- comprehensive list available here
- Brunch/Daytime Options:
- La BBQ - Best BBQ ever. There's usually about an hour wait but they have a keg of free beer and the bbq is like none other. I'd go here over franklins honestly!
- Gordoughs... Everything comes on a donut. It sounds terrible but it is insanely delicious.
- Bangers!! They have 1 million different types of sausages and beer on tap. It's on rainey street and is a great place for a big group!
- 24 Diner on Lamar and Sixth. Great for yummy comfort food. Anytime of the day.
- Torchy's Tacos, El Tacorido or Taco Deli for breakfast tacos
- Takoba has a bad ass mexican food brunch with $1.5 mimosas or $7 mimosa carafe. The best days start here.
- Blue Dahlia - Cute little bistro in East Austin
- Hop Doddy Burger Bar - Normally I wouldn't recommend a Burger Bar but seriously... they have the best burgers I've ever had. So delicious and a cool concept. They have lamb, tuna, veggie and turkey burgers which are all amazing. The line gets pretty long so be prepared to wait a bit but it's so worth it.
- Drinks at Hotel San Jose - If you go out to eat on Soco, definitely get a drink at the hotel san jose. They have this adorable courtyard and the sangria is delicious.
- Polvos - (great fajitas and brunch too!) If you want a YUMMY, casual mexican food place, Polvos is perfect for that. Their margaritas are delicious (and strong!) and their food is yummy. It's consistently one of my faves.
- Jacoby's Mercantile - This place is a little more expensive but they have the best chicken fried steak EVER.
- Salty Sow! If you can get a reservation here it's a great spot to check out, Super yummy stuff. My favorite thing on the menu is the crispy chicken thighs. <3 <3 so yummyyyyy.
- Uchiko - Uchiko is super trendy more upscale sushi restaurant but really delicious. It's the restaurant that the former winner of top chef, Paul Qui was at before he won top chef.
- Backspace - on 6th street. A really cute little pizza place. I just love the vibe of this place.
- Sway - Yummy/hip thai place on South first
Activities - Day
- Tastings at breweries:
- SoCo bridge to watch the bats
- Hike up to 360 bridge overlook
- Walk town lake and go stand up paddle boarding or kayaking. There's a new boardwalk on one side of the lake that is really neat!
- Hamilton Pool - About a 45 minutes from Austin but a great swimming hole! Call ahead to make sure it's open.
- Barton springs!
- Shopping on south congress is always great. Lots of antique, vintage and funky shops.
- Alamo drafthouse is an Austin staple. It's a movie theater that is really unique and they do these funny comedy shows during movies. They basically have 3 guys just make fun of the movie the whole time. There is one for twilight next weekend. If you are looking for something different these are fun. You can order food and drinks in the theater and it's usually REALLY funny.
Activities - Night
- West 6th - bar hopping for like the late 20s/30s crowd, more professional
- Dirty 6th (East 6th but still West of I-35) - belligerent college kids
- East 6th - East of I-35; pretty hipstery but more fun that the others
- Rainey Street - This is a new-ish area in Austin that has popped up over the past few years. It's all of these old houses turned into bars. there at least 10 bars on that street now and all are pretty fun/cool. Personally, this is my favorite area to go out in.
- East side - I like White Horse, the Hightower and Yellow Jacket Social Club.
San Antonio has grown a lot as far as quality of restaurants and I guess just general urban development. The river walk is mostly a tourist trap. Cool to see, but I wouldn't eat down there. You'll pay extra for shitty food.
Areas of town to stick around
- South Town
- Blue Star Arts Complex
- The Pearl (the old Pearl Brewery was here. It's got a handful of popular restaurants and apartments. Access to the San Antonio river).
- Possibly: Monte Vista/Alta Vista, Olmos Park, Alamo Heights
In The Pearl area
- La Gloria - It's not tex-mexy. I love it, but my mom hates it since she has bad, chain-loving taste (love ya, mom). They have good frozen margaritas, good and not too pricey food (you can get like little tacos or a bigger meal), you get to sit by the river, and can walk all the way down it to the "main" part of the river walk after dinner. It's a nice walk.
