Bryn Huntpalmer lives in Austin, TX. Today, she’s sharing the best of her hometown for anyone needing a weekend (or more) away and wanting to dig into the creative side of Austin! Welcome Bryn!

They say that 110 people move to Austin, Texas every day. So over the last few years, as things have gotten noticeably more crowded, Austinites have created an unofficial slogan for the city: “Welcome to Austin. Please don’t move here.” With Austin racking up so much recognition for being Texas’ indie-cool capital, though, it’s become pretty difficult to convince out-of-towners that they should head back home — and stay there. Whether you’re visiting Austin for the first time, or you’re one of those 110 folks headed here to call it home, we think you’ll enjoy checking out some of our most favorite spots in town.

Where to Shop

Take Heart
1111 E 11th St #100
Austin, TX 78702
takeheartshop.com

Looking for the perfect gift, a unique piece of home decor, or just some delicious artisan chocolate? This adorable little shop is expertly curated to have pretty much all must-haves on the shelves.

Image Credit: Take Heart

Image Credit: Take Heart

Treasure City Thrift
2142 E. 7th Street
Austin TX 78702
treasurecitythrift.org

Austin’s big on thrifting, and this East Side shop is one of the best. They’re dedicated to being truly thrifty, so you’ll find nothing but reasonably priced treasures here — they even have a monthly 25-cent sale. Pick up a vintage Antone’s tee, a Baby A’s margarita glass, or another fabulous souvenir to take back home and show off to your friends.

Treasure City Thrift

Image credit: profanexistence.com

Toy Joy
403 W 2nd Street
Austin, TX 78701
toyjoy.com

Kids of all ages get a kick out of Toy Joy, quite possibly the best toy store ever. Find everything here from a Rody in every color of the rainbow, to Simpsons Minifigs and Hello Kitty, to stuffed dragons and wooden playsets. And if it’s your birthday, they’ll give you a special gift.

Toy Joy Austin TX

Image Credit: Austinot.com

SprATX Store
501 Pedernales Unit 2A
Austin, TX 78702
spratx.com

What better souvenir that a unique piece of art made by a local artist? SprATX is a collective made up of Austin street artists, and their store not only offers T-shirts, sculptures, prints, and paintings, but they offer classes and frequently hold events. If you’ll be in town on a Friday, be sure to follow the #atxfreeartfriday hashtag on Instagram to participate in a city-wide treasure hunt for art. Finders, keepers.

spratx store in Austin TX

Image Credit: do512blog.com

Where to Eat

La Condesa
400 W 2nd Street
Austin, TX 78701
lacondesa.com/austin

Have a fancy lunch or dinner at this super swank Warehouse District restaurant serving contemporary Mexican dishes. You absolutely must start off with the sampler of their 3 delicious house-made guacamoles and 3 salsas with chips. Also: Their tortillas are made with duck fat. Enough said. Great for happy hour.

la condesa in Austin, TX

Image Credit: lacondesa.com

Tyson’s Tacos
4905 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751

We’re a little reluctant to tell you about this not-so-secret spot that serves the most amazing tacos ever, but, here we are spillin’ it. With highly creative tacos like miso egg and fried beef rib, plus a ton of traditional style tacos and, of course, breakfast tacos (you can’t visit Austin without eating at least 1 breakfast taco), Tyson’s is not to be missed. As if we needed to convince you further: they have free beer on Fridays.

Tysons Tacos Austin

Image Credit: opticosdesign.com

East Side King Thai-Kun
At Whisler’s, 1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

What if we told you that one of the best new restaurants in the country is a food trailer parked behind a bar? Yep. Bon Appetit placed East Side King Thai-kun at #8 in their list of the top ten best new restaurants of 2014. Get there early — this place gets packed, and there’s often a pretty long line formed by 7 p.m.

Freedmen’s

2402 San Gabriel Street
Austin, TX 78705
freedmensbar.com

A trip to Texas without eating any barbecue just isn’t right. Skip the line at Franklin’s and opt for Freedmen’s, located in a gorgeous historical building just west of the University of Texas campus. Not only is their barbecue game totally on point, but they serve incredible craft cocktails and have a ridiculous amount of whiskey to choose from should you be in the mood. Just save room for smoked banana pudding.

freedmans austin tx

Image Credit: aiaustin.org

Where to Stay

Heywood Hotel
1609 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702
heywoodhotel.com

Billing itself as Austin’s newest boutique hotel, the Heywood is smack-dab in the middle of one of the coolest pockets of East Austin — plus it’s walking distance to downtown, so there’s no need to even rent a car. Sixth Street, Congress Avenue bats, the Austin Museum of Art, plus a ton of fabulous bars, shops, and restaurants are all within a mile of this ultra hip (and affordable!) 7-room hotel.

heywood hotel patio

The patio at the Heywood Hotel. The perfect spot to relax before heading out for a night on the town. Image credit: Heywood Hotel

Image Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Hotel Saint Cecilia
112 Academy Drive
Austin, TX 78704
hotelsaintcecilia.com

Located just south of Lady Bird Lake in the heart of South Austin, Hotel Saint Cecilia offers guests some serious charm — the building is a sprawling Victorian house with five rooms furnished with fun antiques, a record player, lush furniture, fine linens to make you feel like a rock star.

St Cecilia Hotel Austin

Grab a stiff drink at the bar and enjoy the trendy outdoor patio. Image credit: Trendybride.net

St Cecilia Austin TX

Image credit: hotelsaintcecilia.com

Hotel pool St Cecilia Austin TX

This boutique hotel also features 9 bohemian-modern poolside bungalows and studios. This pool area makes the Saint Cecilia feel like an oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Image Credit: HotelSaintCecilia.com

Hotel San Jose
1316 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
sanjosehotel.com

Located on South Congress Avenue, Hotel San Jose is the ultimate place to stay if you want to have countless vintage shops, clothing and gift stores, restaurants, bars, and music venues right out your front door.

Fun fact: Hotel San Jose is owned by Liz Lambert, who also owns Hotel Saint Cecilia.

hotel san jose-sign autin TX

Image Credit: Hotel San Jose

hotelsanjose-courtyardsuite-furniture

A courtyard suite, simply decorated, with lovely red accents. Image Credit: Hotel San Jose

hotel-san-jose-patio

And if you don’t want to leave the property, the hotel has an amazing bar with a fantastic outdoor patio. Image credit: lakeflato.com

Are you ready to come to Austin?!

Check out more of Bryn Huntpalmer’s writing on Modernize.com.