Downtown Austin by a Native Austinite
Downtown Austin has grown tremendously over the years, but there are still great spots that are a walk or short car ride away. Follow this map to enjoy everything Downtown Austin has to offer in a single day.
8 Places โ€ข ago
Free

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin
@stanzie
For the purposes of this guide, Downtown Austin spans as far north as the Capitol Building and as far south as Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake, and still called that by most locals).
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๐ŸนDrink

โ˜•๏ธ Caffeinate

Captain Quackenbush's Coffeehouse
@stanzie
Captain Quackenbush is nestled in a strip mall that's easy to drive past, but it's worth a stop. You'll find great coffee, friendly staff, and a pastry case that always has an unexpected treat you won't find anywhere else. Captain Quackenbush opens the bar side of its doors in the evenings and hosts open mic nights, local bands, and comedy acts.
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Radio Coffee & Beer
@stanzie
Radio sprouted up about 12 years ago and forever changed the little strip of Austin between South Lamar and South Austin. It's a bar, coffee shop, home-away-from home, and neighborhood backyard to many families, and is a downright fantastic cafe. Grab a taco from the local taco truck outside, get in line for a beer or a coffee, and find a seat under the huge live oak trees on property. Radio is dog and kid-friendly, and some of the area is fenced in for free roaming kiddos to get the wiggles out. As with most places in Austin, parking is abysmal, so take a rideshare or park in a nearby neighborhood and walk over. Be mindful of towing areas and respectful of local driveways.
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Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden
@stanzie
Cosmic Coffee is tucked away on a side street off of South Congress Avenue, and is very easy to miss for those who aren't in-the-know. But, when you find Cosmic Coffee once, you'll want to come back again and again. Cosmic provides an oasis of zen, with huge outdoor seating pods, misters and shades for the hottest times of the year, and water features that provide a calming background soundtrack. While Cosmic does offer plenty of yummy boozy beverages, their coffee is truly fantastic and brewed with love. As with most Austin spots, parking is terrible so either bring your patience when arriving or take a rideshare to avoid the headache.
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๐Ÿฒ Eat

Evangeline Cafe
@stanzie
Yes, I'm recommending a Cajun restaurant in Austin and no, I'm not crazy. Evangeline Cafe is owned & operated by a Lake Charles, Louisiana native who decided to bring great Cajun food to the city over 30 years ago and never looked back. And we're all forever grateful. Evangeline is the *only* place I recommend in the entire city to people who want a traditional Cajun meal. It's that good. You'll find Abita beer, red beans & rice, and even alligator on the menu. Order the etoufeรฉ if they've got it - they always sell out. Be mindful of visiting Evangeline during Mardi Gras, as they host local zydeco bands and the tiny restaurant can quickly fill up.
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Curra's Grill Oltorf
@stanzie
If you're looking for authentic interior Mexican food, look no further than Curra's. You'll still find Tex-Mex favorites like queso here, but you'll also find pulled pork wrapped in banana leaves, unbelievable fresh salsas, and legendary avocado margaritas. Curra's has been a family favorite of ours for decades, and it never disappoints. Prepare for a wait if you have a large party, and like most places in Austin, use a rideshare if you want to avoid parking headaches.
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Sap's Ver Fine Thai Cuisine
@stanzie
Even though Austin is famous for its barbecue, Mexican food, and vegan restaurants, it's also home to a wide array of fantastic mom-and-pop Thai spots. Sap's is one of the best, and is a great choice both for eating in or ordering out. Service here is always outstanding, and I'm always amazed by the freshness of their seafood. Don't forget to order a Thai tea to go - it's not a true Sap's meal without one.
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โ˜€๏ธ Do

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
@stanzie
The LBJ Wildflower Center is one of the gems of the city and is a lovely escape for anyone willing to take the drive. Unfortunately, since the Center is relatively far south, it isn't included in many Austin itineraries. Take this as your sign to make the time and take the trip. Lady Bird Johnson was a nature lover, and Austin benefited from her philanthropy and activism to preserve natural areas of the city for decades after she passed. The LBJ Wildflower Center is a tribute to this First Lady, and is a joy to explore. It takes our family 1-2 hours to see most of the sights of the Center, but it could take you longer depending on how much walking you're up to. If you're visiting Austin in the summer, go to the LBJ Wildflower Center early in the day to avoid the heat. The on-property cafe is actually quite good and a great way to take a break as you explore.
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* * *
CURATED BY
๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿ˜ธ Mom |๐Ÿ“Austin, TX ๐Ÿ‘‹ Hi! I'm Stanzie, a native Austin mom who loves sharing the best parts of my city. Want to see old-school Austin before the chains descended? Here for it! Looking to skip the "Insta-worthy" spots with long lines and bad food? I've got you! Follow me for the places only true Austinites know about. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Our family takes epic summer vacations, and Iโ€™ve got tons of tips and tricks for everywhere from Los Angeles to New Orleans. I've even taken my kids to Las Vegas, and we had an absolute blast! If you want a unique twist on major tourist destinations, I'm your gal. ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ My passion is helping families get the most bang for their buck when exploring new places, but my guides are truly for everyone. I'd love to help you plan your next adventure!
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Support Stanzie Coteโ€™s work.
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Downtown Austin by a Native Austinite
Downtown Austin has grown tremendously over the years, but there are still great spots that are a walk or short car ride away. Follow this map to enjoy everything Downtown Austin has to offer in a single day.
8 Places โ€ข ago
Free