- The Luxury - Off the river, between La Gloria and the main, touristy part of Downtown. Outdoor seating only--it's like a food truck setup but in old shipping containers. Good fries. Beer and wine.
- Green Vegetarian Cuisine - Good for lunch or a more casual breakfast, really good vegetarian food. No meat here. Not much for ambience, though. It's also BYOB if you want to bring a drink or stuff for mimosas. There's an outdoor patio, too.
- Bakery Lorraine - Delicious, homemade pastries. They serve coffee as well. I'm pretty sure they're in The Pearl complex now...they used to be just across 281.
- Local Coffee - pretty self explanatory...just a coffee shop
- There's a pretty good pizza place in there that I can't remember the name of
- Halcyon - cool hybrid coffee shop/bar that you can also wait in while waiting for a table at the pizza joint I'm not sure I'd bother with Blue Star. You'll pass it while hanging around in South Town, though. It's right near the Pioneer Flour Mill.
- The Monterey - I love this place! But probably because it reminds me of Austin. Sometimes weird and limited menu, so I'd advise taking a peak at it ahead of time, in case there's nothing on it you'd like and/or one of you is a pickier eater. They have beer and wine, no liquor. Cute gravel outdoor patio with a small inside seating area & they have little Mexican blankets if it's chillier out. I love their brunch, but it's only on Sundays
- Hot Joy - I've been when it was a pop-up restaurant on the days when The Monterey was closed; now has it's own location. but it's supposed to be a cool spot for Chinese.
- The Friendly Spot - Outdoor, casual beer joint. They have food, but I'd more go there to just chill between riding around on your bikes, as it isn't anything amazing.
- Rosario's - Everyone loves this place but me. I don't dislike it, but it's kind of a cafeteria-vibe inside. With a ton of tourists and locals alike. Food is fine but I just think there are better places to go. But if you're in South Town looking for Mexican food, this isn't a bad choice.
- Barbaro - Cute place for a date. Full bar, yummy pizza, dim lighting in the evening. I've always had a friendly server.
Alta Vista area
- The Cove - Casual place with good fish tacos, burgers, beers. They have both outdoor seating with an outdoor bar, a playscape for kids, and indoor seating next to whatever music they have going. On Wednesday nights they have jazz. You can check their schedule to see what's playing. This place is also a car wash and laundromat, so very casual.
- Dough - Really good pizza, on all the Food Network shows. In a strip center off of Loop 410. Not the best ambience, but if you feel like pizza and driving.
- Tuk Tuk Tap Room (across the highway from the Pearl), Cured (the Pearl), Arcade Midtown Kitchen (the Pearl) - haven't been to any of them, but they get media attention
- La Fogata - we take out of town guests here. The food could be better, but their margaritas are good & the ambience is pretty nice. Mariachis will come around...they play for tips & usually have a flat rate per song. This is off 410, so you'd need a car or a cab.
- Eat some breakfast tacos for me in either San Antonio or Austin! Don't call them burritos! Popular flavors include bacon/egg, bean/cheese, potato/egg/cheese. Ugh, I'm hungry. Las Palapas is a chain down there. Ruthie's off of West Avenue is my favorite, but you'd have to drive, as it's over on the North central side near my old high school. I actually like Twin Sister's weird gringa tacos in Alamo Heights. They make them with whole wheat tortillas. Perhaps you can get breakfast tacos while in Austin if you don't end up going anywhere in SA.
- I'd hold off on this one for Austin. The Salt Lick is in Dripping Springs (near Austin). You'll need a car. And a working cell phone. I feel like I always get lost, even with GPS, and my phone is always dangerously low on battery and it's super dark out there since it's like country back roads. It's BYOB, (though they might serve their own now), so feel free to bring a small to giant cooler of beer. Franklin's BBQ in Austin still has ludicrous lines, so I've not yet been. I hear that La Barbecue in Austin is really good. Lockhart, Texas is also known for their barbecue, but a little drive.
