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The Ultimate 2022 Bucket List for Austin Newbies

Austin has an unlimited amount of wonderful sights to see and enjoy from landscape to various local businesses around the city! From shopping along historic South Congress to hiking up to the tippy top of Mount Bonnell, Austin is home to wonderful scenery and a quirky sense of pride. Check out our ultimate Bucket List for Austin Newbies, whether you’re just visiting or calling it home.

Observe bats under the Congress Bridge

Find out why Austin is known as “Bat City” when you go on a little tour beneath the Congress bridge. Bats are known to congregate and fly out into the sky in a spooky frenzy! Book a boat tour for this must-see Austin bucket list item.

Walk and shop around South Congress Avenue

South Congress Ave. stretches for miles and is known for a variety of local shops that make Austin famous for its quirkiness. Check out local boutique Aviator Nation street wear, the original Joe’s coffee, and Lucy in Disguise vintage and costume shop to name a few.Hours & LocationVisit website

Try Home Slice Pizza

If you’re ever craving NY-style pizza in Austin, you have to visit Home Slice Pizza. Check this bucket list item off by visiting the original location is right in the heart of South Congress.

Visit the Tau Ceti mural

Austin’s newest mural is already attracting photographers and ‘grammers alike. The colorful Tau Ceti mural stands tall on the corner of Brazos and 2nd Street and is Austin’s tallest public artwork.

Visit the “I Love You So Much” mural at the original Jo’s Coffee

While strolling along South Congress Ave. you have to visit the original Jo’s Coffee for some coffee or their famous frosé. On your way out, a true christening of Austin lifestyle wouldn’t be complete without visit to the “I Love You So Much” mural!

Rent scooters or bikes in downtown

Scoot around downtown Austin with a little speed when you rent any one of the many bikes or scooters parked around the metro area. Whether you use Bird app, Lime, or Uber, you can find tons of transportation options!

Eat at Kerbey Lane Café

If you haven’t dined at Kerbey Lane Café have you really been to Austin? Satisfy this bucket list mealtime at Kerbey Lane’s famous breakfast joint known for their famous queso and tons of comfort food classics. Try any one of their locations for a solid meal!

Güero’s Taco Bar

As one of the oldest operating businesses in the heart of South Congress, Güero’s Taco Bar is a must for your Austin bucket list. With one of the best patios to enjoy dining outdoors, Güero’s offers delicious taco combo meals and tons more!

Paddleboard on Lady Bird Lake (Rowing Dock ATX for rentals)

Enjoy a true Texan summer when you paddleboard along Lady Bird Lake. If you should need a paddleboard, the rowing dock on the waterfront offers reasonable paddleboard rentals for hourly/daily use!

Swim at Barton Springs Pool

For your summertime bucket list, check out Barton Springs natural pool right off of Zilker Park for an enjoyable afternoon of sunbathing and swimming. Due to the pandemic peak hours of visitation may require a reservation. Check the website for more information!

Go to Zilker Park

Probably the best and most well-known park in Austin, Zilker Park is centrally located and expansive. As the annual host of Austin City Limits Festival, Zilker Park offers wide-open spaces for Frisbee, dog-friendly play, and outdoor sports!

Go to the original Chuy’s location on Barton Springs Road

For some giant burritos and classic margaritas, you’ll want to check out Chuy’s! This Austin staple has multiple locations, but the original is situated right along Barton Springs Road in the heart of downtown Austin.

Visit Austin Eastciders for a local selection of ciders

Right along Barton Springs Road you can also find Austin Eastciders restaurant location. Enjoy tons of pizza options, pub snacks, and their entire selection of locally brewed cider flavors.

Visit the Texas Capitol

Take in the sight of the majestic state capitol when you visit downtown the green grounds of the Texas State Capitol. You can also see beautiful views of the capitol building along South Congress.

