Every January for the past four years, my mom and I have attended a conference for her company. The location of the conference moves each year, but it’s taken us to Anaheim, Ft. Worth/Dallas, and Nashville. This year we were back in Dallas. Instead of spending the weekend before there, however, we hit up Austin since my mom hadn’t been and I have a few friends there! Whether you’re doing an overnight in Austin or longer, it’s a fun place to stop by!
Obviously this trip (and all subsequent trips) will be a little different since I’m traveling with our little guy (currently almost 7 months old). I’m planning to keep all my travel guides the same style as before, but I’ll be adding in some notes here and there about what worked with our baby and what didn’t!
Overnight in Austin
Coffee in Austin
In a city known for startups, you can imagine that coffee is a mainstay and available on every corner (usually with spots mid-block as well).
If you head to S. Congress street for food and shopping (again more below, but this is an absolute must in my opinion), you’ll find Jo’s Coffee – a corner window with coffee, food, and dessert. (they do have other locations in the city, including downtown)
They have a variety of things to drink and eat. Their specialty drink is a Turbo, which is a delectable concoction of coffee, chocolate, hazelnut, and something else delicious! If you aren’t into all this business in your coffee – like me – they also have a “Belgian Bomber,” which is basically half turbo and half iced coffee. It’s slightly flavored and slightly sweet – not overwhelming.
I will warn you… They have a somewhat iconic Austin sign on the side of the Congress shop. There’s usually a line to take photos there, but don’t confuse that with the line for coffee. From across the street it can look super busy, but often the photo-crowd is just crashing the party. They won’t slow down your coffee!
Also in downtown (among other locations as well) is Houndstooth Coffee. The downtown location is located in the Frost Bank Tower, but they have easy access off the street.
I went basic with the iced americano, but they also told me about their flash brewed iced coffee that more along the lines of an iced tea than your normal iced coffee. I might have to try this one out next time I’m in town.
So, back to S. Congress… check out Manana coffee. they have some delicious baked goods, some great coffee (I got the drip coffee), and some indoor plants of which I’ll forever be jealous! They even have kouign amanns in the bakery case…, but we got the rooibos and fig scone that was quite delish!
Also on the trip, we tried Mozart’s (and Austin classic) and Medici Coffee downtown. If you’re in town on a beautiful day, hit up Mozart’s for their great outdoor seating on the water!
Delicious Food in Austin
If you’re in Austin and staying downtown, you’re likely walking oodles, so let’s talk food! Easy Tiger is an Austin favorite with two locations. They have freshly baked bread on site (as well as some amazing MORSELS – try the chocolate chip cookie) and a selection of beer.
You can also get sandwiches and salads. We were with a friend of mine (owner of the wine bar/cafe Sloan & Parker in Austin), so I didn’t get a chance to snap photos of our lunch!
Back on S. Congress is Joann’s Fine Foods – a mix of Mexican and American-inspired cooking that’s delicious and filling! It’s like great, new-age food meets the coziness of your favorite diner!
If you’re downtown for dinner make reservations at Swift’s Attic – an upstairs venue mixing fun flavor combos in a tapas style eatery. We ordered two starters that were both interesting and so, so tasty. The first was corn hush puppies with rum raisin butter. The second – a tomato, sweet potato, and curry dish.
Then we ordered two main dishes – both seafood. They were both very complex and delicious, but one main dish would have been enough because they were on the heavy side.
Sadly we didn’t get to check out dessert as my little guy was done for the night. The restaurant was incredibly accommodating with our baby needs, but it was rather loud in there for him after a day of playing tourist.
What to do in Austin
Everyone talks about going to Austin, but what should you do for fun? Truthfully you could probably restaurant and coffee shop hop and have a grand ole time, but there are a number of fun things to do in Austin.
First things first…go to S. Congress. I compare it to Austin’s version of Abbot Kinney (see my guide for AK here)! It has delicious food and coffee interspersed with all kinds of shops.
There are high end designers, local arts, international crafts, and pop ups. And then there are stores we know and I love like Madewell, TOMS, and Goorin Bros.
The street does get crowded, however, and hot in the summer, so I suggest earlier or later in the day to avoid some of the crowds!
And if you’re into history (or air conditioning), check out the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Museum. There are presidential libraries across the country and we love visiting them.
The LBJ library covers the tumultuous time of the 1960s when he was president (after JFK’s assassination). The museum shows just how prolific he was in getting legislation passed to help underrepresented and underprivileged Americans get fair treatment.
Where to Stay in Austin
Besides having a great location, the hotel was a wonderful place to stay with our little guy. Not only did they have a crib (as most hotels do), they brought me a diaper pail and a water kettle to make milk. It was definitely a home away from home for C!