After spending 2 weeks in the Southern States of the USA, Austin was a refreshing city to visit. Austin has a great vibe, excellent public transport options, great food and coffee.
As we were doing a road trip, we, of course, had a hire car. However, Austin has so many great transport options we didn’t use it much during our visit.
The main centre of Austin is not too big so we found it very easy to get around. They also have an abundance of B-Bikes and Jump Bikes, as well as E-Scooters. We purchased the “all you can eat” B-Bike pass which was an affordable option for a day of exploring. For USD$12.99 you get unlimited 60min bike trips all day. There were plenty of parking spaces available all across the city so we could always find a bike. There is also a great river trail which is perfect to cycle along.
We stayed in an Air BnB in the suburb of Chestnut just east of the CBD. We were able to easily get a bus to the main centre of Austin. A day pass for Local Services was only USD $2.50.
Best things to see and do
Summer is super hot in Austin, so the best place we visited was Barton Springs. Barton Springs is a natural spring very close to the city. It offers excellent swimming but be warned the water was chilly. It was so inviting I just jumped straight in and got the shock of my life. For non-residents, it was USD $9 to enter. However, if you want to save money you can walk down the creek a bit and swim for free, this is what we did one of the days.
Kayak the Colorado River
We rented a double Kayak from the Texas Rowing Centre, it was affordable at only USD $10ph and it was an excellent way to see the city and explore Barton Creek. Barton Creek was home to lots of turtles, the water was crystal clear and offered more great swimming.
Have a round of mini-golf
One of the evenings we decided to go and play mini-golf. It was too hot during the day but was lots of fun in the evening. We went to Peter Pan Mini-Golf which was BYO Alcohol so it had a festive atmosphere. I kicked Ali’s butt by the way.
Drink great coffee and eat yum food
Austin has many great cafes, we particularly enjoyed the following;
- Bouldin Creek Cafe – Excellent Vegan and Vegetarian food
- Houndstooth Coffee – Right on Congress Avenue, had very good coffee
- Sour Duck Market – Nice breakfasts and coffee lose to our Air BnB in East Austin
- True Food Kitchen – Good vegetarian options for dinner but a little pricey
- Handle Bar – A little rooftop bar close to the CBD, a perfect place for an evening beer
Also, another great option for lunch is heading to the closest WholeFoods, they have awesome salad and sandwich bars.
Visit Mellow Yellow Bike Shop
This one is for the cycling fans out there. Mellow Yellow Bike Shop is Lance Armstrong’s bike shop in downtown Austin. It has great cycling kits, displays Lance’s ‘winning’ bikes and Yellow Jerseys and it also has great coffee.
Watch the bats
Starting in late March and continuing through early Autumn, North America’s largest urban bat population live under the Congress Avenue Bridge in central Austin.
The best time to see the bats is at sunset and the display of them taking off into the night can last for up to 45min. It was a great sight to see as thousands of bats flew out over the city to start their evening adventures.
We just watched for free from the bridge, but we could see people on kayak and boat tours in the water below.
Live music on 6th Street
Austin is famous for its live music, we spent a few hours exploring 6th Street but we were pretty tired so didn’t stay out for long. There are tonnes of bars pumping out live music so it is pretty easy to spot somewhere to go.
We are sure we missed lots of what Austin had to offer as it was a quick 2-night visit. However, even during our short visit we found Austin to be one of the best cities in the South.
For more previous road trips in the USA check out USA – 1 month West Coast Road Trip and Camping and exploring Yosemite National Park
Or to see what else we got up to on this road trip check out – Southern USA Road Trip