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spending a perfect three days in Austin

Let’s face it, Austin is a happening place.

And this weekend is no exception. Austin is one of those places you have to visit to fully appreciate its magic and “weirdness”. If the quality of life doesn’t convince you enough to move, consider spending a perfect three days in Austin instead.

I recommend staying in a central location for ease of access around the city.

Spending three days in Austin? Here are some exciting things to do:

  • Scope out all the street art
  • Party on Dirty Sixth & Rainey Street
  • Go shopping in South Congress
  • Get your nature fix at Zilker Park & Barton Springs
  • Catch some live music

To help ensure you see everything in a practical fashion, this post is organized by two of Austin’s most popular neighborhoods for visitors: Downtown & South Congress.

This will not only keep the Uber fares low but ensure peace of mind knowing you experienced it all.

I also strongly recommend allowing yourself some time to mix and mingle with the locals. Talk about some of the most welcoming people you will ever get the pleasure of meeting.

three days in Austin what to do - state building austin

Texas State Capitol

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin may be home to the Texas State Capitol Building, but the REAL experience happens in two areas known as 6th Street & Rainey Street. Here’s where to go on both:

three days in Austin what to do - dirty 6th street bar list

The famous Dirty 6th Street Austin

6th Street Bar List

Sixth street is divided into three: West 6th, Dirty 6th, and East 6th.

Young professionals typically find themselves on either the west or east side. On West 6th Street you will find the popular Concrete Cowboy Bar which is great, though I show a bit more favoritism to East 6th.

East 6th Street offers one-of-a-kind bars with the most trendy ones being Whislers, Floppy Disk, and the Garage.

Whislers is an indoor/outdoor bar with a large patio meant for socializing at their long wooden tables. Flobby Disk and the Garage are both Speakeasys.

A code is required to enter Floppy Disk (psst. it’s 2229#). The Garage, however, does not require a code, yet still hard to find for it’s literally located in a parking garage.

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Stop by the trailer out front of The Garage Monday-Friday from 7-3 pm for breakfast or brunch and their Nitro Brew cold coffee. 

Let’s not forget about the dive bars. In order to see two sides of the bar scene, pay a visit to Yellow Jacket and Sidebar.

Now on to the famous Dirty 6th. Mostly known to have a heavy college scene at night, still all ages must experience the beauty of Dirty 6th, especially during the daytime. The buildings are just too adorable not to.

If you do decide to stop for a few drinks, the Alamo Drafthouse is obviously a must!

three days in Austin what to do - Rainey Street

Food trucks on Rainey Street

Rainey Street Bar List

No perfect weekend in Austin is complete without bar hoping down Rainey Street – a historic neighborhood turned into bars. Literally, a house party. Day or evening, this place is poppin.

If you come for brunch, The Bungalow and Icenhauer’s both offer bloody mary and mimosa bars. Both are equally great night spots with DJ’s always spinning.

On the unique side of Rainey Street, you have the wonderfully decorated UnBARlievable – filled with giant Giraffes and circus-inspired walls.

Interested in a multi-story bar made out of shipping containers? Head to the Container Bar a few steps away. (Tip: For shorter lines at the bar, head upstairs to the small container labeled “the bar”)

Lastly, for you foodies, fear not for Rainey Street is packed with food trucks of all shapes, sizes, and cuisines. 

three days in austin what to do - South Congress

Can you spot Austin City Lemons?

South Congress

Start your morning in South Congress with a coffee from the original Jo’s Coffee. Since you will be right there, peak around the corner and you will find the Instagram famous “I love you so much mural”.

Be sure to snap a photo with the city backdrop at the top of South Congress. You will understand what I mean as soon as you get there.

Shop around all many boutique stores from re-purposed vintage to the famous Allen’s Boots. This will be your first attempt to convert to southern style. The boots are seriously beautiful but expensive, kind of like these.

To quench your thirst, stop by Austin City Lemons for some delightful homemade lemonade. When you get hungry, stop and grub at the famous Torchy’s Tacos, or Home Slice Pizza if tex-mex is not your thing.

Both are guaranteed satisfaction. It’s also worth noting, the Home Slice Pizza is open wee hours of the night for you party people who need a late night snack. . . you’ll thank me later.

If you’re on the hunt for even more awesome street murals, walk up to Magnolia Cafe South for the “Love From Austin” mural (shown above). Postcard worthy indeed.

Assuming walking is the last you want to do after having done it all stay, I encourage you to push through a little longer and walk down (OK, or Uber down) to Congress Avenue Bridge to witness the bats fly out at sunset.

what to do with three days in austin

Austin Skyline

Want even more things to do in Austin this weekend?

Sure, Austin is not limited to just two neighborhoods. Below you will find an extensive list of even more exciting things to do around Austin. Are you convinced to make the move yet or what?

what to do with three days in austin

Mural at Steel City Pops

More street murals to watch out for:
  • Sweet You’re Here (@ Kellie’s Backing Co.)

  • Welcome to Austin Sign

  • Graffiti Park (Clarksville Historic District though moving locations soon)

  • Love is the Question. Love is the Answer (Nau Enfield Drug)

  • Fresh (Steel City Pops)

three days in Austin what to do - Zilker at Baby A's

Baby A’s Purple Margarita

Additional bar & restaurant options

For non-alcoholic drinks, try the Tea Haus and Juice Land. You will notice just how popular Juice House is. They have quite a few locations spread around Austin.

For quaint cafes and coffee shops, Cafe Nena’i and Factory Cafe are well worth a visit!

As someone who grew up in Vegas, I have got to say, Austin has more bars that even I knew what to do with. One, in particular, you should show caution to is Baby A’s Purple Margarita. It’s devil’ishly good.

Looking to escape the center of the city for some food and views? Head to the Oasis. They deliver the complete package – food and views!

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If you want the best fusion concept restaurant, I’m taking Vietnamese cafe meets french bakery, then you must try Elizabeth Street Cafe.

I must say, before walking in, I was already snapping photos of this pastel pink building. Once inside, I was charmed by the decor, macarons, and fried spring rolls. Quite the fantastic combination!

And if that wasn’t enough options for you, Terry Black BBQ, Andiamo, and Red Ash are also serving up mouth-watering eats. Like seriously, how do Austinites stay so skinny?

Popular live music venues:

Austin’s claim to fame is that they are the live music capital of the world! A title well deserved. Honestly, everywhere has live music, including the airport.

Yet, there are a few that stand out as must visit and that’s Cheer Up Charlies and Hotel Vegas.

three days in Austin what to do - zilker park

Botanical Gardens at Zilker Park

Check out these outdoor adventures, tours, and must-see landmarks:

Take a tour of Titos Distillery Tour and/or the Deep Eddy Distillery – both a local vodka producer.

Sit back and relax at Zilker Park – home to the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Stroll the Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake.

Challenge yourself to the Lake Travel Zip Line (psst. look on Groupon for discounted tickets).

Take a dip in Barton Springs Pool. Come in the summertime and this place is poppin’. Remember my tip on mingling with the locals? Barton Springs would be the perfect opportunity!

For even more tips check out Do512 or Austin Texas Tourism site for local event calendars. They share everything that’s going on in Austin.

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Want to know where to stay in Austin for a weekend? Check out these hip and affordable hotels in the heart of it all!