Adventures in Austin

We took a few days to explore Austin for my birthday! We passed through briefly a few years ago after shooting a wedding nearby, and I went for a weekend with friends a couple of years ago, but this was our first time to get to stay for a while together!

Austin is such a fun city. I love Texas in general, but Austin is just so neat. You literally could plan a trip here that revolved around eating and nothing else! And honestly, we pretty much did. 😉 There are a few things we require when we travel: Good food, good hiking/walking, and good coffee. Austin didn’t disappoint!

Finding time to travel is something that we’ve always made a priority. My family took the best vacations when I was a kid, and being able to do the same now that I’m grown and have my own family is such a blessing.

If you follow me on social media I’m sure you’re like “Rachel, do y’all ever work?!” and we do, I promise. 🙂 We just make time to travel. We don’t take luxurious, expensive vacations. We have one car note. We save money on other things so that we’re able to take these trips. And I have never regretted it. Traveling is a priority for us, so we make sure to budget for it as often as we can!

I took all of these with my iPhone. Using just my phone makes it so that I’m able to document our adventures while still being present.

Read on for lots of food and coffee recommendations, and probably too many pictures of us. 🙂



We found a cute little Aribnb to stay at for the three nights we were there. This is the one we chose, and for the price, location, and coziness, it was the perfect choice. It’s private, close to SoCo, downtown, and anything else you’d need access to.

After we checked in we went straight to Hula Hut. We ate here when we passed through a few years ago, and I’ve dreamed about these tacos ever since! The salsa is fresh and so good, and the restaurant sits right on the lake with the best view.

Gourdough’s Donuts should be at the top of your list when visiting Austin. There are a million food trucks to choose from, but this one… So. Good. I got the Funky Monkey which is a big fat doughnut smothered in cream cheese icing, grilled bananas, and brown sugar. We aren’t even gonna talk about all the sugar. Worth it.

Coffee at Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors was so good, and it was within walking distance from our Airbnb.

I was so excited to bring Brandon here! I discovered this place last time I was in Austin, and knew he would love it. The water was a little low, but we had the best time exploring.

You can see the styled shoot I did at this same spot a few years ago right here. 🙂

I just can’t get over this spot. Seriously so serene and incredible.

I wonder if Xero Shoes will hire me to be their feet model? 😛

Hahahaha I love this picture.

Lunch at Blue Dahlia Bistro was absolutely a highlight of our trip. Maybe even our favorite part!

I’m a sucker for a charcuterie board.

If you go, you have to get one of the open faced sandwiches. We got the ricotta & fig, and sliced cold smoked salmon. They were both so good, but that ricotta & fig. Maaaaaaannnn. I’m drooling. The entire menu looks heavenly.

The food was incredible, but the whole vibe was just so. good. It felt like we were nestled in a little nook somewhere in France. 😉 The music, the service, seriously just everything. I’m already planning how we can go back!

Sipping espresso and not-so-subtly advertising for RLP. 😉

Seventh Flag Coffee was another one of our coffee stops, and even though I was disappointed that they didn’t have half & half for my breve latte, (the struggle, right?) that gingersnap cookie was so much better with an americano. Aaaaaaand I sound like a ridiculous coffee snob. Rolling my eyes at myself. Don’t be fooled; I guzzled some good ole burnt bottom-of-the-pot gas station coffee on the way home. I’m not that fancy.

This is what it looks like to love that your wife takes a lot of pictures. 😉 And peep that RLP shirt again.

I would like to say that we did more than just eat and drink coffee, but the truth is that’s pretty much all we did. Haha! We did play putt-putt golf before this meal, though. 😉 Cafe No Se was delicious, and the atmosphere was fun and modern. Brandon got the burger, and I got the avocado toast.

Oh look, more coffee. Are you shocked? There were dozens and dozens of places to choose from just for coffee! Wright Bros. Brew & Brew was our pick this time. Great coffee and neat atmosphere.

Now it’s just looking like Brandon only wore this shirt…

Mount Bonnell had the best view. It overlooks the Colorado River, and it’s free to climb up! I could see it being busy and touristy on weekends, but it was fairly empty when we went.

I’ll admit that I usually steer clear of overly touristy places. I thought Torchy’s Tacos would be mundane and unimpressive because it’s so well known, but I was wrong. Hands down, the best tacos I’ve ever had. I got the Tipsy Chick, and could have seriously eaten ten of them. Brandon got one off the “secret menu” that was super good too.

