Lifestyle blogger, photographer, mother to my son Boden and frenchie Smalls, wife to my hubs Trevor. I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
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Finally fully recovered from a four day weekend away in Austin, Texas with the girls.
That city. Ooh wee.
It was my second time visiting Austin and already I’m excited to return for more.
We happened to book our trip for the first weekend of South By Southwest (SXSW) unknowingly, which is hilarious, but damn I’m glad we did. The amount of people and activity in that little city in big ‘ol Texas was insane.
In case you’re not familiar, SXSW or “South By” is an annual celebration of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March for two weekends. We were there for the first, which happened to be centered around the conference not music (bummer) — but it was still extremely cool.
Techies, celebs and influencers wandering the streets. Creative branding lining the buildings. Live music blaring from every corner. The sun shining and the drinks flowing.
It was amazing.
Though the girls and I were there to have a good old fashioned catchup and have a nice play in a new city, I must admit, I had massive FOMO of all the events going on for South By.
There were venues that were taken over by brands like Pandora, Pinterest, Mashable for badge wearers only. Activations to draw the crowds and create buzz like a climbing wall from Under Armor, an outdoor living space from Indie Party and a crazy experience from Bumble. Pop-ups from brands like Krewe, Hermes and Create and Cultivate. Basically a marketer’s dream. This girl was totally geeking.
But back to the city — it’s just so cool.
The eclectic modern houses that use a mixture of stone and metal. The funky shops that have the most unique jewelry mixed with boots and dinosaur succulent planters. The cacti and aloe plants lining the streets and every corner. The overload of live music ranging spanning from rock to country to rap. The uber friendly people. The endless days of sunshine. It’s just a hodgepodge of greatness.
If you haven’t been — you must add it to your immediate list. It’s such a unique city in Texas — unlike any other part as it’s said to be a boomtown packed with hipsters, creatives and pot smokers. But it didn’t always used to be that way. Somewhere along the 80s when events like SXSW and Austin City Limits started drawing crowds and in the late 90s when the dot.coms starting exploding is when this city got put on the map. People flocked and are still flocking. It’s now home to many large companies like Dell, 3M Apple, HP, Whole Foods and brands that were born there like Car2Go, Kendra Scott and Home Away.
And oh — did I mention there’s like a million photo opps?! Wall murals, cool scenes, amazing spaces…
And then there’s the food and bar scene… oh em gee.
Menu items ranging from friend chicken and cornbread to pork casitas tacos to BBQ brisket to endless health-conscious options. Drinks that taste so good you don’t realize you may have had one too many.
#ProTip : Lonestar, though may be recommended to you for beer, is their PBR of beers. Wasn’t the biggest fan but, to each his own!
I honestly underestimated how much I’d like this city as I’ve never been one to love country music, cowboys and honky tonk. But this city is unlike any other place — unique, energizing and straight up fun.
So if an Austin trip is in your near future, here’s a little travel guide I’ve pulled together from research and experiences combined.
Guaranteed goodness ya’ll!
Trust me, it’s just the coolest location (South Congress) and the spot you want to be in for wandering leisurely while grabbing tacos here and there amidst shopping.
We hung in their lobby, their café, their restaurant / bar — it’s a legit location, great prices and trendy enough for your aesthetic pleasure.
Across the street from Aloft, and a true landmark to Austin, this gorgeous hotel has one interior and bars, grills and cafés you don’t want to miss.
This is the route I’ve gone both visits and it has yet to disappoint. The raddest decorated homes. The nicest people. Great prices and great locations.
Retro-modern vibes with one killer patio, bloody mary, carrot-cake… well, it has it all. A welcoming spot for brunch, lunch, happy hour or dinner.
Insane margaritas, a salsa bar — obviously amazing tacos — and outdoor seating where you can people watch in one of the busiest areas on South Congress street. Must. Go.
Modern mexican, incredible dishes (get the queso), a two-story interior with the best vibe to get you in the mood before a night on the town on Sixth Street.
Mexican meets seafood with an interior that will make you want to fill your home in macrame. We brunched here and were so impressed by the food, the service and the ambiance!
