Archer's Favorite Things to Do In Austin + The Domain
. Pecan Street Festival
This quintessentially Austin festival beckons musicians, artisans and craftsmen alike. One of Austin’s most iconic thoroughfares becomes an open-air market brimming with a plethora of things that make Austin weird and wonderful. Leave some room in your bag to bring home a unique treasure.
Photo courtesy of Will Taylor, LostinAustin.org.
. Bakery Lorraine
The French bakery right around the corner from Archer Austin offers handmade breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch items, as well as bakery delights. The quiche lorraine gets extra points for including caramelized onions along with the bacon and gruyere, and the croque madame is a local favorite. Take a dozen Parisian macarons home to share (or not).
Photo courtesy of Misha Hettie.
. Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café
Breakfast anytime? Yes, indeed — especially at Sweet Paris. Founded in Houston with the mission of “reviving the art of eating crêpes,” they make beautiful breakfast, sweet and savory crêpes (and waffles, eggs, milkshakes, salads, paninis and Nutella drinks) that are meant to be enjoyed anytime.
Photo courtesy of Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café.
. Veracruz All Natural
Owned by two sisters from the restaurant’s namesake city in Mexico, Veracruz has been recognized by the Food Network as serving one of the best five tacos in the U.S. While tacos are great anytime, the breakfast tacos get a shoutout for their homemade corn and locally made flour tortillas. To try: the El Tradicional or the vegetarian Migas Poblanas. Wash it all down with an icy aguas frescas or smoothie.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Meyers.
. La Barbecue
This serious contender for Austin barbecue acclaim grew from a wildly popular food truck to an equally popular brick-and-mortar — and while there still may be a line, you can take turns grabbing a drink at several great neighborhood bars. Pulled pork and the 1.5-pound beef ribs are the stars of this show; bring a napkin.
Walking into Sway's modern, chic interior instantly sets the precedent for what's going to be on your plate. The sophisticated decor is mimicked in the beautiful Thai classics served with a modern Australian flair. Pad Thai is always a favorite, but spring for the Tiger Cry — grilled hanger steak, red chili, toasted rice and nahm prik pao. You won't be sorry.
Frequently cited as one of the best restaurants in Austin, if you’re craving sushi, Uchi is the place you want to be. Expertly prepared sushi and Asian staples are served up in a hip Zen atmosphere. Visit the award-winning Uchiko, the "child of Uchi" down the road for traditional Japanese offerings with new flavors and textures.
. Culinary Dropout
Free-spirited and undefinable, this Domain NORTHSIDE eatery offers one of the premier patio experiences in Austin. Sip an expertly made cocktail while playing yard games or knock back a few cold ones and cheer on your favorite team — Culinary Dropout is a great example of why Austenites love patios.
. Celis Brewery
Born in Belgium and brewed in Texas, Celis craft beers derive from its proprietary Belgian yeast strain. The three core beers — White, Juicy IPA and Pale Bock — are complemented by such seasonal selections as Raspberry, Grand Cru, Dubbel Coffee Porter and Lime Berliner Weisse. Visit the Old World-inspired Copper Kettle Taproom and taste both old and new Celis recipes.
Photo courtesy of Celis Brewery.
. Viva Day Spa
Right around the literal corner from Archer, Viva Day Spa is a traditional spa and med spa in one. A selection of 10 award-winning spa packages includes the Celebration Package (Swedish massage, hot stone massage, custom designer facial and deluxe pedicure — served with wine and chocolates), a Manadatory Spa Package for Men and a Couples Massage. Noninvasive med spa treatments include injectables and fillers, laser treatments, skin rejuvenation and body contouring.
This leading fashion retailer of clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and kids is just steps from Archer's front door. No two Nordstrom retailers have the same product mix, so a shopping spree at Domain NORTHSIDE is likely to result in a different shopping bag. For guests staying at Archer Hotel Austin, the Nordstrom personal stylist will ensure delivery of clothing selections to the Archer concierge, who will hand-carry them to the guest’s room.
. Chanel Fragrance and Beauté
The world-renowned French luxury house Chanel brings its Fragrance and Beauté boutique into the heart of Domain NORTHSIDE, just around the corner from Archer. This first-in-Texas specialty shop focuses on skincare, makeup and Les Exclusifs de Chanel fragrances, as well as small leather goods and sunglasses.
