It wouldn’t be the holidays without out-of-town family and friends coming for a visit. After all, spending time with those we love makes the season extra special. But, after the gifts are open and dinner is finished, and Christmas Day is another memory, what’s next? Have you thought about how you are going to entertain your guests for the next few days?
If you are an Austin newbie and have not explored the uniqueness of the area, now’s the perfect opportunity. In the city of Austin and its friendly outskirts there’s so much to do. You can act like a tourist in your own town and entertain your guests at the same time. And, have an awesome time doing it. From brunch, to barbecue to museums, outdoor adventures, and a trendy nightlife scene, Austin has it all.
Austin area eats and treats
Brunch anyone? There is nothing better than brunching with family and friends. At Chee Zee American Bistro the atmosphere is funky and the Crème Brûlée French toast is yummy, delightful, and so decadent. Order a mix your own mimosa and a bowl of bacon for a special brunch combination. Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill is known for its Southwestern cuisine and Bloody Mary Bar. Its Cedar Park location is just 10 minutes from Travisso. Banger’s Big Band Brunch is a Sunday morning must do. Homemade sausages, the largest tap wall in Austin, and music. It’s also located on Rainey Street—the place to see and be seen. Menu items at Copper Restaurant and Dessert Lounge include Honey Dipped Fried Chicken and Biscuits, desserts, cake balls and the $10 mix our own mimosa special.
Barbecue mainstays. These days it is easy to get some of the best barbecue in the state without traveling to Lockhart or Llano. Both Black’s BBQ and Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que now have convenient Austin locations. The original Black’s BBQ in Lockhart opened its doors in 1932 making it the oldest in the state. The same family still owns and operates it. In addition to the “World Famous Big Chop” Cooper’s Austin location also serves up live music in a historic building on Congress Street. The renovated space also includes a rooftop garden and oak-shaded back patio.
Fun destinations for the entire family
Museums and historical places. To learn the history of Texas there’s two places to go—the Texas State Capitol building and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Tours at the Capitol are free, comprehensive, and very informative. On the tour you’ll learn facts about the building, Texas history and how the legislature was formed. The Bullock Museum is dedicated to telling the history of Texas and Texans through exhibits and interactive displays. It also offers a variety of special exhibits, events, and presentations on a wide variety of topics for all ages. Though the Driskill Hotel is not a museum it does house plenty of history. Built in 1886, it remains stoic and just as grand today. It is also where Lyndon B. Johnson had his first date with Claudia Taylor, or as we know here today, “Lady Bird.” Visitors to Austin are always welcome at the Driskill.
Outdoor adventures. Another perk of visiting Texas during the holidays is the weather. Temperatures usually average between 50 and 60 degrees. And, that’s perfect weather for getting outdoors. One of the truly great places to hike, bike and paddle on a sunny winter day is Lady Bird Lake. It’s a mecca for both recreation and people watching. You can also check out the gorgeous view of the Colorado River at Mount Bonnell—one the most popular tourist spots in Austin. Admission is free. The elevation is 785 feet up but once you get there the reward is spectacular.
For the over 21 crowd
Trendy nightlife hot spots. Austin’s historic Sixth Street entertainment district located in the center of the city houses a multitude of bars, clubs, restaurants, entertainment venues, and hotels. A calendar of events is located on the Sixth Street official website. For a great nightlife scene go to the Domain Northside and check out Rock Rose. This one-street wonder is an upscale emporium of restaurants, bars, and entertainment. It’s swank, classy, and a great place to people watch. You can also honky tonk down to the iconic Broken Spoke. This legendary dancehall is an Austin staple steeped with history. Many a country crooners such as Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson have played here. In addition to the country music, the other reason to go is to learn how to Texas two-step. One-hour free dance lessons are offered Wednesday through Saturday and begin at 8 p.m.