Definitely my favorite brunch experience this last trip. The most adorable interior, filled with light, plants, soft decor and smiling people. And then the blogger I adore the most, Mary Lawless Lee of Happily Grey walked in and was seated right beside us and chatted with us for a good 5 minutes. I easily forgot how amazing the 25% off rosé and avocado toast was. But seriously, it’s the cutest.
I was uber sad to cancel our reservation here due to time but this New American café is a converted gas station / laundromat that serves Mediterranean goodness. All the buzz.
In case you want a break from margaritas and tequila at night, head to this antique-accented wine and tapas joint in South Austin.
Farm to table and dim sum… can you say intriguing?! This spot is all the rage — make sure you make a reservation early.
Creative Vietnamese in a charming outpost that happens to double as a French bakery. Bring your camera for a pic out front.
Casual meets sophisticated. Located in the Clarksville neighborhood of Austin — worth the jaunt.
And because CN Traveler knows how to listicle — make sure you follow this guide on food trucks.
I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest donut lover. Sorry Instagrammers. But this spot is a must-visit. Creative donut shapes, a quirky space — the streets are full of people carrying these pink bags so best be going to curve your FOMO.
#ProTip : I always consult the trusty Eater when traveling to a new city — it’s always updated and there’s even a fresh article around SXSW.
I’d like to thank Google for this gem we stumbled into on day two. Located in Aloft hotel sitting above the Caroline Restaurant, is an outdoor playground with a tiki theme, fun people and a DJ playing vibey beats. Don’t skip this one.
Champagne and oysters on a patio anyone? This spot was great for being in the shade, watching people walk along South Congress and for anyone looking for that Nantucket meets Hamptons social scene.
It’s places like this that make me realize why they say Austin is weird. A mustache-themed bar with one funky patio featuring a painting of Burt Reynolds naked and city views. Get one of their signature cocktails. The name and flavor will sure delight.
The stop you must make for coffee when you visit South Congress. Why? Because I love you so much… and oh, their own Stumptown blend. And breakfast tacos.
Go on and give Austin’s newest juice bar some love — and while you’re at it get your detox on from the night before.
Speaking of the night before… somehow we managed to spend not one, but two of our three nights here. Maybe it’s the alluring name or the 2nd story balcony or the live music that just pulled our dancing feet in. I would say order a shot of the best tequila and a Bud Light as we did, but that didn’t go over very well on night one.
It may be dirty but it sure is iconic. If watering holes and live music are your thing (if you were into The Chuggin’ Monkey), hop along this street and pop into famous places like Coyote Ugly and Maggie Maes for a bevvie or two.
I just love this part of town. Bungalow houses renovated into fun bars with backyards with lawn games. Sure there’s a younger crowd and maybe a slight club scene, but it sure is a fun playground.
If you’re looking for a place to cool off from the hot sun, this outdoor swimming pool is filled entirely with water from nearby natural springs. BYOF (bring your own floatie).
Talk about free fun. Plan your walk back home from Downtown or South Congress and meet at the South Congress bridge right before sunset to watch Austin’s chirping bat colony bat off into the night. Hehe.
Looking for art galleries, boutiques original jewelry designs and the cutest home decor gift shops? Mosey along this area. Make sure you check out Eliza Page for jewelry, Hacienda for home, Prize for art and accessories and Luxe Apathetic for apparel.
I know, you’re probably sick of reading those two words but you guys, it’s like the best. From the famous Allen’s Boots to Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds to the best boutiques like Maya Star, The Impeccable Pig and Cove — you’re guaranteed to fill your day with fun (and hands with shopping bags).
Well there you have it.
You guys I was so excited to put that together and really hope it comes of good use to anyone traveling to Austin in the near or distant future!
Let me know how the line-up looks and what you’ve tried or what I’m missing. And enjoy your next visit, y’all!
// cb ✌????
And if you’re seeking style inspiration for your visit, be sure to read my post on how to achieve “Austin Style”
Lifestyle blogger, photographer, mother to my son Boden and frenchie Smalls, wife to my hubs Trevor.
I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
Get To Know Me
Mother. Wife. Blogger. Photographer. I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
Hi, I'm Cortney
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Such a cool place!!! I love it! I want to go now!