street and smells of delicious BBQ wafting all around you!
“Keep Austin Weird” is the capital of Texas’s slogan, and you’ll see why pretty quickly. A mixture of funk and charm are exactly what this hippie town embody.
We only had a full day in downtown to explore the must-sees in Austin, Texas, but it doesn’t take very much time to adjust to the relaxed nature of the place. You find yourself not caring about the time, strolling leisurely around the University of Texas’s campus, and enjoying some really awesome bites.
Not only did the laid back vibe take me by surprise, but so did the natural surroundings. Driving on the outskirts of Austin, you’ll see cacti, rolling hills (and to a Floridian, these look like mountains), and a mix of tropical and desert foliage. I was trying to place it to somewhere else I have been to relate it to something, and the closest I could come to is Arizona. Austin has a personality of its own being the capital of a humongous state, located in the south, and being a center for music and culture.
Whether you are just passing through, or making a trip there, these are some must-sees in Austin, Texas:
This is where the magic happens. It’s a lively place. I was born in Austin, and one of my earliest memories is seeing a dude in a tie dye shirt spinning around on some skateboard-type thing. He’s in a legend in our family tales; we call him “Cirquedeliquese”.
6th Street is a 7-block area lined with restaurants, bars, galleries, live music, and great shopping. It even gets closed off at night for pedestrian safety, which gives you an idea of how popular of a spot it is. It is considered the heart of Austin’s live entertainment scene.
It’s a beautiful sight due to the historical houses that have become commercial buildings, some even going back to the 1800’s.
There is something for everyone here. You’ll find crowds of students being draw in from UT, locals from the surrounding suburban areas, and out of towners. Get ready for some prime people watching.
This ice cream parlor was described to me as “Coldstones, but better”. You enter the shop off Guadalupe St (or at the airport if you missed it downtown), and select your poison. Interesting ice cream flavors, like biscotti or white chocolate, are resident in their options of choices, and there’s an abundance from toppings to pick from. You can either have your flavors served all mixed up with your chosen toppings, or having it all served separately in a cup or cone.
It’s rich and creamy, and I would say it rivals the gelato I had in Italy. Think that’s ridiculous? You’ll have to try it for yourself. Everybody in the area considers this place a must-see in Austin.
University of Texas
You can’t go to Austin without just driving through the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Longhorns and proud, the campus boasts of gorgeous brick buildings (in a color that resembles the muted, desert-like orange of their school colors) and many open, green spaces.
The stadium is a sight to be seen. You don’t have to know anything about UT and can drive by that stadium and know that football is dear to the core of the longhorns. It’s neat how you can just be downtown and not even purposefully stumble upon the campus – it’s naturally planted within the city, and you can tell its very much rooted to the heart of the area.
The Capitol Building
This building was much more grand that I expected. Also in the downtown area, you can go visit the Capitol, which very much looks like that in Washington, DC. It’s a unique color that makes it memorable and distinguished, with a beautiful courtyard in the front area.
You can simply drive by and get a good look at it, or even take a tour.
Lakeway is a suburban neighborhood outside of Austin, about 30 minutes away. Cafe Lago is where you’ll find the locals of the town gathering every morning, with lengthy weights on the weekends.
Tables are claimed by the same people everyday, but there’s still a warm welcome to visitors. It is decorated with paintings of longhorn bulls, created by local artistans. It makes you feel like you’re part of the neighborhood just by dining here.
It also has an awesome breakfast and lunch selection. Austin sure is known for its food, but to get an idea of what it’s truly like to live in the area, Cafe Lago is a direct insight into local life.
What are your favorite things about Austin?