Blowouts are practically a woman's rite of passage, and nowhere are they perfected more than at Drybar. Don’t expect a cut or color — blowouts only (and that’s a good thing). With a playful menu of such cocktail-inspired names as the Mai Tai (effortless hair) and the Dirty Martini (tousled and textured), its specialization shows. You'll leave looking every bit as exquisite as you feel.
. Austin Shaker
A bartenders’ liquor store, the Austin Shaker is owned and operated by Dave and Kiki, both hailing from the bar industry. Patrons find curated spirits, craft beers and wines alongside hard-to-find bitters, amari and vermouth. Specialty bar tools for professional and not-so-professional bartenders line shelves beside vintage glassware at this neighborhood gem. Photo courtesy of Austin Shaker.
. Waterloo Records
Continually listed by Austin Chronicle readers as the best record store in town since its opening in 1982, Waterloo lets customers listen to any album before buying it and takes returns for any reason up to 10 days after purchase. Owned, operated and staffed by true music lovers, the store buys and trades gently used vinyls, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays and cassettes and hosts in-store performances by artists across all genres. Photo by Spencer Selvidge, courtesy of Waterloo Records.
With rugged appeal and storied tradition, Filson offers something that can be difficult to find — quality. Since 1897, it's been offering tough, comfortable outdoor clothing to hunters, anglers and mariners. In all that time, Filson's philosophy has never changed. Comfort, protection and durability will never go out of style. One trip to this store and you'll find yourself planning your next adventure.
. Blanton Museum of Art
"You Belong Here" is the tagline for the museum's reimagined permanent exhibits, and we couldn't agree more: You belong here. Housing a wide array of art that ranges from renaissance to modern, the Atrium’s Stacked Waters — a 3,100-sq.-ft. wall art instillation — wows the senses by playing with space, light and perception; it's worth the trip in and of itself.
. Swedish Hill
A deli, café and bakery all at once, Swedish Hill is inspired by those in London, New York and California. Fresh-squeezed juice and Coffee Manufactory coffee complement (among other goodies) bagel sandwiches, ricotta and fig toast and a Swedish breakfast: maple pork sausage, rotisserie potatoes, sunny-side-up eggs, house hot sauce and a Parker House roll.
This charming French-American café and grocery that’s inspired by Louisiana flavor profiles is a sweet little find for breakfast or brunch (or lunch or …). Guests rave about the authenticity of the beignets — crispy, sweet perfection — as well as the French onion soup and cured salmon toast. Its boutique grocery is mini but mighty, with European wines, syrups, comfits, chocolates and a nice selection of cheeses.
. Austin Beerworks
Austin Beerworks has two goals: to consistently brew exceptional craft beers and to build community in the town they love. Six core beers and a variety of limited-release seasonal brews are served c-c-cold at the tap room, and visitors can tour the brewery. Bring the kids — there’s a bermscape for them, big communal tables for the entire gang and the Can-tina (a food truck with good grub that pairs well with a cold can or two).
Photo courtesy of Andrew Yates.
. Austin Wine Merchant
Locally owned and operated since 1991, this purveyor of fine wines, spirits, beers, accessories and gifts prides itself on being “more than your average bottle shop.” An urban garden greets guests, and the knowledgeable staff is ready to help find just the right selections. Check out the weekly complimentary wine tastings, and bring an extra layer to don while perusing the options — the inside temperature stays around 65 degrees year-round to keep the wines at their best.
. Little Longhorn Saloon
Famous as a honky-tonk country music venue, this saloon showcases live music (and happy hour) six nights a week — think country, folk, rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll. It’s also the original home of the sort of bingo that involves chickens (yes, that’s the one). Sundays 4 - 8 PM, the chicken picks the winning numbers, but really, everyone’s a winner at Little Longhorn.
. The Cloak Room
The ominously dark Cloak Room is a no-frills historic drinking den infamous for its under-the-table political dealings in the late '80s. Since then, it’s become a favorite for its eclectic atmosphere and array of patrons, whether college students or politicians.
