From dozens of hot new restaurants, ample opportunities to experience the great outdoors, and one of the best live music scenes in the country, Austin, Texas is a booming girls weekend destination!
Perhaps you are thinking of visiting or are wondering the best things to do during a girls weekend in Austin?
This first-timer’s guide to Austin will bring you to all of the popular girls weekend getaway attractions and show you exactly how to see the best of Austin in just 3 days!
In this article, we include all of the best things to see and do in Austin as well as tips on where to stay and how to get around.
Austin offers amazing food, cool activities, great local shopping, and an overall super hip vibe. Whether you’re into honky-tonks, art, food trucks, or live music, there is literally something for everyone to enjoy in Austin.
Look no further! Here’s how to plan the ultimate girls weekend in Austin!
Girls Weekend Getaways: The Best Things To Do in Austin
“When you come to Austin, you should pack three things: sunscreen, a koozie, and some stretchy pants. Oh, and don’t forget your foodie A-game!”Austin Insider Guide
This quote is so true and speaks to Austin’s amazing weather, along with its eclectic and fun cocktail and culinary scene.
A quirky combination of over 1,000 food trucks mixed among sophisticated fine dining venues come together in this epicenter of cool.
Likewise, loud bars with cheap drinks vie for your attention among swanky bars and crafted cocktails.
All of this, along with historic sites, beautiful parks, unique shopping, and world-class hotels, makes Austin absolutely ideal if you’re looking to travel with your girlfriends!
Though it would be impossible to mention absolutely everything that there is to see and do in Austin, let’s explore some of the best and most affordable things to do in Austin during your girls’ weekend getaway!
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Thank you @austineatsfoodtours for hosting us on the amazing East Austin Happy Hour Tour! Wow was this an awesome experience! We visited 5 amazing stops, tasted 5 fabulous dishes, and drank 5 delicious cocktails! I highly recommend this experience! #austineatsfoodtours #austineats #saltandtime #whislers #suerte #ahsingdenaustin #gemelli #sponsored #travelwithaplan #austintexas #girlsweekendgetaway #bestthingstodoinaustin
1. Austin Eats Food Tour
One of the best things to do during a girls weekend in Austin is to make reservations and attend an Austin Eats food tour featuring the city’s best restaurants, food trucks, bars, and breweries.
Austin Eats gives you an authentic taste into the best that Austin’s diverse culinary scene has to offer.
Because there are simply not enough mealtimes in a day to enjoy all of Austin’s unique cuisine, an Austin Eats food tour will help you enjoy up to 5 places during a one 3-hour narrated tour.
Their motto, “Come Hungry”, holds true to its word as portion sizes and the pacing is extremely generous.
Choose between the Luxe Brunch Tour, BBQ, Brunch, and Brewery Tour, Best of Austin Food Truck Tour, and our favorite, the East Austin Happy Hour walking tour.
Regardless of which tour you choose, you can expect delicious food, good conversation, and a fun and knowledgeable guide.
A huge thank-you to Austin Eats Food Tours for hosting my friends and me during our girls weekend in Austin! As always, all opinions are my own.
2. Listen to Live Music
Whether it be blues, indie, rock, or reggae, Austin’s live music can be heard on every corner of the city, day or night.
First-timers may be surprised to find that live music will not only greet you in the airport but can also be found at grocery stores, coffee shops, concert halls, and bars.
We were pleased to find that upon finishing an evening meal, or simply walking down the street, live music was taking place without having had to spend time seeking it out.
These smaller gigs, along with Austin’s other trendy live music venues, provides music for the masses making Austin the ultimate music lover’s scene.
Here is a list of some of the most popular live music venues to consider visiting during your girls weekend in Austin:
- Continental Club – 1315 South Congress Avenue (music ranges from bluegrass to funk)
- Mohawk – 912 Red River Street (hard rock)
- ACL Live at the Moody Theather – 310 Willie Nelson Boulevard (music ranges from contemporary to classic)
- The White Horse – 500 Comal Street (country, bluegrass, honky-tonk)
- Stubb’s Bar-B-Q – 801 Red River Street (a combination of big acts and local artists)
3. Go to the Spa
Though you’re quite likely to be busy bar-hopping or two-stepping, be sure to save room for some spa-time during your girls’ weekend in Austin. After all, everything’s bigger in Texas, including the several award-winning day spas.
Though there are several great options, we chose top-rated Milk + Honey as the place to be pampered.
Hosting an array of services in the heart of downtown Austin, sessions at Milk + Honey include a la carte options for remedies, salon services, and even lash extensions.
Other great spa choices include Spa by JW Austin, Lake Austin Spa Resort, and Away Spa at the W Hotel, among others.
4. Spend Time Outdoors
If you’re looking to spend time outdoors during your girls’ weekend in Austin, you are not short on options.
