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1 Perfect Austin Itinerary

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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to a perfect Austin itinerary. Austin, the capital of Texas, has so much to offer that it’s basically impossible to jam everything a person would want to do in one Austin itinerary. But we’re going to do our Lone Star best!

Looking for Texas history? Austin’s got that. Want some delicious bbq and tacos? Austin is the place to be? Looking for gruesome tales of ghostly honeymoons and the most popular bat colony in the United States? Glad you have something so specific in mind–and Austin still has you covered. Let’s not waste any more time!

austin itinerary

Austin Itinerary

Where to Stay?

There’s tons of places to stay in Austin because it’s a popular tourist attraction, a college city, and the capital of one of the largest states in the US. So you have plenty of options to choose from for your Austin in a day. But I choose to stay at the Stephen F Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel.

This hotel has a great location right in the middle of downtown Austin, so you’re within walking distance of tons of bars and restaurants. However, the rooms were kept quiet, so I was able to sleep peacefully, no matter how noisy it got outside. There’s also a tasty restaurant on the property that serves the largest tortilla soup I have ever seen.

Austin itinerary

Click here to get a great rate on this hotel! Or if you’d rather explore, click here to see many excellent hotels available in Austin. This search engine will help you find the best places for your taste and budget so you can really enjoy your Austin itinerary.

Austin itinerary

Austin itinerary

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your Austin itinerary
  • The best travel guide to Austin.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will teach you how to get the most out of every trip–just like I do, traveling 16 weeks a year!
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by ghost bats during your Austin itinerary.
austin itinerary

Austin Itinerary

Morning: The Bullock Museum

Many state capitals are home to their state’s history museum, and Austin is no exception. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s certainly true of the Bullock Museum, dedicated to Texas history. You’ll find no part of Texas history unturned, from the indigenous American population to the present day.

There’s no way I can teach you everything I learned about Texas history at the Bullock Museum, but I’d be happy to share with you…

Three Sometimes Fun Facts: Don’t Mess With Texas Edition

austin itinerary
1) What’s the Deal With Six Flags Over Texas?

You’ll learn all about the different flags that have flown over Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and the United States. And if you’re anything like me, one of those names is going to stick out to you.

Huh? Texas was part of France?

That’s right, ooh la la! In fact, there was a considerable conflict between Spain and France over Texas. One of the Bullock Museum’s treasures are artifacts from a French colonial boat called La Belle. (I’m guessing you know enough French to know that means “the beautiful.”.) This boat sank in Texas on its way home to France, and the rest of the French colony in Texas was just about that unsuccessful.

I think someone should make a video interviewing random rural Texans and telling them they’re really French, just to see how they respond.

austin itinerary
2) Why did Texas Join the Confederacy?

Well, the short answer is that Texas was a slave state, profiting from stolen labor. One of the main industries that used enslaved labor was cotton fabric, which was manufactured in Texas. Above, you can see a cotton gin from Luckenbach, Texas. This machine increased the demand for enslaved people to pick cotton because the gin could remove the seeds from the cotton plant so efficiently.

Texas was also the birthplace of the holiday Juneteenth, honoring the end of slavery in the United States. Because of Texas’s location, it was the last state where the end of slavery was announced, leading to the first Juneteenth celebrations. At the Bullock Museum, you can see a copy of the proclamation ending slavery that was read in Galveston, Texas, back in 1865.

austin itinerary
3) Why are Texans so Proud of Being Texan?

That’s a great question! Many Texans are sure bustin’ out with pride in their beautiful home state. I suggest checking out the film on the history of Texas at the Bullock Museum, which is full of braggin’ on Texas. (My favorite Texas Brag is the remark that the first word ever spoken on the moon was “Houston”.)

austin itinerary

However, the first instance I could find of Texas chauvinism at the museum was the story about the beginning of the war between the Texas colonists and Mexico. The colonists had a cannon that was issued by the Mexican government, and the Mexican soldiers wanted it back. The colonists responded by yelling, “Come and take it!”

