Deep in the heart of Texas is where Austin lies and oh how near and dear she is to me! I spent my first 22 years of life there before moving to LA and I just got back from a quick four day visit last weekend. The people are warm and unpretentious, the food is rich and delicious, and between the live music scene, the lakes, and the shopping, there is never a shortage of activities to partake in!
Where To Stay:
In college I lived on South Congress Avenue right behind Magnolia Cafe in apartments that you couldn't pay me to walk into now. They were so old! At the time, though, all I cared about was the location and let me tell you it was prime! Ditch the college apartments and check yourself into the Hotel San Jose. Aaron and I stayed here on our wedding night and loved it! You can wake up in the morning and walk to Jo's coffee. After you get your morning latte, take a stroll up and down Congress and check out the eclectic mix of shops and eateries.
I hesitate to recommend restaurants because there are SO many good ones and I am not there as often to try them. That being said, I love South Congress Cafe and Perlas that are right there in the neighborhood. Also, Guerros is pretty good for your much needed Tex-Mex fix. (UPDATE: I just saw my friend Camille did an awesome Austin food guide today on her blog-- hop over and check out her great recommendations!)
What to Pack:
You are going to need lots of great pieces for this very fashionable city with all of the activities all of the shopping, kayaking, dining, hiking and live music hopping you will do. Here are my Austin essentials!