For my birthday this year, I took a trip to Austin with Alex, my mom, and one of my sisters. We were only in town for two and half days but managed to do eat and do a bunch of stuff (despite very last minute planning too). Obviously, I am not an Austin expert by any means but hope some people find this post helpful!
Eat (Breakfast) Tacos
Our very first meal in Texas was tacos, of course! After some brief research on Reddit, we decided to go to Veracruz for breakfast tacos. They have several locations throughout town (and are opening a location in Koreatown in LA!) and we went to one near the river, which was closest to the airport. We actually tried several tacos but my favorites were the migas (breakfast) taco and the al pastor taco.
Eat Texas Barbecue
This was everyone’s first time in Texas so naturally, eating Texas-style barbecue was at the top of our itinerary. We really wanted to go to Valentina’s but it was a bit hard to do since we didn’t rent a car. Instead, we went to Micklethwait Craft Meats BBQ and we thought it was great! Of the pulled pork, barbacoa, sausages, and brisket (pictured top to bottom in the photo below), our favorites were brisket followed by pulled pork. We tried Big Red soda for the first time too and thought it tasted like a melted lollipop haha.
Eats Biscuit Sandwiches for Dinner
Because we are Texas newbies, we were not ready for many barbecue places not being open for dinner! We had to improvise one evening and decided for Bird Bird Biscuit, which I had wanted to try anyways. Their Manor Road location opens until 9pm Thursday through Saturday. Pictured above are Firebird and Queen Beak. We enjoyed both but the Queen Beak is not spicy at all if that’s what you are looking for in your biscuit sandwich.
Coffee with a View at Mozart’s
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters is on Lake Austin and has seriously the best view for morning coffee! It seemed like a popular spot but the line moved fast and there was plenty of seating (indoor and outdoor). While we came for the coffee and the view, we were really impressed with their pastries (pictured below), which are made in house. Definitely go for the almond croissant if you do go here. Since they are a roaster, you can buy bags of coffee beans which always make a great gift (for yourself or for you friend picking you up from the airport ;)).
Learn about Texas History at The Bullock Texas State History Museum and Mexic-Arte Museum
Once again, I knew very little about Texas history prior to my trip. We went to two museums while in town and recommend both! The Bullock Texas State History Museum (has the gigantic star pictured above) is three stories tall and has an impressive amount of information and artifacts spanning from pre-European colonization to now. Mexic-Arte Musem displays artwork by various artists inspired by and representing Mexican/Latin American history. When we visited, the admission for adults was $13 and $7 respectively.
Sunset Bat Watching Riverboat Tour
You know I am bad at geography because I had no idea that there was a river running through Austin until I was actually in Austin haha. We booked a riverboat tour sort of last minute and loved it! Congress Avenue Bridge (or rather the underside of it) is home to over a million bats, which come out at sunset. Bat season is actually March through October so we got lucky to be able to see the bats at the tail end of the season. We did the tour with Lone Star Riverboat, and the tour took about an hour. You do get to learn a little bit about the buildings right off the tour but our tour guide (who was pretty new) focused more on bats than town history.
Take Photos at Iconic Austin Murals
How about my sister and I both put a mural on the list of things we wanted to do in Austin haha. I have always wanted to take a photo in front of You’re My Butter Half mural (location). We took photos in the late afternoon/earning evening, and the mural was shaded for some perfect indirect lighting! My sister got her wish of taking a photo in front of Love From Austin mural as well (location).
Try the Cheeseburger at Loro
Loro was our final meal in Austin! It’s a collaboration restaurant between owners of Franklin barbecue and Uchi. The cheeseburger was hands down was my favorite out of everything we tried! The cheeseburger is only $8.75 during happy hour so definitely try to go during 2pm-5pm on weekdays.
(We also tried the brisket sandwich and I was not super impressed so I am not sad we didn’t go to Franklin barbecue..?) FYI, they do have beef brisket and pork ribs but they are only available after 4pm.