Austin is spunky and alive, but in a laid-back, southern charming kind-of way. It’s fast-moving and cutting edge, but casual and relaxed. Hustle and bustle, but sip your sweet tea slow. It’s hipster and bougie in the same breath. I totally dig the mixed-energy vibe! You mostly forget you’re in Texas until the bartender asks what can I get “ya’ll” to drink in that sweet southern accent. This city, where you can sit outside listening to live music every night and eat every meal wrapped in a homemade tortilla, has got this whole living thing just right. All I needed was a cowboy hat with a big grin and a two-step to sweep me off my feet and miss that flight back to Milwaukee. I can handle the heat!The creativity is tucked into every block, jumping out as you walk, bike, or scooter by, and secretly revealing itself to the treasure-hunting Instagramers searching the nooks and crannies (guilty). Every direction you turn is colorful and expressive.
I savored a Jo’s Coffee Oatmilk Cookie Latte four mornings in a row and it was life. I also took this photo w/ double espresso and no shame:
The food truck hype is real. No restaurants required. Some of my favs: Veracruz for the best breakfast tacos on pillow-y homemade tortillas, East Side King for a Japanese-style fried chicken sandwich, Via 313 for Detroit-style pizza (apparently Detroit has a style and it definitely rocks).
The barbeque is no joke. I’m not a BBQ person in the slightest, but when in Austin…That beef brisket may have been one of my bigger surprises in life. Yes, that was me, Sara MacKay, fighting your fork for that last bite of melt-in-your-mouth meat. (La Barbeque, Salt Lick)My favorite bar (ever) lives in East Austin: Whisler’s. It’s rustic, cozy, slightly quirky and medieval romantic. The stone walls are covered in antlers, mirrors, and empty wooden frames and reach up to a high castle-like ceiling. The entire space is illuminated only by candlelight and chandeliers once the sun goes down. The cocktails are fresh, inventive and strong, just how I like them. I’d be a regular on that canvas covered bar chair!
Imagine two full blocks with old quaint houses converted into bars with magical backyard patios centered around cute wooden stages. Live music, Twinkle Lights, Food Trucks. It exists: Rainey Street. And it is SO COOL! (Favs: Craft Pride for local beer, Half Step for fresh cocktails)
The Continental Club has been around since the 1950’s and is still happenin’. You feed off the vibes of the artists playing in front of that glitzy red tinsel backdrop and expect to walk outside afterwards to a row of pastel Cadillacs lined up out front. I love cruising the Lady Bird Trail. It extends for miles along the Colorado River with great views of the city skyline. The warm breeze in your hair and the shade from the Texas heat makes everything feel peaceful and right.Let’s all go to Austin and revel in the good music, food and drinks. We’ll smile and be kind and vote for Willie because life can’t get better than this :)