Guest Post by Jake Sinchak AKA The Husband <3 Our 3 days in Austin, Texas Guide!
tldr: 3 days in Austin, Texas, had a kick-ass time.
When Jessica and myself were first dating we always had the ambition to travel. After getting married we planned an extensive trip to travel all throughout Europe. One thing led to another, and plans changed for the better. We learned we were pregnant with our P-bug. That trip was promptly put on hold to prepare for our new journey of being first time parents.
Fast forward a couple of years, add another beautiful baby girl to our family (K-bean), and we have began traveling as we initially strived to do. This past weekend Jess and I went to Austin, Texas.
Let me start out by saying all credit for planning this trip belongs to Jess and her mom. From the flights, hotels, car rental, and general research as to what to do. Really all I had to do was show up with a bag ready for a long weekend. Now lets get to our 3 days in Austin, Texas guide!
DAY 1 of 3
Jess and I left early Saturday morning and flew to Austin via Southwest using our Southwest Rapid Rewards Points. Which has some of the best amenities for flight you can get. (2 free checked bags, 1 carry one, 1 personal item, free movies/tv/music, etc). Once in Austin, we had a slight hiccup with our car rental, but it was quickly taken care of by some help at Enterprise. From there we jetted over to our hotel and checked in. After changing we met up with some friends/family that we have not seen in too long.
We started our journey with BBQ. Lets be real, who goes to Texas and doesn’t get some quality BBQ. After about a 30 min drive outside of Austin we got to the legendary Salt Lick BBQ
(as suggested from multiple people). The restaurant is actually built around the smoke pit that has been there since day 1. I got the all-you-can-eat plate. It came with brisket, sausage, pork ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, and of course the standard pickles, onions, and bread. I also indulged in some of the local craft beer, which was just what I needed to wash it all down.
From Salt Lick we drove back to Austin. We stopped at the Austin Post Card mural for photos. Then we headed to South Congress, a few streets over. We strolled through the streets and hunted for the insta-worthy photo ops, as well as some of the local “weird” shops.
We had to get desert at a food truck called Gordough’s off of South 1st. They specialize in larger than life crazy topped doughnuts. I would recommend the Son of a Peach with a glass of milk. After departing with our friends we went back to the hotel to freshen up and explore downtown 6th street.
In our experience the closest thing we can compare Austin’s 6th street to is something like Pacific Beach meets Ocean Beach of San Diego. Every shop is either a small boutique or bar/club. the entire road is shut down and traffic is blocked off by the local authorities. People are lining the street in hopes to find some good drinks, live music, and memories. Many of the bars had 2 stories and options to go on a rooftop balcony along with a live band or DJ downstairs. Pick your poison here, the options are endless.
DAY 2 of 3
The next day we took a short drive south to San Marcos to the 350+ store Outlet Mall there.(Including Gucci which is what Jess really wanted to see). Along the way we stopped at Torchey’s Tacos for some breakfast/brunch/lunch. We got a variety to taste. Of course we started with some highly recommended Queso. After finding some primo deals at the mall we booked it back to Austin.
The highlight of the trip that was like no other, was Chicken-Shit Bingo @ Little Longhorn Saloon. You’ve played bingo, right? Have you ever played roulette? Take the two of them, mash them together, and throw a chicken in the mix – BOOM. Chicken-Shit bingo. Put The Little Longhorn Saloon on your itinerary. It’s only done on sunday evenings and tickets can run out so plan ahead. Basically, you pay for your ticket w/ random numbers. Those numbers are spread out on a board inside of a chicken cage. A chicken is then put into the cage by the local chicken whisperer (as shes know). Some chicken feed is tossed in over the top and it’s game on. It’s now a race for where the chicken will poop on the board of numbers. Whomever has the lucky number wins some cash and the next round is started a short time after.
That night we found ourselves back at South Congress for a quick bite to eat at Home Slice Pizza. After dinner, we went to another bar lined road called Rainey street. Again, a lot of options for music and food here. These old homes/bungalows are converted to venues for all types of fun, food, and tunes. we ended up at the Container bar which had a bunch of storage containers put on top of one another. After 10:30 they gave out headphones to everyone and cut the ambient music. Your only options at that point were to change back and forth between the dueling DJ’s or listen to the amassed crowds chatter.
Day 3 of 3
Our final day was the destination checklist rundown. We started with coffee overseeing Lake Austin at Mozarts. It was definitely a coffee lovers haven with bottomless coffee (on the cheap) and any pastry you could think of.
From there we went through the beautiful hilltop neighborhoods in route to Mount Bonnell which overlooked the entire area. Bring your hiking shoes and sunblock for this destination as you’ll surely need them both. The sights were almost as breathtaking as my gorgeous wife.
We headed back to the city to take a peak at the Graffiti park in the downtown area. It was currently fenced off for a future construction project so you could only admire from afar but it was definitely worth the stop.
Onward to my #1 on the list of things to do, the Capitol building. First we explored the outer areas of the building for not only the amazing architecture but the various monuments and bronze statues throughout. After passing through security, Jess and I ventured on our own and took what seemed to be a private guided tour, without the help of a guide of course. We started from the top level and worked our way down.
It was immensely humbling to see the rich history and craftsman ship throughout this building. We popped our heads into both State House and State Senate while they were in session. It is a must see if you get the chance. We also explored the governor’s office and the legislative research library which had copies of the previous legislator and laws of Texas’ days of old.
The next stop was the Lady Bird Botanical gardens.
A word to the wise if you want to spend some time here bring your sunblock and walking shoes. Wild flowers, ponds, various trails, and the beautiful nature scenery is unmatched. If you need some peace and quite away from the city this should be just what you are looking for.
Back to south congress for some more exploration while we waited for dinner. We ended up at a local suggested place in downtown called Coopers Old Time Pit BBQ. You don’t sit and order with a wait-staff like most restaurants. Instead you wait in line to tell the butcher what you want and in what quantity. It’s then weighed and wrapped as if you were at your local grocery butcher. You pick your sides in a cafeteria style line and pay. Its all open seating here so don’t be too shy about having some neighbors for dinner.
With our time in Austin winding down we ventured to the last must-do on our checklist. The Bats at the south Congress Bridge. There is a bridge over the lake that is home to over 1.5 million Mexican Bats. During the spring /summer months they come out at sundown to get some grub. The surrounding area of the lake was flocked by onlookers waiting for the bats to make their appearance. After (im)patiently and eagerly waiting, we watched the clouds of bats emerge like a black cloud against the dimly light sky.
All in all the trip went perfect. We hit all of the destinations we set out to. (which is amazing since we only had 3 days in Austin, Texas ) Enjoyed some great food, drinks, company, and of course the sights.
Lastly, I wanted to give a special shout out to everyone that helped make this trip possible. Jessica, the in-laws (not only helping plan the trip but watching the girls), the Darbonnes, the Kincheloes, and all of you who have helped with suggestions. Semper Fidelis.
For videos of our trip and even more places we visited while in Austin, check out Jess’s Austin, TX story highlights here
If you go to any of the places in our 3 days in Austin, Texas guide, let us know! We love to see your tagged photos on Instagram, too!
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