Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
700 San Jacinto at 8th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

48 Hours in Austin Downtown Itinerary

Vibrant and trendy, Austin’s mix of entertainment offerings and outdoor activities is hard to match. Sometimes marked as a town for hipsters, there are many intricate layers to Texas’ state capital. Though the city is big, it has a small-town feel, full of kind locals who love to socialize. Along with its communal spirit, travelers will find plenty of modern culture to explore, with live music at the centerfold of many of Austin’s big events throughout the year. The region is also ideal for outdoor exploration, with more than 300 parks and 30 miles of urban trails in the city limits alone.

Enjoy Omni Austin Hotel Downtown as the perfect home base for this two-day itinerary that will explore some of the finest dining and activities the city has to offer.

Book Your Activities

 

Day One

Morning

On your first morning in town, opt for breakfast at a local diner to truly experience the city’s southern hospitality. If you’re looking for large portions of comfort foods, 24 Diner is the spot for you. Available 24 hours a day, the breakfast menu includes chicken with Belgian waffles, biscuits and gravy, frittatas, breakfast hash and French toast.

Only a mile from the hotel, Counter Café is another breakfast favorite, offering fresh and organic local foods like seasonal fruit with yogurt and granola, crab cake Benedict, porridge, breakfast tacos, poached eggs and more. Don’t skip the mimosas, which are served both by the glass and by the carafe.

Near to both of these breakfast spots is Waterloo Records . Once you’ve finished eating, stop by this iconic record store, which has been in operation since the 1980s. Here, you’ll find music from artists that are part of the local music scene as well as world-renowned bands and singers. The shop also hosts in-store performances as well.

Before you leave this area, pay a visit to The HOPE Outdoor Gallery (also known as Graffiti Park at Castle Hill). The old ruins of a three-story building have been transformed by graffiti artists and traveling taggers from near and far, creating a colorful experience full of photo opportunities. Local artists are sometimes on-site selling their works. Don’t forget to check out the incredible views of the castle the park as well as the downtown area from the top level.
 

Afternoon

When lunchtime rolls around, head across the river. You simply cannot miss the chance to try one of Austin’s most quintessential lunch spots: The Picnic. This outdoor food truck park features space for local businesses to set up their established food trucks as well as covered pavilions under which to enjoy the food. Try Cannone Cucina Italiana, Coat & Thai, Acai Hut, Dock & Roll Diner, Hey Cupcake and more.

Another option is a casual lunch at nearby Terry Black’s Barbecue. Using recipes that have been in the Black family for generations, the owner’s sons now run the business, offering smoked meats from brisket to turkey and homemade dishes like baked potato salad, macaroni and cheese and more.

Auditorium Shores, Butler Park and Zilker Park are all nearby so rent a bike and explore the waterfront area. These spacious areas, which often serve as sites for outdoor concerts and festivals, also offer sights like a Stevie Ray Vaughn memorial statue, a nine-hole golf course, a fountain, a swimming pool, botanical gardens, an outdoor theater, a sculpture garden, a science and nature center and a miniature train as well as hiking and bike trails.

While in Zilker Park, take advantage of the nearby Lady Bird Lake and head out on the water. Rent kayaks, canoes or stand-up paddleboards to see the city from a different perspective, and get your daily fitness in at the same time.

 

Evening

For dinner, there are a variety of options in and around the hotel. Those that prefer to stay on-property will find that the southwestern cuisine at Ancho’s hits the spot. Located in a stunning glass atrium, the environment is just as wonderful as the dishes, which include things like fish tacos, marinated shrimp, salmon salad, lime chile chicken, nachos, tostados and more.

If you’d rather venture out into the city, both Swift’s Attic and Second Bar and Kitchen have charming settings and high-quality food. Swift’s Attic, a retro-chic restaurant set in a historic food processing plant, offers a farm-to-table approach to meat dishes, vegetables and seafood as well as snacks and sweets. The New American cuisine at Second Bar and Kitchen includes items like artisan pizzas, seared trout, grilled flank steak and fresh salads.

Located directly below Swift’s Attic, in the basement of the historic building, the Elephant Room is the perfect after-dinner spot for live music. Filling the air with jazz sounds, the acclaimed space offers a full bar with 20 different draft beers and wine by the glass. A few blocks away, at Speakeasy, expect to find another nightclub with a similar vibe. The 1920s-style bar often has live musicians playing on the first floor, which guests can watch from the second level as they take advantage of Speakeasy’s two vintage bowling lanes.