Try out La Barbecue or Micklethwait Craft Meats BBQ

Austin is known for its barbecue and there are tons of options. Though the best barbecue for your bucket list has to be La Barbecue or Micklethwait Craft Meats. Fresh, juicy, and hot daily barbecue options await you!

Ride a bike along Lady Bird Lake Trail

Take in the waterfront of Lady Bird Lake when you take a stroll or bike the Lady Bird Lake Trail. Flat trail pathway make this bike ride make this an easy breezy afternoon out.

Hike Barton Creek Greenbelt

Take in the natural wonder of Austin by hiking one of the many greenbelts. The most expansive and well-known is the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Accessible through many points near downtown Austin, Barton Creek Greenbelt is a must for your nature bucket list!

Go to Pease Park Treehouse

Check out this new man made piece of natural artwork when you visit Austin. Pease Park Treehouse artistically mimics a seed pod you might see on the forest floor. Feel part of the woods when you walk around inside its 575 square foot space.

Go to the 360 Bridge Lookout

Observe the history of Austin infrastructure when you visit the Pennybacker Bridge. This steel arch bridge offers scenic views for cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians crossing the bridge.

Go to Mount Bonnell

Take in the views of downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake from high up when you visit Mount Bonnell. This hike is free and accessible to anyone and you can find plenty of parking nearby!

UNation | Hailey Way | March 7, 2022

2022 Austin Modern Homes Tour

If you love modern architecture you are going to be so excited to hear that the Austin Modern Homes Tour is back. It will be held on Saturday, February 19th from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tickets run $40 for general admission and $15 for kids 10-17.

For more information and to purchase tickets check out the link below:

Where to Get Tamales in Austin

Christmas tamales originated as part of Las Posadas, a nine-day Christmas celebration with centuries-old roots in Mexico. Today, these warm bundles of masa (corn dough) and other tasty fillings like cheese, pork, or beans are central to many holiday gatherings across the Lone Star State. Whether you’ve been a tamale fan since childhood or are a newbie to this corn-husk-wrapped delight, we’re serving up some of the best places around Austin to get your hands on fresh hot tamales.


Tamale House East |1707 E 6th St

The tamale plate at Tamale House East is one of life’s finer pleasures. Choose chicken or bean & cheese as your filling, and select from sauce options like chocolate mole and salsa verde to spice up your lil’ bundles of corn goodness. These tamales are always moist and fresh – even if you don’t order them as your main dish, don’t pass up adding a tamale on the side to your plate of Tamale House East’s famous migas.


Curra’s Grill | 614 E Oltorf St

You might know Curra’s Grill for their avocado margarita, but trust us: the tamales at this Mexican spot aren’t to be slept on. Made in-house, Curra’s tamales come in several varieties (both meat and veggie), and all are delicious. Of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t order an avocado marg to wash them down.


La Mexicana Bakery | 1924 S 1st St

La Mexicana Bakery is a beloved Austin staple for those who know it. Many a glorious night out has ended with a stop at this 24-hour Mexican bakery, whose kitchen churns out hundreds of unbeatable eats both sweet and savory. Next time you’ve got a late-night craving, swing by La Mexicana for a hot tamale or three.


El Chilito | Various Locations

You may already adore El Chilito for their fantastic tacos, but during the holiday season, this local Tex-Mex chain also offers tamales for pre-order. Complete any holiday hang by picking up some of these scrumptious tamales in any of three varieties: black bean & cheese, pollo verde, or puerco rojo. Order online until December 24.


Mr. Natural | 1901 E Cesar Chavez | 2414A S Lamar Blvd

Mr. Natural is a bona fide slice of Austin originality. Everything at this vegetarian restaurant is made in-house, down to the bread in their sandwiches – and of course, the tamales. Mr. Natural’s meatless tamale choices include tofu & sunflower, veggie, and refried pinto beans. Order a catering tray, or just stop in for a meal of cafeteria-style tamale goodness.