. Midnight Cowboy Modeling
Housed in a building with an interesting and colorful (to say the least) history, this establishment's classic cocktails aren’t done better anywhere else. Typically by reservation only, passers-by are only allowed into the bar if they know the Secret Password. Archer is great at keeping secrets — just not this one.
. Rainey Street
A short but super street to visit and kick back with a cold brew, cocktail or glass of vino is Rainey Street. This historic district is chock-full of bungalows-turned-bars with overflowing charm and patrons. Day or night, stop by for a bite to eat from one of the many area food trucks, listen to some live music, grab a hot, fresh mini donut at Little Lucy’s and wash it down with any of the 50+ Texas beers at Craft Pride.
Photo courtesy of Craft Pride.
. The Continental Club
Open since 1955, this rockin’ music hall is one of the longest-running venues in all of Austin. With such icons as Stevie Ray Vaughan having graced the stage, it's not hard to see why. The wide array of musicians coming through makes it a venue for any music lover, regardless of taste.
. Sunrise on Mount Bonnell and Mayfield Park
If you're looking for romance in Austin, look no further than Mount Bonnell. Take a moment and cruise out of the city lights to experience one of the most romantic spots in all of Texas. The view from the summit offers resplendent sunrises and serene sunsets worth sharing with that special someone in your life. Close by is the 23-acre Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve. Wander through the lush gardens, admire the historic, picturesque cottage, watch peacocks strut their stuff and take a walk along 21 acres of scenic hiking trails.
. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Wild Basin consists of 227 acres of Hill Country woodlands owned jointly by Travis County and St. Edwards University. With 2.5 miles of trails and the Wild Basin Creative Research Center, the preserve is home to the endangered Golden-cheeked warbler, as well as many native wildlife and plant species.
. Dance With Me
Salsa, tango, hustle, swing, waltz, rumba, foxtrot, kizomba — you name it, Dance With Me teaches it. Go with a group, a partner or by yourself and learn to dance or enhance your skills. The studio offers private dance lessons and group dance classes taught by dance instructors with multiple teaching certifications.
Photo courtesy of Dance With Me.
. Dripping Springs
Known as both the “Wedding Capital of Texas” and the “Gateway to the Hill Country,” Dripping Springs is 25 minutes west of Austin. Historic Mercer Street has old-time storefront architecture, quaint boutiques, the Barbershop (a “no-frills Beer and Wine bar” serving plenty of craft beers on tap) and the aptly named dripping springs on the west end. Tour the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead Museum. Then check out the myriad of wineries, breweries, distilleries and tasting rooms.
. Congress Avenue Bats
Experience an unforgettable evening on the Congress Avenue Bridge. From spring to early fall, witness more than 1.4 million Mexican free-tailed bats that call the Congress Bridge home. Watch from the bridge itself, or take an adventure straight from the water on a boat tour. It’s an encounter you will share through the ages.
. LBJ Presidential Library
So much more than the name gives credit for, this massive space serves as a reminder of a bygone era. It's worth a trip just to listen to the recording of Johnson talking with Jackie Kennedy after her husband was assassinated. If it doesn't make your cry, it'll probably give you chills.
. Jose Luis Salon
An acclaimed hair and skin care salon, Jose Luis Salon is an Austin favorite. Co-owner and master stylist Jose Buitron trains his staff in cutting and coloring, while co-owner Bill Pitts adds his expertise in skin care therapy. Along with a range of salon services, clients benefit from a Frequent Blowdryer program. The salon also features an in-house boutique that offers jewelry, accessories and gifts.
. Wanderlust Austin
With a culture of family and “we” is bigger than “I,” Wanderlust Yoga offers Vinyasa, Intermediate Vinyasa, Candlelight Vinyasa, and Vinyasa + Meditation, as well as Power Yoga, the high-intensity fusion YoStrong, Vin Yin, Yoga Technique, Yin + Restore Yoga and the challenging Kickass Therapeutic. Workshops and teacher training are also available.
Photo courtesy of Chris Lammert.
