Archer's Favorite Things to Do In Austin and The Domain
. Josephine House
A cozy, upscale bungalow serving up the best breakfast burger in Austin? You bet. The focus on local, seasonal ingredients means that it's not available year-round, but when it is — it's worth the reservation.
. La Barbecue
A challenger to the juggernaut that is Aaron Franklin and his barbecue — there still may be a line, but there are several great neighborhood bars where you can take turns grabbing a drink. Pulled pork and the 1.5-pound beef ribs are the stars of this show; bring a napkin.
. Blue Dahlia Bistro
This quaint bistro is ideal for the culinary adventurer and your everyday vegetarian/vegan. Sandwiches are served open-faced on slate boards and use locally sourced organic ingredients. Sure to please every palate.
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.
. By George
A high-end boutique featuring curated finds for both men and women. You'll be shopping holding a shirt by a burgeoning local designer, only to fall in love with a vintage timepiece minutes later.
Unexpected and eclectic is the name of the game here. A go-to for a thoughtful gift for those who have everything, Prize is a great shop for that objet d’art to finally tie that room together.
Living in Austin, if you have not been here, you are doing it wrong. Staff picks help you find new authors and sort through the classics. And self-published authors can bring their books in-house via a consignment program.
. 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.
. Raven & Lily
Supporting fair trade wages and alleviating poverty among women are the selfless goals this global artisan jewelry maker was founded on. Offering international flair isn't only a design decision in its unique earrings, rings and bags; it employs women from Guatemala, Ethiopia and India among others. Step in for a chic find with a sentimental story.
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.
. Joie Boutique
Understatedly chic, Joie pulls its inspiration from Southern California's lifestyle and its casual sophistication. Appealing to both modern and timeless tastes, Joie is beautifully fashionable, endlessly wearable and addictively shoppable. Joie didn’t become a cult favorite by accident; prepare to join.
. Governor's Mansion
The official residence of Texas governors and their families, this local landmark was targeted by an arsonist in 2008 and no longer offers interior tours to the public — but it's definitely still worth a drive-by.
. The Driskill Hotel
It gets hot in Austin. That's why the Driskill was built with an open rotunda and four-story domed skylight, but it isn’t purely aesthetic. The shape and size support airflow. Go for the view, stay for the storied bar serving not-to-be missed Bloody Marys.
. Austin City Hall
Designed to reflect Austin’s culture, the unique architecture introduces a nouveau look for a government building. With mixes of Texas limestone and copper, the landmark aspires for an iconic status similar to the Capitol in D.C. Swing by and decide for yourself.
. Bremond Block
A little piece of England far from home: The Victorian-era homes and a bevy of widow's walks — lighthouse-esque platforms originally designed for women to look out for the return of their seafaring husbands, make this a neighborhood unlike any in the United States.
. Hope Outdoor Gallery
If you think there’s nothing good about graffiti, then you need to visit Hope Outdoor Gallery. Using the remains of an abandoned construction project, famed street artist Shepard Fairey kicked things off with several large pieces, followed by muralists and street artists who have painted every inch of the three-story lot. The beauty is in the evolution: New art is being layered over the old in an ever-changing, ever-evolving art instillation. Add your mark for a fee.
. 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.
. Juan in a Million
Named after the enthusiastic and eccentric owner known for meeting his customers at the door with a hearty handshake or a hug, this restaurant serves a wide variety of breakfast staples. Locals opt for the Don Juan breakfast taco.
. The Omelettry
Recently relocated, this "eggcellent" and classic diner is focused on one thing. You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, and this old-school Austin eatery knows what it's doing.
. Apanas Coffee Bar
Morning, noon or night, sustainably sourced espresso and artisan coffee drinks nestle up beside local wine and craft beer to make the ideal break from a hard day's shopping at Domain NORTHSIDE.
. The Oasis
Its motto from the early days, "Create Without Reservation," still applies. The Oasis is quaintly Austin — queso, live music and outdoor eating. A venue in itself, the nearly 2,500-seat restaurant offers views unavailable anywhere else in Texas.
. Salt Traders Coastal Cooking
You can almost smell the sea breeze as you eat your way through ceviche, oysters and fresh fish. The friendly atmosphere and location make it great for a family dinner or catching up with friends.
. Mia's Tapas Bar
Whether you choose beets and gorgonzola, pork belly and salsa verde, or spicy seafood capellini, experience all the flavors of Italy with none of the guilt of the traditionally large portions.
. Antonelli's Cheese Shop
Remember that amazing charcuterie board that you had at the restaurant last night? Chances are that they bought their cheese from Antonelli’s. Texas, as well as international varietals, is represented by everyone’s favorite food here.
. Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
Known for delicious-smelling bath bombs and bubble bars, this cosmetics company is keeping it real with handmade, 100% vegetarian products in naked packaging and with a mission to buy ethically and fight animal testing. It only makes sense that a company specializing in head-to-toe beauty would do the same for the planet.
This undeniably luxurious French-American restaurant is a happy-hour hot spot. Enjoy well-crafted discounted cocktails 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. — and while you’re there, try the truffled eggs; you won't regret it.
This Austin favorite mixes good-old Southern hospitality with farm-to-table ingredients. Try the biscuits — they aren’t always on the menu, so be sure to ask!
. Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
Weekend brunch at this three-story downtown restaurant includes riffs on eggs Benedict, using coffee-braised ham and fried pimento cheese to elevate this brunch basic. If hollandaise isn’t your thing, you can get a morning burger topped with a fried egg, or try shrimp and grits so good that you'll know you’re in the South. The eclectic menu ensures that you’ve got something to satisfy every craving.
. 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.
. Craft Pride
A favorite for beer lovers and locals alike. With more than 50 beers on tap and even more in bottles, the super-friendly staff makes sure that everyone has a drink in hand.
. 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.
An ideal backdrop for lively conversation, this two-story bar offers craft-forward fare and an inventive, seasonal cocktail menu. Its three categories of drinks? Upbeat, Downbeat and Offbeat — ensuring that everyone, whether a cocktail connoisseur or the pickiest palate, has something to enjoy.
. 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.
Indulge your inner foodie with authentic Thai cuisine and modern culinary fusion at this ultramodern bistro. If you aren't familiar with Thai food, we recommend the Pad Thai — pure deliciousness.
. Cipollina Bistro
Sit back with a bottle of wine and let the world pass you by. This intimate cafe offers some of the best pizzas and hot sandwiches in the city, all in an approachable atmosphere.
. Elephant Room
A soulful riff on the classic piano bar, this underground jazz club plays music seven days a week. Old-fashioned ambiance and the music of a forgotten era allow you to slip away from your daily obligations and lose yourself, at least until 2 am.
. 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.
. White Horse
This popular music venue is known for its incredible tacos and even better live country music. This honky-tonk has been featured on Condé Nast Traveler as one of Austin’s best music venues; come for the great music and stay for the dancing.
. The Mohawk
Named for the Native American culture of the Northeast (not the haircut), this bar and live-music venue is quaintly Austin. Driven by a tribe of Austenites who crave eclectic, local music, The Mohawk brings it to you in spades.
. Broken Spoke
Part restaurant and part music hall, the Broken Spoke is all Texas. Known as the last great honky-tonk, it features supper, live music and cold beer. Bring your boots and get ready for a two-stepping good time.
. Barton Springs
A three-acre pool entirely fed by natural underground springs, this 70-degree watering hole is ideal for year-round swimming. Once you're done, enjoy the plentiful greenspace and educational Splash! Exhibit.
. Zilker Park
Take in an amazing view of the Austin skyline, or enjoy walking the trails and gardens or swimming in the natural springs of Zilker Park. This 350-acre park is ideal for soaking up the local sun and is adored by locals and visitors alike.
. Sunrise on Mount Bonnell
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.
. Weathered Coalition
The goal is to look good, and this online shop turned brick-and-mortar retailer strives to help you do just that. With on-trend clothes and timeless home décor, this store should be on every 21st century man's radar.
. Kelly Wynne
Austin entrepreneurship and Texas attitude helped Kelly launch her line of fashionable handbags. Artisanally crafted and exquisitely made, these bags are every bit as playful, timeless and feminine as the Texas girl who designs them.
. JM Drygoods
A posh boutique bringing the colors, fabrics and attitude of Oaxaca to Austin. It's hard to not fall in love with the lively greens and blues that embroider many of the blouses throughout the store.
Dedicated to producing premium U.S.-made footwear, HELM has a boot for every occasion. Whether for your wedding day or a night on the town, these artistically created boots will last for years.
. 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.
. 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.
Fitness and fun are steps from our front door. SoulCycle is indoor cycling reinvented: Dim lights, epic spaces and rocking music combine to create an environment where you can clear your head and get a body-sculpting workout.
. CorePower Yoga
Located in Domain NORTHSIDE, this is yoga with a twist. Focusing on traditional yoga poses and philosophy, and jazzed up with cardio, free-weights and ab exercises, you'll leave more peaceful, but also toned and sweaty.
. Hill of Life Trail
The Hill of Life Trail has another name to those in the know: The Hill of Death. At one point, this infamous trail rises nearly 300 feet vertically in just over a third of a mile. Not to fear — many of the other trails offer a more-moderate experience.
. 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.
. 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.
. Bass Concert Hall
Attracting the world’s finest performers, the Bass Concert Hall ranks among the elite performance halls in the country. With massive facilities and famous productions, this is the theatre for enthusiasts.
. Zach Theatre
The longest-running theatre in the state of Texas, it's anything but old-fashioned. With ever-changing shows, community outreach and classes, it's worth your time to peruse the schedule of this local gem.
. Paramount Theatre
The home of SXSW, the Paramount hosts more than 200,000 visitors a year. Visit this cultural hub of Austin for screenings or curated films, live music and, of course, theatre productions.
. 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.
. Voodoo Doughnut
Serving wacky, creative and over-the-top doughnuts, this eclectic shop adds to the charm of Sixth Street. It serves more-traditional doughnuts, but we always recommend springing for the extraordinary.
. Cow Tipping Creamery
From a food truck to two separate brick-and-mortar locations, Cow Tipping Creamery is quickly redefining soft-serve. With ever-changing menu items, it focuses on perfect soft-serve with gourmet toppings and mixes.
. Amy’s Ice Cream
An Austin institution, Amy's has been scooping up happiness since 1984. Made famous for its Mexican Vanilla flavor, there's no better way to cool off on a hot Texas day than with Amy's.
This ultraluxe, chic boutique specializes in urban, bohemian women's apparel — a must visit for anyone wanting to channel an authentically Austin vibe.
Spartan offers carefully edited home accent and décor pieces. The objects you’ll find are beautiful but functional, and all at a reasonable price.
. Outdoor Voices
Outdoor Voices brings the attention and care of high fashion to active wear. The quality and fit is perfect for athletileisure, grueling workouts or just binge-watching Netflix.
. 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.
. The Thinkery
Traveling with children? The Thinkery provides a fun, educational environment for younger kids to experience and explore. With 10 galleries that include 3-D printers and soldering irons, who knows? Maybe you'll just learn something, too.
Headlining as a gourmet candy boutique, think candy store for grown-ups. Rosé gummy roses are the treat you didn’t know you needed. Offering a massive variety of gummies, chocolates and cordials, not all the treats are booze-laden — only the best ones.
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.
. 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.
. 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.
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.
. Kick Pleat
Austin has a reputation as a casual town, this Downtown adjacent shop assures that any woman will be equipped for tonight, tomorrow, and that big event next week.
. 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.
. 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.
. 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.