Long Weekend In Austin, Texas

Old Aug 17th, 2014, 05:19 PM
  #1  
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Long Weekend In Austin, Texas

Hello!

I am planning a long weekend in Austin Texas with a friend or 2 in mid to late October (all mid-late twenties females). None of us have been to Austin before and we really want to get a feel of the city!

Where are the best places to stay? (affordable but still in a location where we could walk/public transport to most places) Or is it worth it to rent a car?

What are the best places to eat? We want to get a real feel for the city! We are not picky eaters at all and willing to try all different cuisines.

And of course- what are the best things to do?! We are active so hikes/bike rides/kayaking are all great! And then just things around the city that give us a feel of Austin or are unique to the city.

We both love trying new places so we are down for anything!

Thanks!
prc14 is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2014, 08:36 PM
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If you can answer a few questions, it would aid people who might want to help you.

The most important is probably "What do you consider affordable?" with reference to hotels? Do you have a target range?

Another is "Which weekend in October?" The University of Texas has a home football game on October 18 (away games on October 11 and 25). Whether or not there is a football game will affect hotel prices and availability, and also probably crowds at certain restaurants.

The best places to stay are likely to be downtown, but they are also likely to be the most expensive.

Public transit in Austin is lame. Unless you want to confine yourself to downtown, the UT area, and the area just across Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake, aka the Colorado River) from downtown, you will want a car.

Eat at a Tex-Mex place. Eat at a barbecue place. There are many of each, and people have strong opinions about which are best. For example, the Salt Lick (which you would need a car to reach, as it's in the next county) is a favorite of many Fodorites, but I personally do not care for it.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 10:34 PM
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Good advice from Cranachin. I definitely recommend pinning your dates down soon. You might have trouble finding a hotel in a good location (i.e. downtown, near the University or near the river) on ANY October weekend--not just a UT football weekend.

Once you get to Austin, however, I recommend spending some time in the cool shops along SoCo (South Congress) and your evenings in the Warehouse District or Sixth Street. Take a walk or run on the hike/bike trail surrounding Lady Bird Lake. As for dining, some people enjoy the food trucks on SoCo which you could do for lunch. Do eat Tex-Mex (we like El Mercado on South 1st Street) and BBQ (we like Iron Works on Red River for lunch or either of the County Line BBQ restaurants.) Forget the hype that surrounds Franklin's BBQ and the Salt Lick--neither is worth the time.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 10:52 PM
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The hype of Franklins for really good BBQ is not HYPE. IT is some of the best BBQ in the country. However that said the wait in line is not what I may want to do with limited time in a great vibrant city such as Austin.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 06:36 AM
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Thank you all for your help so far!

We have not picked a date so far - and we are flexible. It sounds like if we are not interested in the football game that it would be better to go a weekend they are away - so that is helpful!

I was hoping for 150 or less a night...and good to know that we will likely need a car! That opens up the places we could stay a bit as well.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 06:51 AM
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The Austin City Limits Music Festival is two weekends--October 3-5 and 10-12. If you like music, it might be a fun time to go, but if you don't, you'd probably want to avoid those weekends. The website is www.aclfestival.com

I've stayed at:

--the Embassy Suites downtown--great location and spacious rooms, close to the fun South Congress neighborhood

--Best Western off I-35--got a great deal on this "retro" motel property that has been recently remodeled and re-branded. Surprisingly convenient, comfy, clean and free parking!

--Omni hotel--awesome deal on Priceline, but had to pay to park. Great location, beautiful hotel.

--Hampton Inn downtown--stayed using Hhonors points--good location, could walk or cab to lots of downtown spots, nice stay.

My sister and I did the Segway tour last time we were there and really enjoyed that.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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We got a VRBO rental for a group of five women last year, and that worked really well. Just a thought if you were open to something that isn't a hotel. Ours was in the Travis Heights neighborhood, which was really convenient for our purposes.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 08:46 AM
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great thank you everyone!

I am definitely open to non-hotels. We bookmarked a couple of places on Air Bnb but I was not sure what neighborhoods were good to stay in.

Any great recommendations on activities not be missed? Any great hikes in the surrounding area?
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 09:58 AM
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If you enjoy hiking, I'd recommend going to Enchanted Rock State Park near Fredericksburg. It's a nice climb to the top and around the area. Also, Fredericksburg is a fun town to explore. It's an old German town, so you'll find some good German food in addition to Texas favorites. Don't miss Rustlin' Rob's on Main Street where there are free samples of all the sauces, jams, etc. that they sell. I guarantee you'll want to buy after you try.
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Old Sep 21st, 2014, 01:25 PM
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Did you choose a place to stay, prc14? I was considering a long weekend in Austin, as I have to be in Texas, about 3.5 hours from Austin in October, for a meeting so thought I might add some fun. But all the recommended hotels seem to be booked. It is not ACL nor is there a UT home game that weekend, either.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 07:22 AM
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Which weekend Leely? Seems there is ALWAYS something going on in Austin. ACL is the first 2 weekends. So I'm guessing the 18th adn 25th?

18th is UT vs Iowa State, here.
25th Texas Book Festival (I think that might be it.)

Are there any hotels avail?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:15 AM
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What's "mid-October"? The ACL 2nd weekend is October 10-12, which means hotel rooms will be limited, as will rental vehicles and the traffic and parking will suck worse than usual (Austin is a slice of LA in Texas). You can only get day passes, if any are left, for the festival.

You're not going to use public transportation. This isn't the Northeast. Austin is not that compact and the bus service is intermittent on weekends. Get a car.

And define affordable. Dollars and cents.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:38 AM
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Austin, it would be during the Book Fair, I now realize.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 09:12 AM
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You prob can still find hotels, just not near downtown. What are you looking for budget-wise and location?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 11:30 AM
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I didn't want to go over $400/night--less is preferable, of course. In terms of location, I wanted "a good location." Meaning I haven't been to Austin in many, many years and can't really recall what is where. I was definitely focusing on downtown, though I will have a car. That Saturday night is tough, at least at all the hotels I see frequently recommended. I can get a suite at the W, but that's too steep for me.

I guess I'd better get a guidebook.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 10:40 AM
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Should be able to find several really nice hotels for
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Old Sep 23rd, 2014, 04:32 PM
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Count us in the Salt Lick camp. We love their Texasy environment and their brisket. Also really like the view from Mt. Bonnell. We enjoyed the Might Cone and Hey Cupcake food trucks. We had fun doing a cruise out on the lake to see the bats, not sure if they'll still be there this late in the season.

http://www.saltlickbbq.com/pages/Driftwood.html
http://www.mtbonnell.com/
http://www.capitalcruises.com/capita.../bat-watching/

The Oasis is a fun place to get drinks and enjoy the sunset.

http://oasis-austin.com/

We also enjoyed hiking at Enchanted Rock.
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