February is a big month of travel for me. In addition to all the work travel that I typically do during the week, I have three big weekend trips planned this month (and it’s a short month!), the first of which being a glamping trip to Austin, Texas! Austin, being just 2.5 hours away from Houston, makes it the perfect location for an easy getaway as a Houstonian. I went this weekend with my boyfriend to see a rugby match (USA v Brazil) and hang out in the city.
The crowning jewel of our weekend was the Lone Star Court–the most adorable glamping destination in town! Despite being located inside the busy luxury shopping complex of the Domain, the Lone Star Court totally has this laidback glamorous camping vibe that provided such a fantastic escape from the city. Our room was outfitted with pops of orange and turquoise like retro light fixtures, a turquoise old-school fridge, antler lamps, and rainbow knit throw rugs. The hotel has a very cabin-like vibe with lots of outdoor fire pits, barbeque grill, pool, and plenty of rocking chairs. I felt like I was camping (or, well, at least close to nature) without going through the mess of starting a fire and pitching a tent.
Here’s our itinerary for a fantastic (and photogenic!) day in Austin.
Wake up when it’s still dark and head over to UT campus to see the James Turrell Sky Space installation. At sunrise there is a light show as the sky reflects into the cylindrical space. It’s located on the third floor of the Student Activities Center. Park in a metered spot on Dean Keaton and walk a few blocks into campus. You can also go at sunset, but it will be a bit more crowded.
Afterward you’ve soaked in enough art for the day, reward yourself for waking up so early with a donut from Gourdough’s. We split the Granny’s Pie from the Gourdough’s food truck on South First. The donut was covered in graham crackers, bananas, caramel and pecans. Apparently the brick and mortar shop on South Lamar takes donuts to a whole other level with crazy items like donut burgers and donut topped salads.
Prevent yourself from having a heart attack and take a stroll along the Lady Bird Lake. Over 10 miles of trails border Downtown Austin, so you can feel like you’re getting away to nature without actually leaving the city. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, rent a standup paddle board from SUP ATX. It costs $15 per hour, but you definitely pay up front and if you loose track of time out on the lake (who brings a watch out there anyways?!) they’re not too strict about it.
After you’ve worked an appetite, head to the Vietnamese and French bakery, Elizabeth Street Café. Sit community style outside or in the retro style restaurant and indulge in their delightful brunch menu like a banh mi sandwich with fried egg and avocado. I was excited to see vegetarian pho offered and ordered a big steaming bowl full of tofu, mushrooms, and a boiled egg. The pricing here was a bit more expensive than I anticipated (it’s no Bellaire, Houston), but the ambiance totally makes up for it. They don’t have a full bar, so don’t expect to order a Bloody Mary, but the brunch cocktails like the Champagne Cocktail is decent alternative. The pho definitely tasted best being washed down with a cool beer.
The best play to day drink in town is the infamous Rainey Street. I made my way there for the first time this weekend (no Dirty Sixth for me this time, thank you) and it lived up to the hype. It’s a row of houses and bungalows turned bars on Rainey Street. Most of them are open and on a Saturday afternoon around 3pm ones like Bangers and Container Bar were packed. Plenty of corn hole, giant Jenga and patio seating to go around. The parking situation is a bit annoying — we ended up parking at the giant parking lot at the end of the block, but had to pay $12 and our ticket was for 9 hours (we left after 2 hours).
Afterwards, we headed back to the Watering Trough, aka the Lone Star Court’s hotel bar, for happy hour. Every time we swung by the hotel, there were people hanging out. We got drinks there both nights and enjoyed music from the live band singing classic country hits. During the day, two food trucks set up near by and plenty of people hangout playing board games and working in the hotel common space. When we weren’t exploring Austin, we were enjoying $2 Lone Stars and $5 Texas Tea at the hotel’s Happy Hour.
Located walking distance to the Domain, the Lone Star Court was the perfect stopover point to get dressed for a night out. Rock Rose Ave in the Domain has some fun bars like Kung Fu and Dogwood, as well as an adorable one with an open aired patio called St. Genevieve.
If you’re looking to head somewhere that requires a cab, know that Austin doesn’t do Uber or Lyft inside the city limits. However, they have some alternatives that work pretty much the same. Get $20 off your first Ride Austin ride with the code “6q13v4lh” and get $5 off your first Fasten ride with code “SG2224”.
What are your must-sees for a weekend away in Austin?