Austin is creativity and energy. Austin is politics and education. Austin is art and music. Austin is greenbelt and bright blue skies. Austin is weird and wonderful. Austin is food, food, food. Oh gracious … Austin is whimsy! I love my hometown. As a native Austinite, I have a particular fondness for bragging on her.
This week on the podcast, I was talking with Andrea Lucado, who is new in town. She is just getting to know Austin and that got me thinking about so many of the places in this city I love. While there is no way to share a-l-l the joy of Austin (just too much wonderful) but here is a small sample of places to start.
AUSTIN WHIMSY LIST
- Fonda San Miguel ~ A Davis family favorite and we’ve even managed to make Fonda a verb. When kids come home for weekend, we Fonda. Celebrating an anniversary or birthday? We Fonda. Fonda is the perfect place for celebrating just about anything, and their Enchiladas Suizas are divine.
- Tiny Boxwood’s ~ I know, I know … this restaurant is actually a Houston darling but this is a new favorite Austin stop for me. And I know I’ve already mentioned them but I’m just so excited about this spot. It’s the most gorgeous space, amazing grilled artichoke hearts and they’re famous for their chocolate chips cookies! Is there a better thing to be famous for? I think not …
- Right next door to Tiny’s is Thomson + Hanson. This week I stopped in and treated myself to a new scent (yes, they have candles, jewelry, plants, etc.) and feel in love all over again. Thanks Houston for sharing Tiny’s and Thomson + Hanson. We owe ya.
- Quack’s 43rd St. Bakery ~ Sweet, quirky Caitlyn says Quacks is to Austin what Central Perk is to Friends. The coffee shop and bakery is nestled right next to Julio’s (maybe stop in there for a breakfast taco on the way) in Austin’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood. They have the most scrumptious cupcakes and pastries, and its big glass storefront makes it a wonderful perch for people watching.
- After visiting Quack’s, take your coffee and your salty oat cookie and walk a block north to the Elisabet Ney Museum. The Museum is in the sculptor’s historic home, and y’all- she was a hippie! She slept in a hammock on her second story terrace. True to form for an old Austinite…
- I’m realizing now that I really can’t casually mention Julio’s without telling you that they have the best chicken quesadillas and tortilla soup on the planet. Just pack your patience (the restaurant is tiny) and take cash.
- Bouldin Creek Cafe ~ This wacky Austin original is located on South 1st Street, an area renowned for its quirky thrift stores and coffee shops on every corner. Bouldin Creek has a vegetarian menu featuring treats like sweet potato and pecan tamales, and their inner sun omelet. Caitlyn says the lavender mocha is a must try. Get it to-go and walk around – so many flowers to smell.
- Zilker Hillside Theater ~ Ahh, what history I have here. My senior year in high school, we rehearsed Barefoot in the Park on this amazing outdoor stage. Fast forward ten years, we had ACF Sunday services on the stage. I love this amphitheater. And this summer the Zilker Hillside Theater will be performing The Wizard of Oz for free! Roll out your quilt and bring a picnic. Or come early and take a dip in Barton Springs before the show begins at dusk.
- Austin has some of the most fun trailer eateries. That’s where hit restaurants like Torchy’s and Gourdough’s got their start. Bananarchy is a frozen banana stand featuring favorites like the Joe Banana: crushed coffee beans, cinnamon, and toffee on a chocolate covered banana. Yes, please.
- The Paramount Theatre is a must. It’s right downtown by the Capitol. Lovely experience. Go to a movie or check out Penny and Sparrow in November. Yippiee!
- In the mood to really dance? Hit the Highball on South Lamar for Motown Monday, with swing dancing and live music from the Matchmaker Band ~> they’re fantastic. They played at Emily’s wedding. :)
- My youngest, Sara, mentioned Cabo Bob’s as an Austin favorite. Kind of a local Chipotle but much better. I love.
- If you want to get the best pizza in Austin, head to Bufalina Due. Delicious pizza, best wait staff, happiest experience. Truly.
- Getting a burger in Austin is a treat because all the choices. Some of my favorites: Hop Doddy, P.Terry’s, Mighty Fine, and of course, the old school favorite, Top Notch.
Hope you get a little whimsy in your weekend.