If someone said, “Hey, Sarah, create your dream weekend,” I think it’d look a lot like this past weekend in Austin, Texas. I spent three days with four of my favorite people. We stayed in a gorgeous house (Airbnb is the best) and explored a seriously cool city. The weather had that perfect 75-and-breezy thing going, and we dined on patios and sat in the sun all weekend long.
For anyone interested, I’m putting my little “Guide to an Austin Weekend” below. We chose these spots based in large part on excellent recs from friends of my friend Laura (who was master planner for this trip), as well as a few other friend recommendations and the occasional suggestion from articles in the New York Times and Travel + Leisure. Consider this a tested, tried, and true list of some awesome Austin spots if you’re in the mood for a relaxed, food-filled weekend in a fun city.
Launderette: Stylish, amazing small plates, order the pimento cheese, do NOT skip dessert
Jo’s Coffee (on South Congress): Get there early for breakfast tacos, order iced coffee, and sit on the deck
Perla’s: Perfect tree-shaded patio. Incredible seafood. Best people watching.
Geraldine’s: Great spot for cocktails, shared plates, and an elevated view of downtown
Justine’s: Seriously cool French restaurant. Go—and stay—late. Order steak tartare, french fries, and sazeracs.
Irene’s: Brunch includes patio seating, rose on draft, and multiple versions of toasts (I think the kids call this basic, but whatever, it was great)
June’s: Delightfully colorful street side cafe that feels more Paris than Texas
Guero’s Taco Bar: Casual TexMex in a historical restaurant with live music next door
Garage: Cozy, candlelit bar with creative cocktails—inside a parking garage
Midnight Cowboy: Reservations required at this massage parlor-turned-speakeasy where you ring an innocuous buzzer to get in. Drinks are made table side—and strong.
Stay Gold: Sophisticated drinks, lounge-y vibe, great jazz music.
Lady Bird Lake Loop Trail: Waterside trail with great city and river views.
Barton Spring’s Pool: This bright blue spring-fed pool in the middle of town was full of swimmers—even in January.
South Congress Vintage Shopping: Feathers and Uncommon Objects seemed to be the favorites, but there’s plenty here to keep any shopper happy.