If you’re headed to the Texas capital on a quick getaway, read on for the best travel plan for a weekend in Austin. get ready to rock in the city that’s known as the live music capital of the World!
Two days in Austin is just enough to check out some of the sights and take pleasure in the terrific outdoors by day. Come nightfall, it’s time to dive into the city’s popular culinary and live music scenes.
While Austin is the state capital, it’s actually only the 4th greatest city in Texas. The fact that it’s not a substantial city makes it easy to cover a lot of ground with just a weekend in Austin.
It’s absolutely one of my favorite cities I’ve checked out in the us and I’ve been all over the place! A city with a love for live music, tacos, and craft beer is generally my dream come true.
In keeping with the city’s unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” I also encourage you to improvise a bit with this Austin 2-day itinerary.
Hear some funky music from a bar? Pop in to check the band out. smell something delicious? wander over to that food truck. meet some amazing locals? See where they like to hang out.
Read on for a look at the best places to stay and a jam-packed travel plan full of recommendations for how to spend 2 days in Austin.
Table of Contents
Day 1 in Austin
Day 2 in Austin
Insider’s ideas for a weekend in Austin
Getting to Austin
Best places to stay for a weekend in Austin
Now You’re ready For Austin
Day 1 in Austin
With only 2 days in Austin, there’s no time to waste! On the first day, we’ll focus on the history and culture of the city during the day before indulging in the culinary and nightlife worlds.
I can’t think of any better way to kick off a weekend in Austin than with breakfast tacos. This is a city obsessed with breakfast tacos, and why wouldn’t they be?
Tex-Mex is king here, with a normal breakfast taco consisting of a flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, melted cheese, and seasoned potatoes. Of course, each place has its own specialty tacos as well.
There are a million and one places to eat breakfast tacos in Austin, but some of the top choices include Cisco’s, Joe’s Bakery, and Rosita’s Al Pastor. Valentina’s is a bit of a hike but is worth it, as they’re typically ranked the best in the city.
For a fun and informative introduction to the city, I recommend jumping on a complimentary walking tour. One popular option is the downtown walking excursion by Tipster. These run daily at 10AM and last about two hours, beginning at the state Capitol.
As with all complimentary walking tours, it’s customary to leave a idea if you take pleasure in the tour. You can just show up if you want, or click here to let them know you’re coming and how lots of are in your group.
Another option is to just head to the state Capitol and join one of their complimentary tours. These begin every 30-45 minutes from 9:30-3:30 on Saturday and 12-3:30 on Sunday.
Even if you don’t feel like taking any kind of tour, you must still check out the Capitol. It’s true that everything’s bigger in Texas —the state Capitol is bigger than the national one in DC!
While you’re over here, you might as well check out the Governor’s Mansion as well. You’ll have to book your spot at least a week in development to take one of the complimentary excursions here, so click here to sign up.
Want to easily cover all of the above with a friendly and knowledgable guide, travelling by air-conditioned transportation and enjoying a food truck snack?! This excursion is only 2 hours long, and $35, indicating you still have loads of time left to spend exploring all the fun things to do in Austin.
After exploring the Capitol grounds, a convenient lunch spot is Texas Chili Parlor. Not surprisingly, they’re known for their chili here. try the XXX if you dare! They also have lots of tasty Tex-Mex options like tamales and enchiladas.
As I pointed out earlier, there’s absolutely some room for improvisation when exploring Austin in 2 days. how you choose to spend the afternoon entirely depends on your interests, so let me give you a few options.
First of all, you can check out a few museums, the campus of UT, and the LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) presidential Library. just a few blocks north of the Capitol is the Bullock Texas state history Museum.
With interactive exhibits, films, and an amazing IMAX theater, this is a good place to learn all about the Lone star State. Tickets for the museum cost $13 and you can save time if you click here to book your tickets online.
Right across the street, you’ll find the Blanton museum of Art. It’s popular for Austin – a stone building with colored windows created by distinguished artist Ellsworth Kelly.
Seeing that alone is worth the $12 price of admission, and there are 20,000 other artworks you can check out as well.
Perhaps you’re not really into museums and would rather spend a lot more time outside. in that case, head straight to the university of Texas campus. It’s a stunning place to explore, full of art and historical landmarks.
One thing you won’t want to miss is The color Inside. This Skyspace from artist James Turrell is best checked out at sunset and is quite popular, so be sure to book your spot well in advance.
Other options on campus include heading to the top of the UT Tower to take in the views of this classic American campus. It costs $6 and only takes about 45 minutes to visit.
If you’re really into history, then a check out to the LBJ presidential library is a must-do on your weekend in Austin. native Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson was the 36th president of the united states after the assassination of JFK.
There’s enough to see and do here to keep you busy for hours, including listening to actual phone calls LBJ had as president. It’s open daily from 9-5 and tickets are just $10. Click here to get them online in advance.
For a full list of some special culture, history and art-filled things to do, click here to learn about the popular Airbnb Experiences on offer.
After a big day of sightseeing, it’s time to transition into Austin’s popular nightlife. In this city full of college students and musicians, there’s no shortage of places to wet your whistle.
There are bars of all shapes, sizes, and styles in the Texas capital!
I recommend just heading to 6th street for a stroll to see what catches your eye. You won’t find lots of delighted hours on a weekend in Austin, but you can catch live music just about everywhere.
