One of the best things to do while traveling is to add a short stopover in a new city on your way home. It can be a challenge to fit in as many destination highlights as possible to obtain a true sample of all a city has to offer, but it certainly can be done. If you do your homework and have access to a knowledgeable concierge, you can conquer a city like no other. Austin, Texas packs a punch with so many sights to see and things to do but, let’s be honest, most people come here for two main reasons: authentic Texas BBQ and one of the most incredible live music scenes in the country.
Kick off your adventure in style by checking in to a place known for incredible city views, luxurious amenities, and world-class service, the Fairmont Austin. Located in the Central Business District, the Fairmont is one of the top hotels in the city and spares no expense to make sure their guests’ needs are catered to from the moment they enter the lobby until their day of departure. The 37-story luxury hotel features 1,048 richly appointed guest rooms and suites with picturesque vistas of Lady Bird Lake, a dramatic cityscape, and the State Capitol. For those who enjoy the finer side of a hotel stay, add Fairmont Gold to your reservation. Your reservation includes a dedicated Fairmont Gold team that can assist with all concierge requests, personalize wake-up calls, in-room beverage delivery, and exclusive access to an upgraded lounge that provides complimentary offerings from deluxe made-to-order breakfast to hors d’oeuvres and evening desserts.
Austin on Foot
Austin is certainly a walkable city, and after a hearty breakfast, walking is the best way to get ready for your next meal. The best way to navigate your way through the city is with the help of the Fairmont concierge team as they truly know the ins and outs of the “Violet Crown City.” Their first recommendation of planning included a Texas lunch stop that will have your mouth watering. The thought of smokey BBQ will awaken your taste buds, and there are quite a few options to choose from. One notable location, Franklin’s Barbecue includes a 2-4 hour wait and if you only have a short time, waiting in line for food for more than an hour is not the most productive use of time. Instead, head over to Terry Black’s Barbecue, which according to the Fairmont concierge, has quite the historic past behind it consisting of a family business that goes back decades.
One thing that will quickly become apparent when walking this city is that Austin is a very active city, with so many rentable scooters and bicycles accessible at every corner. There is an active lifestyle culture.
The Fairmont is within minutes of most of the area’s tourist attractions, including the infamous South Congress Street. This is the perfect place to get a good feel for Austin’s overall character and vibe. Here you will find a smattering of quirky shops, insta-worthy photo opportunities, and good ol’ Texas eats! Walking up and down both sides of the street in the main shopping area, you will find yourself enamored by all the funk and “weirdness” that Austin boasts so proudly. A plethora of retail options line the street, showcasing items from cowboy boots to unique trinkets.
Upon arrival, the smell of homestyle cooking is in the air and stomachs start to grumble. Don’t worry if you see a decent-sized line. It moves quickly as guests are served cafeteria-style. The walls are filled with memorabilia and the ever-popular mural “Brisket is King” attracts various patrons to snap a quick photo for the gram. The food offerings start by choosing your sides, from Baked Beans to Mac & Cheese. Next up is the carving station with a handful of options of Smoked Meat. Can’t decide? Opt for a sample platter of their finest, then grab a cold beer, find a booth, and savor in each bite of deliciousness!
After all that walking, a dose of relaxation should be the next thing on your itinerary. Head back to the Fairmont and rejuvenate in the surroundings of their in-house spa. There is nothing better than a timely intermission to renew the body and soul after a long jaunt hitting the pavement. The Fairmont’s spa facilities consist of nine treatment rooms, including two couples suites, luxuriously appointed solariums with floor-to-ceiling views of Palm Park and downtown. Spend a little extra downtime enjoying the solariums, which are equipped with a saline soaking pool, eucalyptus steam grotto, and a European dry sauna.
Fully refreshed after a trip to the spa, make your way down to the hotel’s premium on-site restaurant Garrison which is highly recommended by past travelers and locals alike. It truly is a treat when you don’t have to leave your hotel for an incredible dining experience.
Highly touted as one of Austin’s finer dining establishments, this Modern American Grill House is dedicated to the open flame concept, showcasing the highest quality of meats and seafood. The restaurant also offers an assortment of vegan and vegetarian options with items from the Wood Fired Avocado to their Grilled Gem Lettuce. Each dish can be paired expertly with their world-class wine selection, a hand-crafted cocktail, or one of the many craft beer options available. If a fine cut of meat is in your sights, you are in Texas after all, the Wagyu Eye of Ribeye will hit the spot. For all the seafood lovers out there, make sure not to miss out on the Char-Grilled Octopus and Hawaiian Kampachi Crudo.
Live Music Capital of the World
What would a night in Austin be without taking in some of the city’s best live music? Bars throughout the city help showcase Austin’s top up-and-comers with various venues featuring multiple artists concurrently providing patrons a wide range of talent to listen to on a nightly basis. From Punk to Rock to Alternative and Country, you name it, it can be found in Austin! The city has no shortage of music venues. From small intimate lounges to the bright lights of the biggest nightclubs, there is always live music playing somewhere seven days a week.