Come and take it remains a popular saying in Texas to this day. However, I do not remember bringing a large bottle of Jack Daniels to a children’s museum in Texas and then screaming, “Come and take it!” when museum staff tries to get you to put the bottle away. They don’t go for that sort of thing, even in Austin.

austin itinerary

Austin Itinerary

Afternoon: Secret Food Tour

I have often said that the best way to see any city is to take a food tour. After all, you’ll get lots of fun facts and hidden treasures shown to you by a local guide, which is bundles easier than trying to find them on your own. Plus, you get to try many more snacks with the group than you would on your own.

That’s why I recommend booking Secret Food Tours Austin. You’ll find some of the yummiest delicacies in the Weirdest City in Texas, and you’ll get enough food for both lunch and dinner, so you’ll really be saving money.

If you want to book this delicious tour for yourself, just click here. I’m not going to share all the Austin secrets our guide shared with us, but I will give you a taste of what to expect with…

Approximately Top 5: Austin Food Tour

austin itinerary
1) Coopers BBQ

No Austin itinerary is complete without a little Texas barbecue, and the best stop in Downtown Austin is the deliciously old-school Coopers. Coopers is famous for brisket, and you order it by the weight you want–it’s not a standard serving size. It was appropriately melt-in-your-mouth tender. Is this why locals like to say “God bless Texas”?

I got the special “drink upgrade on the food tour, so my bbq came with a local beer, which was a fairly flawless pairing. Our guide, whom I shall call Janis, told us to get any sides we wanted, and I chose baked beans and bbq sauce. Janis said that in Texas, brisket doesn’t come with sauce. You have to order it extra. I must admit that the meat was so tender and flavorful, it didn’t really need any sauce.

austin itinerary
2) Migas

The next stop on our Austin itinerary was Veracruz All Natural for that Austin breakfast classic, migas. Migas are eggs and tortilla strips all folded up with other goodies in a swaddling of breakfast taco, and they are the number one way to get a morning meal in Texas’s capital. Many say that Veracruz has the best in the city.

Janis said that the only downside of dining at Veracruz is that the wait time for your food is sometimes insanely long. But fortunately we are on the food tour, so Janis called ahead for our food and we didn’t need to wait at all!

austin itinerary
3) Juice Break!

OK, so we have had two substantial food stops, so let’s mix it up with some fresh blended juice at Juiceland. I felt like this stop represented Austin’s hippie side, which is definitely most present in all corners of the city.

Juiceland has tons of fun flavors, but we got the Wondershowzen, which is made with the intriguing combination of peanut butter and…spinach. Trust me that you couldn’t taste the spinach at all; it just provided the smoothie with a glorious green glow. Keep Austin weird, Wondershowzen!

austin itinerary
4) More Tacos!

Of course, one taco is not enough when we’re talking about a proper culinary Austin itinerary. That’s why we stopped for a lunch taco at Velvet Taco, which claims to have the best tacos in Austin. These aren’t traditional tacos; they are Weird Austin tacos, so we ordered the ones with Korean fried rice on top.

You can get yours mild or spicy, but I strongly suggest spicy if you want to feel like a local. You can always take some of the jalapenos off, if you are too wimpy.

austin itinerary

And speaking of being wimpy, time for some ranch water! No, this isn’t water from a ranch. If you get the drink upgrade, you can get this very Texas cocktail, which is tequila and lime mixed with Topo Chico, a crazy popular Mexican mineral water. The best part of this cocktail is how it’s mixed in the bottle, the second best part is all the tequila.

austin itinerary
5) Glamorous Tamales

Our next stop was at a restaurant called Gloria’s, which no longer exists in Downtown Austin, though they have another location. That’s a bummer because it was a super glam spot with a real Dale Chihuly chandelier, but I am still going to tell you about it. I’m sure the food tour will have replaced it with something equally cool.

The tamale here was special because it was baked in a banana leaf, which made it tender and mild in flavor. This traditional dish was a good contrast with the wacky spicy Velvet Taco we had feasted upon earlier.

austin itinerary
6) ????

OK, if you’re anything like me, you were probably expecting/hoping to end the tour with dessert. But your jaw probably dropped near the floor when you set eyes upon the odd pile of cheese, chocolate, and carbs above. That’s because you’ve probably never seen a cannoli pizza before.