. Sprinkles Cupcakes
Sprinkles takes the ever-popular cupcake and pushes it to innovative, new heights. With an ever-rotating selection, be sure to check its website for the week’s offerings. All delicious, but we suggest Cuban coffee and triple cinnamon — sweet with the perfect balance of spice. When your late-night craving hits, swing by and make a withdraw from its famed cupcake ATM. Slide your credit card and make your cupcake selection, and out pops fresh, individually packed cupcakes; 24/7.
. Chocolaterie Tessa
You won’t find artificial flavors, colors or preservatives in the artisanal chocolate offerings at Chocolaterie Tessa — instead, you can indulge in fresh, handcrafted delights with top-notch chocolate and ingredients made with European chocolate-making techniques. Milk, white or dark chocolate in the shape (and size) of Texas, or Austin-inspired chocolate cowboy boots? Yes, please.
Photo courtesy of Claire McCormack Photography.
. Tiff's Treats
An ode to the American dream, Tiff's Treats started with two people, an apartment and an idea: Give people great cookies whenever they need them. You can taste its humble roots in every warm and chewy cookie. The best part? Its delivery service will not only ship cookies to your door, the cookies will be warm when they arrive. Go ahead and sell your oven; Tiff's has your baking covered.
. Jo’s Coffee Shop
Jo's has great food, local coffee and some of the best people-watching in Austin. All three locations are great, but there's something about the original on South Congress. While there, make sure to take a selfie in front of the iconic “I love you so much” mural.
. Escape Hour Austin
This 70-minute immersive escape room challenges friends, family members, co-workers and partygoers alike to work together in order to “escape the room.” Whether in Dead Man’s Cove, part of the Lab Rats team, trying to Escape the Manor or navigating through another experience, you’ll test your brain, collaborate to escape and wonder where the time went.
Golf meets your favorite local hangout in the nation’s premier golf entertainment complex. Kids and want-to-be professionals alike can have fun playing one of several addictive point-based golf games. If swinging a club isn’t your thing, stay strokes above par lounging in the heated/cooled “bays” that are ideal for enjoying the extensive food and beverage menu while the kids (big and small) work on their game.
The original Pinballz is chock-full of classic pinball machines and arcade games, modern video games, ticket and redemption/award games and a Zombie Crisis Escape Room Challenge. Grab a bite to eat at the Replay Café and go for the Family 4-pack (four $25 game play cards, plus one bonus $25 game play card) or the Eat & Play (four $10 game play cards, plus one large pizza and four soft drinks).
. Scout & Molly’s Boutique
Domain NORTHSIDE is now home to Scout & Molly’s — a charming, experiential boutique with a diverse range of brands and styles. Customer favorite brands include AG, Gentle Fawn, Sanctuary and Tolani, which suit the casual Austin lifestyle to a T. The owners and staff offer expertise, guidance and an honest opinion, ensuring that each customer experience is fun, memorable and refreshingly fashionable.
. RH Austin, The Gallery at the Domain
RH is a curator of design, and The Gallery at the Domain brings its vision to life on an epic scale. Commanding four levels and more than 60,000 square feet, this innovative retail space feels as much like a grand home as it does a furnishings destination. With spotlighted collections from RH Interiors and RH Modern, an interactive Design Atelier — offering guidance from professional interior designers — as well as a lush Rooftop Park & Conservatory with heritage olive trees, this is a store worth visiting for pure inspiration.
. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Founded with the ambitious goal of making the world a more comfortable (and stylish) place, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams have done just that. Focusing heavily on the comforts of travel, it's quite possible you've experienced their work and not known it. Their enviable style can spruce up any space; it's a fun walkthrough for inspiration and a must-visit for those looking to redecorate.
. Texas Capitol
The largest state capitol could only be found in Texas. A classic example of renaissance revival architecture, the building is as iconic as it is massive. Free tours of the 400-room megastructure and green space ideal for a picnic make this a family favorite.
. Austin Rock Gym
Austin Rock Gym is an adventurous way to burn some energy. Expect arm-shaking, heart-pounding fun that'll put a smile on anyone’s face. At the only rock-climbing gym in Austin, knowledgeable instructors will get you to the summit — exhilarating if you’re an advanced climber or a first-timer.