Tamale Addiction | Various Locations

Austinites with dietary restrictions, never fear: Tamale Addiction has got your back. The tamales from this farmer’s market favorite are gluten-free, lard-free, and made with organic masa; they come in meat, vegetarian, and vegan varieties. In fact, we’d say Tamale Addiction probably offers the widest slew of tamale options in town, from pork al pastor to nopalitos cactus. If you want these local tamale-makers to fuel your addiction, head to their website and to place an order for frozen tamales. You can pick up at several local farmer’s markets, their main kitchen on Manor Rd, or opt for delivery or catering options. During COVID-19, deliveries over 20 frozen tamales are free!


Rosie’s Tamale House | 13436 W Highway 71

The tamales at Rosie’s Tamale House are the real deal. Owned and operated by the Arriaga family since 1973, this Mexican spot has been serving up tamales for a damn long time, and they sure know what they’re doing. If you want to experience your tamales with a side of nostalgia for Austin’s roots, enjoy a tamale plate within the wood-paneled walls of Rosie’s.


Fresa’s Chicken | 1703 S 1st St | 915 N Lamar Blvd

Fresa’s is offering tamales this holiday season, by pre-order only! If you’ve got a big holiday gathering ahead, the tamale catering packages at this modern Mexican restaurant will do the trick to satisfy your guests’ appetites. This year, Fresa’s is offering two types of tamales: Chicken Tinga and Black Bean & Cheese. The tamale meals will be served with salsas and can be ordered a la carte or as part of a meal that includes Charro Beans, Mexican Rice, Salsas & Queso, or Guacamole. Black Beans & White Rice are also available. Place your order online or by giving Fresa’s a ring at 512-915-0362.


Winter Date Night Spots in Austin

Surviving Austin’s oppressive late summer really pays off when the winter months roll around. The cold weather won’t last long, so you better make the most of it and enjoy the added romanticism of a wintry date while you can. Dig your cute sweaters out of the back of your closet, get out there, and get cozy with a cutie. Here are our picks for Winter Date Night Spots in Austin.


Sip hot cocoa and watch the Christmas Lights at Mozart’s

3825 Lake Austin Blvd

For the eleventh year in a row, the lights are on at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters. A year-round fave, this lakeside cafe kicks it up a notch every holiday season with a stunning light display, musical performances, and of course, delicious treats. You can reserve a spot in the prime viewing area starting at $10 or hang out on the upper and lower decks without a reservation. Either way, enjoying hot cocoa with lights glittering on the lake isn’t a bad way to spend an evening with a cutie. All tables are distanced six feet apart, and masks are required when not at your table.


Share a giant pretzel and beers at Easy Tiger

6406 N Interstate 35 | 3508 S Lamar Blvd

Germans know how to do winter right: pair it with lots of beer and lots of carbs. Easy Tiger upholds these tenets of cold weather enjoyment at both of its locations. If you’re looking for an airy vibe and a larger menu, head north to the Linc – or opt for the coziness of the new location on South Lamar. Order a round of beers, a big-as-your-face soft pretzel with beer cheese to share with your date, and if you’re lucky and there are some left at the end of the day, a sweet baked good for dessert.


Cuddle up for a flick at Blue Starlite

2015 E M. Franklin Ave | 300 San Antonio Street

For a hip Austinite, taking a date to a movie may sound like a lackluster idea. You’re not in middle school anymore – is a movie night really still on the table? It is if you bring your date to the Blue Starlite Drive-In, where a range of classics and new indies are shown every day. Rotating themes will satisfy even the most esoterically-minded of love interests, with everything from Christmas staples to experimental horrors.

Sample tea at Zhi Tea

1023 Springdale Rd

Pro-tip: a great date is built on good conversation. Bringing your crush to Zhi Tea on a chilly evening will give you plenty of opportunities for romantic eye contact over steaming cups. The teahouse’s variety of selections and flavors provides a slew of conversation starters – don’t be afraid to ask your knowledgeable server for recommendations to sample. Order a few, steep, sip, and discuss. During COVID-19, your best bet is to call and reserve a private tasting.


