The Chill Girl's Guide to Austin

The Chill Girl's Guide to Austin

If you're not following on Instagram and missed it, I recently got to visit Austin with my best friend Jo for 5.5 days! I'd never been, but people have told me my entire life how much I would love it, and they were spot on! In this post I'm sharing what I loved about Austin, as well as some favorite restaurants and things to do. 

I called this "The Chill Girl's Guide to Austin" because we we're not really the partying, night life type, so we didn't do any of that. We also spent a lot of our time photographing content for our blogs and social media, as well as editing photos and writing, which I know are unique ways to spend your time and not applicable to most! However, we did balance that with seeing lots of great things around the city, enjoying some wonderful meals, and still having a "vacation." 
Girls trip to Austin

The creative, laid-back vibe
There was definitely a cool energy there! Despite being a big city, there's still a smaller, laid-back feel. It came across as a city where you can truly be yourself and dress how you want to dress.

The food scene
I'm definitely a foodie, and one of my favorite parts about traveling is planning out which restaurants to visit. Austin has an amazing food scene with darling restaurants truly left and right, and I was obsessed with the restaurant decor everywhere we went.  

Everyone is so damn friendly!
I truly couldn't believe it. From people you passed on the street to waiters to store cashiers, we couldn't believe how friendly and happy everyone was. I loved it.

People are out & about, and active
I love visiting a city where people are outside and being active. Austin definitely came across as a healthy and fit place, which was right up my alley. I've never seen so many people outside enjoying the river or trails or parks, or even just working out.

It's dog friendly, and they're everywhere
Since I was away from home and missing Russell and Lulu like crazy, I was of course over-the-moon ecstatic to see dogs everywhere we went! It seemed like so many Austin residents have dogs, and there were lots and lots of mutts, which are near and dear to my heart as a dog rescue advocate. I loved how dog friendly the city was too. Dogs seemed to be allowed in every restaurant, even the nicest one we went to, and they always have water bowls and treats on hand for their furry guests. Dogs are also allowed to run free in Zilker Park, which I really enjoyed!

There's lots to do
Sometimes on a trip I feel like we run out of things to do, but not on this trip! Austin and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer. There are so many cool things to do, and endless restaurants to visit.

As I mentioned above, the food scene was impressive. I had a long list of places to try from a friend + some research of my own, and we only made it to a fraction, but enjoyed every meal. I'm including the highlights (so this doesn't drag on), as well as other places that are at the top of my list for my next trip.

Brunch outfit | Hillside Farmacy in Austin
Hillside Farmacy in Austin
Hillside Farmacy
This was probably my favorite place we ate! While I didn't get any photos of the inside, I can promise you that it's equally charming inside and out. I also loved that the menu is largely made up of foods from local farms!

best smoothie bowl in Austin

Blenders & Bowls
This is a local smoothie + smoothie bowl chain with delicious concoctions and cute decor! We went to the location on E. 6th St., but they have two other locations. It's good for a quick breakfast bite!
Cafe No Se in Austin, Texas
Cafe No Se
This is connected to the famous South Congress Hotel and did not disappoint! The decor and the food were equally lovely, and we loved the quiet, relaxing atmosphere. Be sure to pick up a matchbook on your way out the door!

Striped jumpsuit - the perfect comfy outfit for siteseeing!
Dinner at June's in Austin

June's / June's All Day
This restaurant is GORGEOUS! The exterior, the interior, the bar, the tables, the lighting - everything! It's a little more high-end price-wise, but if you're traveling with your significant other and looking for a sweet dinner date spot, this would be perfect! This is another spot with cute matchbooks to take home too :)
Gelateria Gemelli in Austin
Gelateria Gemelli
We had a hankering for a sweet treat on our final evening, and were lucky to find this beautiful spot with equally good gelato! This is a 'must!'

Gluten free cashew Pad Thai at True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen
Okay, so it's not local to Austin, but it was our first time eating here and we absolutely loved it! They have tons of healthy meal options, and it's a great place if you have food allergies. I'm still dreaming about their gluten free cashew pad thai. 

Other Yummy Eats:
Veracruz All Natural (a taco truck with two locations - SO GOOD)
Sap's Fine Thai Cuisine (good random restaurant find, but not "cute" haha)
Zocalo Cafe (Mexican with a twist)

Restaurants on my List for Next Time:
Hank's (the prettiest decor! I'm sad we didn't make it there)
Josephine House
Clark's Oyster Bar
Le Politique
Elizabeth Street Cafe

So, we actually stayed with a friend in the Clarksville Historic District just west of downtown, so I don't have specific Airbnb or hotel recommendations. But, that area was AMAZING. So definitely look around there! I just looked on Airbnb and saw some cute options. Downtown Austin is really cute and clean though, so a lot of areas will be great. South Congress is another fun & walkable area!


Aerie Real | Mount Bonnell in Austin, Texas

Mount Bonnell
Definitely get up early one morning to walk up 100 steps to this gorgeous lookout! The views of the river and the huge homes below are stunning! In the morning the light is beautiful for pictures, and hardly anyone will be there.

photoshoot in a plant nursery
East Austin Succulents
If you're obsessed with succulents and cacti and plants in general, then definitely plan a stop at this cute little nursery. I may or may not have brought 4 plants home with me!

Outdoor Voices yoga outfits

Free Outdoor Activities
We lucked out and got to do a free yoga class in a park downtown, hosted by the brand Outdoor Voices! It was a balmy 96 degrees when the class started, but we got in a great workout! Definitely search on social media and local news sources and ask locals for cool activities going on!

Outdoor Voices set

Visit the Outdoor Voices Store
Outdoor Voices is an awesome workout apparel brand based in Austin. I've wanted some of their pieces for over a year, so I loved getting to stop in their home store (set up in a cute old house) to shop in person. Their stuff is amazing!

Barton Springs in Austin Texas | LA Hearts swimsuit | orange one-piece

Barton Springs
Barton Springs is an Austin essential! It's a gigantic pool that's spring-fed and 65 degrees year-round. It's beautiful and such a unique place!

Austin Public Library - Downtown
This was probably the most beautiful library I've ever seen, and they have a stunning rooftop patio with views of the city and the river.

Zilker Park
This is a huge park in the city that has views of the skyline AND it's completely dog friendly! They're allowed to be off-leash and it's a dog lover's paradise to watch them all run around and play. 

South Congress Bridge...for the Bats!
This was truly a unique experience! Under the South Congress Bridge live approximately 1.5 million bats (the largest bat colony in North America)! At dusk in the warmer months, the bats fly out from the bridge over the river to catch insects. It's truly an incredible site, and I couldn't believe how many people were gathered to watch!

Activities on my List for Next Time:
Paddle-boarding or kayaking the Colorado River. We didn't have a free afternoon to do this, but I'd love to try sometime if I'm feeling adventurous!
Jacob's Well and Hamilton Pool. These are natural swimming holes 30-40 minutes from Austin that look absolutely beautiful. I hope to have time to go on my next trip!
Rooftop Pool at The Westin Downtown. This gorgeous pool is free to non-guests from 2-11pm! 
Hiking and Swimming along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. I think this would be such a fun activity!

best friends visit Austin, Texas

I hope you enjoyed this post and found lots of things to put on your list for a visit to Austin! I was so impressed with this city, and can't wait to take Trey there! It's undoubtedly become one of my favorite US cities!

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xo, Jacy