This city is home to so many fantastic restaurants and places to explore, especially in the heart of downtown Austin! The next time you’re out-of-town friends are visiting or you want to just enjoy all that the city has to offer, we’ve got you covered with a day full of both the touristy spots and hidden gems.
This guide features some of our favorite spots to eat for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner in the city as well as some awesome activities that are musts for every Austinite or visitor. Pick where you want to eat and have a day full of great food and lots of fun!
Start off your day with a quaint, Victorian-style café for traditional Texas comfort foods and delicious espresso. 1886 Cafe & Bakery has everything you could need to fuel your body for a day full of fun in downtown Austin, so stop in for a tasty baked good or a full brunch!
For a classic Southern breakfast or brunch, try out Stella San Jac! This downtown hotspot embodies the music, flavors, and culture that define Austin, so you can get a taste of the city before exploring all there is to see and do.
Fixe Southern House is the perfect spot for either breakfast or lunch on your day in downtown! This upscale Southern eatery features grits, biscuits, and creative seafood and steak options that bring to life familiar tastes imagined in progressive ways. If you’re hitting the town on Sunday, stop in for brunch between 11AM to 2PM.
For a lunch on the healthier side, visit Koriente. This spot offers delicious Asian-inspired dishes that are healthy, affordable, and quick with vegan and gluten-free options. The space is homey and easygoing, making it a relaxing, warm spot for a break from all the fun.
There is nothing quite like a pizza or a burger to satisfy your stomach on a busy day in downtown. 40 North has both, and we highly recommend this casual neighborhood joint for either lunch or dinner! The restaurant specializes in 40’s classic Neapolitan pies and other casual eats to pair with an Austin beer or a lesser-known wine.
At the end of your day in downtown Austin, we know you’ll be ready for a fantastic meal and some drinks. One option we recommend is Wu Chow, a restaurant focused on authentic, farm-fresh, modern Chinese food and weekend dim sum. Complete your meal with a specialty cocktail, wine, beer, or hot tea!
Another drink and dinner spot is Red Ash Italia, an Italian restaurant featuring fresh handmade pasta, pristine seafood, locally sourced prime meats, and an abundance of seasonal fresh vegetables. If you’re looking for a more upscale eatery with fine wines from Italy, Spain, France, Argentine, Chile, California, Oregon, and Washington, this is a must to finish off your day!
If you’re looking for a one of a kind dining experience for dinner and drinks, check out Swift’s Attic. This whimsical, eclectic spot offers modern American plates that showcase a melting pot of flavor profiles and influences. Plus, the bar features 14 draft beers, an entire catalog of bottled beers, numerous by-the-glass wines, and an innovative craft cocktail program.
To finish off the night, stop into Upstairs Circus, a unique DIY workshop-meets-bar concept that allows people to gather together to create while enjoying cocktails, beer, and wine. Upstairs Circus gives patrons the time, supplies, tutorials, and assistance to create leatherworking, woodworking, jewelry making, art, and design projects that they can take home and enjoy at the end of the day.
In between the dining and drinks, we have some recommendations of our favorite activities in downtown Austin for you to explore and enjoy!
– Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail: Walk, run, or bike around Lady Bird Lake on this gorgeous 10-mile trail with a view of the skyline and Austin’s most recognized and popular recreational area!
– Paddle Board or Kayak on Lady Bird Lake: Instead of exercising around the Lake, you can enjoy the water by renting a paddle board or kayak for $15-$30 an hour.
– See the bats fly out from South Congress Bridge: As one of the most visited local Austin attractions each year, watching the world-renowned Mexico free-tailed bats from the South Congress Bridge is an absolute must for a day in downtown!
– Bullock Texas State History Museum: For a look at what makes Texas, Texas, join over 9 million visitors from across the world in visiting the Bullock museum for incredible historical exhibits and archives.
More to Explore Around the City
For more stuff to do around Austin, check out the Stuff to Do in Austin City Guide page and let us know what you want to see next! Make sure to enter your info above to subscribe for more Austin content.