Stop what you’re doing right now!!!
Go mark off a weekend on your calendar and follow this guide for a guaranteed fun weekend in Austin.
Matt and I went on a ‘mini-moon’ to Austin following our wedding since his work schedule wouldn’t allow him to take off long enough for a ‘real’ honeymoon. Well, I now take that back, Austin was fun enough to allow us to consider it a ‘real’ honeymoon.
Let’s start from the top. The car ride.
-Lots of hand holding!!!
The Hilton DoubleTree Austin Arboretum was by far my favorite ‘non-resort style’ hotel I’ve ever stayed in. I wasn’t expecting too much from this hotel because the price was SO decent that I figured it would be just an average, middle class stay. I was so wrong. Pulling up to the hotel, the exterior was so fun and cute and nicely painted in bright, vibrant colors. The parking lot was clean and had plenty of spaces close to the front entrance.
We walked into a nice entry way with a cute chandelier and a bright pink welcome desk. I instantly fell in love. Everything was so colorful and eclectic!
The front desk staff was awesome, I regret not remembering the managers name because she was exceptionally sweet. She congratulated us on our marriage and gave us free bar and breakfast vouchers to use during our stay.
There was a giant bar area just past the main lobby in the ‘arboretum’ area of the hotel. I thought it was really neat that it changed from a Starbucks in the morning to a full bar during the day. Matt and I went down and grabbed drinks one night with our vouchers before going out to The Domain.
We were so happy with our room. We were on the 3rd floor and had an interior arboretum view. It was really unique and different than your typical outdoor window view. The bed had a really nice white cushion headboard, it gave the room a modern feel. There were colorful pictures in the room as well so the whole vibe was fun.
The bed was without a doubt the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in in a hotel. It was so soft and like a cloud (not exaggerating). The comforter was down and very puffy (I use this word in a good way, I love a puffy comforter). The pillows were also really comfortable. Every time Matt and I would lay down it would turn into a full blown nap.
The bathroom was exceptionally clean. The sink, tub and toilet was spotless and the faucets were a nice, modern looking sterling silver. There was also a cool blue light above the sink so it was easy to find in the dark.
We didn’t end up using our breakfast bar voucher, but it did look very nice!
Our first day we just got settled in and relaxed. We weren’t as close to S. Congress St. and Zilker Park as we thought, so we went to the closest ‘entertainment’, The Domain. I grew up in DFW, so I know of and have been to a lot of nice shopping and entertainment areas. The Domain has to be in my top 3 favorites now. There’s great food and TONS of shopping. It also all seemed to be DOG FRIENDLY! Who doesn’t love seeing happy pups walking around with their parents?! We first went to a place called The Yard House for dinner.
We sat on the patio (with a bunch of cute pups) and I ordered a turkey pot pie. Now mind you, I’m picturing a Marie Callender’s type pot pie to come out… I was definitely caught by surprise when they brought out…
As ginormous as it was it was extremely tasty! I highly recommend Yard House.
After dinner we walked the strip and of course I had to stop in Sephora (who also happened to be dog friendly, the had dog bowls in the entry, HOW CUTE!!!) I didn’t have any gloss on me so I grabbed a mini sized Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme and LOVE IT. If you need a small on-the-go size, I definitely suggest it.
After dinner and a little shopping, we stopped by the worlds biggest, nicest Whole Foods Market to grab snacks, drinks and a bath bomb before heading back to the hotel for the night.
It really was huge y’all. And it had the cutest little floral center with colorful wheel burrows hanging from the ceiling (it’s the little things for me…).
Hiking Green Belt. BEST. DECISION. EVER.
The pictures will speak for itself.
Leave it to me to forget my tennis shoes at the hotel (I left in flip flops…). Thank goodness Walmart saved my life! I got a pair of *not so cute* water shoes AND that cute round throw blanket that we had lunch on. The good news is, the water shoes had great grip and were ‘toe shoes’ which made them a little more fun than the normal shoes & I can use the beach towel at the beach all summer.
We weren’t keeping track, but we estimated that we hiked about 5 miles total, stopping and swimming in the springs along the way. We packed some water, our camera and a towel in our backpack and we were good to go. The weather was perfect and the trees provided perfect shade so we didn’t need sunscreen. There are no trashcans along the paths aside from the entrance, so I recommend bringing some sort of backpack to prevent from having to carry any trash you may have. There are also no potties out there, so the great outdoors may have to do the job if you need to go.
There were so many beautiful different trails with all sorts of different foliage. Greenbelt is a MUST when traveling to Austin!
After our hike we went back to the hotel to get cleaned up and then went out to S. Congress St. for food and window shopping. Parking can be a bit tricky on that side of Austin. We ended up parking on a side street in a free lot (although we did worry it wasn’t free and we’d come back to a towed car). We were safe and it was a good location for walking the strip and getting back to our car quickly.
I recommend just walking up one side of the strip, crossing over, then heading back down the other side.
Our first food stop was a little walk up pizza stand called Home Slice Pizza. I got a single slice of pepperoni and a free water cup for only $3.75! There were some benches with umbrellas we sat under until it was brought out to us.
BUT… crazy story-
While we were waiting a biker was riding in his lane when a car swerved over and hit him, knocking him off of his bike. Matt instantly jumped up, ran to get the guy out of the road and made sure he was okay. *My hero*. The guy ended up being fine, just a bad road rash, he cracked a couple jokes, cursed a bit to the driver who drove away without getting out of his car (no worries, his license plate is in plenty of peoples camera rolls), and then was on his way.
We did get our pizza and it was DELISH.
Of course we didn’t stop eating after the pizza…
Next we made our way to Torchy’s Tacos down at the end of S. Congress. I have had Torchy’s one other time and it was instantly my favorite taco place EVER. I knew Matt would love it so I was excited to show him!
We started off with our usual app, queso (theirs is the worlds best IMO) and ordered Mandarin Jarito’s and Trashy Trailer Parks (fried chicken, cheese and QUESO) for our entree. YUM. Making me hungry thinking about it!
Sadly we devoured our food before I remembered to get a picture, but to sum it up it was…
We burned it all off by walking the other end of the strip and shopping a little on Guadalupe St. (Tyler’s for T-Shirt’s specifically), before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for Round 2 at The Domain (which we also didn’t get any pics of because a few too many dranks).
After a few drinks, ice cream sounded like a great idea, so we went down to Frost Gelato. I got Raspberry Sorbet and Matt got a Banana Split Shake. Both recommended 10/10.
Frost ended our night out and we went back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep before our drive home in the morning.
The next morning we packed up and checked out of our hotel. We then spent way too long unsuccessfully searching for brunch on S. Congress. Everywhere either had a crazy long wait or didn’t sound super appetizing, so we hit the road and decided to stop at Plucker’s in San Marcos. Matt had never been there and at that point it was lunchtime, so wings sounded great. It’s definitely one of my favorite wing places!
After filling our bellies we kept on the road, anxiously awaiting a big hug and kiss from out little Kenny!
Austin is such a fun and unique place to visit. The people are so friendly and it’s a clean, well -kept city with gorgeous foliage and scenery. It was a great couples get-away for Matt & I, and I definitely plan on us going back for a quick weekend trip in the future. I think it’s also a great family friendly place considering how many couples had their babies at The Domain and even hiking on Greenbelt. I’d encourage you taking your littles for a little family vacay!