We spent Memorial Day this year in Austin, TX. It’s no secret that Austin is HOT - in every sense of the word.
Average highs in late May for Austin teeter around 88°. During our trip, it was consistently 95-98°. It was HOT. But Texas is no stranger to heat so there is ample shade in most places and locals know how best to stay comfortable. Car seats in Austin often come with seat coolers - this North Easterner didn’t even know that was a “thing.” Due to the extreme heat, we didn’t do as much exploring as we otherwise would have, but our long weekend was still tons of fun.
So Many Patios. Even More Breakfast Tacos
Austin is probably the outdoor dining capital of the world. Virtually every spot that sells food or beverage will have some form of outdoor seating area attached to it. And as every parent knows, outdoor dining is always more kid friendly.
We were in Austin to visit my cousin and her adorable family. The first place she took us was Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden. The “all day” coffee and beer garden is a very common Austin concept that unfortunately has not made its way back East. Cosmic was a great choice for our group because the outdoor space was relaxed and serene and the eats were tasty. Cosmic’s outdoor patio boasts a gorgeous biological pond and garden, some cute chickens and a lot of empty space for kids to roam and play. I got my first of many breakfast tacos (an Austin staple that I am VERY much here for) at the Pueblo Viejo food truck outside. The perfect welcome to TX.
The next morning we checked out the Radio Coffee and Beer Bar for breakfast. A bit more rustic than Cosmic, Radio is home to some of the best reviewed food trucks in Austin - both Veracruz All Natural Tacos and Paperboy have a truck on site. I sampled the famous Migas (eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, pico de gallo, Monterrey Jack cheese) breakfast taco at Veracruz, as well as the Texas Hash at Paperboy.
Barton Springs Pool
Whoa. This is Austin Must Do. A three acre natural limestone pool within Zilker Park (Austin’s version of Central Park), Barton Springs Pool gets crowded on a hot weekend like ours. But it’s so big and so beautiful that it’s worth a 20+ minute wait in the sweltering heat to get in. We stayed down in the shallow end with the kiddies but there’s plenty of room for real swimming and the expert way to go is with a floatie and swim shoes in hand. The views route any public pool you’ve ever been to. Austin locals consider the water temperature at the Springs to be very cold (year-round temperature of 68 degrees), but in the 98° heat, the water felt great to me.
Rainey Street is a row of adorable looking old homes converted into bars and restaurants. It’s an adult playground very popular with tourists and locals alike. We did a drive through just to see it (and by “it” I mean the tons of happy, day drinking adults spilling out of every establishment). And then, we grabbed the kids around 5pm and we headed back to the patio at Craft Pride. Craft Pride is a craft beer bar and store on Rainey Street that sells only Texas made beers. And in its outdoor patio sits a Via 313 Pizza truck serving Detroit style pizza that we heard was excellent. The whole patio arrangement allows minors until 8pm daily. We found a great seat, ordered some local beer from Craft and some super delicious pies from Via 313 (I was in love with the Omnivore that I ordered - mushroom, onion, green pepper, pepperoni and sausage) and listened to the live music that happened to be playing. It was a heavenly hour and a half.
A Real Nice Kid Friendly Meal
On our last night in Austin, we had a fantastic meal at Contigo. Contigo is that elusive type of restaurant that is welcoming to and casual enough for children, while still serving kick a$$ food and drink to their parents. Part outdoor patio and part covered patio, Contigo is modeled after the owner’s hunting ranch. Go hard on the bar snacks and the vegetable portions of the menu. It was super fun to try so many dishes and everything veggie was killer. We got just one entree to share - a daily special of pasta with lamb ragu - and it did not disappoint. Our girls (and we) loved Contigo’s french fries.
Did I Mention It Was Hot?
This trip we stayed at the JW Marriott. One afternoon, I tried to take my older one to the hotel’s pool, only to discover it was filled wall-to-wall with boozing adults. The last time we were in Austin, I similarly remember the Hilton’s pool being packed with adults holding beers. I guess folks know that Austin is happening and humid? And don’t worry, we ended up taking the girls for 8:30pm swims both nights - the temps were still hot and the drinking crowds have thinned out by then.