Disclaimer: I’m originally from Arlington 2.5 hrs North of Austin, but I’m thankful my Mom now lives in Austin so when I go “home” that’s where I land.
Austin lives and breathes outdoor life, even on 100 degree days! There are so many great patios that remind me of growing up in the backyard of my Grandparents house. Sometimes I miss those days, but I sure don’t miss the heat.
In many cases, it’s not even the food that is so great, but the overall experience and feel of a place that is classic.
Franklin – famous to locals and made even more famous by the late Anthony Bourdain. Famously long lines and YES it’s worth the wait!
Cosmic Coffee – handsdown the coolest with a giant yard, fire pits and free yoga on Tuesday mornings!
Radio Coffee & Beer – and yet another awesome spot with shady trees and food trucks.
Spokeman Coffee – modern design for specialty coffee and preparation (if you’re into that). In a trendy “new” area called St. Elmo
Third Coast Coffee – small roaster (to buy bags for home).
Breakfast: Kerbey Lane – what started as a house in 1980 has now developed into 7 locations around the greater ATX area.
Quirky Markets + MISC – Austin has the best funky grocery stores and markets:
Quickie Pickie on 11th – beer on draft, breakfast tacos, sammies, burgers and wine (down the street from Franklin BBQ).
Thom’s Market on Barton Springs – great stop for a picnic at Zilker Park.
Whip In – Indian snacks, beer and wine, outdoor patio, convenient store all rolled into one and right off the highway so you can literally just “whip in”.
River City Market – better than your average convenient store with a great wine selection and delicious breakfast tacos.
Original Whole Foods – Some people don’t know the empire began at a small space in Austin so it’s just cool to see.
Central Market – my favorite overall big grocery store so fun to walk around and spend lots of money on things you didn’t even know you wanted. Way cooler than WF!
Lots of Food Trucks everywhere – East 6th, 11th South First, Barton Springs, St. Elmo
So many vintage and used clothing stores. Just gotta look them up!
Uncommon Objects – a must for wandering and milling about featuring an eclectic array of antiques, jewelry, taxidermy gadgets & toys.
Bead it! – biggest and best selection of tchotchkes and beads for all your DIY projects.
East Austin – where to begin? So much has popped up here just in the last year. There’s pretty much every kind of bar, restaurant and brewery you could want! Go early, find a place to park and just spend the evening hopping around.
p.s. the 6th street downtown is what locals refer to as “Dirty 6th” East 6th is the cool part. It’s where you’ll find tourists, jocks, drunks and maybe see a fight. It’s like a mini Bourbon St.