The cafe that morning was perfect in it simplicity; breakfast tacos, iced tea and plenty of egg dishes. Large bright windows and colourful walls held an abundance of seating to accommodate Austin's mix of locals and tourists. We sat out on the patio under the palm trees that sprawled the deck, creating just enough shade to eat comfortably underneath, as we watched the horses tied up next door twitch in and out of slumber under the hot morning sun.
At our leisure, we made use of the complimentary bikes at the hotel to get a real feel of our new surroundings. With a little bit of guidance and not much of a schedule, we headed down unfamiliar roads to unknown places, stopping for coffee and photo opportunities as we pleased. As luxurious as the hotel offerings were, it was the authentic experiences found along the streets, the music venues, the dive bars that really gave you that feeling of being somewhere special, somewhere where culture and community meet at a crossroads that perfectly exemplify Austin's authenticity while supporting its tourism. Its reputation for southern charm, world-class barbecue and urban living continue to draw in crowds from far and wide. As ACL music festival happened to fall on the same week as our visit, (explaining the trouble I had booking hotels) it was clear that Austin's long lived reputation as the live music capital of the world was still firmly in place, with the lodgings and bars full to the brim and festival goers flocking to South Congress Street for last minute ensembles including the perfect set of cowboy boots -which can easily set you back $200 here.
We ducked in and out of colourful cafes, vintage hot spots, local bars and about every taco truck we could find along the way. We ticked off the must - do's, including a day lounging at Barton Springs natural pools and an evening of flicks and food at the famous Alamo Drafthouse. Between overeating, people watching and a few naps here and there, the days slipped by all too fast and we found ourselves on a plane back to NYC wishing we were heading to ACL festival along with the crowds for another weekend of boozy, southern fun.