If Austin, Texas, still isn’t on your radar, we’ve got to assume you’ve been living underground. The byword for cool in the south, the city has been welcoming an onslaught of new residents for the past few years which has spawned t-shirt slogans like “Welcome to Austin. Don’t forget to Leave.” From the food to the shopping, Austin has so many (too many!) incredible locally-owned shops and an electrifying array of restaurants–you won’t want to leave after one day. With some help from Jetsetter Gypsy, we’ve compiled a list of some must-do’s for when you’ve only got 28 hours to immerse yourself in the Texas capital city’s renowned cool aura.
Austin is the southern capitol of vintage shopping and a shopping trip guarantees you’ll find some sparkling gems. Locally-owned boutiques are also well-loved in this fashionable city. Jetsetter Gypsy’s favorite place to pick up wardrobe staples is “along South Congress at The Impeccable Pig, Maya Star and New Bohemia.”
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Also on South Congress is Feathers Vintage (1700 S. Congress Ave.), a highly edited and carefully curated vintage store. If you’re looking to score an Austin musician boyfriend or at least look like you already have one, you’re going to want to be decked out from Feathers. Many people have hailed it as one of the best vintage shops in the entire world.
For those among us who love true American menswear, visit Stag (1423 S. Congress Ave.), for their incredible collection of new and vintage Americana-inspired stock. You’ll find everything from handmade leather wallets to board shorts, dress shirts and pocket knives.
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While Austin might be the tech capital for the South, records still rule in the city that gave us music legends like Willie Nelson and Spoon. Check out Friends of Sound (1704 S. Congress Ave.) for an excellent selection in an unpretentious setting. You can even test drive your selection on the turntable corner.
Food for the belly and the heart
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For a java jolt, grab a macchiato at Thunderbird Coffee on Manor Road. It’s great for people watching and their coffee is quite scrumptious. Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but brunch at El Alma Restaurant Bar is worth waiting to eat those couple extra hours later. Jetsetter Gypsy says, “I’m a lover of brunches and quite possibly have found the best Mexican-inspired brunch at this simple, white adobe restaurant that allows the food to shine. Huevos Franceses with the crab hollandaise, and the banana bread pudding with cajeta are not to miss.”
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For dinner head to Uchi (801 S. Lamar Blvd.) for the best sushi in the US (Reputably!). This food laboratory is overseen by executive chef Tyson Cole, who offers amusing, imaginative and delicious dinners for discerning Austinites. Think Japanese pumpkin tempura, grilled baby octopus pops, as well as traditional sushi. Yum yum.
Once your belly is full, it’s time to find a place to listen to live music. Austin’s incredible and enviable music scene is alive and bustling all year round–no need to wait for South By Southwest, which made Austin one of the premier March destinations in the US. Austin’s motto goes as far as to brag about being the “Live Music Capital of the World”.
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Check out Jetsetter Gypsy’s favorite hangout, The Continental Club. It’s “Austin’s original live music venue, owning the scene since the 1950’s. Downstairs check out their main stage rock, jazz and blues acts in a small setting for a very affordable price, while drinking your can of PBR. Upstairs find yourself in a more relaxed MTV Unplugged style setting with no cover and bands performing in almost an open mic style.”
Sleep the night away
(CC) W Hotel Austin
W hotel Austin is definitely where you should be staying. If you’re looking for other options, we understand but the W has a beautiful record library, which has over 8,000 records for you to select and play on the vintage Macintosh! You’ll want to hang out all day. The hotel is also pet friendly, so no need to leave your furry darling(s) at home. Elegantly furnished with modern pieces, many rooms have sweet views of Lady Bird Lake (known as Town Lake to locals)–which is the premier place to go bat-watching in the evenings in Austin.