Nosh on farm-to-table Italian at Intero

2612 E Cesar Chavez St

Italian for dinner is another one of those winter date ideas that needs an update. Intero provides an experience that far surpasses the breadsticks-and-caesar-salad routine your parents are following in the suburbs. Bright, bold, locally-sourced dishes like eggplant caponata and butter-poached redfish are served in a warm, spacious East Austin restaurant whose ambiance will truly impress any discerning date. Do not – we repeat, do not – skip Intero’s housemade ricotta. Or the handcrafted truffles, which are essentially love potions in chocolate form.


Slurp noodles from Michi Ramen

6519 N Lamar Blvd

3005 S Lamar Blvd D-114B

Soup on a date night isn’t always a good idea, but on a brisk winter evening, it just might be. Michi Ramen is an Austin favorite for ultra-customizable (from broth to toppings) savory ramen loaded with noodles and other slurp-able ingredients. Share a to-go bowl with your sweetheart and live your own Lady and the Tramp moment, Austin-style.


Hike the River Place Nature Trail

8820 Big View Dr

In Austin, outdoor activity isn’t off the table for a winter date. In fact, we’d argue bundling up and going for a cold-weather hike is far more romantic than the summer alternatives of sunburns and sweat stains. The River Place Nature Trail is composed of winding paths through tall trees, with a couple of impressive Hill Country and waterfall views sprinkled in the mix. Pack a trail picnic or bring along your dog to launch your hiking date to the next level.


Build a cheese board at Antonelli’s

4220 Duval St

This Duval Street cheesemonger is cozy from the moment you walk in. The shelves teem with artisanal treats and cheese accompaniments, from infused honey and fig spread to wine. Don’t worry if you’re not a cheese aficionado – behind the counter, a friendly Antonelli’s employee is always willing to share samples, pairings, and cheese recommendations to guide you and your date to a selection of primo cheeses you’ll both love. During COVID-19, walk-ups are closed, but peruse their curbside pickup menu for offerings.


Fill up on S’Mores at Halcyon 

218 W 4th St | 1905 Aldrich St Suite 110

Cozy like a camping trip, but lively like a great party, Halcyon is at once intimate and hip. Located in downtown Austin and in the Mueller neighborhood, Halcyon is the perfect lounge to bring your date for some gourmet drinks, great snacks, and even S’Mores. Yep, you read that correctly. S’Mores. Upon ordering the dessert, Halcyon supplies guests with a mini campfire, a pair of sticks, oodles of chocolate, stacks of graham crackers, and, of course, loads of marshmallows. There’s nothing like staring into your significant other’s eyes over a warm fire, and Halcyon allows you to do your gazing right in the heart of the city. Pack up your sleeping bags and put your tents back in the garage for the winter and head to Halcyon for some personal S’Mores.


The Most Instagrammable Places in Austin

Aesthetically, Austin has it all: iconic street art, unique architecture, and an eye-catching skyline. 

So you can’t be blamed for the irresistible urge to emblazon your Instagram with all of the images that illustrate the glory of living in Austin. If you want to embrace that practice to the fullest and really go to town, here’s a round-up of the most Instagrammable places in Austin.

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden

605 Azie Morton Rd

The ultimate Austin spot to achieve zen and tranquility, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden presents plenty of photo ops to play statue or get some enviable greenery shots.

Zilker Botanical Garden

2220 Barton Springs Rd.

Get green thumb envy and enjoy plenty of Austin’s finest wildlife at the Zilker Botanical Garden. Perfect for garden themed photo ops and fairy picnics.

Update: Open with advance reservations required.

Red Bud Isle

3401 Redbud Trail

Part amazing dog park, part hidden gem, Red Bud Isle is reachable via car, paddleboard, or kayak. The perfect place to take a swim with your 4 legged friend or watch the sunset.

Barton Springs Pool

2201 Barton Springs Rd.

Austin’s favorite natural spring is a little piece of utopia. Cool water, lounging on the grass, and epic scenery make it the ideal place to get your summer grams on. 

Update: Open with limited capacity.

The Top of Mt. Bonnell

3800 Mt. Bonnell Rd.

The best views in the city are only a hop, skip, and jump away…well actually a leisurely climb along some stairs. But the climb is worth it for the most far-reaching views in the city.

Franklin’s BBQ

900 East 11th St

The lengthy lines at the ever so popular Franklin’s BBQ are well worth the wait for the juicy, tender goodness. Grab a cooler, some chairs and be prepared to get in line for meat heaven.

Update: Dining room closed, but curbside pickup service available.

Uncommon Objects

1602 Fortview Rd

Uncommon Objects Antiques and Vintage Shop is basically one giant store of Instagram opportunities. Bedecked with everything from a wall of antlers to taxidermy, antiques phones, signs and more; get ready to play cross-century dress up.

The Texas State Capitol

1100 Congress Ave

Get a healthy dose of Texas history with a tour through the stately Capitol building. Plus plenty of opportunities to pose with Bush portraits and historical statues.

Update: Temporarily closed to tourists and visitors.

You’re My Butter Half Mural

2000 E. MLK Blvd

Another great piece of street art, another chance to proclaim your love. Located on the side of the Greater United Austin Building, this bright mural is worth a stop in this neighborhood.

“I Love You So Much” at Jo’s Coffee

1300 S Congress

The “I love you so much” sign on the side of Jo’s Coffee has become the most iconic piece of street art in Austin. Perfect for engagement photos, wedding photos, or just waiting for coffee.

The W Hotel Pool

200 Lavaca St

The W Hotel rooftop pool is one of the hottest hangs in the city, literally bc it’s that much closer to the sun. Get your tan on all year round and ogle the B-list celebrities as you look down upon the plebeians of downtown Austin.

Update: Hotel is open but pool is temporarily closed.

Lamar Pedestrian Bridge

Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail

The pedestrian bridge connects the north and south parts of Lamar along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Expect tons of fit Austinites jogging, scenic pup pics, and perfect sunsets.

The Long Center

701 W Riverside Dr

The Long Center Performing Arts Center is not only one of the most picturesque views of the city but also hosts some of the best artistic acts. Stop by for a selfie, stay for a ballet, musical, concert, or Do512’s own Sound & Cinema movie series all summer long. 

Zilker Park

2100 Barton Springs Rd

Home to ACL, the Kite Festival, and many a Sunday volleyball game; Zilker Park is the pride and joy of Austin. From popular ‘Gram Zilker Bark to pics of Barton Springs or the Greenbelt, Zilker is sure to be tagged in many of your photos.

University Of Texas Tower

110 Inner Campus Dr

The statuesque tower is right smack dab in the middle of University of Texas. A focal point of the university to pay homage to football wins and other feats.

Update: Open, but all visitors need to complete a COVID-19 symptom screening online before entering campus.

Hi, How Are You

408 West 21st St

Daniel Johnston’s classic image has adorned this campus-area wall since 1993, when the Sound Exchange record store commissioned Johnston to paint a mural of his 1983 album cover, which had become widely recognizable after Kurt Cobain wore the image on a t-shirt during Nirvana’s promotion of Nevermind. When in Austin be sure to get your photo ops in here. 

Auditorium Shores at Town Lake

800 W Riverside Dr

The Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial is located at the intersection of Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail (South 1st and Riverside), first installed in 1994 and often has flowers and other devotions at its base. Plus, great views of the Austin skyline from this spot. |CONTRIBUTED BY PAGE JENSEN-SLATTENGREN

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