I’ve lived in Austin for almost 9 years now and I’m embarrassed to say with all the food and travel content that I’ve shared, I have yet to write a city guide to Austin. Introducing my very first Austin city guide on where to eat, stay, and do in downtown Austin.
As a local Austinite, I hardly ever get a chance to walk around and thoroughly explore parts of Austin. Thanks to IHG Rewards Club, I spent the weekend in downtown Austin at the new Hotel Indigo!
IHG® Rewards Club is the world’s largest hotel loyalty program that include hotel brands like Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and of course InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. From exclusive hotel rates for members that book direct, to free internet, the ability to book rewards nights at almost 5,000 IHG hotels worldwide with no blackout dates, and so much more, the program is a great way for travelers to add value and unique experiences to their hotel stays, and make the most of any type of trip, be it business or leisure! You can sign up at ihg.com/rewardsclub or download the IHG® app here.
Where to Stay in Downtown Austin
Located just blocks from the Texas State Capitol and 6th street, Hotel Indigo is a super convenient option if you’re looking to stay downtown. I parked my car with valet and enjoyed frozen margaritas at Pelóns next door before exploring the shops on Congress and the Texas State Capitol.
Hotel Indigo’s pool was perfect for a quiet and relaxing afternoon, and they have a full bar so I helped myself to a pineapple japaleño margarita. I usually never visit 6th Street because parking is a hassle but because Hotel Indigo is just blocks aways, we checked out some of the late night eats.
It was hard to not sleep in with the cozy bed but I made sure to order breakfast in bed from Hotel Indigo’s Red River Tavern restaurant. The chicken and waffles and eggs Benedict were delicious. Love it that the restaurant sources locally in Austin.
810 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701, ihg.com/hotelindigo
Where to Eat in Downtown Austin
Tacos, queso, Mexican corn, and margaritas are only $5 during happy hour. Conveniently located next door to Hotel Indigo on Red River St! They’re dog friendly too!
802 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701, pelonstexmex.com
For Coffee: Houndstooth or Caffé Medici
Head to Caffé Medici and/or Houndstooth for an incredible morning pick-me-up.
Caffe Medici – 200 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, Houndstooth – 401 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
For Breakfast: Easy Tiger
Easy Tiger is known for their popular evening beer garden with dozens of craft beers on tap and pretzels with beer cheese. But they’re also famous for their bakery that bakes the best bread in town. I love their easy start breakfast option, $5 for a small coffee and any pastry.
709 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, easytigeraustin.com
For Lunch: Second Bar + Kitchen
Second Bar + Kitchen is one of my favorite spots for lunch in downtown Austin. Try the black truffle pommes frites (seared foei gras for $14 more if you’re baller), blistered shishito peppers, and black and bleu pizza.
200 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, secondbarkitchen.com
For Dinner: La Condesa
La Condesa serves up modern Mexican in a contemporary space. Be sure to order a margarita (they’re the best in town), the guacamole tasting, and anything else your heart desires.
400 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701, lacondesa.com
For Happy Hour: Parkside
You can’t beat half off cocktails, beer, and bar food menu from 5 – 6:30pm overlooking 6th street!
301 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, parkside-austin.com
For Brunch: Italic
Indulge in the French toast made with Easy Tiger Italian bread, braised duck hash with poached eggs, and peperonata with baked eggs. Really hungry? Opt for the family-style feast where Italic brings a variety of dishes to your table for $25 per person. Brunch starts with a complimentary aperol spritz – you know, to get your day going.
123 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, italicaustin.com
What To Do in Downtown Austin
Tour the Texas State Capitol
Did you know the Texas State Capitol is taller than the United States Capitol? The guided tours are free and depart every 20 to 30 minutes inside the South Foyer.
1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, tspb.texas.gov/prop/tcvc/cvc/cvc.html
Catch a movie at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
Before you say, “I didn’t come to Austin to watch a movie at a movie theatre.” Alamo Drafthouse is not your typical AMC, the Drafthouse offers cocktails, beer, wine, and a full menu. Alamo Drafthouse Ritz is the historic theater on 6th Street that offers balcony seating – perfect if you want some privacy.
320 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/ritz
Explore The Contemporary Austin
Get inspired at Contemporary Austin’s 5,000-square-foot museum space presenting contemporary art through a dynamic schedule of changing exhibitions and educational programs that bring artists from across the country and around the globe.
700 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, thecontemporaryaustin.org
Paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake
Cool off on Lady Bird Lake on a paddleboard with the best view of downtown Austin. You can rent paddle boards by the hour or day at Texas Rowing Center.
1541 West Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78703, supatx.com
Mani/pedi at LACQUER
I just got a pedicure and manicure today at LACQUER and loved it! Ask for Marlina – she’s a pro at nail art and designed different food items on my nails. Show off that mani/pedi with margaritas at La Condesa next door.
210 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701, ilovelacquer.com
Jam out to live music at Mohawk
Austin is the live music capitol of the world so if you’re downtown, you have to check out the bands playing at Mohawk. Hotel Indigo is actually just the next block over so it’s super convenient.
912 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701, mohawkaustin.com
Watch the bats fly out from Congress Bridge
Watch the world’s largest urban bat colony emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin around sunset. Peak season is April to early August. Stand on Congress bridge or rent a kayak for the best view.
Bar hopping on 6th Street
You have to visit 6th Street (also known as dirty 6th) at least once. Whether it’s to hop from one bar to another, or try the street food. I haven’t been on 6th in a long time so I had a lot of eating Bar Chi, Roppolo’s Pizzeria, and Hoboken Pizza. Hoboken Pizza > Roppolo’s.
6th street, between Congress and I-35
This post is brought to you in collaboration with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Taste of Koko!