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40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

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Ridgefield...
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40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

I'm turning 40 next week and my friend and I decided to celebrate in Austin, a city neither of us has been to but always wanted to go. We'll be there 6/6 - 6/9 and are staying at the W Hotel.

My food must-do's are:

Texas bbq dinner (but don't want to wait on line for 3 hrs so sadly no Franklins or J Muellers)

Tex-Mex dinner

breakfast tacos

food truck lunch

................would love local recommendations

We're hoping to find some great live music venues for nighttime.....would love recommendations for a place two 40 year old women won't feel like grandmas but also won't feel like we've hit the senior citizen crowd either!! lol) We like rock music best but would be open to anything lively and fun.......would Antone's, Stubb's, Broken Spoke, Elephant Room be appropriate? I love the idea of outdoor live music but we want a place where they have drink menus with cool cocktails, not just beer!!

After doing some research, we thought some daytime activities we'd love to do would be hiking around Ladybird Lake/Barton Springs pool, doing a bike tour (would love a recommendation for this too)

Thank you!!

Austin, Texas
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1. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

Broken Spoke is great fun and a short cab ride from the W. Also a short cab ride is Chuy's for Tex Mex on Barton Springs Road. Perhaps you could combine that with a swim at Barton Springs pool.

I like Stubbs more for music than their barbecue. Lambert's has good barbecue very near your hotel. Antone's has moved and will be a cab ride to Riverside Drive. It's no longer on 5th Street. Elephant Room is great for jazz.

If you're here on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday consider starting your night at Esther's Follies, Comedy, musical revue, satirical humor, magician. Stadium seating at 6th and Red River. They've been around for 30 plus years and do a great fun show twice a night. It sells out so make reservations.

There are lots of bike rental places at Lamar at Barton Springs Road. Mellow Johnny's at 301 Lavaca is a bike shop that will have bike maps as well as lots of information about tours etc.

Welcome to Austin!

Austin
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2. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

Lambert's BBQ is right next to your hotel. You won't have to wait in line but it is still good.

I agree with Esther's Follies. Make your reservations now as they do fill up quickly. Do not miss this show unless you do not like to laugh or to be entertained.

The W is near Lady Bird Lake so plan on strolling around, walk to the corporate flag ship Whole Foods and consider a bat cruise.

Have fun!

Big D
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3. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

Does all of South Congress still do First Thursday?? There is music at many places and a fun stroll. This would be on June 6.

Czech Republic
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4. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

sounds like there is no plan to rent a car during your stay?... certainly you can do without but if you happen to be getting a car there would be a few more suggestions

a drink or visit tthrough the Driskill hotel and bar

http://www.driskillhotel.com/

djr
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5. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

Maria's Taco Xpress is great for Sunday noon-ish breakfast tacos, with their Gospel hippie-church brunch at noon. A morning kayak session followed by a late breakfast is a great way to spend Sunday - but you'd probably want to take a cab, it would be too far to walk. http://www.tacoxpress.com/

Austin, Texas
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6. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

Your hotel is on 2nd Street and my favorite area of downtown Austin. I love 2nd Street district because you can have the full spectrum. Order at the counter, sidewalk cafes, moderate prices or somewhat upscale. Also, one block over is the Warehouse District with moderate to very upscale dining. Links below:

http://www.2ndstreetdistrict.com

http://tinyurl.com/nb3pjb4

at the corner of West 6th and Lamar is the fantastic mega market Whole Foods. Over 50 kiosks of hot, cold food, salad bar, 2 soup bars, ethnic foods, bakery, chocolate kiosks, gellato, etc. You get your food and drinks, pay cashier and sit at tables in store or out on streetside patio or take elevator up to the roof to dine outside. This is going to sound crazy, but in my opinion, as a native Texan, their BBQ is the best I'm able to find in all my travels. Also, their sides are all made in house and not off a truck and the brisket is so tender you don't need a fork.

www.wholefoodsmarket.com/whole-foods-market

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJRQyxvmA5M

More BBQ. I don't like Stubbs. Lambert's is off 2nd street and very good. Iron Works is over by the Conv. Center and is decent. The lastest rave just opened and it is in residential area of UT Campus. It is also about 4 blocks from the new Food Truck Park I'm going to talk about below. The new BBQ rave is Freeman's:

http://www.freedmensbar.com Look at all the reviews on Yelp !

Breakfast tacos? Easy. Walk out hotel and walk a block or two to Austin Java. Order at counter and then go sit outside and they will bring you your food. Or walk past AJ and go to Jo's down the street. Again, order at counter and sit outside and people watch.

Mexican food :

Serrano's at 1111 Red River by 6th St bar areas http://www.serranos.com

http://www.guerostacobar.com

http://www.cantinalaredo.com This is one I recommend and it's a few blocks from W. Tableside guacamole is great.

