Austin: Keeping things weird and making group trips bearable

Howdy, friends of the blog! As the iconic and often-Instagrammed mural in between Austin’s Bouldin and Travis Heights neighborhood reads: Greetings from Austin! The Live Music Capital of the World has been keeping the Adventure Club weird ever since our first trip way back in 2011 (@DiegosDaughter is an original ACL groupie), and between the four of us we’ve been back over 10 times since. To say nothing of its dynamic culinary scene, year-round warm weather, affordability, and vibrant music scene welcoming annual festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest, Austin truly deconstructs the notion that traveling in groups (we’re looking at you, bachelor and bachelorette parties) is a cluster.

Austin has become a wildly popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties, for good reason. In fact, @lauritacambios was just there for a bachelorette party rolling deep with 17 and had a blast! For the most part, Austin’s restaurants have no qualms with splitting the check amongst large parties, whereas other cities’ restaurants would react as if you had just asked them if you could go into the kitchen and hold the chef’s hand as he cooks. Group activities are incredibly easy to stumble upon and also Austin’s wide streets (many of which become pedestrian-only at night) and sprawling city limits (everything is bigger in Texas, after all) make moving your crew less of a pain even with no Uber or Lyft to be found (more on that later).

So strap on your cowboy boots and kick those planning nightmares to the curb because we’ve group-proofed and fun-guaranteed the best activities this versatile city has to offer for your crew’s next getaway.

Before we get started with our carefully-cultured itinerary options, consider these two important points:

  • Lodging: There are a plethora of AirBnbs out there depending on how large your group is and how much you’d like to ball out. If hotels are your thing, look no further, book your crew’s stay at the Hotel Van Zandt. It’s centrally-located, on Rainey Street in the historic district, with a rooftop pool and bar, and the lobby offers an hour of free happiness 🍸 . Other perks? It’s pet friendly, has a fitness center, and provides complimentary bike rentals. Nothing but positive vibes at this place except for Wayne at the front desk 🙄 ,  he needs a hug.Austin Hotel Van Zandt
  • Getting around: Uber and Lyft are unavailable in Austin, so download any of these rideshare apps to transport your troupe: Fasten, Fare, and RideAustin.

Itinerary 1: When your crew is made up of outdoorsy sun-worshippers who want to go heavy on the activities and light on the revelry.

Start your day with breakfast or brunch at:

  • Irene’s – This spot is famous for being a popular Instagram backdrop for
    bachelorette parties galore. But whether or not you’re sorority squatting in front of Irene’s neon lettering, go here to enjoy brunch
    al fresco or stop by at any time for their limited menu. Our recommendation? The avocado toast or the Nutella toast… or both #TreatYoself
    Austin Irenes food

  • Coast Bar+Kitchen – This place is small (but not too small for a large group) and offers a coastal vibe, solid menu and exceptional service.

Do some daytime activities:

  • Go for a dip in Barton Springs – In late spring, summer, and early fall, Austin brings the heat… and it’s stifling. This natural springs pool in Zilker Park, frequented by both locals and lucky tourists, is the perfect way to cool off.
    • Know before you go: Entry is $3 (non-locals) cash only and it’s closed on Thursdays for cleaning.  
  • Hike Mount Bonnell – What outdoorsy crew doesn’t love a good scenic hike? Mount Bonnell is one of the highest points of elevation in Austin, and the trail to its summit is short and well worth the amazing view.  
  • Paddle or Kayak on Lady Bird Lake – Located downtown and very close to Rainey Street, Lady Bird Lake is a perfect place to rent paddleboards or kayaks for your group.
    Austin Lady Bird
  • Visit some of Austin’s legendary street art– Austin is defined by its creative spirit and culturally diverse voices. Cool street art and murals are easy to stumble upon, and these are particularly worth the stumble:

   Stop for lunch here:

  • La Barbecue bbq food truck – you may wait in line for a few hours, and you may (ok you definitely will) get the meat sweats, but it’s 100% worth it. There’s a complimentary keg you can mooch from (you can also BYOB – grab some local brews) and you can hang in the park amidst the other food trucks while you wait for your brisket, pulled pork, spicy pickles and potato salad.  
    • Know before you go: Arrive early as they sell out of some of their key items

Austin La Barbacoa

Chill out in:

  • South Congress area has lots to offer…
    • Jo’s Coffee – hot coffee, good food and great people watching.  Fun Fact: On the side of this building is where you’ll find the “i love you so much” Instagram worthy mural.  
    • Hotel San Jose Pool + Lounge – perfect spot for a daytime cocktail.
    • The various boutiques, antique stores, funky thrift shops, and cowboy boot shops.

