Want to make the most of your time when visiting Austin, Texas? On a recent trip to Austin, I went in pretty unprepared. I have a habit of just “winging it” while traveling. By doing this, I definitely learned some dos and don’ts. Follow my tips so you can enjoy your trip to Austin as much as possible!
Do bring cash to play games on 6th Street
If you are into nightlife and bar hopping, then you will definitely need to visit 6th Street. This part of downtown Austin comes alive at night. They even shut down the street to cars, so pedestrians can easily walk in the streets as they go from spot to spot.
Travis and I had fun playing games in some of these bars. It was a good thing we had cash, because this made it easy to exchange cash for arcade tokens and the like. Visit Recess Arcade Bar for access to nostalgic arcade games. If you are more into classic dive bar games like darts, foosball, skeeball, and shooting pool, then Buffalo Billiards is your spot.
Do listen to live music
Did you know that Austin is the live music capital of the world? Austin has more live music venues per capita than any other city. Just walking along 6th street in the evening hours makes this claim pretty hard to dispute. You can hear the open air filled with the sound of dozens of bands playing at any given time. Regardless of your taste in music, I’m sure you will be able to find a live music venue to enjoy. There are plenty of country and blues joints, but we mostly listened to bands playing rock covers.
Do stop at Eureka! for a Eureka punch
When Travis and I visited Austin, it was crazy hot. We needed to stop into a place for some air conditioning, and just happened to choose Eureka! at random. Travis ordered a burger and I got the shrimp salad, both of which were great. But the real showstopper was the Eureka punch. It was light and refreshing, not too sweet cocktail perfection.
A week after our Texas trip when we visited Vegas, we stumbled upon another Eureka! location on Fremont Street. It was not even a question that we popped into that one and enjoyed another Eureka punch.
Don’t stay at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol
Overall, the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol was fine…I have definitely stayed in much worse places. However, for me, location is the most important aspect of any accommodations. As mentioned previously, I did very little research for our Austin trip, so I thought that this hotel was closer to downtown. Unfortunately, it was a 20 minute walk to 6th street and a 10 minute drive to the river. Unless you have business at the capitol, I would opt for something more centrally located.
The other disappointing aspect of this hotel was the noise! I am a pretty heavy sleeper, so for me to be bothered by noise at night is rare. The staff offered ear plugs in the room, so they are aware of the problem. I was up all night hearing ambulance sirens and horns from the freeway. We were fortunate enough to only be there over the weekend. If we had been there while the construction was happening right outside our window, there is no way we would have been able to sleep through it.
Don’t assume you can walk everywhere
My favorite way to explore new places while traveling is to walk around. I had several spots in Austin that I wanted to hit in the short time we had available there. Sadly, I didn’t get to see everything because our hotel, and 6th street, and the river were all fairly spread out in distance. If you want to take all of Austin in, I recommend getting a rental car or planning on taking lots of uber rides.
Don’t eat at the Iron Cactus
My final don’t for visiting Austin is the Iron Cactus restaurant on 6th street. I hate writing negative reviews, and overall, the Iron Cactus was not terrible. We went to the Iron Cactus for dinner. Initially we wanted to sit outside, but the rooftop (even in the shade) was just unbearably hot, so we had to sit inside.
I ordered the frozen sangria, that arrived to the table completely melted. My husband ordered the regular sangria, and both were really tart. Since we didn’t like those, we ordered another drink (I don’t remember which), but we didn’t like that one either…bummer. We ordered dinner, and I had the lobster tacos. They were really tasty, but took foreverrrrr to get to our table. Every step along the way, the service was unreasonably slow. We were both SO ready to get out of there by the time we finally paid the bill.
Austin, Texas is a fun city with great nightlife and music. If you are into those things, then it is definitely worth a visit. If you’re in the area a while, I would also recommend driving the 1.5 hours to San Antonio. This was our favorite place in Texas and is absolutely worth a detour.
Leah Little has a full time job as a social worker, and has managed to travel the world while wearing beautiful clothes by knowing how to score deals in travel and fashion. Learn more about her journey here. Join the Leah Little Travel and Fashion tribe by entering your email to subscribe to be the first to learn new ways to enjoy the best in travel and fashion for less. Say hi and send her a message! Contact