Austin is a mecca for all things cool. While the Texas city is known as the Live Music Capital of the world, it also has an innovative culinary scene, beautiful scenery and ultra-chic hotels. —Cassandra Gill
stay. The Fairmont Austin is a resort-like oasis in the centre of downtown with the best rooftop pool in the city. After hours, the lively Fulton bar takes over. Centred in the lobby around a large oak tree, patrons come for both the spirits and live music. Be sure to get in a reso at flagship restaurant Garrison—the tuna crudo and black truffle tater tots are to-die-for. Rooms are modern and spacious, outfitted with luxe furnishings like brass finished lights and velvet furniture.
When it comes to the boutique hotels, the Austin Proper Hotel is the fairest of them all. The entire space, including all 244 rooms, were immaculately designed by the one-and-only Kelly Wearstler, capturing the vibe and history of the Lone Star State. After checking in, kick your evening off with a cocktail and poolside sunset at La Piscina before heading downstairs to hotspot Peacock. Israeli and Turkish-inspired fusion is on the docket here; the manti dumplings are a must-try.
brunch. Nestled in the historic neighbourhood of Clarksville, Josephine House occupies a beautiful blue heritage home. The lemon ricotta pancakes are delectable, if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Lively Rainy Street is home to Geraldine’s, which hosts a famous Jazz Brunch on weekends with world-class bands and musicians—add the buttermilk biscuits to your order.
shop. South Congress, better known as SoCo, is a vibrant area with small boutiques and major players alike. Austin-based designer Kendra Scott has her flagship store here, including a custom jewelry Color Bar and in-store cafe. Curated home goods are on the docket at Neighborhood Goods (think Aesop), while cowboy boots are the main attraction at the legendary Allen’s. Other notable spots on the street include a Yeti flagship complete with a bar, and outposts from Everlane, Alo and a soon-to-open Hermès. Take an ice cream break with a scoop at Amy’s and mosey over to the iconic “Greetings From Austin” postcard mural on nearby 1st Street.
caffeine. A cup of joe is serious biz here. Jo’s Coffee, located in the parking lot of the eclectic Hotel San Jose, is an Austin essential thanks to its signature Iced Turbo and often-sold-out breakfast tacos (go early). East Austin’s Easy Tiger lives up to its name with the Bengal Spice Latte with notes of cardamom; its specialty pastry, the Cinnamon Knot, is the perfect sweet treat as you sip your coffee. A bit off the beaten path in South First, java worshippers will find the original Summer Moon. The local chain uses its proprietary Moon Milk in various beverages, including the velvety smooth Blue Moon Latte with lavender.
explore. Texas may be famous for flatland, but Austin is an exception. Escape the bustle by kayaking or paddle boarding on tranquil Lady Bird Lake, which also has a stunning trail for a walk or jog. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, head to Mount Bonnell for a hike. At 781 feet, you won’t get a better picnic view of Austin than this.
dinner. A centerpiece of SoCo, Aba might be the most beautiful room and patio in the city. Start with the IG-obsessed whipped feta that features a delightful hint of pistachio and lemon. The grilled cauliflower kabab will also blow you away. Don’t miss the extensive cocktail menu: a standout is the Aloe It’s Me with mezcal, aloe and a dash of jalapeno. Wax Myrtle’s is another to add to your reso agenda. The menu boasts a curious exploration of Texas-Mediterranean fusion: think barbecue with Greek fries. Several Texas wines are on offer here, including the refreshing Pa Pa French rose from C.L. Butaud.
spa. Unwind, recharge and take in the scenic views with a day trip or overnight stay to the Lake Austin Spa Resort. Charming southern décor makes for the perfect Instagram at this ideal girlfriends escape, where you can indulge in a luxe and relaxing Valmont facial. The signature Texas Starry Night massage is a lovely way to wrap your day that evokes peaceful bliss with lavender-chamomile oil. Pre or post treatment, guests can relax in one of the outdoor pools, hot tub or the indoor sauna. Yoga and other classes are also on offer.