In June I celebrated my 30th birthday and in May my dad turned 60. We’ve always enjoyed being 30 years apart celebrating each new year together. It always felt like we were sharing something special. It’s taken me some time to realize that I am my fathers daughter, no doubt. We share the same sense of humor and lack of patience. I inherited his poor vision and bad teeth. We’re both adventurers and unsettled by the status quo. This year it seemed ever fitting that we celebrate these “coming of age” milestones together.
A few months ago I called my dad and suggested that we skip town for a weekend and meet up in the middle. My dad lives on the east coast and we’re here on the west. It makes for time spent together that much sweeter…and that much harder to come by. It didn’t take much convincing before we threw around a few city ideas Chicago, Portland, Denver, NYC, and finally settled on Austin! Austin is a city none of us had been to and always wanted to visit. It really was an easy choice. I cleverly started a Pinterest board called Austin Adventure and invited the crew to start sharing ideas. Before long we had more than enough suggestions to fill our short 72 hour trip.
Michael and I took a redeye to Austin’s international airport on Friday night after work. Neither of us got much sleep and by the time we arrived in Austin we were cranky, tired, and hungry. We found a bench and slept for about 3 hours in the airport terminal. At about 8:30am we decided to hit the town. Here are my top 5 recommendations and a recap of our trip!
1. Take public transportation to and from the airport
It was really easy (and cheap) to take the bus to downtown. We’re talking 20 minutes and $1.75 per person. Don’t forget exact change. We took the Metro100 bus and got off at the 4th and Congress stop (downtown). Easy peasy. Same goes for the trip back to the airport. 20 minutes, $1.75, no biggie.
2. Rent bikes
We kind of fell in love with this city because of the bikes we rented. Our
first stop second stop (after coffee. please. all of the coffeeeeee….) in Austin was this bike shop. It was a 2 minute walk from the bus stop and was the best decision we made the whole trip. I mentioned that Michael and I arrived a few hours before Dad and Mary. So what did we do? Rode ALL. OVER. TOWN. We got the lay of the land and committed to a bike rental for the duration of the trip. Bike rentals set us back about $80/person. Although they cost more than a rental car would have they were worth every penny. They provided us entertainment and transportation. We saw more of the city than we ever would have without them and we didn’t have to deal with parking. Definitely recommend getting bikes, Austin is made for it.
Funny story– when dad and Mary showed up on Saturday afternoon we took them straight to the bike shop…got them fitted for bikes…and headed for the Airbnb we were staying in. No more than 1.5 blocks away from the bike shop it started POURING. I’m talking full on torrential down pour. Mind you, at this point we all still had our luggage with us an we were very ill prepared for such conditions. Although we were only a few blocks from the apartment we were staying at, by the time we arrived we were drenched. All we could do was laugh. While we were in route peddling as fast as we could we kept hearing alarms on our phones. When we got to the apartment we check to find emergency flash flood warning notifications. We were riding BIKES people. It was absolutely hilarious. We all had a good laugh, dried off, changed to dry clothes, and ran (literally RAN) to the nearest Mexican restaurant for multiple margaritas, chips and queso, and proper street tacos. It was at dinner that Mary said, “Think about it.. We are Mark, Mary, Megan, and Michael! I think this is meant to be.” I couldn’t agree more!
3. Whole Foods
Whole foods is magical, no matter the city. The cool part about Austin is that it’s their flagship store. It really is a tourist destination in and of itself. I could spend hours walking around this place sampling, shopping, and dining. Mr. Montgomery purchased a few local beers for us to enjoy while we were hanging out at the apartment. Their beer selection is out of this world.
4. Ditch your diet
Just do it. Some of our favorite grub spots include Gourdoughs Public House, Franks, Lick Honest Ice Cream, and Coopers. We barely scratched the surface. We also went to Shake Shack because, obviously.
Definitely my favorite way to stay these days. You can find great deals and stay in really cool places. Not a member of Airbnb yet? Use my referral link and sign up. I promise you wont regret it.
Austin Adventure wish list for next time?
- Paddle Board on Lady Bird Lake (weather did not permit this go-round)
- Experience the music scene/nightlife (we kept it pretty low key)
- Franklin BBQ
- Rent a car and drive to Waco, because Chip and Jo.
Overall, Austin is quirky (but not as quirky as we expected), fun, and has killer food. We had the best time and want to go back. We also already created a list of cities to visit for our next 4M get together. Top of my list? Louisville, Nashville, and New Orleans.
What are your Austin favorites and recommendations for 4M destination weekends in the future?