. Movies in the Park
Movies in the Park is celebrating its 25th year with a throwback: This summer, return to the long hair and baggy clothes of the '90s. "Aladdin," "A League of Their Own" and "Wayne's World" are a few of the features you can expect in this year's movie series. This family-friendly event put on by the Austin Parks Foundation takes place in a different park each week, so make sure and check its website for the full schedule.
. Tommy Bahama Home
Enjoy complimentary Tommy Bahama coffee while browsing through home décor inspired by island life. Offering custom furniture, upholstery and décor collections that are relaxed yet refined, Tommy Bahama promises to “bring the island home.” Photo courtesy of Tommy Bahama Home.
. Austin Detours
The locally owned family business is the largest tour company in Austin. For individuals, corporate groups of 500 and all numbers between, the tours are anything but average. Led by an eclectic group of guides who treat guests as friends, themed tours include The Real Austin, Austin Live Music Crawl, Salt Lick & Winery Shuttle and Murder Mystery on 6th Street — plus tours that focus on art, history, hill country, food and drink, Austin by Night, Food Truck Crawl and a myriad of private tours throughout the area.
Discovery is the name of the game at The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festivals. Each spring, the action takes place in downtown Austin. Highlighting what’s great and new in the interactive, film and music industries, the 10-day SXSW event has topped more than 70,000 registered attendees from across the world.
. Austin City Limits Music Festival
For two consecutive three-day weekends in October, Austin’s Zilker Park transforms into a musical mecca with eight stages and more than 125 performances. The ACL Eats Food Court offers bites, sips and sweets from some of Austin’s most-loved restaurants, and the Art Market is the place to pick up something cool to remember your weekend by.
Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman, courtesy of ACL Music Festival.
. Formula 1™ United States Grand Prix
Just southeast of downtown Austin, Circuit of the Americas™ is home to the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. The 3.41-mile counterclockwise racetrack has 20 turns, a 133-foot hill at Turn 1 and a 251-foot observation tower. The track also surrounds the Austin360 Amphitheater — the largest permanent outdoor amphitheater in Central Texas.
. Pedernales Falls State Park
This outdoor oasis is ideal for nature lovers looking to camp, hike, mountain bike, bird watch, ride horses, geocache, picnic or swim, tube, canoe or kayak in the Pedernales River. Just 38 miles northwest of Austin, the 5,212-acre park is home to a variety of Texas Hill Country wildlife.
Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife.
. Lucy in Disguise With Diamonds
With a 1984 opening on April Fool’s Day, this now-8,000-square-foot emporium overflows with adult and child costumes, masks, wigs, props, makeup, accessories, decorations, hats, shoes, jewelry, glitz and gaud. As one local writer quipped: “It’s Woodstock meets Las Vegas.”
. Flower Child
With an entire menu of made-from-scratch, farm-fresh options, healthy eating in Austin is a delicious adventure. Start with a soup or toast topped with tomato or crushed avocado. Then choose from bowls, grains, greens and wraps — add a protein if you'd like. Wash it down with an organic cold brew or kombucha (both are on tap). At Flower Child, you'll nourish your mind, body and soul.
. Fonda San Miguel
Since 1975, Fonda San Miguel has transformed into a colonial-era hacienda that serves an authentic interior Mexican cuisine. Surrounded by art and lush greenery, guests enjoy the famous enchiladas, camarones en crema de chipotle and cheviche las brisas — knowing that they need to save room for crepas de cajeta — crepes sauced with a rich goat milk caramel and toasted almonds and served with goat milk and cajeta ice cream.
. Central Library
The six-floor, 200,000-square foot Central Library earned its Platinum LEED Certification and a Time Magazine's World's Greatest Places nod in 2018. Along with 14 shared learning rooms,140 public-use PC and Mac computers, 150 self-check electronic devices and 50 large screens, the library has gallery space for temporary art exhibits, an event center and space rentals, the Cookbook Bar and Café, a gift shop, the Local Seed Library and reading porches that overlook Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake.
. Bullock Texas State History Museum
This museum features three floors of Texas History Galleries with artifacts that span more than 16,000 years, as well as an IMAX Theatre, special-effects theater, on-site parking, café and museum store. Just a few blocks north of the Texas State Capitol, the museum offers programs and events all year, including film screenings, lectures and discussions, drop-in preschool programs and large-scale community events.
