48 Hours in Austin, TX: Ready, Set, GO!
“There is a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.” -Willie Nelson
It’s hard to capture the essence of a city in 48 hours - its history, culture, people- especially when that city is Austin, Texas. Whether you were born and raised in Austin or an out-of-stater who just needs a tour guide, there is a continual magic to our city that we call home. Austin is eclectic, active, and accepting- an environment that brings out the best parts of everyone who experiences its wonders.
We’re lucky as students at UT Austin. Some of our favorite memories in Alpha Chi are touring the city and discovering new spots with our sisters.
"My adventurous side was in full force when I came to Austin as an out-of-state student. I was so lucky to have sisters (with cars!) who showed me the city. From Sunday morning hikes on the Barton Springs Greenbelt to spontaneous food truck outings, I really don't know if I could consider Austin my home if it wasn't for my Alpha Chi sisters."
- Katie Pratt, MC '19
Although we won't be reunited in Austin until the fall, there's always time to start adding to our bucket lists. Here’s our abbreviated guide to cramming as much of Austin into one weekend as possible.
Ready, Set, GO!
But First, Coffee
Start off with a good cup of coffee either from Mozart’s, Alfred’s, or Jo’s. Mozart’s and Jo’s are local favorites; Mozart’s overlooks the Colorado River and offers an array of delicious pastries and drinks. There’s a great patio area that doubles as a picture spot. Meanwhile, if you stop by Jo’s, make sure to snap a photo in front of the famous “I love you so much” sign at the South Congress location. Also, try one of their signature drinks, the Turbo or the Belgian Bomber. While Alfred’s is not an Austin-based coffee shop, the California-based chain has only one store outside of its home state and that’s in Austin! Alfred’s is definitely on the more expensive side, but it’s nestled inside the Line hotel which is right along Lady Bird Lake.
Next, Take Your Cup to Go and Walk Along Lady Bird Lake
Not only is this 10-mile trail visually pleasing, but it is also a great way to get your body moving at the beginning of the day. Stop in the dog park. Take some pictures by the lake. Going on walks and runs with our sisters is one of the best ways to bond and see gorgeous views of downtown Austin!
And, Of Course, Tacos
You really can’t go wrong here. Guero’s on South Congress, Ñoños Tacos, Discada, etc. The city is full of taco restaurants and food trucks on practically every corner. It would be a crime to not try at least one.
Paddle Around Lady Bird Lake
Circling back to Lady Bird Lake, head over to the docks and rent a kayak or paddleboard for the afternoon. There are hundreds of people -- and dogs -- on the water every day paddling around. It’s a great exercise and a fun way to cool off in the Texas heat.
Austin is a foodie's paradise. There are great options for every cuisine and one trip is not enough to taste it all. Try narrowing down your meals to certain foods you like and, then go looking for locations. Here are a few favorites: Elizabeth Street Café, Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Juliet, Tiny Boxwoods, Red Ash, Oasis, etc.
Watch the Sunset at Mt. Bonnell/360 Bridge
End your night by climbing Mt. Bonnell to see the sunset and watch the boats pass under the 360 bridge. It’s a beautiful, peaceful way to close out the day. This spring, MC '18 had a sisterhood event here where they took pictures, ate Chick-Fil-A and watched the sunset together.
Throw on your best brunch outfit and head over to East Austin with your girl gang where you'll find a variety of choices: Josephine House, South Congress Cafe, La Condesa, Launderette, Le Politique, Magnolia Cafe, etc.
Walk ‘Til You Drop
Head back over to South Congress and go
shopping. South Congress, or SoCo, is like Austin in one street. From western boot stores to boutiques to quirky knick-knack shops there's a little bit of everything.
Then, take a walking tour around the Capitol building and get to know the history of Texas.
You can make your way towards the University of Texas’ flagship campus where the Longhorn pride is sure to excite every visitor. Go visit the UT Tower and walk down Guadalupe street. Take a look at the football stadium and interact with some students. You’ll be sure to be met with southern hospitality.
If brunch didn’t fill you up, stop at a food truck to grab a bite. There are food trucks all over the city. If you’re at the UT Austin campus, there are two food truck locations: one by Rio Grande St. and the other by 22nd street.
Picnic at Zilker
Since you can never eat enough, grab some food -- you can never go wrong with pizza, maybe Home Slice -- and head over to Zilker Park where the nationally renowned Austin City Limits is held. The park is full of characters and dogs. Watching the sunset over the skyline is an unforgettable experience.
Finally, as the live music capital, it would be criminal not to go listen to some live music. Stop by the outside area of Guero’s Taco Bar, Antone’s Nightclub, ACL Live, The Continental Club, etc. The music’s been a little quieter these days given the pandemic, but the soul of the city is still there.
And that's how to spend a quick 48 hours in Austin! Luckily, if you call Austin home like we do, you'll have a lot more time to explore every street of the capital of Texas. We're aching to be back together in Austin, but for now, we can just imagine the live music in our ears, the fresh air at Lady Bird Lake in our lungs, and the love for our city and our sisters in our hearts.
Sloan Wyatt, MC '18
As Real, Strong Women, it is our duty to show compassion for others and act as leaders in our communities. We highly encourage all to practice safe social distancing and wear masks as our nation battles the COVID-19 pandemic. Laws regarding social distancing rules vary from city to city and county to county. We suggest consulting with the city of Austin website austintexas.gov for their most up-to-date COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. We acknowledge that our adventures with sisters can wait, and stress that we can all do our part to stop the spread of the pandemic.
It is time for us to confront racial injustices and uncomfortable truths. Our chapter is making it our priority to continuously stand with people of color and actively work to end acts of racism and hate. We are Real, Strong Women who have courage in our convictions to speak up and take action in the face of injustice. Show your realness and strength by educating yourself on the history of systemic racism in the United States, becoming an anti-racist ally, and donating to support the BLM movement.