With 10 miles of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail surrounding Lady Bird Lake and a plethora of water activities on the lake itself, downtown Austin’s Lady Bird Lake is a perfect destination for a girls weekend afternoon.
Barton Springs is another Austin classic.
A beautiful spring-fed pool in the middle of Zilker Park, Barton Springs pool maintains an average 68-to-70 degree temperature year-round.
Spend a couple of hours here enjoying a swim, a picnic, or a stroll around the waterway.
We enjoyed daily walks around the city, while many others choose to rent scooters and bikes to experience the outdoors.
Read here for a list of the top 10 outdoor attractions in Austin!
5. Take a Guided Tour of Austin TX
Another great suggestion for your girls’ weekend is to see Austin on a guided tour.
Learn about the various entertainment districts, as well as historic, outdoor, and cultural sites as a local expert shows you around.
We had the opportunity to participate in the Austin Detours, “The Real Austin” tour. Stops include the Austin Visitor Center, Texas State Capitol Building, Castle Hill Graffiti Park, and discussion on the Barton Spring Pool and more.
Other guided tours include Austin Duck Adventures, Double Decker Austin, Gliding Revolution Segway Tours, and Access ATX.
A huge thank-you to Austin Detours for hosting my friends and me during our girls’ weekend in Austin! As always, all opinions are my own.
6. Photograph the Austin Murals
No girls weekend in Austin would be complete without a selfie or group photo besides Austin’s most iconic murals.
The colorful and funky come to life in Austin’s sporadic wall murals, each of which has its own unique story.
Here is a list of some of the must-see murals during your girls weekend in Austin:
- I love you so much – 1300 South Congress Avenue (side of Jo’s Coffee)
- Creator State of Mind – 90 Rainey Street (side of Container Bar)
- Greetings from Austin – 1720 South 1st Street
- Willie for President! – 1315 South Congress Avenue
- Smile, even if you don’t want to – Next to Willie mural
- Love from Austin – 1912 South Congress Avenue (side of Prima Dora)
- You’re my butter half – 2000 East Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard
7. Indulge in Fine Dining
Austin might be better known for its wide array of barbecue and food trucks, but the city also has a number of fine dining restaurants worth paying a visit to.
After all, a girls’ weekend would not be complete without at least one evening of indulgence!
With several options for exceptional service, extraordinary food, and inventive beverage pairings, here are our top choices for fine dining in Austin:
- Truluck’s Seafood, Steak & Crabhouse – 400 Colorado Street
- Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille – 114 W. 7th Street
- Uchi Austin (sushi) – 801 S. Lamar
- The Driskill Grill – 604 Brazos
8. Shop til’ you Drop in Austin TX
Austin’s shopping scene is about as expansive and diverse as its culinary round-up.
From the quirky gift shops on 2nd Street, vintage boutiques on South Congress, to Austin original’s at Atown, shopaholics will be pleased to know that they can find just about anything here.
A short Uber ride from downtown, our choice for retail therapy is Austin’s premier shopping center, The Domain.
The Domain is an indoor/outdoor shopping mecca that is home to major retailers, hip boutiques, and fashionable cafes in an outdoor walking environment.
From big names like Loius Vuitton and David Yurman to more traditional brands like Banana Republic and Express, The Domain is the perfect mix of casual and chic.
9. Party on 6th Street
The nightlife in Austin is off the charts!
There are literally so many endless possibilities on what to do, where to go, and how to enjoy a fantastic girls night out!
Party in Austin’s Warehouse District, on Rainey Street, or in the Red River Cultural District. From dive bars to speakeasies, to outdoor patios and swanky clubs, there is someplace for everyone to let loose and relax.
Our girls’ weekend in Austin found us partying on Austin’s Sixth Street, the most iconic street in the city.
Sixth Street is divided into three sections, each with its own unique flair. Between visiting West Sixth, East Sixth, and what locals refer to as Dirty Sixth, the variety of bars and establishments here make for a perfect night out on the town.
10. Eat a VooDoo Doughnut
By now, I think it’s safe to establish that a girls’ weekend in Austin is not the time to be counting calories. Hence, our next suggestion as one of the best things to do in Austin is to eat a VooDoo doughnut!
You’ll hear the name and see several passerbys carrying around beautiful pink boxes full of none other than the delicious doughnuts themselves.
It is not until you actually step foot into the funky bakery and sink your teeth into a VooDoo doughnut, however, that you’ll believe every good and unimaginable speculation to be true.
Located at 212 East 6th Street VooDoo Doughnut is open 24/7 to satisfy around-the-clock cravings!
11. Check out the Congress Avenue Bridge Bats, or not!
You may be gritting your teeth at the sound of this, but the hype surrounding the South Congress “bat bridge” is a real thing!
it or not but hundreds of visitors flock nightly to watch the 1.5 million resident Mexican free-tailed bats fly from under the Congress Avenue Bridge. The bats are present during the months of March – October and the best time to witness them is around sunset, anywhere from 7:30 to 9:45 PM.
