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Austin, Texas: full of beer, bats, and breakfast tacos! Austin is known for “keeping it weird,” and I can honestly say they do it well. Whether you love quirky murals or enjoy taking a scooter across town for the perfect taco, this city is for you. So check out the perfect 3-day Austin itinerary below!
If you only have 3 days in Austin, this is the go-to itinerary for you!
Table of Contents
- 1 3-Day Austin Itinerary:
- 2 If You Have 4 Days in Austin:
- 3 Getting There and Getting Around Austin in 3 Days:
- 4 Best Time to Visit Austin
- 5 Where to Stay in Austin:
- 6 Other Tips for Your Austin Itinerary
3-Day Austin Itinerary:
Day 1: DIY BBQ, Beer, and Taco Crawl to Kick Off Austin in 3 Days!
So I went to Austin to attend TravelCon and accidentally ended up hosting my own impromptu beer, taco, and BBQ crawl. Note to self: asking a Facebook group of 600 people if they’d be interested in doing a crawl around the city and assuming only 5-10 people would respond is a crazy idea. Needless to say, I ended up hosting about 50 people around the city as we strolled around finding great beer and food. So copy my itinerary (and maybe have fewer people to not overwhelm local businesses).
Stop 1: Cooper’s BBQ
You’re probably staying downtown as most of the hotels are there, and as that was the case for all of us, we ended up doing a walking distance crawl. We started at the easiest place to get to, and right downtown, Cooper’s BBQ. Now I eat mostly vegetarian so I didn’t partake in the good BBQ, though others enjoyed it! But we all know it’s the sides that are the best, right?
Get the mac-n-cheese and pecan cobbler and thank me later! Oh my gosh, they were so rich, and they give you so much that I had to share mine. You’ve got to save room for tacos later too! Seriously, guys, the pecan cobbler gave me so much life! If you have a sweet tooth, I highly recommend it.
Spend a little time there to see the scenery of this trendy place, grab a local Austin beer on tap, and enjoy the BBQ or sides of your choice before the 15-minute walk to the next place.
Stop 2: Craft Pride
The walk to Craft Pride had us walk through a lovely park next to Lady Bird Lake, so I recommend taking this route and enjoying the gorgeous park.
Craft beer lovers, unite! Craft Pride, located on Rainey Street, is in such a fun area for going out on the town, so be sure to stop by there later that evening for quirky bars that look like homes from the outside. Craft Pride itself is full of Texas beer… 56 beers on tap to be exact. So pick your poison and then have a seat outside in the beautiful sunshine. I ended up going with the Sex A Peel beer by Infamous Brewing Company. This beer is an orange Hefeweizen and it was amazing.
If you’re starting to feel peckish again, they also have a Detroit style pizza truck sitting out back ready to give you the gift of pizza.
Overall, I was impressed by the laid back atmosphere and the quality of the craft beer. Definitely stop by this place during your stay. Now on to the final part of the crawl: tacos!
Stop 3: Las Trancas Taco Stand
Taco stands are a way of life in Austin, and you’d be remiss if you didn’t eat at least a taco a day during your Austin 3 day itinerary. So for our final stop on our DIY crawl, I picked a great taco stand that was actually open past 3 pm: Las Trancas Taco Stand!
This taco stand has great tacos, ranging from a bean taco to chorizo or even tongue. Definitely grab a few of these and sit under the covered seating area to cool down from your walk. These tacos definitely hit the spot, were a great introduction to Austin tacos, and helped soak up all that beer we had.
This is another 15-minute walk or so from Craft Pride, so I would recommend taking an Uber or finding a scooter back to downtown if that is where you’re staying.
And if you’d rather have someone show you around to the best food in Austin, I love this secret food tour of Austin that shows the best secret, local place to go!
After all of that, I highly recommend heading back to Rainey Street later that evening for dancing and partying!
