Bryn Huntpalmer lives in Austin, TX. Today, he’s sharing the best of his hometown for anyone needing a weekend (or more) away and wanting to dig into the creative side of Austin!
They say that 110 people move to Austin, TX, 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
1111 E. 11th St., #100 • 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.
Treasure City Thrift
2142 E. Seventh St. • 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.
403 W. Second St. • 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, Simpsons’ Minifigs and Hello Kitty to stuffed dragons and wooden playsets. And if it’s your birthday, they’ll give you a special gift.
501 Pedernales, Unit 2A • spratx.com
What better souvenir than 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 also classes and frequent events. If you’re in town on a Friday, be sure to follow the #atxfreeartfriday hashtag on Instagram to participate in a citywide treasure hunt for art. Finders, keepers.
Where to Eat
400 W. Second St. • 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 three delicious housemade guacamoles and three salsas with chips. Also: Their tortillas are made with duck fat. Enough said. Great for happy hour.
4905 Airport Blvd. • tysonstacos.com
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 tacos and, of course, breakfast tacos (you can’t visit Austin without eating at least one breakfast taco), Tyson’s is not to be missed. As if we needed to convince you further: they have free beer on Fridays.
East Side King Thai-Kun at Whisler’s
1816 E. Sixth St. • eastsidekingATX.com
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 on their list of the top 10 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.
2402 San Gabriel St. • 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.
Where to Stay
1609 E. Cesar Chavez • 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!) seven-room hotel.
Hotel Saint Cecilia
112 Academy Dr. • 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 and fine linens to make you feel like a rock star.
Hotel San Jose
1316 S. Congress Ave. • 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.
Are you ready to come to Austin?!
Check out more of Bryn Huntpalmer’s writing on Modernize.com.