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GOT AUSTIN: The Insider Guide

With the holidays here, loved ones will soon be knocking at the door. Austin can be such a fun place to show off to out-of-town guests and with so many options, we’ve whittled our “things to do list” to just a handful of our favorite top picks.

The Austin Insider



Barton Creek Greenbelt – Located in south-central Austin, the Barton Creek Greenbelt contains 12.68 miles of gorgeous trails, with the main trail spanning about 7 miles. This particular greenbelt is considered one of the top hiking trails in Texas.

South Congress – South Congress is one of Austin’s hippest streets where you can shop, eat, drink, and see some great live music! Be sure to check out Uncommon Objects, Lucy in Disguise and Allens Boots.

Lady Bird Lake – With more than 300 days of sunshine in Austin each year, there’s no better place to go than Lady Bird Lake for jogging, walking and outdoor fun.

Mount Bonnell – Enjoy the sweeping views at what is generally considered the highest point in Austin at 775 feet.

Texas State Capitol – Located in the heart of downtown Austin, the historic building is a must see.

Austin Skyline over Ladybird Lake
Tray of barbecue
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Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt’s El Rancho Named after local politician, Bob Armstrong, this dip is a delicious combination of queso, guacamole, and taco meat.

Brisket at Franklin Barbecue You better get up early if you want some of this delicious brisket. The line starts forming at 10am for this tender meat called “The Best BBQ in Texas, if Not America” by Bon Appetit. When it runs out, they’re closed until tomorrow.

Brussel Sprouts at Uchi and Uchiko The perfect combination of salty, sweet, savory, garlicky, and sour with a deep nuttiness from the crispy roasting, these will make you forget there is any other way to prepare brussel sprouts.

Don Juan at Juan in a MillionIn a town full of breakfast tacos, this one tops the list. El Taco Grande is a secret combination of potato, egg, bacon, and cheese in a deliciously hot tortilla.

Gingerbread Pancakes at Kerbey Lane Enough to warm a soul on even the coldest of mornings, these plate-sized pancakes are an Austin tradition.

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ByGeorge – A luxury fashion and lifestyle store offering clothing, fine jewelry, and home goods.

Good Company – Thoughtfully curated items from an array of designers in clothing, jewelry, vintage pieces, and home goods.

Outdoor Voices – Activewear for Doing Things daily — dog walks, runs, yoga and so much more.

Howler Brothers – Locally made brand of surf-inspired men’s apparel and accessories.

Kick Pleat – Airy women’s-clothing store with an artsy vibe selling casual designer skirts, blouses and more.

Valentines – Contemporary women’s boutique offering a curated selection of clothing, accessories and home goods.

Wildflower Organics – Boutique store specializing in quality furniture and bedding made from all-natural materials.

Clothing rack at By George
Coffee mug with Texas shape inside
The Austin Insider



Better Half Coffee Neighborhood bar serving a full menu breakfast through dinner and offers an outstanding coffee menu all day.

Caffé Medici This longtime Austin coffee shop has five branches around town, the original Clarksville branch has a warm and homey vibe while the elegant downtown space boasts a massive espresso bar.

Hank’s Light and bright coffee shop and cafe serving casual American fare and the best coffee, lattes, cold brews, and dirty chai lattes.

Houndstooth Coffee – This espresso-focused coffee bar is heaven for hardcore coffee nerds around town. The rotating selections of beans are highlighted by simple and well-executed preparation.

Mozart’s Coffee This “Austin original” offers beans flame-roasted on-site, bakery goods, frequent live music, and patio seating on Lake Austin.

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Austin Nature and Science Center – Austin’s 80-acre nature center features hands-on educational exhibits including replicas of fossils and dinosaur tracks.

Austin Zoo – The Austin Zoo is a non-profit rescue zoo where families can visit and learn about their rescued animals.

Peter Pan Mini-Golf – Operating since 1946, this cash-only pair of courses feature a variety of characters, obstacles, and surprises.

The Thinkery Children’s Museum – An evolution of the Austin Children’s Museum, where science and families play side by side.

Zilker Zephyr – After playing on the playground, hop on Zilker Park’s miniature train, which provides a 20-25 minute train ride around the park. Bring cash!

Barton Springs Picnic sign
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Baton Creole This Cajun truck offers inventive late-night eats, like deep-fried jambalaya on a stick, hearty gumbo, and delicious beignets.

Burro Cheese Kitchen Artisanal grilled cheese trailer serving up non-traditional innovative grilled cheese sandwiches layered with flavor.

Churro Co. For sweet tooths, Churros Co. is the answer, dishing out churros topped with fruit compote, apple pie, marshmallows, caramel, and more.

Micklethwait Craft Meats – Texas barbecue trailer serving up barbeque meats and a notably daily smoked-sausage selection.

Paperboy This breakfast and brunch truck has been garnering crowds and praise for its bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, hash, coffee and more.

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Blanton Museum of Art – Where art meets Austin. With nearly 18,000 works in the collection, the Blanton showcases art from across the ages, from ancient Greek pottery to abstract expressionism.

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum – A dynamic museum that engages visitors in the exciting story of Texas through a variety of programs and exhibits.

The Contemporary Austin – Reflects the spectrum of contemporary art through exhibitions, commissions, education, and the collection.

Mexic-Arte Museum – This historic building showcases traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latino art and culture.

Texas Memorial Museum – Located on the UT campus, the museum’s focus is on natural history, including paleontology, geology, biology, and more.

Art museum in Austin
Woman outside doing yoga
The Austin Insider



Lake Austin Spa Resort – Choose from over 100 unique spa treatments and services or pamper yourself with a full or half day spa package at this beautiful Texas Hill Country spa and resort.

Lakeway Resort and Spa Perched above the shimmering waters of Lake Travis, relax and enjoy the tranquility of the Lakeway Resort and Spa.

Mecca Relax, recharge and build strength in a luxury environment that caters to you, your wellness and your lifestyle.

Milk + Honey Spa – Offers three luxury day spas with a full range of massage, body, skin, waxing, eyelash extensions, and nail treatments.

Viva Day Spa Offers a wide array of spa treatments for men and women including massages, facials, manicures, and spa packages.

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Broken Spoke – If you want to do the Texas two-step, this is the place to go. This dance hall is internationally known as an authentic honky-tonk with live music & boot-scootin’.

The Continental Club – Offering everything from rock, country, jazz and blues acts, national and local at this legendary South Congress club.

Elephant Room – Underground jazz bar with nightly live music, full bar, plus more than 20 draft beers and wines by the glass.

The Highball – Music. Karaoke. Drinks. It’s like nothing else in Austin with its dance floor, patio, and themed karaoke rooms, the Highball is a one stop party shop.

The White Horse – Live country music is served up in this hip, upbeat, sprawling East Austin honky-tonk.

The High Ball at Alamo Drafthouse
Small decorative pine trees
The Austin Insider



Chuy’s Christmas Parade  |  November 24 – Enjoy the inflatable balloons, holiday floats, Santa and more all benefiting Operation Blue Santa.

Mozart’s Coffee Holiday Light Show  |  November 30 – December 30 – Grab a hot chocolate and enjoy their decorated deck with lights set to holiday tunes.

Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll  |  December 1 – A free event that includes photos with Santa, petting zoo, holiday arts and crafts, and more.

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker  |  December 7 – 23 – Enjoy the dancers, beautiful sets and costumes and live Austin Symphony Orchestra.

Trail of Lights  |  December 10 – 23 – Austin’s largest holiday tradition that celebrates the unique spirit and people that make Austin the place we love to call home.