I’ve been living in Austin, Texas for about a year and a half now, and during that time I’ve discovered some pretty cool spots and things I’ve enjoyed doing around town. I figured some of ya’ll would find this helpful if you ever find yourself in the city. I also know my friends really enjoy some of the more local places besides the well known Zilker, 6th street in downtown, Rainy street, or the Domain. I included some fun stuff to do during the day and also some of the night life stuff. I hope ya’ll enjoy!
- Radio Coffee & Bar
Okay, I discovered this place because of my job. I work just on the other side of the road of this place and I fell in love. It is perfect for every occasion, it works for when you just need to grab a quick drink or if you want to have a cute coffee date. The patio area is adorable, there are outside tables and lights hanging all around, it is a family friendly spot, and dogs are allowed. They open a 6:30 AM and don’t close until 12 AM, that’s just crazy to me. So, after a long day of work you can go there and grab pitcher of beer too. It’s such a chill environment to catch up with some old friends or blow off some steam during the day or late at night. It’s also a good spot to catch up on some work if you need to.
2. Bennu Coffee
This is another cozy spot to go on a coffee date or be productive and finish work. I’ve only been a few times but I enjoyed spending some time there getting some work done and reading. Also, if you go to the East MLK location you can find the well known ‘You’re My Butter Half’ mural right across the street. So, if you’re just visiting for a few days this is a good way to start your day and also get some cute pictures in!
3. McKinney Falls State Park
If you are looking for some outdoor activities, this is definitely a fun spot to spend a sunny day at. The entrance fee for adults is $6, not too pricey, and the park is huge. You can choose to hike around or you can go for a swim at the water hole, so make sure to bring a suit! Greg and I didn’t know that you could go swimming at this park so we were not prepared to get wet, but I wish we could of. Also, make sure to bring plenty of water, have your phone charged, bring a swimming suit, towels, comfy shoes, a blanked to lay out, and some snacks. You can make a whole day out of this park.
4. River City Donuts and Coffee
Every once in a while a parent or staff member will surprise us with donuts from this place and it is always a pleasant surprise because they are spectacular. I haven’t actually been to the place itself, but I know their donuts are fresh and don’t taste like the cheap stuff you get at a Kroger or HEB. If you want to try a local place for breakfast give this a shot.
5. SquareRut Kava Bar
I’ve only been here once before, but it was an experience. Kava is a drink made out of a plant root that is ground up and mixed with water. This Kava tea is found in the South Pacific Islands and is used to help you relax. The drink itself is served in a cute plastic coconut cup and you have the option to add sugar or milk to it, just like coffee. I had it plain, but I wish I would’ve added more to the drink to make it more flavorful and easier to drink. The taste is kinda earthy, that’s the best way I can describe it. The drink does have a numbing affect on your tongue, so don’t freak out, it is perfectly normal. I really liked this place because it is something different to do with your friends or whoever. The have a nice outside and inside bar, they also have comfy chairs and tables around inside with games to play. The whole space was open with sunlight, the occasional breeze, lots of art, and a stage where they do live shows. Definitely worth checking out.
5. The Greenbelt- Lost Creek
I’ve lost track of how many summer days I spent at this place. I love it here because it’s secluded, you have to hike for 30 minutes or so until you finally reach the swimming hole, but it is so worth it. It is a great way to get your dog out and you can swim and sunbathe while drinking a cold beer or whatever you prefer. All the people there are so nice, and it is such a calm environment. Everyone is listening to music and just enjoying the day.
6. The Greenbelt- Onion Creek
This way down south but definitely worth checking out. This is also a super dog friendly place. When you first show up the first thing you notice is the open space with all the dogs running around. There are off leash dog trails and also just regular walking trails. Honestly you can do a dog trail without the dog, just be aware that you will run into dogs off their leash. I really loved this park because the trails were secluded and it’s a nice place to go to just be outside. You can also find some really cool spots to sit down by the water.
7. End of an Ear
Looking for some new music? This place is a hidden gem here in Austin. When you first walk in there are options for anything you prefer, they even have a pretty good selection of movies. If you move towards the back they have a room with record players, music instruments, and accessories. I actually got Greg, my boyfriend, his record player from this place. The staff was so welcoming and helpful, they even helped me set up the record player for him. Their prices are fair and they even have free stickers for you up front.
8. 12th Street
This street is located on the east side of Austin towards downtown. It might technically be considered downtown, so don’t quote me on the location of it. I love this street because the bars are all so unique with a ton of original art work and murals. Each bar looks so different from it’s neighbor and once you enter inside they take you by surprise too. If you’re looking for a crazy and wild night this might not be the spot because the bars here are so laid back. This is a place to go to with a group of friends when you want to catch up and talk over some drinks. I unfortunately have not had the opportunity to check out all of the bars but I would recommend Full Circle Bar and Rio Rita. Full Circle Bar offers skee-ball which is awesome, but I really loved their backyard. It’s full of color, unicorns, and they even recreated the painted alphabet with the lights from Strangers Things, cool! Rio Rita has such a comfy feel to it once you enter. There are so many couches and even a huge backyard if you would like to sit out there.
8. Barton Springs Road by Zilker
I’m not really sure what to call this, but before getting to Zilker park there is Barton Springs Road. Off this street you can find:
-Shady Grove- super cute outside are to eat and live music
-Baby A’s- Tex Mex food with their staple purple margaritas.
-Juliet Italian Kitchen- Fancy but delicious!
-Darcy’s Donkey- Irish bar
-Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse- live music bar
You can start your day off at the Zilker and grab a bit to eat and then bar hop, and it’s all walking distance!
9. Sweet Ritual
This place has the best vegan ice cream! If you have a serious sweet tooth and are craving some ice cream, this place will not disappoint.
10. The Grand
Right in the same shopping center this bar offers pool tables, pinball, and darts. We had some friends visit from out of town and we took them to get some ice cream and then we hung out at this bar and played pool. The drinks were reasonably priced too.