What to Eat, Drink, See, and Wear When You Visit Austin
From breakfast tacos to outdoor adventures, here’s your itinerary for your trip to Austin.
Austin, TX contains multitudes. It has high-rise buildings, and it has natural pools. It’s a blue city in a red state. The growing food scene is simultaneously elevated and casual. In any given bar, you might see cowboy boots, high-top sneakers, and stilettos.
It’s a city that’s hard to describe; most people who visit just say, “This place has a good vibe.” I agree.
Whether you’re visiting for a conference, taking a trip with friends, or just coming to see the sights, there are a few places you won’t want to miss while you’re in Austin. Here’s what to eat, drink, see, and wear during your trip.
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Where to Stay
Staying at The Austin Proper is definitely a “treat yourself” moment (read: it’s not cheap). But the transportive interior design (all done by Kelly Wearstler), prime downtown location, and luxurious, guests-only cocktail bar make it worth the price tag. The Proper also has two great restaurants, a rooftop pool, and a spa.
What to Wear: Waste no time getting your trip started by choosing a comfortable but polished plane outfit. The Milo jeans, Axam turtleneck, and Sierra shacket fit the bill: They have plenty of stretch, and they won’t wrinkle during your flight. (Plus, I’ve worn this exact outfit out and about in Austin multiple times and can confirm that I felt great.) The Axam and Sierra are fitted enough that you can add a coat like the Kasha if it’s cold, and the Hugo necklace set and Winona earrings give the look some extra shine. Finally, the M.M. x SENREVE Maestra bag is ideal for travel, because it holds everything you need and can be worn as either a backpack or a chic purse.
Hotel San Jose — If you want to be right in the middle of all the action, this charming boutique hotel is a great bet. Situated on South Congress—which is kind of like Austin’s version of Manhattan’s 5th Avenue—it features modern interior design, a lush poolside courtyard, and a well-curated gift shop for souvenirs.
Commodore Perry Estate — For a more tranquil experience that’s slightly off the beaten path, book a room at the Commodore Perry Estate, which is just as lavish as it sounds. Stroll around the sprawling grounds and help yourself to a glass of Champagne in the stately lobby—and know that when you’re ready to explore the rest of Austin, you’re less than a 15-minute drive away from many of the city’s best attractions.
Where to Eat
Austin is known for great Mexican food, and Suerte offers some of the best in the city. Ordering family-style is the way to go, so you can taste as many dishes as possible. Everyone talks about the suadero tacos, featuring confit wagyu brisket, avocado, and their signature “black magic oil”—and they live up to the hype. But don’t stop there. The ever-rotating seasonal menu misses rarely (if ever), so you can order with abandon, knowing that whatever arrives is going to be great. Reservations can be difficult to come by, so book yours as early as possible (and if you can’t snag a dinner spot, they also do an excellent brunch). Love seafood? Try Este, a new restaurant from the same team behind Suerte.
What to Wear: Austin’s style leans casual, but not so casual that you can’t dress up a little for dinner. This Power Casual outfit is all about balancing elegance with ease. Take, for instance, the Giana pants, which are like cargo pants (yes, they’re back!), but made from beautiful washable satin. Or the Anna jacket, which has the vibe of a denim jacket, but with a more polished look and feel. Pair these pieces with a luxe T-shirt and some knit booties for an outfit you could wear anywhere in the city.
Veracruz All Natural — No guide to Austin would be complete without a stellar breakfast-taco recommendation. Veracruz is *the* place to go—and we love that it’s woman-owned. Don’t miss the migas taco, which includes tortilla chips for crunch, or “el tradicional,” which is basically the platonic ideal of a breakfast taco. Veracruz has six locations throughout the city, so you’re never too far from a satisfying meal.
