Christmas day has passed, but you can still experience the joy that lights in the sky and bring smiles to families everywhere. A favourite Christmas light festival is held yearly at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters in Austin until January 2, 2019.
Every year this local spot decorates their patio with 1 million lights and entertains the community with live piano music. I didn’t expect the place to be so busy. Parking was free at the Oyster Marina across the street and herds of families were coming and going from this venue. The line up inside coffee shop was likely a 30 minute wait and thankfully they had express stations set up in three other spots around the exterior of the property. We got our hot chocolate and chocolate brownie from the express station and only waited 2 minutes. With plenty of seating available on the deck, it was easy to find a place for two to sit right next to the marina-side.
Visiting the capital of Texas is sure to leave you with a city and outdoor mixed lifestyle for experience. Austin is known for its tech industry, SXSW, BBQ, and keeping it weird! I have beed to this happening city three times and each time was short and sweet. I’d like to offer you a quick guide to help you decide what to do when you visit Austin. My most recent visit was in December, 2018.
Where to Stay: The Domain, Downtown, or South Congress. if you want to the ability to keep your car parked and walk around an area filled with shops and restaurants (more on the upscale side) go with The Westin in the Domain area. Like all Westin hotels it is extremely comfortable, convenient, with a little bit of luxury. If you do stay here, do make sure to take a trip to other neighbourhoods, because there is more to Austin than boutiques and brand name shops that you can find in any city.
Most recently I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in South Austin of Interstate Highway 35 and although the distance to South Congress was only a few minutes, I felt this area was too isolated and a little industrial. You can probably save a few bucks by staying in this area during peak season, but I think the prices are relatively the same. I wanted to stay in a different area and thought this part of town might be worth exploring. Big Fail!
Utensils are packaged in paper. Nice touch! Most places don’t consider the hygiene factor of leaving the utensils bar in rusting pail with crumbs in the bottom. This pail was clean and the utensils are wrapped in paper.
Serving local craft beer
Local goods available for purchase.
Austin has an abundance of food selections and is popular for food trucks and bbq. On our way in to Austin, driving from Dallas, we chose to dine in at Greenhouse Craft Food. The chef crafted each item with the notion of farm to table making sure everything that is served is locally sourced and sustainable. We ordered Texas chili, a grilled pimento cheese sandwich, a burger, and a side of fries. Check out their menu. The environment is uber casual and since we were there on a weekday, it wasn’t too busy and our food was serviced within 15-20 minutes. We did have the mindset of patience and could afford to wait a little longer if we had to. Cook to order and farm to table is a specialty worth waiting for.
All the great reviews we read were really on point. From the customer service, wait time, food prep, presentation, taste and quality, we were 100% satisfied. We had the flapjacks, and omelette, two scrambled eggs, and hashbrowns and coffee all for only $24.00. This new restaurants has a long and narrow interior with a 50s style diner feel. You can sit at the bar, in a booth, or if you are a party of two, you will be seated at the side by side tables that are almost too close for comfort with people on your left and on your right. Headsup: There is barely any parking in their lot and you will likely have to park on one of the side streets nearby.
Where to Walk: South Congress and Lady Bird Lake
This area is a must on any day. Taking a stroll on this street is sure to give you that Austin vibe you have wondering about. Here you will find tons of local coffee shops, antique and boutiques, restaurants, galleries and the picture postcard featured as our main image. Residential is mixed in this area and you will notice massive aloe trees on many of the streets too.
Only a few minutes from downtown and South Congress you can experience the outdoorsy lifestyle. You can rent a bike or walk along the trail next to the lake, while you soak in the nature this city has to offer.
If you thought Texas was completely flat, you have to experience the rolling hills on this scenic route leading up to this bridge (Hwy 2222). Once you get to the bridge, there are a few spaces to pull over beside the cliff and there is a pathway to hike up to the top. The hike up is only a few minutes and can be done by all age levels as long as you have a bit of strength to step over and up huge rocks. Take your time if you need to. I did see many elderly doing this walk up with help from their family. Once you get to the top the view is spectacular and photos are a must! Expect to spend 5-10 minutes here, unless you plan to meditate and do a complete photo shoot, but I wouldn’t leave my car parked for too long. The area isn’t zoned for parking and it is obvious that car windows have been smashed because there was a lot of glass around the area.
Have you been to Austin? What do you recommend? Leave your comments below.