3 Weekend Guides to Austin

Experiencing an amazing weekend in Austin is less about the “have to do” and more about fitting in all the fun.


Treat yourself to Texas hash at the new brick-and-mortar location of Paperboy before stopping in at the Austin Visitor Center for free maps and Wi-Fi, unique Austin goods and a guided walking tour around downtown. From there, it’s just a short hop to the quirky boutiques and eateries on always-happening South Congress Avenue. Grab lunch at the 24-hour Magnolia Cafe before taking a spin around the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake on an electric rental from MOD BIKES. Find boundary-pushing art at The Contemporary Austin at the Jones Center and get free same-day entry to its sister museum, The Contemporary Austin-Laguna Gloria. For dinner, try Native Bar & Kitchen for a casual bite and a cocktail to prep for true Texas honky-tonk dancing at The White Horse.

Native Hostel Kitchen Bar.

Start your second day with a giant breakfast kolache at Holy Roller before joining the backstage tour at ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Take some snaps of the gorgeous peacocks at Mayfield Park and panoramas atop Mount Bonnell. Nearby Burnet Road is packed with vintage stores and record shops full of funky finds. For your grand finale, pair a blood orange margarita with tacos and a sweeping skyline view on the rooftop of El Alma.


Thinkery children’s museum. Photo credit: Thinkery.

Take the whole fam to 24 Diner for house-made chicken and waffles before exploring Zilker Park. If you brought a suit along, take a dip in the refreshing Barton Springs Pool. Then head to Fareground, Austin’s coolest food hall, where there’s something for everyone (including beer and wine!). Engage your brain at Thinkery, a children’s museum that’s fun for adults, too. Live music and fresh fare abound at Central Market’s cafe on North Lamar, where local musicians and a playscape make everyone happy. To round out your day, there’s no better way to experience an awesome sunset and Austin’s famous bats than on a Capital Cruises Bat Watching Tour.

Fareground food hall.

For a family-friendly Sunday brunch, stop in at neighborhood haunt Cherrywood Coffeehouse for music by children’s entertainers. If there’s a home game, hightail it north and cheer on the Round Rock Express baseball team. Closer to town, strolling the nature trails at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is always a delight. For something more active, don a white hat and go full cowboy on  the Texas Trail Rides horseback tour. Indulge in Southwest-inspired comfort food — like five-cheese macaroni and achiote chicken — at Jack Allen’s Kitchen before seeing who can get the highest score at Pinballz, an arcade that houses one of the largest pinball game collections in the U.S.


Elisabet Ney Museum.
Elisabet Ney Museum.

Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop, open for 75 years and counting, is known for serving up some of the best huevos rancheros in the city. You’ll be well-fueled for a tour of the Susanna Dickinson and O. Henry museums, both located in Brush Square. For a unique lunch spot, the Commodore Perry Estate is an architectural marvel. Its on-site eatery, Lutie’s Garden Restaurant, offers a mix of Texan and New American fare. You can spend hours walking the exhibits at the Bullock Texas State History Museum and taking in a film at the IMAX Theatre. Music history fans will want to make time for dinner and some two-steppin’ at the Broken Spoke, a classic dance hall that has hosted performances by Dolly Parton and George Strait.

Have brunch at Mattie’s at Green Pastures, a decadent Southern affair in an old farmhouse home. Don’t have too many milk punches or you won’t make it to the Texas Capitol Visitors Center and the free Capitol Tour. For something interactive, check the schedule at the Elisabet Ney Museum for its free art programs and workshops. Dig into the city’s roots by taking a walking tour of the Six Square Historic District, Austin’s proud black cultural district, with attractions that include the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural & Genealogy Center. A bowl of Bob Armstrong queso and a sizzling plate of fajitas for dinner at Matt’s Famous El Rancho will end your weekend on a high note.


Austin Visitors Guide

Ready for more? Discover travel tips and the best places to eat, stay and play in Austin. Get your free copy of the official guide.