Welcome to the biggest state in the United States of America, Texas. Our second stop on this USA tour was to Austin, Texas, the state capital.
Austin is known as a city that’s quite different to the rest of the state with a funky, fresh and outgoing culture. Live music is a big thing and drinking in bars is a popular past time.
My friend had heard great things from some of her friends about Austin so off we went. We had booked 3 nights, which was for me only 2 full days as we got in at 7pm on the 21st November, and I flew out on the 24th November at 6.30am. Also unfortunately, we chose the worst possible time to be in town. Thanksgiving holiday. Austin is a college town and so a lot of kids had gone home for the weekend or were with families. Despite this, we managed to make our own fun.
Day 1 – arrive – 21st November, Wednesday
We got a cab to the downtown, which is approximately $25, and we stayed at the super styling, Super 8 Motel. We went out to the well known 6th Street East where it’s all meant to be happening. Sadly… due to Thanksgiving Day next day, it wasn’t happening. We found a nice restaurant, Iron Cactus and had the famous Tex Mex. We also as per tradition, stuffed ourselves so full, we didn’t much feel like drinking. We went off to a bar but it was full of college students and the drinks were horrible, we then went to a bar with a tragic cover band who had all the rock of a piece of slate….. hilarious to watch and like a car crash, we couldn’t turn away. We were home by 12!
Day 2 – Thanksgiving – 22nd November, Thursday
We slept in and took our time. No rush today as it seems most things will be closed. We searched the net and found 24 Diner on 6th offering a great deal on a Turkey dinner AND Pumpkin pie – we were sold. We’ve been walking lots here in the USA which is great and we mosey’d on down 6th which wasn’t as dead as we thought it might be. We had to wait 30 mins at 24 Diner but this was better than the first advised, hour. The lunch was amazing! Best Turkey dinner and tasty mimosas to wash it down. We had turkey, cooked ham, spinach, mash potato, mash sweet potato, stuffing and lots of gravy and cranberry sauce. If this wasn’t enough, we got our first REAL Pumpkin Pie! We were so excited…. And so full.
The walk home was filled with lots of laughs as we tried to nurture our near bursting tummies. Back to the hotel and a big rest watching Christmas movies on TV.
Off out again for the nightlife, I was still super full and not up for it at all. But….. we had a ball! We went to Jackalope and rode on the giant rabbit and then to Buckshots for … shots! And we met the lovely bar tender Alan and his friend Chris came in. WELL we became fast friends and hung out til 5am with these boys- drinking crazy shots and walking into almost every bar there was.
Day 3 – The aftermath – 23rd November, Friday
A very late start and not feeling so peachy keen today. We walked to Capital Mounument and did our sightseeing bit. It’s a beautiful area with a great park and the building itself is lovely. We then went in search of famous Frank’s Hotdogs as my friend had to have one before she left. I passed as I needed fresh food for a change and opted for the delicious Franks Cobb Salad with grilled chicken. Well done! And a Cherry ginger limeade to wash it down.
We walked to Rainey street and saw all the funky old houses converted to bars but it didn’t look very special in the day, a bit run down and junk like. We stopped for an OJ as it’s quite a walk from the downtown to the river where we were. We stopped in El Naranjo with traditional Oaxacan food, though we couldn’t eat, It looked fantastic and I’d certainly like to go back and try it for a meal. We walked past also the Mexican American Cultural arts centre which had some fantastic colourful art on the outside though was unfortunately closed- worth a visit.
Back home again for a rest, I’ve become quite partial to the afternoon rest/nap on my travels. I have a tendency to burn out. Again watched multiple Christmas movies in our Motel room. When in Rome!
We went back to Rainey Street in the night to experience it’s true buzz and it really comes to life. Backyard bars, drinks in jars, fairy lights in the trees and everyone outdoors enjoying the scene. We met with our new friend and local guide Chris who could give us the rundown on what to do in the area. We hopped over to Bar 96 and played rings and ate some incredible tex mex food – chicken quesadillas and cheese, onion and chicken topped fries with chipotle sauce! Food trucks are the best!!! Another few bars, including one way over on the east side of 6th – all with that cool backyard, porch like feel of a BBQ with a whole bunch of friends – then at 2am time for bed.
Austin for us took a little time to warm up but once we got into the swing of it, we loved it. I can see that in the summer this place would be buzzing with live music and drinks in the afternoon. It’s great to know a local and to get all the tips on what to do. Clean, pretty and friendly people – Austin, Texas you get the thumbs up from me! See ya’ll next time.