Written by: Alexandra Lotzgeselle
Over Labor Day weekend my husband, parents and I flew to Austin for my cousins wedding. We had originally planned on trying to make a longer trip of it, but with other vacations coming up and holiday pricing on airfare and hotels, we unfortunately had to settle for just the weekend. First- I can start by saying I do NOT recommend flying from San Diego to Austin for just 2 days. The city deserves much more time than that! While there was a few things I much prefer about San Diego, Austin is a very neat and extremely livable town that seemed a lot like San Diego’s Gaslamp quarter, just with more likable people (i.e. less drunk idiots who clearly are not from SD).
The hardest part of the weekend had to be the heat. It was about 100 degrees the entire weekend, with a ton of humidity. It was actually difficult to take pictures at some times, because I struggled to keep my lens from fogging up with the humidity! Even at night after the sun set it still stayed well above 80. As someone who has clear skin that burns if a light bulb is too bright, I do not do well in extreme heat and sun. I fully understand I will sound very whiny with this complaint- yes, this weather was better than non-stop rain, and I do know many other parts of the country experience far more extremes. But I’m not from other parts of the country. I’m from San Diego and I’m a complete baby if the temperature varies more than a few degrees above 80.
While the heat was rough, Austin is an awesome town! We spent Friday afternoon exploring some of the local bars and restaurants on the very popular 6th Street with some of my extended family. The most noticeable trait that all the employees in said establishments had was that they were all incredibly friendly. Everyone went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed and they all acted like we were regulars. Perhaps the best part of all the bars and restaurants though is the constant stream of live music. On Friday afternoon there were still a lot of people at work and the streets were as empty as you would expect midday on a weekday. But even if there was not a single paying customer in a bar, there was still a band or singer playing. There were a lot of country and folk musicians, but we ultimately decided on a bar called Friends that had a band of near senior citizens playing the blues and some classic rock. The bar was almost completely empty. The space was huge and other than our group of 8 and the bartenders, there was only maybe 4 other people in there. One couple in their 60’s or so was going to town busting a move on the dance floor and that seemed to be enough! The band played with enough enthusiasm and energy to put anyone in a good mood, and they really got our trip started off on an exciting foot. Later that night we got to meet up with the rest of my extended family and had the joy of telling everyone about our exciting baby news in person. Our hotel was on 4th street, and that gave us a great starting location for everything. The bars and restaurants are all such a short walking distance that you really don’t even need to rent a car for a weekend trip.
We got a little bit of a late start on Saturday morning. Thanks to the little bun in my oven, I am forced to make good decisions and stay hydrated with water only. My husband and father on the other hand chose to stay hydrated with beer…and then whiskey…and then shots of who knows what. So breakfast was actually more like brunch on Saturday, but we enjoyed it at a great little joint on a side street called The Old Pecan Street Café, located on Trinity Street about a block away from 6th. The restaurant was so neatly decorated with old brick and travertine walls and had a wonderful little garden area out back. The menu was small but the food was great, and the location allowed for an easy walk back down to the main downtown area afterwards.
Following our delicious brunch, we enjoyed stopping in for some air conditioning and drinks at a couple of local establishments. Each bar has such a fun and unique theme, that it is almost like all the different places at Disneyland: one bar may be all about college football, giant Jenga and beerpong, where another bar has an outdoors New Orleans theme that is completely different. We also noticed a lot of same sex groups. There would be lots of groups of either just females or just males, which makes me think that its viewed as an awesome (and safe) town for singles to meet other people and have fun. I know based on my experiences in downtown San Diego that I would never want to be in an all-girl group dealing with the rude and aggressive guys that hang out down there. Austin was much more laid back, casual, and friendly.
Really the only thing we got to see outside of 6th street was the Austin Capital Building. The building, along with the entire grounds is really gorgeous. It’s a short walk from the main downtown area and is well worth it. The main building is beautiful and is surrounded by lush greenery and tree-lined walkways. We went on Saturday and were pressed for time so we did not get to do a tour, but next time I would love to go and have lunch on the grounds or get to see the buildings interiors.
While I would highly recommend you go for more than a measly 48 hours, take whatever time you can and go visit Austin. Its got something to satisfy everyone, and is sure to give you a great vacation!
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Photos of Allie by: Natalia Cruz
Photos of Austin, TX by: Allie