48 hours in Texas
My first visit to Texas was short and sweet with just 48 hours to explore the state capital – Austin.
The best way to explore any new city (in my opinion!) is on foot – so a pair of trainers, my iPhone and a couple of friends was all I needed.
A day of walking should always start with a hearty breakfast, so based on a friend’s recommendation we headed to Austin Java for egg, bacon and cheese quesadillas and breakfast tacos washed down with frozen raspberry mochas. And so my love affair with Austin begins.
Suitably stuffed from breakfast, we headed south across the Colorado River to quirky South Congress (SoCo) Avenue. Arriving in the main hub, we made a pitstop at Austin City Lemons for some much needed lemonade refreshment. A tourist’s playground, SoCo is full of quirky, independent stores selling quite literally everything (see photo evidence below).
My favourite store, without a doubt, was Allens Boots – home to thousands of pairs of traditional cowboy boots, hats and belts. If there’s one place you should visit in Austin to make you really feel like you’re in Texas, it’s here!
After plenty of window shopping and photographs, we decided to give our feet a rest and jump into taxi to head north of the river to The University of Texas campus.
The University campus is as beautiful as it is big – from the architecture to the manicured gardens, it’s clear to see the attraction for the 51,000 students currently studying in Austin. To give a little context to the size of the campus, the centrally located University sports stadium is one of the largest in America with a capacity of over 102,000. Of course we stopped by the UT sports store to pick up team t-shirts and become official Longhorns fans.
Our second day in Austin started with a run around Lady Bird Lake – the 10 mile trail provides an escape from the city streets for the locals. The cool, cloudy morning provided the perfect conditions for running, with the sunshine burning away the clouds in time for an alfresco brunch.
On the back of another recommendation we headed to Jo’s for generous portions of food, juice and coffees – its casual and friendly atmosphere perfectly summed up Austin for us and provided a great spot to relax and watch the world go by.
For our final few hours in Austin and the very reason for our trip, we headed to a friend’s wedding at a beautiful historic venue – The Allan House – where we celebrated in the garden, listening to live music and dining on traditional Texan barbecue courtesy of The Salt Lick, followed by delicious dessert from Austin favourite Amy’s Ice Creams.
The wedding after-party, complete with a cocktail (or two) at the ever iconic and vibrant W Hotel, rounded off our stay just nicely.
Austin gave us everything we wanted from a city break – culture, music, delicious food, quirky shopping and the sunshine certainly helped too.