Guerro's is across the river in the Soco food and shopping district. Also, just across the river and walkable if you can handle 7 long blocks is Threadgills South for Texas decor and southern menu:

http://www.threadgills.com

Now a block from Guerro's in that SoCo district there used to be a very large lot with Food Trucks. Unfortunately, this month they all had to move to make room for construction on that land. Good news is there is a brand new lot where a lot of them went over behind The Drag on Guadalupe and 26th. The Drag is a 6 block area of businesses, shops, quick grab and go eateries and businesses catering to UT Students.

Rancho Rio is at 2512 Rio Grande and it has a FBk page and many articles about if via Google Search. The two favorites are Mighty Cone (not ice cream) and Cow Tipping Creamery:

http://www.mightycone.com

http://www.cowtippingcreamery.com Read Yelp reviews for CTCreamery they are awesome!

I suggest you spring for a cab or pedicab to go to Freeman's and/or Rancho Rio. However, if it's daylight and you want to hop on #1L Capitol Metro city bus that goes up and down Congress by the W to the Drag and well beyond it, then hop on. $1 each way You would be there in under 8 minutes. When you get off bus on the Drag (which Congress becomes Guadalupe) you will have to walk a few blocks West to get to Rio Grande.

Austin
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7. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

There are some really good responses on here already, but I'll try and help out with the music portion a bit more.

I'd add in La Zona Rosa, The Continental Club and The Mohawk to your Stubb's mention as being good possibilities for rock music in a club setting. The Mohawk happens to be on Red River (near Stubb's) street and there are a large number of clubs literally within 3-4 blocks that also play almost exclusively rock music. However, most of those clubs are a bit downscale and look a bit worse on the outside than the others already mentioned. In general though, Austin is a very safe and laid back city and very welcoming to visitors. A walk down nearby 6th street in the evening will showcase a lot of other additional clubs and you'll hear live music coming out of many. The other venue to look into is ACL Live at The Moody Studio. It's the home of Austin City Limits and frequently has multiple shows a week with huge names in all kinds of music. It's not a club setting, but more of a small auditorium. Lastly, pick up a copy of The Austin Chronicle, it;''s a weekly tabloid size newspaper that comes out on Friday's that has a complete listing of all shows, clubs and concerts in town. It's free to pick up and is on racks all over the city in bars and restaurants.

Austin, Texas
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8. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

I know visiting a grocery store sounds insane, but it really is amazing and all of their food is quite good. They have an enormous selection - pizza to sushi & everything in between - stroll the perimeter of the whole store to take in all your options.

MIght Cone food truck - terrific! and it's on SoCo.

Guerro's trumps Serrano's by a mile IMO for Tex Mex. I also love Maudie's - there's one on S. Lamar & on Lake AUstin. Chuy's on Riverside has very good Tex Mex in a really cute, kitchy atmos (all 3 have great frozen margs).

Agree with Driskill. One other nice spot for a cocktals - Four Seasons lobby. Very civilized crowd.

Another spot with some of my favorite food is Ranch 616 - on Nueces. J Blacks & several other bars are within walking distance. OH - and you MUST have tapas at Milaga - within easy walking distance of the W and they have a great HH & mixed age crowd

www.malagatapasbar.com/index.php…

Austin, Texas
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9. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

A word of caution.

You are two single ladies and I wouldn't recommend walking on Red River. and especially after dark. Just one block over is where our homeless are served by three agencies. Homeless hang around that part of downtown.. Chances are you'd only be asked for spare change but I 'd be extra cautious in that area.

Austin, Texas
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10. Re: 40th bday weekend in Austin....local advice please :)

I just posted long info regarding Food Trailers at an Austin post called "Food Trucks". Check it out.

A couple of more things and then I'm out for a while. Surgery in 2 days!

Have a drink at the Driskill Hotel Bar on 2nd floor. Driskill is downtown at the corner of 6th and Brazos. Also, go to Google images and look at their photos! If you want really splurge and step into the world of fine dining in an elegant room where J.R. Ewing would have frequented, then look at website for the Driskill Grill. Also, look at photos on Google Images.

Or want to have a cocktail and watch sun go down on a 2nd floor terrace overlooking Congress Ave. a couple of blocks from The W? That would be the terrace bar of the Austin Intercontinental Hotel:

…intercontinental.com/austin-dining-entertai…

Sandra Bullock owns Bess Bistro near Whole Foods. It is dinner only and Sunday Brunch.

http://www.bessbistro.com

Capital Cruise on Lady Bird Lake is fun and relaxing after day of sightseeing. It gets dark about 8:20pm now.

http://www.capitalcruises.com

Austin Visitors Center is a few blocks from W at 209 E. 6th

Lastly we have a fabulous high end shopping center about 15 min cab ride from W called The Domain. Check out website:

http://www.simon.com/mall/the-domain