Thinking of taking a long weekend in one of the best cities Texas has to offer? When going to Austin, here is what I suggest you bring along and some places you should make sure you see while you're there (and a few Austincentric things to do):
Float the River 250 Meusebach
A Texas staple activity for the spring & summer is floating the river. No, you're not expected to travel with a float, most of the float sites let you rent them for around $15. My favorite out of the lot is Texas Tubes in New Braunfels on the Comal River. The owner, Richard, is a good guy, he has the easiest landing on the river to get in and it is the cleanest float company of them all with concrete versus mud. You'll want to wear protective shoes while you're floating in case you have to get out of your tube at any point. You can plan to spend 3-4 hours making your way down the river and you can pack a cooler or rent a cooler float. Since the river is at an average of 72 degrees year round, there are plenty of months to enjoy this activity.
Dance Across Texas (formerly Midnight Rodeo) 2201 E Ben White
If you are in Texas and happen to have a pair of boots, then pack them and head to the Midnight Rodeo for a little Two Steppin' with the locals
Moonshine Grill 303 Red River St.
There are two places I love in Austin for Sunday brunch and Moonshine is definitely the fine dining option where they offer literally everything you could think of for breakfast/lunch options. The wait here on the weekends can be upwards of an hour so if you do not have time for that, I suggest Kerbey Lane. There are 5 locations so no matter where you are, there will be one near you. The one I love is Southwest at 4301 W William Cannon. The service is impeccable, the staff all seem to love their jobs and the food never disappoints. My favorite item on the menu is Eggs Francisco minus the bacon and there is a specialty pancake every day that is worth ordering.
If you are planning to do Franklins, let me tell you how to do it the right way. This is an experience (remember the American Express commercial) and if you plan to do it on a weekend then plan to spend about 6 hours in line. Yes, I know that seems ridiculous but it really can be fun. You'll need to treat it almost like a tailgating party without the tailgate. The line gets ridiculously long and if you are not there by 6-7am then they will probably be sold out of meat by the time they reach you in the line. If you don't have chairs of your own, you can rent them onsite for $5. Pack some breakfast (Torchy's breakfast tacos are amazing), take a game or two (like Cards Against Humanity), wear sunscreen because there is not a lot of shade, stock a cooler with all your favorite beverages and enjoy the wait. It is well worth it once you get up there and you will meet the owner, Aaron Franklin, almost guaranteed as he is usually making passes around the seating area.
Brewery Tours (call for times)
Austin is known for it's microbreweries and there are several to choose from. Some of my personal favorites are:
512 Brewery 407 Radam
Austin BeerWorks 3009 Industrial Terrace
Jester King 13005 Fitzhugh Rd
Hops & Grain 507 Calles St.
I must admit though, I do not drink beer (eeek) but I have visited all of these with my beer drinking friends. Jester King has wine, stone fire pizzas and other activities for non-beer drinkers. Most of the rest, do not.
Now I know you are thinking that the place to be is 'the dirty 6' which is a big tourist attraction in downtown Austin but on 6th Street you will find lots of tourists, drunk college kids and high priced drinks. I prefer Rainey Street and here's a few places to check out while you are strolling along: Craft Pride which offers a huge selection of beer including local breweries, wine and a great selection of ciders and Via 313 Detroit style pizza food truck. I love the back open patio and it's the perfect place to start the evening. Bar 96 which has a large open space and a laid back feel. Lucille has great (but pricey) mixed drinks, live bands, beautiful interior and lovely patio. If you want to grab food while you are there you will have a huge selection of food trucks and eats inside most lounges like Banger's Sausage & Beer Garden, G'Raj Mahal & Nova Burgers. You'll love that there aren't huge lines, you will need cash because most food trucks don't take cards but you will have a good night, guaranteed!