As I was being twirled around a dive bar by a perfect stranger during our free two-step lesson, I heard Austin being described as ‘a blueberry is a tomato soup.’ At first I didn’t really get the reference, but of course he was talking about the political situation. Full of smart, young kids, who have migrated for work or study, Austin is a hub of creative, musically-talented, twenty-somethings who want to have a good time.

The land of the food truck, Austin brings all my favourite things under one roof, quite literally. Most, if not all, bars serve killer cocktails, have awesome bands playing and where there’s music, there’s always people dancing. My favourite thing about it though, is that most bars have a food truck attached to it, whether it’s outside, next door, or in the garden out back, with incredible menus.

It wasn’t only the food that I loved about this city. I was also blown away by the friendliness and generosity of the people I met. The couple I rented a room from on Airbnb from took me out, introduced me to their friends and showed me around town. Another couple who I met through a mutual friend drove me around to all the best places in town, took me for lunch and introduced me to my first ever game of chicken shit bingo (more details below!) But there was one guy in particular who I met for only a minute, who’s name I didn’t even catch, but who has forever changed my view on what it means to be kind….

One morning in Austin, I was walking to get my coffee and I saw this guy running past me with a t-shirt that said ‘Powered by Pied Piper’ on it and the Pied Piper logo. (For those of you who don’t watch the HBO series Silicon Valley, Pied Piper is the name of a tech startup company in the show). When I saw the t-shirt my mouth dropped, because I have a (somewhat) healthy obsession with the show and loved that he has a shirt with their logo on it. I got so excited I even left a voice note about it to my boyfriend in London: ‘I just saw a guy with a Pied Piper t-shirt on, how COOL is THAT?!’ About 30 minutes later, I was walking back home after picking up my coffee and I saw the same guy again, but this time he was walking, so I stopped him and said, I absolutely love your t-shirt, I’m a huge fan of the show, where did you get it from?

He told me he was a cab driver and had done promotion for HBO so he has a whole box of them at home. He then said that I could have the one he’s wearing, and before I could say anything, he took the t-shirt off and handed it to me. I watched him walk away down the street topless. I was so giddy with excitement but also shocked by what had just happened, as never in my life had I ever experienced anything like it. And it is something that I will never, ever forget.
So to the man who literally gave me the shirt off his back, I will forever look at my Pied Piper t-shirt and remember what it means to be kind. And to everyone else that I met along the way, thank you for making Austin an unforgettable experience for me. You are all part of the reason why I fell in love with this incredible city.
Austin, you stole my heart. And got me a free T.



Museums: Bullock Texas State History Museum is the best way to understand the story and history of Texas; The Contemporary AustinMexic-Arte Museum a fine arts museum, who’s mission is to promote traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latino art and culture; also check out the Texas State Capitol – they run free tours every 15-20 minutes and it’s a really interesting way to find out about how Texas is run.

Places: Make sure you walk down South Congress (or SoCo as the kids call it). It’s probably the coolest street in Austin, with incredible restaurants and awesome boutique stores and vintage shops. My favourite stores are: Gypsy Wagon, Leighelena, Mi Casa and Uncommon Objects. Make sure you hit Rainey Street, which is a small strip full or restaurants, bars and clubs, many of which are in the bungalow-style buildings and incredibly popular at the weekends. Go for a walk or run around Lady Bird Lake – it’s really beautiful and has running and hiking trails around it. If you need to cool off and you’ve brought your swimsuit, head to Barton Springs, an outdoor pool filled with water from nearby natural springs, or Bull Creek, which is slightly more private. Go see the bats on Congress Bridge at dusk. Make sure you visit East Austin – like all ‘easts’ it’s where the cool kids are. Just walk down East 6th street and you’ll hit fantastic food spots and breweries. Be weary of West 6th Street as that’s where a lot of the student’s go and apparently it’s messy and mayhem (and not the good kind…think puking teens!) If you’re in Austin on a Friday and you’re feeling brave, make sure you head to The White Horse for a free two-step lesson at 7pm. Make sure you go to C Boys on Sunday and play a round of chicken shit bingo (where literally a bird shits in a cage and if you’re the lucky shit to have your number shat on, then you wine a whole bunch of cash)

Work outs: Soul Cycle: my favourite instructors were Isiah & Rachel R

Top tip: download the Ride Austin app before you go. When Uber took their business out of Austin, Austin created Ride Austin, a brilliant non-for-profit, that rounds up your fare to the nearest dollar, and donates it to a local charity of your choice (based on the charities they have listed on the app). So far they have raised over $200,000. Pretty neat.