 

Day Two

Morning

While in Austin, make sure to enjoy a Mexican breakfast. About a mile east of the hotel, Cisco’s Restaurant Bakery offers four signature breakfast specials, including huevos rancheros, migas (fried tortilla chips scrambled with eggs, cheese and vegetables), chorizo and the Wolf Omelet. The eatery also offers 10 different types of breakfast tacos. A little further away, family-run Juan in a Million also offers a selection of breakfast tacos as well as a rib steak breakfast, chorizo con huevo, a con queso breakfast, nachos, guacamole salad and more.

As you head back toward the hotel, travel an extra half of a mile north to the Texas State Capitol. Free, guided tours are available every day of the week, showcasing the building’s architecture as well as information on Texas state history and the local legislature.

Spend the rest of the morning relaxing at the hotel’s heated rooftop pool. With sweeping views of the city, a luxurious atmosphere and warm water that guests can enjoy year-round, it’s a wonderful place to unwind before heading out for the rest of the day. The pool bar opens at noon so grab a drink before heading back to your room to change.

 

Afternoon

Take a trip across the river again for lunch. Keep the relaxation going by dining on the oak-shaded patio at Perla’s, a seafood and oyster bar with an airy dining room and exhibition kitchen.

For a more casual lunch, located on the same block as Perla’s lies Hopdoddy. The all-natural burger bar prides itself in offering fresh yet innovative foods. From the El Diablo burger, made with habanero peppers and chipotle aioli sauce, to the La Bandita, crafted with a black bean-corn patty and cilantro pesto, the unique options are great for those looking to try something out of the ordinary.

Stop by the SoCo District for a unique shopping experience. Filled with eclectic shops perfect for picking up gifts or a one-of-a-kind souvenir to take home for yourself, you’ll find an array of high quality, local-made items like jewelry, clothing, home décor, boots, antiques and more. A few of the must-visit shops include Uncommon Objects, Lucy in Disguise and Parts and Labour.

 

Evening

On your last night in town, spend some time at renovated spots that make for unique experiences. For dinner, one option is Launderette, a New American café housed in an old Laundromat. Dishes like mushroom toast, brick chicken, fried oysters, sticky Brussels sprouts and charred octopus complement the idiosyncratic setting.

Another option is the rustic Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile, whose “supper” menu can be enjoyed in the lush gardens surrounding it. The owner incorporates ingredients from his own ranch, crafting things like deviled eggs, chicken fried steak, vegetarian meatloaf, pork tenderloin, a root vegetable salad and slow-cooked pot pie.

After you eat, grab some cocktails at other renovated spots located nearby. Rainey Street is home to a historic district that combines aperitifs and architecture, with renovated bungalows containing hip bars. While there are more than a dozen to choose from, Bungalow and Lucille Patio Lounge both offer spacious outdoor areas for open-air hangouts featuring drink specials and games to play.

An alternative plan is waiting for you just outside of Omni Austin Hotel Downtown. A two-minute walk from your base, the Firehouse Lounge—a converted 1880s fire station that now serves as a craft cocktail bar—is a popular hangout for visitors and locals alike. With live music ranging from rock ’n’ roll to blues and drinks like the Princess Slaya and the Ginconceivable!, the Firehouse Lounge is all about the vibe.

Before heading back for the night, grab dessert at Voodoo Doughnut. Although the quirky 24-hour doughnut shop is a Portland, Oregon staple, the company also owns a cash-only store in downtown Austin. Enjoy a creatively decorated treat made with unique ingredients like bacon, cereal, hibiscus-flavored frosting or mango jelly.

If you have more time...

The University of Texas in Austin, which is the flagship institution for the system, is home to a variety of museums that are worth checking out—from the Texas Memorial Museum to the Blanton Museum of Art to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

For some outdoor adventures outside of the city, McKinney Falls State Park, which is technically inside the city limits, is the ideal space for hiking, biking, rock climbing, fishing and swimming as well as wildlife and waterfall viewing.

The Omni Austin Hotel Downtown concierge team contributed to this article.

Features & Specials

Current Features