Austin is a cool city with a heart of rock and roll. There’s so much to take in that we decided to tackle this guide three ways from our Austin-based agents, our Local: Garrett Christopher, the Transplant: Amanda Poses and Quintessentially Cool: Courtney Beaver. With three minds combined, we’re guaranteeing you’ll get the best of everything Austin has to offer from knowing how to dress to where to find finger lickin’ BBQ and of course, your live music hot spots.
Austin Three Times
What brought you to Austin?
Garrett: I moved to Austin in 2008 for a family business. Over the last 9 years the city has dramatically changed. In 2008 Austin was the 31st largest city in the country and now Austin is 11th. Austin has been the fastest city in the country with 159 people moving here per day. After living here you realize how good the quality of life is and how Austin is truly a little oasis in the middle of Texas.
Courtney: Came for the school and got hooked!
Amanda: Better weather: winter 2014 in NYC really kicked us out the door.
Favorite hotels for a stay-cation:
Garrett: San Jose Hotel or Hotel Saint Cecilia. Both of these Austin boutique hotels are located in the South Congress area. They’re perfect for those VIP clients since they provide the perfect private environment with tons of charm and unique Austin vibes.
Courtney: Hotel Saint Cecilia. A lovely, exclusive oasis in the heart of the city. One of my favorite hotels anywhere!
Amanda: Hotel Saint Cecilia is an oasis in Austin, you feel like you are miles away while right at home.
Favorite spot for drinks:
Garrett: This is hard because there are so many bars in Austin. However, Rainey Street is an old neighborhood where the homes were converted into bars (any of the new bars) Perlas Patio for great people watching, Hotel San Jose to get a frozen rose or frozay, West 6th Street spots like Kung Fu Saloon and Green Light Social is where you go for a drink and for sophisticated bar hopping.
Courtney: Jeffery’s. It’s known as a steak house, but the bar is just perfect for a night out in Clarksville.
Amanda: South Congress Hotel on “First Thursdays” (an Austin tradition that provides local artists and small business owners the opportunity to showcase their creative ideas and artwork on South Congress Ave). Their hotel bar has a great vibe with plenty of buzz, and an eclectic scene; everything Austin is!
Favorite place for dinner:
Garrett: I can go on and on here! To start, Justine’s is an Austin staple and has great vibes. Red Ash has the best new Italian and I like Jacoby’s for an Austin steakhouse. Ranch 616 is another Austin staple with Southwest cuisine, Wu Chow for traditional Chinese dishes with 90’s hip hop music , Vespaio for classic Italian, La Condessa chic Mexican food/tequila and mescal bar.
Courtney: Clark’s. Simple menu, tables outside and great rose’. What more do you need?!
Amanda: Launderette has amazing food and a creative, local vibe. It’s especially great on week-night’s as a hang out spot with friends. Uchiko I like for sushi and they have the best champagne cocktail. My favorite place for date night with my husband is at their bar, the scene is sleek but rustic.
Best BBQ in town:
Courtney: Franklin’s. It’s actually the best BBQ in Texas (in my opinion), but you better get up early if you don’t want to be on line all day!
Amanda: Stiles Switch has the best short ribs and you don’t have to wait in a crazy line for it. Plus, Frito Pies!
Best music scene:
Garrett: You can literally go to any random bar in Austin and find live music. However the best venues are Antone’s (Gary Clark Jr. is a part owner and plays here randomly) , Continental Club (all the greats have played here), C‐Boy’s Heart & Soul (neighborhood juke-joint), Moody Theater (newer venue at the W Hotel) or Cedar Street (open air venue), just to name a few.
Courtney: Stubb’s. It’s an Austin institution. Who doesn’t like seeing live music outside? And they have BBQ!
Amanda: ACL Tapings. It’s an intimate setting where you can see crowd favorites like Norah Jones and Zach Brown Band play while being recorded. About a week before each taping they release a sign up form for a chance to get passes to the taping (given out in pairs). So if you see a favorite is being played, sign up asap!
Best places to shop:
Garrett: If you come to Austin the most iconic shopping street is South Congress. You go there to check out the new and old stores but, you especially have to check out the boat stores and old vintage stores. 2nd Street District is a newer shopping area right in the middle of downtown. The Domain is also a great spot to go for an outdoor mall experience, just north of downtown.
Courtney: Sunroom. Unique, small designers you won’t find anywhere else. It’s Quintessential Austin!
Amanda: Valentines is locally owned and sources great style with an exclusive flair.
Typical Austin‐style wardrobe contains:
Garrett: Casual Chic. Everything in this city is informal. Very light clothing in the summer months.
Courtney: Cut-offs and a white tee. It’s hot, so you can almost get away with this uniform all year round.
Amanda: Southern Chic a.k.a: Casual jeans with a great top -and cowboy boots of course!
Activities you must partake in while in Austin:
Garrett: Going on a walk/bike ride/paddle board around Town Lake, renting a boat on Lake Austin/Lake Travis, eating BBQ and Tex MEX, and seeing live music in the live music capital of the world.
Courtney: Walking the trail around Town Lake, you get to feel the soul of Austin. Visit South Congress for brunch and shopping. My favorite part of Austin! Funky and cool.
Amanda: Eat, hike, listen to music and eat more! Act like a local, and you’ll understand why everyone is moving here.
Anything else we can’t miss about this city?
Garrett: “The Greenbelt” is a great area close to downtown with great hiking, climbing, and popular swimming areas. Zilker Park is right in the middle of downtown and is great to walk around or go for a bike ride around town lake. And Texas BBQ is something you must do in Austin. This, with the list above is all you need.
Courtney: Live music, it’s the live music capital of the world! South Congress is my favorite area. And the lake, it’s the heart of the city!
Amanda: You have to take some time to see The Capital Building it’s bigger than the one in Washington!