Parents' Weekend in Austin
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This past weekend Nick and I slipped away sans kids for some one on one time! It feels weird to post this in real time as I still haven’t clicked “publish” on our first kid-free getaway from August 2022; alas, if that isn’t relatable / doesn’t scream PARENTS, I am not sure what does. We love taking our twins with us, but it is nice to getaway and reconnect.
Keep reading to see what we did, where we ate, and more!
Last week we flew to Dallas and enjoyed a couple days with my family, then packed our bags and headed out. We left Cyprus and Olive with my parents Friday mid-morning through Sunday mid-afternoon. I know not everyone has this luxury, but that is how we made it work. We also have a nanny we love back in Los Angeles and though we haven’t taken her up on it yet, she also does overnights. If you are wanting to slip away, even just for a night, see if you can find a family friend you trust. Better yet, trade off with them and take turns watching each others’ kids! You can even do this for dinner dates / nights out, so you both don’t have to pay for a sitter.
All that to say, we went to Austin, Texas, by way of Dallas. Nick really wanted to go to Austin last year, but I convinced him of Fort Worth, just for the distance. We had a little bit less time on our hands and needed somewhere closer in driving distance. It worked for the time we had, but we really enjoyed Austin this time!
I’ll list everything out in bullet form at the end, but for now, I’ll give you all the details, in paragraph form!
We left Dallas and grabbed coffee at Communion (Richardson) and a smoothie at Juiceland (multiple locations) before hitting the road. We stopped in Waco for lunch at Taqueria Zacatecas (Taco Z) and to use the restroom, then hit the pedal to Austin.
We checked into Hotel Ella early afternoon, unpacked, reapplied our deodorant (it’s basically already a Texas summer,) then trotted into town. This is my favorite deodorant - use discount code ELLEMULENOS on any purchase you make. To back up a little bit, we picked Hotel Ella because I love its history, but also because I love my history with the hotel. It is where I stayed for my bachelorette party 7 years ago and I was happy to bring Nick back with me this time.
Note that we really didn’t plan that much for this trip. Not because we didn’t want to, but because we didn’t have much time to. Growing up in DFW, Austin was not a place we frequented, but have both been enough together and separately to do the touristy things. We have hiked Enchanted Rock, gone to Jo’s, Kerbey Lane, Cafe No Se, Perla’s, P. Terry’s, the capitol building, etc. All that to say, some of the places we went did require reservations, but we got around that by arriving earlier than usual to mealtimes and / or showing up at open. You can get around this and perhaps get a little extra sleep by simply planning better than us. Hah!
Our first stop besides Hotel Ella was Small Victory, a speakeasy in Downtown. You can make a reservation or even be added to the waitlist and they will likely buzz you in. It had a very “this is my bar” kind of feel. We really enjoyed our cocktails and it was the perfect stop to begin our trip. For dinner we walked from there to Stubb’s. It’s an iconic venue that neither of us had been together and helped us with our barbecue fix, as barbeque doesn’t really exist in Los Angeles. To be honest, I think we would have gone to Terry Black’s if we re-did this evening. It was good, but we like a little more fat on our brisket. All the sides and ranch dressing were great though. Next we drove to South Congress, which is a fun little street to meander and grabbed ice cream from Jeni’s. They had a lot of dairy-free flavors, which I really appreciated. The Texas Sheetcake flavor I got didn’t even taste DF! A little past all the shops is the Congress Avenue Bridge, which is home to the largest bat population in the USA during the spring and fall seasons. We did see bats, but we didn’t witness a mass exodus. We got tired and left around 9:30 pm. It was still fun to watch the sun set and see some of the critters.
Saturday morning we got up early and had breakfast at Paperboy. We go there before 9 and it was packed even then. Luckily, they could seat us on the roof, though it was rather warm and sunny. After that we grabbed coffee at Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors, then another smoothie from Juiceland (multiple locations.) After that we sunscreened up and chilled at the pool for the bulk of the day. Hotel Ella has a restaurant called Goodall’s and it actually has yummy food and drinks you can get poolside. After we had had enough sun and showered off, we went back to South Congress, this time for Amy’s Ice Cream. It is the OG of SoCo and very delicious. I had the Texas DirtCake flavor and it was divine. We also checked out some stores, as most of them were closed when we went the night before. To be honest, it is much more modernized now and some of the really cool shops that used to be there 10 years ago are gone. There wasn’t a store there that I couldn’t access in LA. Regardless, it’s still fun to walk up and down the street there! Next we hit up Here nor There, another speakeasy. This one you HAVE to have a reservation. Take note that it is through their app. They send you the code to get into the alley gate. They have a bouncer at the door to let you in as well. It was a really fun experience and they drinks were exceptional. Bonus points because they hand you champagne upon your arrival and give you complimentary nuts at the table. My drink was a fresno infused vodka beverage. I’d go into detail, but they change their menu seasonally. It was called “red” if you want to try to ask for it off-menu, though I’m not sure they have the capacity to do that. For dinner we went to Suerte and it was delicious. The food was all well made, but the beef wagyu confit tacos were our favorite.
Sunday we had to get back for a baby shower, but we stopped for breakfast at Swedish Hill Bakery first. Our only other stop that day was Dichotemy in Waco, for a coffee / bathroom break on our way back to Dallas. There are tons of great places to eat and drink, and of course things to do in Austin. If you’re looking for a getaway, it just might be what you are looking for!
Here’s a synopsis of our 48 hours in Austin trip itinerary:
WHERE TO STAY:
WHERE TO EAT:
Jeni’s Ice Cream
Amy’s Ice Cream
WHERE TO DRINK:
Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors
Here Nor There
WHAT TO DO:
Lounge by the Pool
Walk South Congress
Watch the Bats at Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge