What to Do (and Eat!) on a Quick Trip to Austin, Texas


I recently went back to Austin, Texas for the second time (the first being a few years back on a work trip!) and got to explore a bit more of this weird and wonderful city. It’s similar to Richmond in many ways— great foodie culture (especially for a vegan!), lots of live music, quirky and artsy, etc. We really only had about a day and a half to explore, so there’s a LOT we didn’t get to see, but I feel like we covered solid ground in the time we had.

Here are some snapshots from my adventures, and links for you to browse the next time you’re planning a trip to ATX!

Things to Do:

South Congress

  • This area of town is awesome for shops and great food and just exploring by foot (or by scooter— they’re everywhere!) at any time of day.

  • A few favorites to check out:

Street Art

  • There are murals EVERYWHERE around Austin— it’s awesome. The one pictured above is the classic — swing by Jo’s to snag a picture of it.

  • Also check out:

MexicArte Museum

  • This was an awesome little museum featuring all Latinx artists and Mexican culture (especially Dia de los Muertos) — it was vibrant, informative, beautiful, and a fun way to spend about an hour. (Tickets were $7, $4 if you have a student ID)

Book People

  • This was probably the thing I was most excited about seeing in Austin — I’ve heard SO many good things about this local indie bookstore and I was not disappointed. It’s HUGE and full of incredible book selections, bookish gifts, sales, etc. It was lovely. I’m still shocked I was able to walk out without spending any money! I wanted to buy EVERYTHING.

Explore Downtown Austin

  • We walked more than 7 miles one day, just exploring all over Austin. It’s a very safe and walkable city, even at night! The views (even at night!) from the bridge are great. Many, many people were riding scooters around town too, so be sure to download one of the apps to try those out and get around faster. We found so many great pockets of town just by wandering!

The Texas State Capitol

  • I had actually done a tour of the Capitol on my previous trip to Austin, so we just walked around the grounds a bit and took some pictures of the outside this go-around. It’s a great spot!

See the Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

  • With the recent time change, we missed seeing these bats in action our first night in Austin, but we accidentally (and thankfully!) got to see them flying across the sky for what felt like A LONG TIME as we drove through downtown the next night. This is worth seeing — there are SO MANY BATS. I was amazed.

Holy Grounds

  • This technically could be a place to eat, but since it’s in a church and is a coffeeshop/bookstore/gift shop combo, I decided it was really a “thing to do.” I loved this little spot! Great place to spend an afternoon. There’s also a beautiful meditation garden outside that I would have spent some serious time in if it wasn’t freezing cold and rainy!

Places to Eat:

Modern Market

  • I stopped in here for a solo lunch and LOVED IT. The vibe is amazing and there were SO many vegan and gf options! I got the Buddha Bowl with tofu and it was absolutely amazing. That orange drink is carrot lemonade— so yummy!

Torchy’s Tacos

  • I can’t speak to the tacos here (I went with the salad, which was amazing) but this place came highly recommended and was a fun first stop in Austin!

Veracruz All Natural

  • We accidentally ended up at this food truck for breakfast one morning (side note about Austin: SO MANY FOOD TRUCKS EVERYWHERE!!!) and it was delicious. Felt super authentic and fresh. I got the veggie taco and it was great! The smoothies were delicious and vegan too. Win-win!

Rainey Street Bars

  • This was SUCH a fun discovery— the best street full of cute, quirky, and fun bars in old houses and shipping containers and buildings. It was a blast just to walk around and see all the unique places (most with lawn games, ample indoor and outdoor seating, food trucks nearby, and more!) — we ended up at Craft Pride and they were about to show a movie on a big screen on the back patio! So fun.

Been to Austin? What would you add to this list?!