Help - Where to stay, waht to do, in Austin
My sister and I are coming to Austin in late November to hang out for a few days, neither of us have been before. Can anyone recommend some hotels or neighborhoods we should be looking to stay in.
we are young (late 20's and I am 30), I would like to be within walking distance to good restaurants and shopping. We are definitely coming in part to eat some good food, so restaurant suggestions are also welcome, especially anything off the beaten path (ugh, i just wrote that) that locals would go to, I don't want anything touristy, feel free to also let me know if there are any places we should pass on.
I am also open to any suggestions about fun things to do or cool places we should see. I would also be interested in doing some outdoor hiking or things of that nature.
After re-reading this, I am basically asking you to plan my trip - so suggestions please :)
Thanks in advance!
What kind of budget are you working with? Thats going to be a big isue with the hotel suggestion.
As far as restaurant suggestions, at the higher end Id say you have to eat at uchi/uchiko, and you have to eat at barley swine. Id do most of my other eating at BBQ joints or from austins awesome food truck scene.
Id probably stay at the W downtown then. If you are sure of when you are coming I think you can pre pay, non refundable for right around $200 a night (without going the non refundable route I think you are looking at around 350). That will put you right in the center of austin and in a hotel that I think is geared towards 20 and thirty somethings.
Not sure about cost, but if it fits in your budget, St. Cecilia is a lovely hotel and is walking distance from all the cool, Austin-y stuff South Congress has to offer.
Definitely hit up some trailers. They're a huge part of the Austin food scene and there's a lot of great food to be had there!
Last I checked, Hotel San Jose is less than 200 a night by a good bit for even one of their better rooms and their little courtyard / pool area is so inviting for a glass of wine, etc. The W and other upscale (four seasons) choices will be close to your budget limit and around 1.5 times to double the prices at san jose. We put VIP's there that are visiting our program at UT all the time and they uniformly rave about it.
Since you want to do the whole package - eating, shopping and need to walk, I'd suggest, as slowcooked did above, the San Jose for the funky VERY AUSTIN scene. Lots of cool little shops and some great trailers within walking distance. There's also Congress Cafe and Pearla. You'd walk away feeling you got something unique to Austin.
Also agree on you must hit Barley Swine. I also suggest you make a short cab ride to one of our newer EXCELLENT bbq joints that have taken the city by storm (Franklins - long wait, Mueller's or Live Oak are all very good choices).
Uchi is close to there and is an exceptional high-end experience (also a younger "made it" crowd).
However, downtown is where you'll get the youngish crowd, lots of bars and the high activity (higher end shopping and higher end eating - but truthfully, it's the same sort of dining/shopping you can get in any bustling city anywhere these days). It's a very short cab ride (do the pedi-bikes go back and forth from there, does anyone know?) or a longish walk to get there from S. Congress, so you can easily do both.
Amysue is right on the three BBQ joints, and as for the Live Oak one I can only add to the suggestion that if you go try the collards. They're really good. But also if you go, be prepared to smell like you've laid near a campfire of smokey post oak burning / hickory all night after about 5 minutes in the place. My buddy and I were laughing at how we smelled like campfires 3 hr later back in our offices after lunch a couple weeks ago. But great pork steak, chicken, and sausage (my fans there).
We've stayed at the San Jose a few times recently, visiting our daughter who goes to UT. Great location, it's on a busy street, but set back, so you're in a nice quiet oasis. Simple, but thoughtful decor. We've stayed in both the suites upstairs overlooking the pool and the ones in the back garden area. The second one is much quieter and more private, the other more lively with a view of the bar area.
The St. Cecilia looks nicer, but much more expensive and not in as good a location for walking and people watching IMO.
Our meal at Uchiko in January was among the best we've ever had, and we lived in NYC for a few years.