Austin has been dubbed ‘Portland’s sister city’ so I decided to explore Austin and fact check that statement. My findings were conclusive; Austin has a food, music and craft cocktail scene that I would deem comparable to my home city, PDX.
I planned my first-timer Austin discovery trip for the second weekend of October in order to hit the Austin City Limits music festival because well…I LOVE music festivals and I needed some Portland rain relief.
How to maximize a long weekend in Austin, Texas
Austin City Limits 2017 Overview
Cost: Affordable. $255 for a three day general admission wristband.
Crowded: Yes. Over 75,000 people in attendance each day. But the festival is spread out across six stages. I never felt overwhelmed by the crowd and there was plenty of space to throw out your blanket and relax.
Accessibility: Very easy. Located in Zilker Park. There are many festival-provided downtown shuttles and ride-share companies available to get you to the park. In addition, there were plenty of bike parking spaces. I would not recommend driving as there is limited parking and congested roads near the festival.
Festival Food/Drinks: Austin is known for its food. This extends into the festival. It is INCREDIBLE. The food court is called ACL Eats. You will not find curly fry bricks and bland yakisoba noodles. Instead you will find local food trucks with gourmet kimchi fries and tacos, empanadas, and vegan chocolate covered bananas. There were also plenty of free hydration stations as well as wine and beer vendors.
Weather: Expect high 80’s. Our weekend was very hot and humid. We decided to only visit Austin city limits festival after 5pm to avoid heat exhaustion and to explore Austin city each day.
First-timers must see in Austin
Explore Austin, Texas
Rainey Street: A historical district lined with bungalow houses which have been converted to bars, restaurants and clubs. Visit on a Sunday for brunch to hear live music and bar hop for brunch drink specials.
West 6th Street: Late evening entertainment bars and clubs packed with both college students and adults. Check out Kung Fu Saloon for an arcade and ping pong or The Dogwood for a dog friendly atmosphere and DJ.
South Congress: Great for trendy boutiques, galleries and eateries including the infamous Torchy’s Tacos. There are also plenty of live music shows on this hip stretch.
Torchy’s Tacos: Once a food truck, now over 30 locations and a trailer park. Try the ‘trailer park’ taco and also the green chile queso and guacamole.
Weather Up: Vintage backyard setting with craft cocktails and crab cakes on the brunch menu. This is where I experienced my first frosé which is a delicious brunch cocktail blended with fresh strawberries, mint, ice and rosé wine.
Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden: A Rainey Street brunch must-do. They have a special brunch menu complete with mimosa stein glasses, a bloody mary bar and over 100 beers on tap. Every Sunday expect a live band in the beer garden and large community picnic tables.
HOPE Outdoor Gallery: A community paint park located at 11th & Baylor Street, downtown. Open 9am-7pm. You can appreciate all of the professional graffiti art or bring a can of spray paint and tag the walls and sidewalk yourself.
Whole Foods World Headquarters: The grandest of organic grocery stores, complete with a full bar. A great place for not only shopping but also cracking open a bottle of rosé with lunch.
Street Art: Austin has the most beautiful street art found around almost every corner. Some of the most notable are seen below and can be found on South Congress, Rainey Street and 6th Street.
This is a handsome life,