Birdie’s — Located on Austin’s East Side, Birdie’s offers a tightly curated menu of European-inspired dishes that change daily based on the local produce. It’s run by a dynamic husband-and-wife team (she does the food; he does the wine), and both the pastas and the wine list are arguably the best in the city. Birdie’s doesn’t take reservations, so we recommend showing up as close to opening as you can—or not, because ordering a glass of wine while you wait in line is part of the experience.
Oseyo — Oseyo serves beautifully executed Korean comfort food in a sleek but cozy environment. Start your meal with ddukbokki (chewy rice cakes in sweet-and-spicy sauce) and dumplings, then move onto shareable main dishes like kimchi fried rice, Korean barbecue lettuce wraps, and jjajangmyeon (noodles in fermented black bean sauce—my personal favorite). If you like your cocktails strong, you’ll appreciate the Jozen Martini and the Coffee Wash, which brings us to our next section…
Where to Drink
Lively patio? Check. Delicious and inventive cocktails? Check. Intimate mezcal tasting room upstairs and a food truck out back? Check and check. Whisler’s has something for everyone, and it’s a great place to soak in the local scene during your visit. If you’re a fan of mezcal (or you’re ready to become one), make your way upstairs to Mezcalería Tobalá for a tasting. But of course, you also can’t go wrong with a classic Old Fashioned, which you can order from either of the two downstairs bars. Want to keep the night going? Whisler’s is located within walking distance from plenty of great spots, including The White Horse, a classic Austin honky tonk that features live country music.
What to Wear: When you go out in Austin, you’ll find outfits ranging from ultra-casual (think jeans and T-shirts) to super formal (think tight dresses and high heels). Personally, I like to aim for somewhere in the middle. The Lisey cami in washable silk charmeuse is a go-to, because anything in that fabric makes you feel instantly celebratory (the color is called Champagne, after all). Since the cami has a simple silhouette, I’ll complement it with an interesting pair of pants like the Giana that can serve as the focal point of my outfit. If it were still summer, I’d just slip on some sandals and go, but during the colder months, I’m layering on cozy sweaters like the Caro, which also helps to dress the look down.
Small Victory — If you’re looking to enjoy a perfectly made martini in an intimate environment, Small Victory is the spot for you. This speakeasy-style bar looks unassuming from the outside (you have to ring a buzzer to get in), but once you make your way up the stairs, you’re greeted by a warm and welcoming interior. If you’re going on a weekend night, be sure to make a reservation to secure your spot.
Nickel City — Nickel City is just fun. Grab a beer or a mixed drink, and maybe some fries, and make a new best friend for the evening.
La Holly — La Holly specializes in Tequila and mezcal drinks, which is exactly what you should be ordering when you’re in Texas. Go for a spicy margarita, or the “Viejo Amigo,” which is like an Old Pal, but with mezcal instead of whiskey (get it?).
What to See
One of my favorite things about Austin is that it offers easy access to nature within a major city. Lady Bird Lake and the surrounding hike-and-bike trail are big parts of that. Walk the trail or rent a kayak or paddle board to experience some of the city’s best views.
What to Wear: If you’re getting on the water during this time of year, you’ll want to bundle up. Choose warm pieces that allow you to move easily, like the Axam turtleneck and Stella leggings, then add the Britt parka and a beanie for extra warmth. The best thing about this outfit? Once you’re done with your outdoor adventure, you can go straight to your next activity—whether that’s shopping, lunch, drinks—without having to change.
Antone’s — Austin is famous for its live music, and there’s no better place to experience it than at a historic venue like Antone’s. Check the calendar and catch a show while you’re in town if you can. Visiting during the warmer months? Get tickets to see a show at the gorgeous Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park.
Barton Springs Pool — If you visit Austin during the summer, you won’t want to miss Barton Springs, a natural cold-water pool that feels like heaven in the hundred-degree heat. Pro tip: Buy your ticket online in advance so you can skip the ticket line and head straight to the admissions line (and don’t be intimidated if it looks long—it moves quickly!).