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Today I am introducing you to my personal favorite area of Austin, 2nd Street District. Nope, not South Congress Avenue, Rainey Street or 6th Street take this title in my books. It’s all about 2nd Street District.

Up until I moved (a couple blocks away) this month, I had spent the past 13 months living in 2nd Street District. I got to know my “hood” well during this time, so I thought I would create a little guide to what I consider one of the best areas in Austin. If the lighted tree lined street doesn’t lure you in, the amazing selection of places to eat, stay, shop and play will!


WHERE TO STAY


W Austin

I feel like I am at the W every week, even though I have only stayed there once. As a local, W Austin is where I go for a good time whether that means craft cocktails in the Living Room before going out or a pool party at WET Deck. Let’s just say, the vibe is definitely fun.

Last month I had the chance to actually stay there, and I was equally impressed seeing the property from that side of things. My room looked out over Lady Bird Lake (I could even see my old apartment’s balcony!) which made for the perfect sunset location. As a Platinum SPG Member, I received a free drink ticket which I utilized at happy hour (I can never turn down one of their cocktails). But besides the friendly service and great food & beverage, my favorite aspect of W Austin is the location. I was able to walk to meet friends for dinner. I was able to walk 5 steps to a show at ACL Live, or a couple blocks to see even more live music. I was able to walk to spin class in the morning. I was able to walk the lake for a sunset walk. The convenience as well as luxury I experienced while staying at the W has me loving it even more!

Included Amenities When You Book with Passport To Friday:

  • One $100 AWAY spa services credit per room, per stay
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests in Trace Restaurant
  • Complimentary standard in-room internet access
  • Upgrade on arrival, early check-in and late check-out which are all subject to availability

Contact me at chelsea@passporttofriday.com to book your next stay at The W!


WHERE TO EAT


 
Second Bar + Kitchen

This popular restaurant on the corner of 2nd Street and Congress not only has a bright interior and great people watching, but the food is also fresh and offers something for everyone. Their happy hour is enticing with cocktails starting at only $5 and light bites to start your evening off right.

When to go:

  • Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 4-6pm
  • Brunch: Saturday & Sunday starting at 11am

What to order: Bennett Cocktail, Sidewinder’s Fang Cocktail, Blistered Shishito Peppers, Smoked + Glazed BBQ Wings, Black + Bleu Pizza

Taverna

Craving Italian? Then Taverna is your place! While they are known mostly for their brunch ($2 mimosas & amazing truffle dishes anyone?), I recently discovered their happy hour which quickly became a new fave. Their pizzas are a meal in itself, and the prices are beyond reasonable.

When to go:

  • Happy Hour: Sunday – Friday 4-7pm
  • Brunch: Saturday 10am-3pm and Sunday 9am-4pm

What to order: $2 Mimosas & Bellinis (Brunch), Beet Pizza (HH), Truffle Wings (HH)

TRACE at W Austin

TRACE‘s weekend brunch is one of my not-so-hidden secrets… I mean there’s $1 mimosas and $5 mimosa carafes! I love sitting out on the patio and people watching. Happy hour is a great deal here too offering a selection of cocktails and bites.

When to go:

  • Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 5-7pm
  • Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 10:30am-3pm

What to order: $1 Mimosas, Outlaw Heart Cocktail, Lobster Hushpuppies, Trace Migas, “El Gordo”

La Condesa

La Condesa is one of my go-to happy hour spots because all of their signature cocktails are half off! La Condesa is modern Mexican with a fun, trendy vibe and amazing cocktails and food. Show up early for happy hour to snag one of the few outdoor tables in the bar area (happy hour is only available in the bar), or come for brunch for some daytime patio dining.

When to go:

  • Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 5-7pm
  • Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 11am-3pm

What to order: Hermann Park Swizzle Cocktail, Alma Blanca Cocktail, Guacamole Sampler, Tostada de Atun (HH), Huevos Condesa (Brunch)

Lambert’s

Lambert’s is one of my go-to’s with out of town guests as it offers upscale BBQ in a fun setting. Plus, their happy hour is daily and an incredible deal with half off all bar food items! Like its neighbor across the street La Condesa, be sure to get there early to snag a spot at either the upstairs or downstairs bar as they fill up fast.

When to go:

  • Happy Hour: Daily 5-7pm
  • Brunch: Sunday 11am-3pm

What to order: Tiger’s Tail Cocktail, Bou-Rye-Levardier Cocktail, Achiote Chickpeas & Grilled Flatbread, Gulf Shrimp & Crab Campechana, Oak Grilled Natural Hangar Steak

ATX Cocina

The new kid on the block, ATX Cocina isn’t technically on 2nd Street but I thought it was worth noting. This modern Mexican restaurant is located on San Antonio Street right where 2nd Street ends) and has become a new hot spot. The best part? They offer daily happy hour! Let’s just say it was dangerous living right above it…

When to go:

  • Happy Hour: Daily 4:30-6:30pm

What to order: Piqueno Lorenzo Cocktail, Penelope Cruz Cocktail, Guacamole, Chili Roasted Chicken, Verduras


WHERE TO SHOP


Photo via Duffy Stone

Esperos SOHO

Esperos offers stylish, durable bags and accessories for both men and women with a big focus on quality materials. I am obsessed with everything in the store from the bags to the books and more! I recently got their Windsor Travel Duffel, but have also been eyeing the Camera Bag.

Con’Olio

If you’re looking for a gift either for a loved one or for yourself, Con’Olio offers many great options to make that task seamless. Their gift sets of oils and balsamic vinegars not only look beautiful but are delicious as well. It’s also a great place to grab some wine if you are staying nearby!

Photo via Rebecca L. Bennett, Brave Bird Photography via Austin.com

Hacienda Austin

If I could live in a store, it quite possibly would be Hacienda. The well-curated shop features local artists as well as global finds. My favorite items are the Frankie Jean hats, fun cards, and gawking over all of the glassware and home decor.


WHERE TO PLAY


Photo via Do512

ACL Live

The legendary ACL Live is a great place to catch a show, and a must on any Austin bucket list. While it is a smaller venue compared to others in Austin, the lineup is always incredible and offers a more intimate experience (seeing Eric Church here tops one of my best Austin experiences because of this).

WET Deck at W Austin

On a nice, hot day in Austin, WET Deck is a place to see and be seen. Not a W hotel guest, no problem! WET is open to the public Sunday-Saturday starting at 10am.

Photo via ClassPass

RIDE

Okay so to some people a spin class may not be “play”, but after one class at RIDE you may be rethinking that. This is my favorite spin studio, and the dance party on the bike is so fun you will forget it is even a workout. My favorite instructors are Alana if you are looking to feel inspired & ride to some great music and Tara if you want a hip-hop dance party. First class is free for new riders!

 

 

Safe travels y’all!

Chelsea Rose Martin