One place that’s absolutely worth checking out is the Firehouse Lounge. It’s located just off 6th Street in an old fire station. find the secret entrance to this amazing speakeasy and take pleasure in Prohibition-era cocktails with live jazz and blues.
When spending 2 days in Austin, one simply need to eat barbecue. This culinary art form is an crucial part of the culture here, and locals are pleased of their legendary barbecue.
I haven’t spent enough time in Austin to try and proclaim what the best BBQ in town is. What I can say is that I thoroughly took pleasure in our meal at the popular Stubb’s. They normally have live music here as well, so it’s a one-stop-shop for a fun evening in Austin.
Other popular places to get your BBQ fix downtown include Cooper’s Old-Time Pit Barbecue, Iron Works, and Gebby’s. If you want to try the legendary beef brisket at Franklin Barbecue, you’ll have to get up early and wait in a long line. But, it’s worth it!
No matter when you check out for a weekend in Austin, there’s sure to be tons of live music going on. Whether you’re into rock, funk, jazz, bluegrass, hip hop, electronic, or just about any other style of music, there’s a place for you in Austin.
I recommend checking out this calendar of events in the city to better help you plan where you want to spend your time and money. The last thing you want to do is wait in line and pay a cover charge only to end up in a place where you hate the music!
Day 2 in Austin
Now that you’ve checked off lots of of the big sights, it’s time for some additionally exploration outside of Austin’s downtown area. I’ll give you some solid options for the end of this weekend in Austin.
But first, brunch.
You might be feeling a little rough around the edges after a big night out in Austin. That’s why we’re starting day two out with a leisurely brunch.
My recommendation goes to the area just south of the river known as SoCo (South Congress). Within a few blocks, you’ll find some of the city’s best brunch spots.
A classic choice is the South Congress Cafe. try their popular short rib hash or eggs benedict with crab cakes. If you need a little hair of the dog, champagne bottles are 10% off on the weekend. get those mimosas flowing!
Other exceptional options in the area include cafe No Se, June’s, and Magnolia Cafe. wherever you eat, get ready for a little stroll around the area in search of street art and boutique shops.
Head up to Jo’s Coffee, where you can snap a photo with the “I love You So Much” wall. walk a block south to check out one of my personal favorites, the “Willie For President” mural.
You can also get hold of some chalk and scribble a message on the nearby before I die Wall. write something that’s on your bucket-list then get to work checking it off!
While you’re in the area, make sure to see the Greetings From Austin mural. Go ahead and get your needed shot for the ‘gram with this famous mural. show everyone just how much fun you’re having with your 2 days in Austin!
Down in SoCo you’ll also find plenty of great cafes, galleries, and boutiques.
It’s absolutely an area you can linger for a while. We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover on this Austin itinerary, though, so let’s keep it moving.
Note: If you’re really into street art, there are some wonderful pieces to see in east Austin. explore on foot for a couple of hours to offtrack areas that you won’t find in your guidebook. Click here to learn a lot more about this highly-rated experience — it’s one you won’t’ want to miss!
Enjoying the terrific outdoors is a need to when traveling to Austin. Thankfully you don’t have to go very far to do so! here are a few different options for spending an afternoon outside:
Zilker Metropolitan Park – This substantial city park is the best place to go on a stunning day in Austin. here you can choose a stroll along one of the trails or just take a dip in the Barton Springs Pool.
The park is also home to a really great botanical garden. It only costs $3 to visit, so you might as well choose it. same for the Umlauf Sculpture garden and Museum, which at $3.50 is a total steal for all the fantastic sculptures you get to see.
Fun in the Water – You can also take in the sights from the water in a rented kayak, canoe, or SUP (stand-up paddleboard). If you’re in a lot more of a “sit back, kick back and drink beer” state of mind, choose some good old fashioned tubing down the river! learn a lot more about that here.
Lady Bird Lake – There’s a picturesque 10-mile long hike-and-bike trail here that makes for a terrific outing. just click here to download a map of the trail.
There’s also a mile-long boardwalk if you’re trying to find something a bit a lot more relaxing. Be sure to check out the interesting Belting It Out art installation here, which features belts engraved with lyrics from Texas musicians.
Whatever option you choose, you won’t have to go far to find a good lunch spot. If you check out the lake, you won’t be too far from the legendary Rosita’s Al Pastor.
Over near the park, there are plenty of restaurants on Barton Springs Road. There’s also the Picnic — a food truck park with several choices. here you can find Italian, Thai, new Orleans style po’ kids and gumbo, and more.
If your weekend in Austin happens between March and November, you have to see the bats on your last evening in town.
About half an hour before sunset, over a million bats fly out from crevices in the bridge!
You can find a spot on the hill below the bridge to take in the spectacle or sign up for a excursion to see them from a kayak or SUP. Austin even has an annual Bat Fest in August. I told you their slogan was “Keep Austin Weird!”
Learn a lot more about the excursions with bats flying above — on a kayak, SUP tour, or segway tour.
Another option for your final evening in Austin is taking a river cruise.
Capital Cruises has a few different cruises, including a bat enjoying and sunset excursion for $12 per person. They can also set you up with a private dinner cruise. Head to their web site to check out all the options.
If you’re trying to find a one-stop-shop for dining and nightlife to wrap up your weekend in Austin, head on over to Rainey Street. It’s popular for the