Day 2: Float Your Boat (or Bottom) During Your Austin Itinerary
On a hot, sunny Austin day, being on the water may be the best option. I would highly recommend either taking a tubing trip or at least stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking on Lady Bird Lake. You could also check out Barton Springs, a big pool to just cool off in.
For the tubing trip, be sure to book ATXCursions for a fun day floating on the river! Simply bring yourself, a swimsuit, snacks, and your own beer/wine/beverage of choice, and for 6 hours enjoy the stunning Texas scenery from the river.
If it is a cooler day, however, go hiking! There are a lot of great parks and hiking trails to visit and explore like River Place Nature Trail, Barton Creek Greenbelt, and McKinney Falls State Park. You may want to rent a car for these as well.
As this takes up most of the day, I would recommend walking around the park next to Lady Bird Lake and hitting up the Rainey Street bars for their quirkiness, 6th Street bars for live music, or check out Speakeasy for a fun, rooftop bar downtown. But of course, you need tacos too! Check out Torchy’s tacos, with a few places around the city. Get the Trailer Park taco and “Get it Trashy” for loads of queso, fried chicken-y goodness.
Day 3: Scoot Around Town to Explore More of Austin in 3 Days
For your last day in Austin, definitely get a scooter. I felt like the Lime scooters were faster, but both Bird and Lime are available all over downtown. Hop on, and start wandering! Go exploring East Austin and see the colorful streets and eat all the tacos. I started with Veracruz All Natural, which is hands-down, the best taco stand in Austin.
I loved the fish taco as well as the Migas Poblanas (breakfast egg taco with poblano peppers). They also have delicious, fresh fruit smoothies to wash it all down. Beware, though, lines can get really long, especially on weekends. Either go when it opens or opt for a weekday.
Then, scoot over to Tacos Guerrero just a little further down the street. I swear if you blink you would miss this place. While Veracruz All Natural in East Austin is basically a school bus, this little pull-behind trailer parked out at an intersection is small but mighty. I loved the salsa and the Migas tacos.
Okay, aside from feasting on tacos, check out the cute shops and tucked away restaurants around downtown and East Austin! I happened upon a great spot called Easy Tiger serving up great beers and is located right on a canal. Enjoy this place for a quiet afternoon just sipping beer, reading a book, and looking out over the canal. It is bliss. And don’t forget to scoot on by the red-bricked Texas State Capital on your way back to downtown.
And if scooting isn’t your thing, here is a fantastic tour of the highlights of Austin that is perfect for exploring and getting to know the place, or you can go on this fun street art tour and get some great shots for the ‘gram.
For the last thing to do in Austin: check out the bats! South Congress Bridge is home to over a million Mexican free-tailed bats, making it the largest urban population of bats! If you’re here during March-November, you’re in for a show when the sun comes down. You can take a kayak tour, take a boat cruise, head over to the park next to the bridge, or just stand on the bridge for the show.
Around sunset, these bats make their way out to hunt down the pesky mosquitos and it is incredible to see! At first, only a few bats fly out, and before you know it, thousands upon thousands of bats are flying out into the night sky. It’s a really unique way to end your time in Austin.
If You Have 4 Days in Austin:
If you have an extra day in Austin, this is perfect for taking a day trip! There are some really neat places to visit outside the city, but here are a few great trips to check out:
- Check out Texas Wine Country in Fredericksburg
- Visit the famous Magnolia Market in Waco
- Go mountain biking along Barton Creek
Getting There and Getting Around Austin in 3 Days:
Getting to Austin is easy. Flights to the Austin airport are fairly inexpensive and most US airlines fly into it. I booked a Southwest flight using 19,022 miles transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards. It is also drivable from Dallas (about 3 hours), Houston (about 2 hours and 30 minutes), Waco (about 1 hour and 40 minutes) and San Antonio (about 1 hour and 20 minutes). You could also take a Megabus from Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio too. If you can’t use miles, I always love searching on Skyscanner for the best deals on flights!
As far as getting around, Austin has Uber and Lyft. They also have buses, and my personal favorite, scooters! Bird and Lime scooters are everywhere in the city center, so rent one and ride around town!
