I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve been rather obsessed with visiting Austin, Texas for a really long time. Perhaps it’s the music scene, or promise of amazing BBQ and abundance of cowboy boots, but, the city has a draw that’s been pulling me towards it for years.
As you can imagine, when I received a text from my friend (and former boss) asking if I wanted to go to Austin for a week, I jumped at the chance. In this case, it was to help lead the marketing team at a large and important conference (something I did regularly in my old position), and I decided that dealing with the long work hours would still be worth it if it meant I could *finally* get to experience the #ATX, IRL.
So what was it like? Hot as HELL. Literally. I can only describe the heat experienced in Austin in the middle of August as the feeling of being lit on fire, while simultaneously walking on the sun. Seriously, it was nearly 100 degrees fahrenheit when we landed at midnight. But, thankfully, everywhere blasts the AC like it’s going out of style, everyone drives everywhere because it’s too hot to walk, and outdoor patios feature misting sprays to keep you cool(er) if you’re brave enough to sit outside.
All there was really time for outside of the conference hours was eating dinner in the evenings, which is cool because all I ever really care about when I travel is getting to eat great food at great restaurants. Here’s a roundup of 5 great restaurants in Austin that I loved!
Being in Austin for a huge conference meant being stuck in the middle of “Conference Land” where, like any convention centre, you’re surrounded by blockbuster-style chain restaurants and an abundance of hotels. After one particularly long day, we stopped in at the ‘Corner‘ patio – a restaurant within the Marriott – and sat down for a cocktail and light snack before dinner. We ended up ordering their Braised Short Rib Nachos that I have not been able to stop thinking about since we ate them! My one regret from the trip is not eating the best nachos I’ve ever had in my life at least one more time before I had to head back to Toronto. You MUST try these nachos if you’re in town!
Located on Austin’s historic 6th street, Parkside stood out to me from across the street as a chic restaurant in the thick of the city’s bar scene. Thankfully, I was right, and the restaurant’s atmosphere and decor was as good as the farm-to-table focused food. As you can see from my instagram photo above, I enjoyed their amazing homemade gnocchi and bone marrow for dinner. Would highly recommend a visit to this lovely restaurant.
Okay, so JuiceLand isn’t exactly a sit down restaurant in Austin, but, I heavily rely on green juice when I’m at home – and especially when I’m travelling – to keep my stomach and health happy. Juiceland was recommended to us by our Fasten driver one morning (Uber is not allowed in Austin so make sure you download this app to get around!) and I fell in love with it instantly. I mean, just look at this place – it’s like a hippie hut from the Flinstone’s cartoon! Inside you choose from a large selection of organic juices and smoothies that are made for you on the spot, as well as a pre-packed vegan snacks. I love JuiceLand!!
We stumbled across Vespaio while walking along the South Congress strip (definitely my favourite area of all the ones I had time to discover) and decided to grab a table inside the upscale Italian restaurant that’s been a city staple for great Italian food since 1998. Everything from the pizza to the plate of fresh grilled seafood was amazing, and I especially enjoyed their private room that’s closed off by a wall made from their vast collection of wine.
Perlas was the first spot we visited on South Congress when we got out of our taxi. How could we pass by such a stunning patio without at least sitting down for a refreshing cocktail on a hot evening? I loved everything about Perlas setting and amazing decor. Although we didn’t have a chance to eat much at the restaurant, Perlas is known as one of the best seafood joints in town!
While I may not choose to visit Austin again in the middle of August, I’m already counting down to when I can visit this great city again with more time to explore more of everything it has to offer.
Got any more tips for Austin? Leave a comment and let me know where you love to go!