Austin, Texas Travel Guide – Best Places to Visit and Eat At

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Take a quick stroll through the streets of Austin, Texas and you’re guaranteed to find the city’s slogan “Keep Austin Weird” plastered just about everywhere. While the saying was coined by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses, it’s become a full-blown lifestyle for natives and visitors alike. Of course, Austin is weird in the best possible way, with an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants, kitschy stores, and a renowned live music scene. Although it is a walking city, ELLE.com got the chance to tour the Texas capital in Honda’s brand-new 2023 HR-V—equipped with high-tech features like touch navigation, a wireless charging pad, Apple CarPlay®, and no less than eight speakers—to experience the best places to see, eat, drink, and stay during Austin City Limits (while blasting this year’s lineup of SZA and Kacey Musgraves, naturally). We then went ahead and compiled these spots in a guide to having fun—and, of course, keeping it weird—in the heart of the South for your reading pleasure (and research purposes). Enjoy!

elle escapes austin

leah romero

Greetings From Austin Mural

greetings from austin mural

Courtesy

Did you even go to Austin if you didn’t post about it? For a grid-worthy Instagram moment with a side of geography, check out this colorful, wall-sized mural at 1720 S. 1st Street, inspired by a postcard from the 1940s. Snap a pic, then quiz yourself on whether you can ID famous Austin landmarks like the Texas State Capitol and the Congress Avenue Bridge.

Barton Springs Pool

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Getty Images

Considering Austin is hot as hell, it’s not surprising that people there love to swim. And when they do, they go to Barton Springs. The 900-foot-long outdoor swimming pool located in Zilker Park (where ACL is held each year) is filled with water from several underground springs. An ideal place to cool off after dancing all day under the blazing sun.

South Congress Avenue

south congress avenue

Courtesy of Visit Austin

South of Lady Bird Lake is South Congress Avenue, a buzzy neighborhood better known as SoCo to locals. A walk through this area is mandatory for some of the best shopping, live music, and sight-seeing Austin has to offer. Snap a photo in front of the iconic “I Love You So Much” mural, catch performances at Guero’s Oak Garden, or succumb to the Western trend and buy a pair of real-deal Lucchese cowboy boots at Allens Boots (you know you want to).

Lamb Suede Fringed Jacket

Stetson Lamb Suede Fringed Jacket

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Lacquered Denim Shorts

Tom Ford Lacquered Denim Shorts

Ladies Tall Tulip

Luchesse Ladies Tall Tulip
elle escapes austin

leah romero

Perla’s

perla’s austin

Justin Cook

An umbrella-shaded, fairy light-adorned patio makes Perla’s a must-see spot, day or night. Located on South Congress, the seafood restaurant is known for it’s raw bar and decadent lobster rolls, with La Grande Dame champagne to pair with both. We recommend stopping in during happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to beat the evening crowd and cash in on deals (like oysters on a half shell for $4).

Matt’s El Rancho

matt’s el rancho

Jody Horton

You’ll find classic Tex-Mex fare and delicious cocktails at this low-key, no-frills eatery that’s been an Austin staple for 70-plus years. If you’re overwhelmed by the plethora of menu options at Matt’s El Rancho, order one of the combination plates, a Matt’s Knockout Martini (tequila, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice in an ice-filled shaker), and the signature Bob Armstrong queso tip for the table. You won’t regret it.

Terry Black’s Barbecue

terry black’s

Bethany Ellen Ochs

If you’re looking for some of best barbecue in Texas, locals will say this is it. Owned by twin brothers and fourth-generation pitmasters, Terry Black’s serves up some mean brisket, giant beef ribs, mac and cheese, and, for the grand finale, banana pudding. Warning: Like most BBQ, this stuff is more filling than it looks.

Ohara Straw Cowboy Hat

Rag & Bone Ohara Straw Cowboy Hat

Mallory Pendant Necklace

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Puff-Sleeve Jumpsuit

J.Crew Puff-Sleeve Jumpsuit
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leah romero

Soho House Austin

soho house austin

Courtesy Soho House Austin

When a Soho House opens in a city, you know it’s having a moment. Though Austin has been gaining popularity for years, the latest addition to the cult chain of private member’s clubs, situated in the Music Lane shopping mall just off South Congress Avenue, has all the essentials: an elaborate wood-carved bar, a rooftop pool, and live music from local and visiting artists.

Container Bar

courtesy of container bar

Courtesy of Container Bar

Located on the nightlife mecca that is Rainey Street, Container Bar is Austin’s first-ever green establishment made of four-ton metal shipping containers. Equipped with outdoor patios and an open upper deck, you’ll have more than enough space for dancing to live music and DJs every Thursday through Saturday night.

Goldie’s

goldie's

Goldie’s

If you’re looking for decadent craft cocktails in an opulent setting, stop by Goldie’s in the Austin Proper Hotel. Maybe it’s the sunken marble bar and velvet chairs talking, but something about it screams fancy.

High-Low Denim Mini-Dress

Brandon Maxwell High-Low Denim Mini-Dress

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Slash Sandals

Chelsea Paris Slash Sandals
elle escapes austin

Leah Romero

Hotel ZaZa Austin

hotel zaza austin

Courtesy Hotel ZaZa Austin

Hotel ZaZa is known for its rooftop pool, which boasts some of the best views in the city. But check into one of its spacious and airy rooms and you’ll get some much-needed R&R, complete with plush bedding, blackout shades, and 42-inch flat-screen TVs. Oh, and a turndown service that includes Moon Pies.

Austin Proper Hotel

austin proper hotel

The Ingalls

Proper Hotels are known for impeccable design and state-of-the-art amenities, making this Austin location perfect for a luxurious stay. Soak up some sun by the roof deck pool, grab brunch or dinner in restaurants La Piscina and The Peacock, or enjoy a relaxing treatment at the hotel’s Verbena Spa. But what really sells the Austin Proper? The friendly and attentive hotel staff, who are more than ready to accommodate your dream vacation.

The Line Hotel

courtesy of the line hotel

Courtesy of The LINE Hotel

Located at the crossroads of Lady Bird Lake and downtown, this fun and trendy hotel attracts young crowds for its poolside DJ and bustling brunch at P6. Suites feature lakeside views and a stacked mini bar. For more to snack on, stop by Veracruz All Natural for authentic tacos and queso. (The migas breakfast taco is a must.)

Tousan Robe

Highway Robery Tousan Robe

The Sweetheart Small Hatbox

SteamLine Luggage The Sweetheart Small Hatbox

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elle escapes austin

leah romero

Play Everyday Lotion SPF 30 with Sunflower Extract

supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF 30 with Sunflower Extract
Credit: supergoop

The Texas sun does not play around, ya’ll! Avoid sunburns with this gentle sunscreen formulated with sunflower extract. The best part? You can slather it on both your face and body for full coverage.

Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist

Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist
Credit: Rare Beauty

Keep your makeup in check against humidity and sweat with setting spray. Rare Beauty’s mist can be used to lock in makeup or refresh your complexion. You’ll be left with radiant skin that’s glowy and dewy—never greasy.

Desertland Eau de Parfum

Oribe Desertland Eau de Parfum
Credit: Oribe

Texas cedarwood is the star of this breezy desert scent. Backed by notes of juniper berry, lavender, and pine, this product will help you slip into the sexy and rustic vibes of Austin.



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