- Mission Trail - the mission trail connects the 4 missions (Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan, and Espada) to the San Antonio River. Supposed to be good for a nice ride.
- The Alamo - it's really a glorified gift shop in the heart of downtown, but you could go to say you did.
- Phil Hardberger Park bike trail - the cities has big plans to extend this bike trail all the way down to the missions one mentioned above. It's a nice bike trail, but kind of suburban.
- El Mercado (Market Square) - in Downtown. It's the kind of place you take out of town family. Just a little marketplace, mostly touristy stuff, what you'd expect
- Walking (or jogging) down the SA River
SA has a recent obsession with cocktail bars. Kind of obnoxious in general, personally, but if you're looking for a cocktail there's some good options, now.
- The Brooklynite - I think this place is pretentious and annoying but some people love it. Could potentially be amusing to come, as Brooklynites, and see how cool these people think they are bringing "New York" to SA
- Ocho Lounge in Hotel Havana - cool enclosed, garden-y patio on ground level and downstairs basement bar
- Esquire Tavern - I like this place way more than the Brooklynite. Long bar, they serve food, too, but come for the drinks. A little pricey, as cocktail bars usually are. I guess I forget that I'm talking to a New Yorker. They sometimes have live (indoor) music.
- Stay Golden Social House - Full bar, big outdoor patio that will play the Spurs games.
- Alamo Street Eat Bar - Walk up beer bar, has food trucks stationed around it. Can't remember if it's cash only
- Tucker's Kozy Korner - I've never been but I heard about it a lot...I think this place is known for jazz
- The Cove & The Friendly Spot (mentioned above)
- Sam's Burger Joint - known for their musical guests (who you likely won't have heard of...I usually haven't)
- I would recommend against spending anytime at the Texas wineries. Like, all of them. Some of them aren't that bad but it's not our strong suit, so the wine isn't amazing and there are just cooler things to do.
- Uber sucks in San Antonio. I took a ride that would have been $11 in Chicago and it cost me $35. Hardly any drivers there. Cabs are going to be pricey, too. Do you know where you're staying? The city is spread out, so you're going to need a rental car unless you want to stay downtown and divvy everywhere as much as you can. You're probably not going to want to do much, if anything, outside of the downtown/Pearl/Southtown area, anyways, since everything else is just neighborhoods and lameville. Uber/Lyft are much better in Austin, and a viable alternative. They have better public transportation around downtown (buses), but I'm not sure about taking buses out of downtown.
- Both SA & Austin have B-Cycle stations. I would scout out the maps & see where the stations are ahead of time. I know in SA they are pretty limited but are pretty much in the areas that y'all would be wanting to go anyways (South Town, Downtown, The Pearl, etc.). I'd imagine it's similar for Austin...near most of the touristy stuff but not extending past those little pockets. $10/day for a pass or something cheap like that. I saw that there is a 7-day pass which would be potentially useful if you could use the pass in both cities, but I'm not sure if that's the case.
- You can buy a river taxi pass to travel along the few stations they have on the San Antonio river. Haven't done it myself. My mom thinks it's just too cool, but she's also easily entertained.
- Fredericksburg is a pretty cute little town within driving from SA. Enchanted Rock is in Fredericksburg, and you could hike around/up it. There's a little micro-brewery in town and a street with a bunch of little shops. It's cute if you want a little half day trip, but y'all might rather spend your time between SA & Austin.
- If either of y'all are into climbing, my climbing friends say Waco, Texas is supposedly the best for that, but that's about 3 hours North of SA (and 1.5 North of Austin) up I-35. Don't go there for anything else. I know the Dr. Pepper museum is there. Haven't been, can't imagine it's worth the drive. Baylor University is there, so all-in-all Waco is just kind of trashy & full of annoying overly Christian college kids.
- The city of Lockhart, Texas is known for their barbecue.