My first Austin itinerary (Keep Austin Weird: Part 1) included Friday and Saturday details about West 6th, Hope Outdoor Gallery – where the above elephant picture was taken, Zilker Park, Rainey Street, and a whole lot of food options. Obviously that means next up is our Sunday and Monday itinerary! After reviewing all that we managed to shove into 4 days, it just makes my feet ache all over again. Note to self, buy better walking shoes.
SUNDAY: SoCo and East “Dirty” 6th St.
Sunday morning we woke up early because my dad had booked a South Congress walking brunch tour, courtesy of Austin Eats. South Congress is also known as SoCo and is south of the Colorado River. Disclaimer: the tour is a bit pricey but you get all the good food without any lines or large portions, so it’s worth the cost. The tour started at 9:30am and we arrived around 9 to find good parking, which we found right next to Jo’s Coffee and GET THIS – most of the streets around there make you pay for parking and/or have a 2 hour limit, but where we parked had neither of those restrictions. We were nervous that we misread a sign, but alas we did not so take notes and park there (before 10am or else it’ll be full). Since we were already next to Jo’s, we obviously had to buy a Belgian Bomber to start our morning off right.
We then walked to a breakfast taco place to start our walking food tour, which I can’t give you details about because the tour costs money **HINT HINT GO ON THE TOUR** but I will give you advice and fun facts about the many places of SoCo to make up for that 🙂
First of all, breakfast tacos are a staple of Austin eats and they can be found all over. The best place is Tacodeli, but it is a bit of a drive so if you are looking for local downtown tacos check out Torchy’s Tacos on SoCo. From Torchy’s Tacos, walk north back toward your parking spot, and stop in all the shops along the way! There are some very unique places so even if you don’t need a pair of cowboy boots or a crazy costume, at least stop in the shop for some fun. SoCo is also where all the liberal vibes are in full force, and you can find plenty of shirts and coaster bashing our President if that’s what you’re into. If you get hungry Home Slice Pizza is a good option as either a restaurant or a slice by slice shop, and if you have an hour or two to spare then check out Hopdoddy Burger Bar! It seriously tastes like the In-n-Out of the south, and the line is always crazy long so either get there early for lunch or have time to spare, because this place is worth checking out.
After lunch, grab dessert at Hey Cupcake – the first airstream food truck in Austin – or at Amy’s Ice Cream – the Cold Stone of the south. Lick ice cream is equally as good as Amy’s, if not better, but the locations are less convenient. While strolling you’ll also get to see the many murals that line the streets of SoCo, including Mr. Rogers “won’t you be my neighbor,” and a heart wall behind TOMS to name a few! One last stop before heading back to the car is the live music at Jo’s. Be sure to spend a couple minutes listening to the awesome band that plays every Sunday! I think we spent at least a half hour listening they were SO good!
After quite a long morning of shopping and eating in the 95 degree heat and humidity, we were happy to be moving on with our day and were ready to see another part of Austin. Our food-tour guide told us to check out East 6th street, as we had already seen West 6th, and I assumed that meant East of highway 35! Ok maybe technically that is correct, but NO that was not what our guide meant at all. We ventured east of hw 35 anyway and it was not half bad. There is a Zilker Brewery (named after the nearby Zilker Park), which was a fun stop and had a really good sour on tap. Most of the shops in that area were closed because it was a Sunday afternoon, but if it were Saturday morning there probably would have been a better atmosphere to the street. While on that side of the highway, we also decided to walk to La Barbecue, which is the best barbecue place in downtown. The line was loooong when we arrived, and they were sold out of everything except sandwhiches! Note to travelers: La Barbecue only makes one batch every weekend and sells until sold out, so arrive Friday night or Saturday for lunch, or else you won’t get any of their goods. You can also buy ahead of time online and then you won’t have to wait in line!
Obviously we were a bit disappointed from “east 6th” (again, we were east of the highway, which is not the good part of east 6th), we started driving west on 6th street toward downtown, and WHAT DO YOU KNOW the street magically got so much better once on the west side of hw 35! It was at that point we realized… I had messed up. The REAL East 6th, also known as “Dirty 6th” is the area between Congress Street and the highway. So we parked the car back at the hotel and walked to Dirty 6th, where a memorial day celebration was going on at pretty much every bar. This area was the 3rd and final great bar area in Austin.
The street was packed with people and every store front was a bar/pub/restaurant which made choosing a place to
eat drink very hard. The signs out front were creative too so we walked the lengths of a couple blocks before stopping at Shakespeare’s pub, a place my dad saw when driving by, and decided to head in. Shakespeare’s conveniently does a crawfish feast on memorial day weekend, and it’s “free” with the purchase of a drink! Shakespeare’s had two levels with 4 or 5 huge rooms to hang out in and we got to experience a pretty fun party, good drinks, and great local food with locals who taught us how to eat it (ok I’d never actually had crawfish before). Just as we were getting through our bowls of food, a great southern thunderstorm hit and we got to enjoy the rain and lightning from the covered balcony. That night was the most fun and after the rain subsided we ventured out to find the next great bar. Unfortunately Shakespeare’s was the best place around and we were pretty satisfied with our time there, so we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.
Monday morning involved packing and leaving, but not without the best breakfast in town. Tacodeli is a must do for anybody visiting Austin but it’s not located in downtown. Don’t let that deter you though because if all you get is their queso, your drive was worth it. As I said earlier breakfast tacos are a staple of Austin and this place has the best ones BY FAR. If you miss breakfast time, then their lunch tacos are even better! Honestly the smartest idea is to get there at like 10:30 (breakfast is served until 11), and order breakfast tacos, then eat those and go back to order lunch tacos. You will NOT be disappointed I promise.
That pretty much concludes all the details of our trip to Austin on Memorial Day weekend, but if you have any specific questions or are looking for suggestions let me know 🙂
Life is an adventure, so keep exploring it!