Austin is supposed to be a charming town, but in one recent visit, I didn't see much in the way of charming neighborhoods. I know I must be missing something. What neighborhoods are worth a stroll and what should I see/eat in those neighborhoods when I'm strolling in 'em?
I love Austin so much!! My favorite neighborhood was Rainy Street. Get some Mezcal at Clive Bar in the little hut in the outdoor patio area and then go South from there. There are great bars all along Rainy street. There are a bunch of great food carts in that area as well.
While you're in Austin, you should definitely rent a kayak or canoe at Zilker Park Boat Rentals. You can row all the way up near downtown and see the skyline. Its so sweet! Check out the Barton Springs Pool while you're in that area. It was closed for renovations when I went but I heard it's cool.
Have fun!! I'm going in March; so excited. : )
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Hi Tony, I've only been to Austin once so I'm far from an expert, but my husband and I rented a flat in the Travis Heights neighborhood and absolutely loved it. It was the epitome of a charming neighborhood, full of colorful homes and bungalows to huge sprawling mansions, all on small tree-lined streets. It's easy walking distance to South Congress, and there are a few beautiful city parks as well. We rented a car but hardly used it. I'm sure there are plenty of great neighborhoods in Austin, but I'd recommend Travis Heights to anyone.
I will answer my own question, as I just did a fun 36 hours in Austin thanks to the wonderful advice from you fine folks and some Facebook friends.
We started with a fabulous dinner at Salty Sow (great upscale dining with casual atmosphere and cheaper-than-some pricing). Great cocktail menu!
The next day was a full one. Note: this is a lot of walking-- we logged 8 miles or so, but it's almost all flat.
We started near SoCo (South Congress) and had breakfast at Elizabeth Street Cafe Outdoor Dining - it's a cute vietnamese-inspired breakfast place that serves all week and had pork belly on steamed buns with poached eggs. Good! We then walked east to South Congress (the map is a touch off-- the nice stuff runs on Congress from a few blocks south of Elizabeth street north most of the way to the river). Lots of weird stores-- antiques, boots, costumes, etc.
We then walked downtown (via the Congress bridge-- note that there are no bats in the winter!). Downtown is awesome if a little sky-scrapery. The Capitol building is bigger than the US capitol and you can walk around inside. We grabbed chicken-friend cheese stuffed olives and buffalo-fried pickles at Second Bar and Kitchen for a snack.
Next, we walked east over to the Rainey Street neighborhood (Thanks Miranda!). We weren't hungry or thirsty, but it was a cute pocket neighborhood and I'd love to come back to Clive Bar We hopped the 35 bridge across the river and hoofed through Travis Heights (thanks Serena!) back towards SoCo.
Once we got back to SoCo, we shared the best doughnut I've ever had at Gourdough's (it's a food truck that makes epic made-to-order doughnuts). And finally, after a short drive, we had roasted beet and mint ice cream at Lick Ice Creams (it was GREAT). On the way out of town, we grabbed a pound of smoked sausage at Micklethwait Craft Meats (we've had it before-- it's amazing and is close to the top place on Yelp).
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