I’ve no doubt left off a number of killer places to eat, because there are just SO MANY. My favourite thing about Austin (a.k.a. the land of the food truck) is that the trucks are usually separate but part of a bar, or other drinking establishment. So you head to the bar, get pissed on beer and bourbon and when the munchies kick in, you have some of the best food right in front of you. AND you get to keep drinking. What could be better?

Whisler’s Super hot Thai and great cocktails. Make sure you go to the mescal bar in the establishment upstairs

East Side King Japanese street food with a touch of Austin soul. Order the brussel sprouts

La Barbecue There’s always a queue here but it’s worth the wait, because it’s arguably the best BBQ in Austin at the moment. Their brisket was out of this world

Forthright Cafe Popular for brunch on weekends. Mostly eggs, which I can’t eat

Vinaigrette Perfect for large salad stuff

Gourdourgh Stands for gourmet donuts, duh!

Guero’s Taco Bar Head over there on a Sunday, order tacos and get free chips and dip, sit outside and listen to the awesome live band

ABGB Awesome pizza joint with good beers, live music and dancin’

Perla Awesome outside space with bubbles and seafood

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

Franklin Barbecue Arguably the most well know BBQ joint in Austin. You have to be prepared to get in line from 7am though, and it doesn’t open until 11am. No joke, I met someone who arrived at Franklin’s at 7:45am and was eating by 12:45pm. Ridiculous. 

Micklethwait Craft Meats An alternative to Franklin’s

Bangers For sausages and live music

Torchy’s Tacos Go twice: once for breakfast and once for late night nosh

Odd Duck Upscale eatery doling out locally sourced New American chow & drinks in a contemporary setting

Dai Due Butcher shop and restaurant all about the meat

Olamaie Southern food reinvented

Contigo Ranch to table menu

Jeffreys of Austin Posh fine-dining icon featuring upscale New American cuisine in a tony setting plus an active bar

Josephine House Stylish yet casual spin-off of neighbouring Jeffrey’s offering seasonal New American dining

Justine’s Brasserie For very late dining

Barley Swine Looks ridiculously delicious

The Quickie Pickie A quirky, all-day cafe & grocery store supplying from-scratch American eats & craft beer

Conundrums Recently named Austin’s best BBQ breakfast joint

Hopdaddy Best burger in town, so I’m told!



Cuvee Coffee Cold brew coffee in a can

The White Horse for a free two-step lesson at 7pm on Fridays

The Blackheart Killer cocktails and live music. Their “nu old fashioned” with cherry and tabasco blew my mind. I never have an old fashioned now without a hit of tabasco!

Yellow Jacket Social Club Picnic tables and beaded skinny guys. Their sides go super well with beer – east austin

Half Step Bar Delicious cocktail bar, great for people watching

Wright Bros. Brew and Brew Bar & cafe pairing coffee & craft brews with sandwiches & light bites in stylish industrial digs – east austin

Houndstooth Great coffee

Vintage Heart For coffee

Jo’s Coffee They have some of the best live music on Sundays

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

Iron Cactus Go for maragritas on the roof top bar – downtown

Parkside Best happy hour and grub in downtown Austin – downtown

Deep Eddy Cabaret Dive bar with local drinks – far out

Patika Awesome breakfast menu, also serving coffee and wine  MUST GO GOOD BREAKY – far away

Native Hostel New hostel with an awesome bar for a late night beverage



The Continental Club The best Austin shows. If there’s one show you go to, make sure it’s the Peterson Brothers at the Continental Club on Monday nights. Get there early!

Jo’s Coffee They have some of the best live music on Sundays

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

Broken Spoke To learn the two-step Broken spoke to watch some dancing 

Emos Proper nightclub

Antone’s Home of the blues



East Austin, like most “Easts” of cities, is where the cool kids live. And with the cool kids, comes some of the best places to eat, so I’d highly recommend getting an Airbnb in East Austin.

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

Hotel Saint Cecilia The Chateau Marmont of Austin

Hotel San Jose Saint Cecilia’s younger sister

Native Hostel If you don’t stay there, head to the bar for a late night drink

South Congress Hotel South Congress or SoCo is one of the coolest strips of restaurants, bars and music venues in Austin


I visited Austin in May 2017

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