Photo courtesy of the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
Nestled between Austin's Zilker Park and Barton Creek, the garden and outdoor museum features more than 200 sculptures, paintings and drawings of American sculptor Charles Umlauf. Every third Saturday of the month, a docent leads small public groups through the garden; tours are included in the price of admission, and the bronze sculptures are washed and waxed, ensuring a hands-on experience ideal for visually impaired and other kinesthetic learners.
. Zilker Botanical Garden
Part of downtown Austin’s Zilker Metropolitan Park, Zilker Botanical Garden’s 26 acres of varied topography allows for a variety of habitats with native, hybrid and exotic plants. Open to the public most days year-round, the Garden features (among others) Pioneer Village, Butterfly Trail and Garden, Daylily Beds, Children’s Garden and Prehistoric Garden.
Photo courtesy of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.
. Mexic-Arte Museum
Founded by three artists in 1984, the nonprofit Mexi-Arte Museum offers cultural and educational programs and exhibitions and presents art by both established and emerging artists from the United States, Mexico and Latin America. Its permanent collection includes The Serie Print Project Archive, the Ernesto F. de Soto Collection, Taller Grafica Popular Print Collection, ceremonial and decorative dance masks and rare books.
. Pennybacker (360) Bridge
Austin’s 360 Bridge (aka the Percy V. Pennybacker Jr. Bridge) was begun in 1979 and officially opened for traffic in December 1992. Crossing over Lake Austin, the award-winning, steel-arched, rust-finished bridge has no support columns — a benefit for boaters and water skiers. Hike to the top of the overlook to see the bridge with downtown Austin and scenic vistas as the backdrop.
. Long Center for Performing Arts
Both inside and out, the venues and performance spaces at Long Center for Performing Arts showcase the best of what Austin’s creative community has to offer. Including a stunning grand concert hall with advanced acoustics, a more-intimate black box studio theatre and a concert park with a killer view of downtown Austin, this landmark performance center entertains Austinites and visitors alike.
Photo courtesy of Long Center for Performing Arts.
Seventy-five miles southwest of Austin is Fredericksburg — a charming town with German roots and plenty for visitors to enjoy. Whether family outings that include historical walking tours, interactive exhibits and geocaching in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, romantic stops at picturesque wineries, art galleries and fine dining options, or artsy shopping excursions followed by German food explorations, Fredericksburg doesn’t disappoint.
. Magnolia Market & Silos Baking Co.
The brainchild of Joanna and Chip Gaines, Magnolia is a Texas day trip worth the easy drive from Archer Hotel Austin. Magnolia Market at the Silos is a home décor adventure influenced by NYC boutiques and inspired by Gaines’ Texas roots. Shoppers delight in the unique finds, on-site bakery, tasty food trucks, Seed Supply, raised garden and central lawn with plenty of yard games for family fun.
. Austin Food + Wine Festival
This three-day festival celebrates food, wine and spirits with culinary demos and competitions, beverage tastings, top chefs and book signings — plus fab live music and plenty of festival swag. Auditorium Shores becomes Austin’s food and drink mecca, with signature bites from top-rated restaurants and sample sips. Ages 21+ only.
Photo by Sydney Gawlik, AFW 2019.
. Blues on the Green
Once a month throughout each summer, the east end of Zilker Park is home to ACL Radio’s Blues on the Green. This free community event is family- and pet-friendly, with attendees sprawling out on blankets and lawn chairs for a relaxed, musical evening. A variety of restaurants, vendors and booths are on hand, so come hungry and enjoy the show.
Photo courtesy of Ariana Quiroz.
. The Peached Tortilla
With a menu inspired by “simple Southern comfort food with an Asian flair” and paired with yummy cocktails, the Peached Tortilla is open for lunch Friday and Saturday and for brunch on Sunday, as well as dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The lunch menu focuses on tacos, tostadas and bowls — Korean Steak & Eggs Bowl, Chicken Paid Thai Taco, Brisket Hash to get your mouth watering — along with something cold and creative to wash it down.
Photo courtesy of Inked Fingers.
. Mural Tour
See and take selfies in front of some of Austin’s most famous works of art, such as Greetings From Austin, You’re My Butter Half, I Love You So Much and the historic 6th Street Mural. The driver-guides are knowledgeable, friendly and full of recommendations for the best Austin food, drink, music and shopping destinations.
. Peter Pan Mini-Golf
This Austin landmark overlooks Lamar and Barton Springs and has been a laidback haven for family fun since 1948. The much-loved Peter Pan and giant T-Rex keep watch as players navigate the two mini-golf courses. Reserve a table, bring cash only, plus a cooler with drinks and food, then have a ball.
. Round Rock Express
Less than 20 minutes northeast of Archer Hotel Austin is Dell Diamond — home to the Round Rock Express. This Minor League Baseball team is a Triple-A Affiliate of the Houston Astros. Take a friend, a date or the family to Dell Diamond and root, root, root for the home team.
Photo courtesy of Round Rock Express.
. Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
With five zips across more than a mile of canyons and Lake Travis, this family-friendly adventure is one to remember. Sign up for the 3-hour Zipline Tour, which includes all necessary equipment, boat transportation, water and a light trail snack — plus access to private lake-front property where you can picnic, play games and relax in the provided hammocks.
Photo courtesy of Lake Travis Zipline Adventures.
. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Part of the University of Texas at Austin and the official Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas, the center uses native plants to restore and create sustainable, beautiful landscapes. Book a guided tour, take a free audio tour, hike to the top of the Observation Tower and grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink at the Wildflower Café.
Photo courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
. Hamilton Pool Preserve
March 1 - October 31, Hamilton Pool Preserve and its 50-foot waterfall welcome visitors to admire its unique pool, collapsed grotto and canyon. A rugged quarter-mile hike leads from the parking lot to the pool, where guests with reservations may swim (depending on conditions). Guided hikes on Saturday mornings are limited to the first 20 people, who may catch a glimpse of the federally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler.
. Orangetheory Fitness
The best one-hour workout in the country — Orangetheory's focus is on the heart. If you manage to stay in "the orange" long enough, your body is guaranteed to keep burning calories for up to 36 hours after the workout ends. That's not a bad return.
. Austin Rock Gym
This bouldering gym includes a 24-foot bouldering wall called The Big Pig and workshops for all climbing levels. Sign up for a belay training course, functional sport climbing or intermediate or professional training programs. The gym also partners with White Star Mountain Guides & Climbing School for outdoor climbing experiences.
. Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail and Boardwalk
Hugging the southwestern edge of Lady Bird Lake, this popular 10-mile hike-and-bike trail is a lush urban path that includes a 7,250-foot boardwalk featuring seven viewing areas. One highlight is “Belting It Out” — an installation of 36 cast bronze, western-style belts along the boardwalk’s railings. The boardwalk is open daily 5 AM - midnight.
Photo courtesy of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.
. Allens Boots
Since 1977, the flagship Allens Boots — the one with the big red boot above its entrance — has been outfitting Texans, musicians, celebrities and anyone else hankering for authentic Western wear. Along with boots in just about every style and color (fringe, filigree, inlay, burnished, embroidered, stonewashed — you get the idea), they have hats and quite a few belts to complete the look.
. Uncommon Objects
A self-described "emporium of transcendent junk,” Uncommon Objects means it in the best possible way. It's perhaps one of the most-fun stores to walk though in all of Austin. If you have a discerning eye, you may spot your new favorite treasure.
Looking for a fabulous custom hat, along with an only-in-Austin experience? You’re in luck at Maufrais on South Congress. Right next door to (and having the same owners as) Allens Boots, the specialty store offers a variety of hat shapes, colors and styles. Personalize yours with hand-sourced accessories or host a unique event for up to 30 people in the back room — we’ll tip our hats to that.
. Austin Zoo
The Austin Zoo isn't your typical gallery of exotic creatures. Rescue and rehabilitation is top of mind at this animal-saving sanctuary. All animals are either being nursed back to health or rescued from terrible situations. Of special note: The zoo features plaques that tell the animal's often-harrowing stories. While you won't find the diversity common at many larger zoos, many visitors find the connection to the animals ultimately more rewarding.