Many people choose to rent a kayak, stand up paddleboard, canoe, or water bike to float around under the bridge at sunset in order to watch the bats.
Full disclosure: Though we did not view the bats active and in-flight at night, we did take a walk to check out the Congress Avenue Bridge during the daytime. Though the bats were not visible, their presence was made known by their strong odor and millions of tiny squeaks.
Girls Weekend in Austin: A Complete 3 Day Itinerary
Here are my suggestions on how to best plan your time for an ultimate girls weekend in Austin if you have 3 days.
Girls Weekend in Austin: Day 1
- Start off the morning with breakfast and coffee at Jo’s Coffee on South Congress – photograph the “I love you so much” mural found there.
- Visit the Congress Avenue Bridge (listen for the bats) and walk along the hip South Congress (SoCo) Avenue to view and shop the funky stores and see the SoCo murals.
- Walk or rent a bike to ride around Lady Bird Lake.
- Get a birds-eye-view of Lady Bird Lake and the downtown skyline while having a relaxing lunch at Geraldine’s (located on Rainey Street in The Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt). Photograph the nearby Creator State of Mind mural.
- Take an Uber to the delightful outdoor mega shopping center, The Domain. Stop for cocktails and appetizers in between browsing the swanky shops.
- Head back to your hotel and get dolled up for a girls-night-out dinner at Truluck’s Seafood, Steak, & Crabhouse. After dining, get cozy at their upscale bar while listening to live music.
Girls Weekend in Austin: Day 2
- Take a 9:30 AM Austin Detour “The Real Austin” tour during which you’ll visit the Texas State Capitol Building, Graffiti Park at Castle Hill, and take selfies at the “Greetings from Austin” mural.
- Enjoy lunch on an outdoor patio while sipping on an iconic Austin cocktail. Our choice: The Sicilian Margarita, Tuscan Kale Salad and homemade pizza at North Italia on 2nd Street.
- Take an afternoon walk and spend time lounging poolside at your hotel.
- Attend your 4:00 PM reservation for the Austin Eats East Austin Happy Hour Tour. Eat and drink to your heart’s content while learning about Austin’s eclectic and fun East Side.
- On your return to downtown, walk along Dirty 6th Street to get a taste of the bar scene there. Ride the mechanical bull at Buck Wild (if that’s your sort of thing).
- Relax, drink, listen to live music and settle in at your establishment of choice. Our choice: Perfect Strangers and Edge Rooftop + Bar at JW Marriott, complete with live music of course.
Girls Weekend in Austin: Day 3
- Start your day off with some sugar while enjoying coffee and donuts at locally famous Voodoo Doughnut (a must-do!).
- Hit up the spa at Austin’s top-rated Milk + Honey Spa, Retreat, & Shop. Our Choice: The 90-minute Lux Facial.
- Once again enjoy the Austin weather. Hang-out by your hotel outdoor pool while enjoying happy hour appetizers and cocktails.
- Return to your room to freshen up for your last girls weekend dinner at none-other than Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille.
- After indulging in delicious food and fine wine, head to their newly renovated bar for perfectly crafted cocktails and live music.
How to Get Around Austin, TX
Austin is a 1.5-hour drive from San Antonio and a 3-hour drive from Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.
If arriving by air, downtown Austin is a short 7.5 miles from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Upon arrival to the airport, schedule an Uber, Lyft, or hotel shuttle to get to your accommodations.
My advice is to skip renting a car overall and to rely on walking and transportation companies to maneuver throughout the city. For instance, taxis, Uber, and Lyft are highly prevalent and can typically be found within 2 – 3 minutes of any given address.
When places and attractions are within walking distance, however, simply download the Google Maps app and use the “walking route” feature to help you get around.
Additional planning tip: LIME electric scooters and bikes are parked and available for use on every square inch of the downtown sidewalks.
Rent them via the LIME app, use them to get where you need to go and leave them behind wherever. There is no designated starting or drop-off point.
Where to Stay in Austin, TX
No matter how much time you have in Austin, I highly recommend that you stay in the heart of downtown. You’ll definitely want to stay near the action during your girl’s weekend in Austin in order to fully experience the city.
Here are some of the best-located hotels in Downtown Austin that offer great value and have excellent customer reviews:
- JW Marriott Austin (rooftop bar and pool area, central location)
- Hampton Inn and Suites (central location, budget-friendly)
- South Congress Hotel (boutique hotel for style-seekers)
- The Driskill (Historic, Instagram-worthy, haunted)
- W Hotel (upscale, located next to Austin City Limits venue)
*Before leaving this girls weekend in Austin TX, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*