Grab dinner here:

  • Takoba – Key highlights: really fun atmosphere on the outdoor patio, their queso fundido, and yummy cocktails.

Austin Takoba

  • Josephine HouseKey highlights: the fact that it’s in an adorable little house, its romantic atmosphere and delicious food (on the pricier end).
  • Barley Swine – Key highlights: a multiple-time James Beard Award nominee.

Go out to:

  • West 6th Street – For more of a posh, young professional vibe.
  • Garage – A hidden spot that crafts inventive cocktails in a hip, midcentury-inspired space… in a parking garage. Definitely hit this up.

Itinerary 2: When your crew is looking to party and get wild.

Start off with a boozy brunch at:

  • Tacos & Tequila Brunch Spot – For around $22 you can get two mimosas and all the amazing mexican food you could ever want. You’ll find a party atmosphere with a DJ, which is why there’s always a wait but nonetheless a great spot for a large group looking to raise the roof.
    Austin Brunch

For stumbling around during the day:

  • Rent a party boat on Lake Travis from here or here – Hit up the party cove and kick back a few brewskis on your water chariot, you may even hire a driver if needed (BUIs are a thing, y’all). 
  • We also recommend: Austin Party Cruises

If you make it to dinner, stuff your face at:

  • Launderette – Everything on their menu is amazing but YOU MUST order the birthday cake ice cream dessert.
  • Russian House Restaurant – This quirky place let’s you be weird and dress up as a Russian, sip on vodka like it’s water and enjoy some Russian food and culture.  They offer 100 flavors of house-infused vodka… so Prost!

And dance to live music like no one’s watching at any one of these venues: The Mohawk, ACL Live at the Moody Theatre, Stay Gold, Empire Control Room & Garage, or The White Horse.

Rage:

  • Classic 6th Street (AKA Dirty 6th) – head there and you will find many settings in which to wear (or spill on) your party pants. However, if you want a hidden gem make a reservation at Midnight Cowboy Modeling. It’s a speakeasy and when you walk up to the address, which will appear to be that of an apartment, ring the doorbell and you will be greeted by a nice cowboy or cowgirl.
  • Barbarella – One of Austin’s only veritable clubs. Multiple dance floors, strobe lights, 80’s disco vibe, you get it.

Indulge your evil, late-night alter-ego here:

  • Justines Brasserie – It’s weird like Austin… and you at 3AM. Check it out
  • Doughnut trucks on Rainey Street- There are several. Hunt one down.

Itinerary 3: When your crew wants to escape the city limits for some real Texas fun.

Have lunch at Salt Lick, a famous bbq restaurant in Driftwood. Purchase some sauce while you’re there! (20 minutes away from central Austin)

During the day:

  • Tubing the San Marcos River – This lazy river float is perfect for a large group.  You can rent a bus to drive you there and back, and if your heart desires, you can start pre-gaming on the bus. 
  • TopGolf – Perfect spot for a bachelor party… 25 minutes from downtown Austin, this is a modern day bowling league with golf, high end booze, live music at times, and no funny shoes!

Tour some of Austin metro area’s many breweries, all about 10-20 minutes away from Austin proper:

Two-step the night away at:

  • The Broken Spoke – If you’re looking for a real Texas boot-scootin’ experience you must go here… especially if you’re with a bachelorette party.  This is one of the last true Texan dancehalls and it’s about a 15 minute drive from the city… so go on now, ya hear?

Austin Broken Spoke

That’s all we got, folks. As always, drop us a note if you have any questions or just want to say howdy!

Shoutout to a friend of the blog: Need help with planning your party in Austin? Contact Adam at Adam@catheaddistillery.com. This guy is not only a friend of the blog, but he runs events for Cathead Vodka and will help you find the best cocktails in town. Oh and Cathead Vodka gives a dollar of every bottle sold to music charities, so you know they’re good! Support Live Music!  Keep Austin Weird…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: