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48 Hours in Austin

Austin in two days: Eats, shop, play

Archer Hotel Austin’s front desk team knows a thing or two about how to spend 48 hours in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World. They’ve helped countless Archer guests experience Texas’ capital city authentically, historically and distinctively — and with timeliness in mind. Whether for food, fashion or festivities, this list provides local insight into some of the most memorable ways to spend 48 hours in Austin.

Anchor your visit with a luxe stay at Archer Hotel Austin, in the Domain NORTHSIDE shopping, dining and doing mecca; then venture out to see why more than 2 million people call Austin home.

Day one

Fill 'er up

A 30-minute guided tour of Austin’s capitol is free of charge and features monuments, historical buildings and a lovely landscape. Or take a self-guided tour and explore the grounds, with informational signage along the way. The capitol, in downtown Austin, is the largest capitol building in the United States.
Monday - Friday 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturday - Sunday 12:30 - 3:30 PM
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
AKB — Archer Hotel Austin

Day one

Shopping + Eats

Shop the Farmers' Market 

If you’re in Austin on a Saturday, stop by the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) Farmers Market, in Republic Square at 422 Guadalupe Street. The mother of all Austin farmers markets is open 9 AM -1 PM, rain or shine. Peruse dozens of farmers’ offerings and award-winning food artisans’ creations, as well as other locally made goods, while enjoying the live music.

Take a lunch break 

Have lunch in one of the many locally owned, farm-to-table restaurants on South Congress or in the downtown area, just north. Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill, a few blocks north of the river, gets consistently stellar reviews as an excellent brunch and lunch stop — think Southern comfort food, but with a bit of flair. The Blackened Catfish platter, Tender Belly sandwich and side of Green Chile Cheddar Grits get honorable mention.

Keep It Weird on South Congress Avenue

If you are looking for oddities in Austin, then look no further than South Congress Avenue — aka SoCo. This neighborhood is southwest of Lady Bird Lake and home to locally owned and one-of-a-kind boutiques, restaurants, galleries and music venues. Kitschy and eclectic is what this area is all about. Start at the north end at Heritage Boot for hand-made western boots with a distinctively retro-vintage style. Make your way down Congress south to C-Boys Heart and Soul for live music and a stop in its Japanese-American upstairs bar. Then head back up the street for more spectacular, unique shopping opportunities.

Dine deliciosly

Round out your first day with dinner at another locally owned restaurant you didn’t get the chance to go to for lunch. Try Vespaio for rustic Italian on South Congress, Swift’s Attic for New American on Congress just north of the river or Parkside, a gastropub, for small plates and a raw bar on 6th Street.

If you prefer to freshen up at the hotel before dinner, Rock Rose is a destination street with such locally owned restaurants as Mia Italian Tapas & Bar and Tarka Indian Cuisine. Then stop in at the Rose Room for dancing on the weekends. Or enjoy our heated saltwater splash pool and a cocktail at the pool bar — a relaxing way to end your first day in Austin.

Photo courtesy of the SFC Farmers' Market

Day two

Restore your energy

Rejuvenated and ready to complete your 48 hours in Austin? Have breakfast at Velvet Taco here in The Domain or at one of the Torchy’s Tacos to understand why Austinites love their tacos! Velvet Taco serves brunch all day; one popular selection is  the #20 — roast pork and egg frittata with charred tomato-poblano salsa, queso blanco, chili powder and cilantro with a flour tortilla. At Torchy’s, try a Migas — scrambled eggs, crisp corn tortilla strips, green chilies, fresh avocado, pico de gallo and freshly grated cheddar Jack cheese with tomatillo sauce on your choice of tortilla.
Photo courtesy of Velvet Taco

Day two

Take a tour

AO Tours offers an award-winning sightseeing tour that showcases many parts of this great city. Riding in the comfort of a Mercedes tour van, you’ll see and learn about the area’s history, up-and-coming and always-hot places to shop and eat, live music venues, local hangouts, cool arts opportunities. outdoor events. The tour takes your through the city, as well as the Hill Country’s lakes and vistas — all in a 90-minute excursion.
Photo courtesy of AO Tours Austin

Day two

Soak up some history and culture

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum has an interactive collection of exhibits and artifacts, educational resources and programs, as well as the state’s largest IMAX theatre. The Texas Artist Series explores the arts throughout Texas history, and Texas Focus Films are “filmed by, for and about” Texans and delves into the Texas narrative through relevant storytelling. The Blanton Museum of Art has nearly 18,000 works in its collection, and the LBJ Presidential Library offers core exhibits about November 22, 1963, the Vietnam Conflict, a Social Justice Gallery, the Presidential Limousine, the Oval Office, the White House Years and Humor and the Presidency; both institutions are on the University of Texas campus.

LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto

Day two

Barbecue up

Have lunch at one of the many local barbecue restaurants, and get ready to use more than one wet wipe. Local favorites are La Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats — or barbecue from its fabulous food truck — and Freedmen’s, with its beer garden, whiskey lounge and smokehouse in a century-old building.

Photo courtesy of Freedmen's Bar

Day two

Splish and splash

If you’re visiting in the warmer months, take a dip in the 68-degree, spring-fed Barton Springs Pool. It’s in the 351-acre Zilker Metropolitan Park just southwest of downtown, with sculpture gardens, Bonsai gardens and a place for kids to play with the Zilker Zephyr train that goes around the park. It’s also the gateway to our vast greenbelt, which is great for rock-climbing and all sorts of other outdoor activities.
Photo courtesy of the City of Austin

Day two

Kick back

You’ve made it this far in your on-the-go 48 hours in Austin. Come back to Domain NORTHSIDE and relax with a massage at one of the many spas in the area. Walkable from Archer is Viva Day Spa, which offers a Celebration Spa Package: a 60-minute Swedish massage, a warm stone massage on the back, shoulders and neck, a custom-designed facial and a deluxe pedicure, served with wine or hot tea and chocolates. Spa Réviel provides a variety of spa treatments, including hydrotherapy, vichy therapy and acupuncture.
Photo courtesy of Viva Day Spa

Day two

Stroll to dinner

Archer’s immediate area, Domain NORTHSIDE with the Rock Rose district, has fabulous locally owned establishments. You don’t even have to think about transportation; just walk. The varied dining options include Culinary Dropout, Paul Martin’s American Grill, The Dogwood, Valencia’s Tex-Mex Garage, Jack & Ginger’s, Flower Child, Thai Kun and Salvation Pizza.

Raise a glass
End your second night of 48 hours in Austin with a toast to the great time you’ve had here. At Yard House, try the Build Your Own 4-Pack or a Half-Yard of its exclusive craft beer. In the mood for a sports bar? Head over to The Park, with its 40+ high-def TVs, handcrafted cocktails and artisan beers. Lavaca Street Bar is open seven days a week and showcases a myriad of drafts and spirits, as well as games, screens and two patios. 77° Rooftop's outdoor bar serves exotic rum drinks and “Palette Pleasers” — sharable bites to curb the late-night munchies. And executive chef Kendal Duque’s inspired, vibrant menu at AKB Austin pair well with the approachable wines, eclectic beers and finely crafted cocktails — and it’s just an elevator ride away from your comfy room at Archer.

Photo courtesy of Toulouse Café and Bar

After 48 whirlwind hours spent in this unique, unforgettable town, you’ll no doubt slumber contentedly and wake refreshed, ready for whatever your next 48 hours brings. Don’t forget to snag a souvenir before you leave. And if you need more inspiration — particularly for a weekend special with your love — these Austin romantic spots are just the ticket.

We wish you safe travels and look forward to your next 48 hours in Austin.

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