14 Reasons to Visit Austin, TX: What to Do and Where to Stay

14 Reasons to Visit Austin Texas | What to See and Do

After a year abroad, I have finally returned to my favorite city in the world: Austin, TX! Many people have asked me what makes Austin so great, and though that list goes on and on, these are some of the top reasons you should visit:

Barton Springs Pool

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX
Photo credit: Cheri Lucas Rowlands via Visual Hunt

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been here. It is the perfect spot on a hot day, the water is so cold and beautifully clear. My friends will agree, I went here nearly every day my senior year in college — to study, of course, mom 😉

Zilker Park

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX
Photo credit: Lars Plougmann

This is THE park to go to in Austin. Something is always going on here. Whether it’s Blues on the Green in the summer, ACL in the fall, the Trail of Lights at Christmas time, or the Kite Festival (pictured above), you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

Mount Bonnell

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX

Climbing up the 102 steps to Mount Bonnell is worth it for the views of downtown, Lake Austin, and the Hill Country surrounding it. Plus, it’s a great place for a romantic sunset picnic 😉

Dirty 6th Street

Reasons to visit Austin, TX | 6th Street Austin, TX
amazing photo by: Ian Aberle via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

Have an unforgettable night you probably won’t remember on the infamous bar street, “Dirty 6th.” A few of my personal faves? Buckshots, Burnsides, Maggie Mae’s, and if you find yourself at Barbarellas at the end of it all, you know you had a good night.

Breakfast Tacos

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX
Photo credit: edwin_x_ochoa via Visual hunt

If you’ve had one, this warrants no explanation. If you haven’t, you have no idea what you’re missing. Torchy’s is always a great choice, and Tamale House East is another favorite of mine. Hint: Two breakfast tacos after a night out on 6th Street will do you wonders — thank me later.

Rainey Street

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX
Photo credit: Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits

If you survived your night on Dirty 6th, chances are you’ll want something a little more low-key, and Rainey is just the place for that. It’s great for Sunday Funday too — Icenhauer’s and Banger’s are a must!

The Lakes

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX

There are plenty of lakes surrounding the city. Lake Austin, Lady Bird/Town Lake, and Lake Travis are probably the most popular. There are few things better than spending a Saturday out on the water with friends! Also, you should definitely try paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake, it’s a lot of fun and a good workout!

Everywhere is Dog-Friendly

Reasons to visit Austin, TX

One of the things I love about Austin is how dog-friendly it is. You can bring your pup nearly anywhere that has an outdoor patio… especially Rainey Street. I brought Lola to Bangers on her birthday and they gave her doggy sausages as a treat!

Hill Country Sunsets

The sunsets in Austin are some of the best! I loved this one from my hotel, The Guild’s, rooftop patio.

Outstanding BBQ


You can’t visit Austin and not have BBQ for at least one meal. People stand in line for Franklin’s hours before it even opens — and it is worth it! La Barbeque and The Salt Lick are also really great.

South Congress Ave

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX
Photo credit: JustinJensen via Visualhunt

South Congress is probably the most iconic street in Austin. It’s got funky shops, cool bars, and great restaurants. Uncommon Objects is an eccentric antique shop that you could spend hours in. Lucy’s in Disguise with Diamonds is one of the craziest costume shops there is! Hopdoddy has arguably the best burgers in town (if you don’t get their green chili queso fries, you’re wrong). The Continental Club is a cool bar with a great atmosphere, awesome for live music! You pretty much can’t go wrong on south Congress.

Cool Street Art


Austin has some seriously cool street art. Freepeople blog’s Julia wrote a great post (and made the awesome graphic above) detailing all the different places to see! You should also check out Castle Hill Graffiti park, it’s constantly changing, and if you climb to the top, you get great views of the downtown skyline!

Awesome Live Music Scene

live musice austin tx

They don’t call Austin the Live Music Capital of The World for nothing! No matter the night, there is bound to be a great concert going on in the city. To see who’s playing when you’re visiting, check here.

The Bat Colony on South Congress

There are over 1.5 million bats that have made the Congress Avenue Bridge their home. Every night, during the summer months, people gather to watch the world’s largest urban bat colony emerge at sunset. It’s incredible to see, and definitely not to be missed when visiting.


use code “chel10” for 10% off your stay at any Guild location!

So I’ve successfully convinced you to visit Austin, now where should you stay? On my first weekend back, The Guild graciously had me as their guest, and what an awesome experience it was! The rooms are all uniquely decorated and have such an “Austin-y” vibe to them (photos from their website).

They have 5 different locations, all pretty centrally located. I stayed at their East 6th property and the sunset view from the rooftop is reason alone to stay!

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX | Where to Stay

The rooms are basically fully furnished apartments and come with a washer and dryer, dishes, pots and pans, full-size refrigerator, speedy wifi, delicious local coffee, and more! Plus, the price is great! As I mentioned before, they were kind enough to give 10% off your stay to my friends and followers — just use code “chel10” 🙂 Book here.

Reasons to Visit Austin, TX | Where to Stay: The Guild

For any other recommendations in Austin, feel free to ask, just comment below! 🙂

xx Chels

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3 thoughts on “14 Reasons to Visit Austin, TX: What to Do and Where to Stay

  1. Thanks so much for this post Chelsea! I’m going to refer back to it while planning my best friend’s bachelorette party for this summer, and I’m so excited to visit Austin! I’ve never been off the East Coast aside from when traveling abroad, so it’s going to be a very new experience for me, I can’t wait! 🙂

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