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin
@stanzie
For the purposes of this guide, Downtown Austin spans as far north as the Capitol Building and as far south as Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake, and still called that by most locals).
Add to
Details

๐ŸนDrink

โ˜•๏ธ Caffeinate

Captain Quackenbush's Coffeehouse
@stanzie
Captain Quackenbush is nestled in a strip mall that's easy to drive past, but it's worth a stop. You'll find great coffee, friendly staff, and a pastry case that always has an unexpected treat you won't find anywhere else. Captain Quackenbush opens the bar side of its doors in the evenings and hosts open mic nights, local bands, and comedy acts.
Add to
Details
Radio Coffee & Beer
@stanzie
Radio sprouted up about 12 years ago and forever changed the little strip of Austin between South Lamar and South Austin. It's a bar, coffee shop, home-away-from home, and neighborhood backyard to many families, and is a downright fantastic cafe. Grab a taco from the local taco truck outside, get in line for a beer or a coffee, and find a seat under the huge live oak trees on property. Radio is dog and kid-friendly, and some of the area is fenced in for free roaming kiddos to get the wiggles out. As with most places in Austin, parking is abysmal, so take a rideshare or park in a nearby neighborhood and walk over. Be mindful of towing areas and respectful of local driveways.
Add to
Details
Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden
@stanzie
Cosmic Coffee is tucked away on a side street off of South Congress Avenue, and is very easy to miss for those who aren't in-the-know. But, when you find Cosmic Coffee once, you'll want to come back again and again. Cosmic provides an oasis of zen, with huge outdoor seating pods, misters and shades for the hottest times of the year, and water features that provide a calming background soundtrack. While Cosmic does offer plenty of yummy boozy beverages, their coffee is truly fantastic and brewed with love. As with most Austin spots, parking is terrible so either bring your patience when arriving or take a rideshare to avoid the headache.
Add to
Details

๐Ÿฒ Eat

Evangeline Cafe
@stanzie
Yes, I'm recommending a Cajun restaurant in Austin and no, I'm not crazy. Evangeline Cafe is owned & operated by a Lake Charles, Louisiana native who decided to bring great Cajun food to the city over 30 years ago and never looked back. And we're all forever grateful. Evangeline is the *only* place I recommend in the entire city to people who want a traditional Cajun meal. It's that good. You'll find Abita beer, red beans & rice, and even alligator on the menu. Order the etoufeรฉ if they've got it - they always sell out. Be mindful of visiting Evangeline during Mardi Gras, as they host local zydeco bands and the tiny restaurant can quickly fill up.
Add to
Details
Curra's Grill Oltorf
@stanzie
If you're looking for authentic interior Mexican food, look no further than Curra's. You'll still find Tex-Mex favorites like queso here, but you'll also find pulled pork wrapped in banana leaves, unbelievable fresh salsas, and legendary avocado margaritas. Curra's has been a family favorite of ours for decades, and it never disappoints. Prepare for a wait if you have a large party, and like most places in Austin, use a rideshare if you want to avoid parking headaches.
Add to
Details
Sap's Ver Fine Thai Cuisine
@stanzie
Even though Austin is famous for its barbecue, Mexican food, and vegan restaurants, it's also home to a wide array of fantastic mom-and-pop Thai spots. Sap's is one of the best, and is a great choice both for eating in or ordering out. Service here is always outstanding, and I'm always amazed by the freshness of their seafood. Don't forget to order a Thai tea to go - it's not a true Sap's meal without one.
Add to
Details

โ˜€๏ธ Do

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
@stanzie
The LBJ Wildflower Center is one of the gems of the city and is a lovely escape for anyone willing to take the drive. Unfortunately, since the Center is relatively far south, it isn't included in many Austin itineraries. Take this as your sign to make the time and take the trip. Lady Bird Johnson was a nature lover, and Austin benefited from her philanthropy and activism to preserve natural areas of the city for decades after she passed. The LBJ Wildflower Center is a tribute to this First Lady, and is a joy to explore. It takes our family 1-2 hours to see most of the sights of the Center, but it could take you longer depending on how much walking you're up to. If you're visiting Austin in the summer, go to the LBJ Wildflower Center early in the day to avoid the heat. The on-property cafe is actually quite good and a great way to take a break as you explore.
Add to
Details

* * *
CURATED BY
๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿ˜ธ Mom |๐Ÿ“Austin, TX ๐Ÿ‘‹ Hi! I'm Stanzie, a native Austin mom who loves sharing the best parts of my city. Want to see old-school Austin before the chains descended? Here for it! Looking to skip the "Insta-worthy" spots with long lines and bad food? I've got you! Follow me for the places only true Austinites know about. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Our family takes epic summer vacations, and Iโ€™ve got tons of tips and tricks for everywhere from Los Angeles to New Orleans. I've even taken my kids to Las Vegas, and we had an absolute blast! If you want a unique twist on major tourist destinations, I'm your gal. ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ My passion is helping families get the most bang for their buck when exploring new places, but my guides are truly for everyone. I'd love to help you plan your next adventure!
Send A Tip
Support Stanzie Coteโ€™s work.
Select your tip amount
$5
$10
$20
$50
Or type in other amount
Powered by Thatch
The home for unique & authentic travel
Powered by Thatch: Where great trips are made.
ยฉ Stanzie Cote โ€ข Privacy โ€ข Terms