They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, people say a lot of things, but they aren’t always true. I am not sure where that statement started, maybe some cowboys thought that made them sound tough and that they were living large. I’d say that statement is accurate in the sense of the vastness of the land and the highways. Bloody hell, it took forever to drive through Texas…that’s about it though, everything else seemed pretty normal to me. But, I regress, let’s start from the beginning.
We drove out of New Orleans, Louisiana around 7am. It only took about twenty minutes to pack the car, but even in that short time we were fried. That southern sticky heat is no joke, even in the morning. It took around eight hours to drive to Austin, Texas. We stopped in Houston to grab a bite with some family that we hadn’t seen in a while. It was so nice to catch up and meet some newer additions to the family that we hadn’t met before.
The moment we crossed the state line of Texas we got pummeled by rain. I am talking such heavy rain that you can barely see fifty feet in front of you. It was definitely the most intense rain we hit throughout the whole trip.
Once we arrived in Austin we got settled into our place and chilled for the night. At this point our long travels were beginning to catch up with us. We picked up a pie at a local joint called Homeslice. My god, it was some of the best pizza I have ever had, and if you are ever in Austin you need to go. We ate dinner, ended up watching the Hangover on Netflix, and called it a night. The movie was fitting for how we felt after leaving New Orleans…
The first thing we noticed arriving in Austin was the amount of neon signs that cover all of South Congress. In general, we were also surprised by the retro inspired architecture.
South Congress is also the main strip that runs all the way down ending at the state capital building.
Our first full day in Austin took place on July 4th. We decided a day like that would be best spent day drinking. To get our day started, we went to brunch at South Congress Café, drank some mimosas and had a delicious Tex-Mex brunch. We then went over to Rainey Street. a spot that was recommended to us and it didn’t disappoint.
Austin had loads of food trucks, definitely not a bad thing.
Okay so Austin we need to talk.. this was my first real taste of seeing scooters everywhere. While I love the convenience of scooters I can see why people dislike them being in their neighborhood. These things truly did litter the streets and even blocked ramps, definitely not ADA compliant. Not cool. It's easy to blame a company for this issue but I think people just generally suck and don’t place these thoughtfully.
After a solid start to a our day drinking adventure on Rainey Street, we went to a place called Handlebar. It was outside of Rainey Street closer to the main bar crawl on 6th, so we explored the city a bit before arriving.
We loved this bar a lot and realized outside of Handlebar, a lot of what 6th Street offered simply wasn’t our vibe. We decided to head back over to Rainey Street to a place we stopped at earlier, Half Step. They had some live music for the fourth of July and they even offered free hot dogs and grilled corn. I don’t know if this was culture shock or not, but I’ve never been to a bar that offered free food.
Once we were all filled up on hot dogs we made our way to Lady Bird Lake to grab a spot for the fireworks. Here was our view for the night.
Not going to lie, these fireworks were totally underwhelming (going back to my first statement about everything being bigger in Texas). Fun, nonetheless, so maybe I was expecting too much…
After the fireworks, we went back to our Airbnb in SoCo to get some z’s. Lines are a thing in Austin, so the next morning we got up early to get in line for some Texas barbecue. First recommendation was consistently Franklin's. Now, let's get things straight, we were not down to wake up at 6 am spend 5-6 hours of our time in line, so we went to the second best recommendation, La Barbecue which has a 2 hour wait. We were in line right in front of a local couple who said that La Barbecue is hands down their favorite spot and most people say they are basically the same recipe.
Speaking of lines, when we arrived in the morning there was not a single person lined up yet. We were in disbelief. Everyone talked about how busy these places get but we ended up being the first in line. It's also inside of an awesome little market/coffee shop, so you can order some coffee while waiting in line.
The lack of people didn't last long though...
Oh and it keeps going...okay, glad we got there early that day.
We waited for about 45 minutes before they opened up shop. It was so worth the wait. My god this was the best barbecue I've ever had. Their seasoning has a lot of pepper in it so if that's your thing you need try this place. The brisket was the most tender, mouth watering piece of brisket I've experienced.
After eating what was probably the most food I've eaten all year in one sitting we went back to our Airbnb to reset.
Once we felt refreshed we made plans to go kayaking on the river in downtown Austin. What a lovely day it was, my legs got fried. Make sure to wear sun screen folks!
After a thorough bit of exercise we went back to South Congress street to grab a bite and enjoy a stroll among the neon lights...
Our long day came to a close, we got some sleep and prepared to head to Waco, Texas the next day.
Waco was just an hour or so away from Austin. We stopped at Magnolia Market to see what the HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines had going on there. This was something Logan was particularly excited about, as she's a fan. Lots to buy, eat, and do. Not sure if I was prepared for all of the people though, what a mad house!
Once we walked the land and were thoroughly sun baked we headed back to chill out We caught the new Spider-Man movie that night at the historic Hippodrome Theater.
It was a great way to cap a wonderful experience in Texas. The next morning we were back on the road making our way to Santa Fe, New Mexico.