Lastly, you can always rent a car so you can explore more of Austin and the surrounding area easier. I love checking Sixt for great rental car prices!
Best Time to Visit Austin
The great thing about Austin is that it doesn’t get super cold, at least never Cleveland kind of cold. However, Austin gets very hot in the summer, so if you’d like to spend a lot of time outside walking around, maybe it is best to avoid June through early September. I went at the end of September and it was definitely warm out, but not too miserable that you couldn’t sit outside. Pretty much, spring and fall are great times to go for warm, not too hot weather and winter is ideal for cooler weather and fewer crowds.
Don’t forget: Austin is home to some famous festivals including South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, Austin Food and Wine Festival, and even the Austin Marathon brings in over 20,000 runners! If you are not attending one of those festivals or events, I would avoid going to Austin during those times.
Where to Stay in Austin:
I would recommend either staying downtown or in East Austin when you’re only in Austin for 3 days. This is where you’ll find most of the breweries, taco stands, eateries of all kinds, and more. When it comes to being in the heart of things, this is where you’ll want to place yourself!
If you’re on a budget, you can check out VRBO too! There are plenty of affordable places to stay in Austin on VRBO.
Budget: Firehouse Hostel
If you’re trying to save more money for food, definitely opt for a hostel. Austin surprisingly has quite a few hostels, but I love this one best as it is right downtown. I stayed here during my time exploring Austin, and the hostel itself was clean with comfortable rooms, great common areas, and for under $40 per night for a mixed dorm or around $125 for a private room, it is a great place to stay.
Mid-Range: Hyatt Regency Austin
Located downtown right next to Lady Bird Lake, this place has a pool to cool off during hot Texas days, a bar/lounge, and free breakfast. Plus, as a fan of Hyatt as a brand in general, the rooms are modern, clean, and always comfortable, with plenty of the amenities you’d expect. For around $200 per night, it is a great place to stay in Austin.
Luxury: JW Marriott Austin
Literally right downtown and within walking distance to so many attractions, including the Capital and South Congress Bridge, this hotel is where you want to be. With a rooftop pool, fitness center, a Starbucks in the lobby, 3 restaurants to choose from, and a spa, you’ll love relaxing and unwinding after days of exploring here. The cost is around $350 per night.
Other Tips for Your Austin Itinerary
When it comes to visiting Austin for 3 days, you’ll want to keep these essentials in mind:
- Mosquitos are a thing, and they are RUTHLESS. I hardly ever suffer from mosquito bites back home in Cleveland, but in Austin, I was attacked the second the sun started setting. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to Badger Balm one night that I put it on and no more mosquito bites! I’ve been using it ever since all over the world from Peru to Southeast Asia and it is all-natural, DEET-free, and works like a charm!
- Definitely pack your swimsuit for hot days whether you’re stand-up kayaking at Lady Bird Lake or floating down the river. I love this one piece that I wear as much as I can! Chris is a fan of these swim trunks!
- Sunscreen is essential too in that hot Texas sun! I love this one that is all-natural.
- If you’re traveling internationally for a long Austin weekend, definitely consider travel insurance. We go with World Nomads for its comprehensive plans and low price!
- Scooters are a ton of fun in Austin, but definitely follow the rules including obeying all traffic laws (treat it like riding a bike and use bike lanes, ride in the same direction as traffic, etc.). Also, don’t drink too much and scoot! Yes, you can get a DUI on a scooter too.
- This also makes for a fantastic Austin bachelorette party itinerary! This city is a great spot to celebrate with friends.
From bats to BBQ, rivers to state capitals, Austin, Texas has a lot to offer. You could definitely find a lot to do during your 3-day Austin itinerary. Whether it is for an Austin honeymoon or fun visit to Texas, it is well worth your time to stop in this eclectic, “weird,” and bucket-list-worthy city.
What do you think? Do you love Austin? What else would you recommend for a 3-day Austin itinerary? Let me know in the comments!
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