Friday, September 11, 2015

WHEN IN AUSTIN

I instantly fell in love with Austin, TX when I first visited last October during my Ice Cream Trippin' road trip (recap here) and knew that the city deserved a second visit (& 3rd, 4th and so on...) with more time to explore. This past Labor Day presented the perfect opportunity (albeit the 100+ degree heat) and Melanee & I embraced the city (or it may have been the other way around) with open arms. Like all of my vacation plans, the goal was to see, eat, sleep and repeat.

EAT
(left to right, top to bottom)

TORCHY'S TACOS - Delicious Mexican food. A taco menu with options for every taste bud. The chips and guacamole and street corn are a MUST. There's a few locations throughout the city, but go to their trailer park location on 1st Street and dine al fresco.
LICK HONEST ICE CREAM - A stop on the Ice Cream Trippin' tour and a favorite of mine. Try the Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint flavor for a refreshing, sweet treat.
THE SALT LICK -  40 minutes outside of Austin, but worth the drive. One of the best BBQ spots ever and their spicy sauce is to die for. I'm normally not a fan of leftovers, especially while on vacation, but this was a rare exception.
SEVENTH FLAG COFFEE - I can't function without caffeine and this is my coffee spot of choice, after trying a few. Plus, the cute decor doesn't hurt.
SHAKE SHACK - Being that we don't have this in LA, I indulge myself with Shake Shack whenever I can.
JOSEPHINE HOUSE - Hands down, the cutest restaurant ever. Located inside a blue cottage, this was the perfect (& most picturesque) place for brunch.

SEE
GRAFFITI WALLS - Located through the city, it was fun to spot them while driving around and of course, stopping for a photo op.
BATS UNDER CONGRESS AVENUE BRIDGE - Home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. At sunset, millions of bats fly out from under the bridge and is truly a sight to see.
SAN MARCOS RIVER - Tubing down a river isn't something that I get to experience in LA so this was a must-do on the bucket list. 
BARTON SPRINGS - The perfect oasis to cool down from the heat.

SLEEP

I tend to stick with hotel properties that I'm familiar with when it comes to traveling. It was a no brainer to stay at the newly opened JW Marriott since I recently stayed at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa a few months ago and was blown away on all levels. The new Austin property is located in Downtown Austin, in the heart of the city, with everything easily accessible and just minutes away. Navigating the city was a breeze, being at the hotel is walking distance to some of the city's landmark sites including the Texas State Capitol, Sixth Street, and South Congress (be sure to stop by the Congress Avenue Bridge for the bats!).
We felt right at home from the moment that we pulled up to valet, thanks to their exceptional staff. Checking in was a breeze and I was beyond impressed with our room. Expansive views of the city from our bedroom, modern decor (the leather headboard is to die for!), a luxurious bathroom with marble tiles, and the most comfortable beds that made afternoon naps a mandatory activity, feeling spoiled would be a understatement. My favorite? The rooftop pool. It was the perfect escape from the hot Texas heat and provided stellar views of the city skylines as well as Lady Bird Lake.

Thank you Austin for a memorable weekend, see you soon! xo

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