We chomped on this beaut at Desano, which is a restaurant that usually only serves traditional Neapolitan pizza, using traditional Italian ingredients. I guess they make an exception for cannoli pizza, which is a dessert pizza based on the traditional Sicilian pastry called the cannoli. I imagine everyone’s Italian grandma hates the thought of this dish, but I thought it was delicious.

Well, that’s all the food we ate on the tour, but I didn’t include most of the Austin secrets and tips we learned from Janis. You’ll have to book the tour for yourself by clicking here to find out!

austin itinerary

Austin Itinerary

Evening: Ghosts and Bats!

Usually I don’t recommend two tours in one day, but this Ghost/Bat tour of Austin is so unique and different from the food tour that I am willing to make an exception. The bat colony in Austin that lives under the Congress Avenue Bridge is one of the city’s most popular attractions, but of course the bats only come out at night, and it can be hard to get there on your own.

That’s why I suggest taking this Segway tour of Downtown Austin that teaches you the coolest local ghost stories and then takes you to the viewing of the bats. The Segway is really easy to learn–I don’t know how to drive or ride a bicycle, and I can do it no problem. Even if you’ve never been on a Segway before, the beginning of the tour is devoted to teaching you how. Super easy!

You can book this tour yourself by clicking here. Then get ready for…

Three Fun Facts: Ghost Bat Edition

austin itinerary
1) Who is the Most Confused Ghost?

That would be Robert Marshall Love, a ghost who haunts the extremely pink Texas state capitol building. According to our guide, whom I shall dub Willie, Mr. Love had a friend named WG Hill who also worked at the capitol, but this friend turned out to be more of a…frenemy.

You see, Mr. Hill became convinced that Mr. Love was swindling and embezzling and decided to take his revenge by shooting Mr. Love repeatedly. Love claimed that he had no idea why Hill shot him, so who knows if he really committed those crimes or not?

What we do know is that Love’s ghost apparently doesn’t realize that he was terminated from his job with extreme prejudice because Love keeps showing up for work at the capitol every day. Do you think someone could pay to send Love to Cancun on vacation for a week? Even ghosts need a day off from work once in a while.

austin itinerary
2) What’s the Most Profitable Ghost Story?

I think that’s the story of the haunted room at the Driscoll Hotel. There was a young woman who had booked the honeymoon suite at this hotel with her fiancé. Unfortunately, he turned out to not be worthy of her love, and she got jilted before her wedding. She ended up coming to the honeymoon suite by herself, which sounds super depressing, and died by her own hand.

Now her ghost haunts this suite, especially young couples who visit on their honeymoon. However, the hotel says that it’s good luck for the marriage if you get haunted by her, so couples try to book the honeymoon suite over a year in advance to have their nuptials blessed by the ghost. All hotels should make up stories like that, just to get more bookings. Ghost Capitalism at its finest, baby!

austin itinerary
3) What About These Bats?

You’ll tool around Austin on your Segway, learning other ghost stories and getting good at avoiding pedestrians, until the sun sets and it’s Bat o’Clock! You can see that there’s plenty of other people there watching the bats, but I think that’s for the best because no one wants to be in a deserted location at night, surrounded only by 1.5 million bats.

Unfortunately, the bats do not show up well on my camera, though we did get to see plenty of them. At night time, the subtle movement of the bats is just too hard for my cell camera to pick up. But definitely don’t miss the chance to see these bats on your Austin itinerary! It really is an Only in Austin Experience.

Also, don’t sneak up to random people at the bat viewing and hiss, “Cheeeldren of the niiiiight! Leeesten to them! What muuuusic they make!” They will not be Dracula fans, and they will not understand what you are doing.

If you want to experience these bats for yourself on your Austin itinerary, without having to go through my terrible cell camera, just book right here.

austin itinerary

That’s a Perfect Austin Itinerary

What would you do on your Austin itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel for your Austin itinerary? Why don’t more people in Austin know random quotes from Dracula? Email me at [email protected] and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY try one 24 hour Austin itinerary.

If you want to spend another Austin itinerary exploring Zilker Park, try this itinerary. If you can add 24 hours in San Antonio, add this itinerary. If you want a Texas Hill Country day trip, try this one.