Have you seen a more attractive guacamole-stuffing-face in your life? You don’t have to answer that. 😉

So. Good. (Are you keeping count of how many times I can say “so good”? I should learn more ways to say that…)

Funny story. On a whim we decided to try to see the famous South Congress Bridge bats. We parked nearby, about a mile away, and walked to the bridge. We paid the parking meter for an hour, thinking that would be plenty of time. We made it to the bridge right at sunset, and we waited, and waited, and waited some more. With 10 minutes left to spare, and still no emerging bats, we jogged back to the car. As cool as the bats probably are, what’s not cool is a parking ticket in Texas. Rookie mistake, for sure! But it was a fun story to tell. 🙂

Before we took off running back to the car!

At least the view was pretty on our jog back. 😉


Have you visited Austin? What’s your favorite thing to do?

Want to see our other Texas travels? You might like this post from our trip to Waco!

22 comments so far...

  1. Kimberly Dawn Renz Roberson
    Kimberly Dawn Renz Roberson

    We lived there for 13 years and loved it. Our favorite place.

    June 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm   |   Reply
  2. Carolyn McGrew
    Carolyn McGrew

    Great photo, Rachel !

    June 5, 2018 at 5:43 pm   |   Reply
  3. Randi James
    Randi James

    Check out the cabana’s on New Braunfels!

    June 5, 2018 at 6:19 pm   |   Reply
  4. Samantha Herrera Pinder
    Samantha Herrera Pinder

    Loved reading this and seeing your adventures! It was nice to reminisce on our trip as well!❤️❤️

    June 5, 2018 at 6:39 pm   |   Reply
  5. Wendy Watson

    My daughter lived in Austin for a year! We love it there!

    June 6, 2018 at 1:27 am   |   Reply
  6. Nikita Etheridge
    Nikita Etheridge

    Torchys was our favorite stop in Austin ? the queso with avocado in it ?

    June 6, 2018 at 1:51 am   |   Reply
    • Rachel Leigh Photography
      Rachel Leigh Photography

      We didn’t have that, but it sounds amazing!

      June 6, 2018 at 2:28 am   |  
    • Nikita Etheridge
      Nikita Etheridge

      Rachel Leigh Photography it was. Our Uber driver suggested it and it did not disappoint.

      June 6, 2018 at 2:29 am   |  
  7. Eric Little
    Eric Little

    Franklin Barbecue.

    It lives up to the hype and the long wait in line is half the fun!

    June 6, 2018 at 2:25 am   |   Reply
    • Rachel Leigh Photography
      Rachel Leigh Photography

      Barbecue is the only thing missing from this trip. Next time, for sure.

      June 6, 2018 at 2:28 am   |  
    • Eric Little
      Eric Little

      Rachel Leigh Photography When we went in July of 2016, we waited in line for 5 hours and I regret nothing. Haha

      June 6, 2018 at 2:29 am   |  
    • Eric Little
      Eric Little

      Austin is the BBQ capital of Texas. There are several killer spots, but Franklin is the best money can buy!

      June 6, 2018 at 2:30 am   |  
    • Rachel Leigh Photography
      Rachel Leigh Photography

      Eric Little you’re kidding! 5 hours?? What’s so good about it? I’m definitely not knocking it because I totally appreciate good food. You are the bbq connoisseur, aren’t you? 🙂

      June 6, 2018 at 2:31 am   |  
    • Rachel Leigh Photography
      Rachel Leigh Photography

      The Google reviews of it are seriously impressive.

      June 6, 2018 at 2:32 am   |  
    • Eric Little
      Eric Little

      Rachel Leigh Photography It has like this mythical aura surrounding it. You get there early, meet people (which my introverted self avoided, naturally), have a beer in line, talk to the employees, tell them an idea of what you want to order, etc.

      Aaron Franklin started cooking BBQ in a tiny little trailer behind his friend’s coffee shop around 2007 and it just took off and now he’s the biggest name out there. Haha

      June 6, 2018 at 2:36 am   |  
    • Eric Little
      Eric Little

      Franklin inspired me to open a place. Also, the brisket is second to none. You must get brisket, even if you get nothing else. Haha

      June 6, 2018 at 2:37 am   |  
    • Rachel Leigh Photography
      Rachel Leigh Photography

      I cannot believe I missed out on this while we were there! So dang cool. I will not forget it next time I’m there.

      June 6, 2018 at 2:38 am   |  
    • Eric Little
      Eric Little

      It’s a whole experience! The food is still the highlight at the end of the day though. Outrageously tender and delicious!

      June 6, 2018 at 2:39 am   |  

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