Where to Eat & Drink in Austin

I first visited Austin six years ago when I lived there for a few months while doing a summer internship. Before moving there, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After only a few days in the city though, I started falling hard for Austin. So hard, that it’s become one of my three favourite places in the world.

Locals love Austin’s laid-back vibes, start-up culture, live music and unique spirit- #KeepAustinWeird. How can you not love a place where there’s a public celebration every year for Eeyore’s birthday?

IMG_6854

Not only is Austin an incredible place to visit (post coming soon on the best things to see and do!), but the food and drink scene is unreal.

If you’re visiting Austin for a long weekend, you’ll have just enough time to check out a few of my go-to’s for food and drink whenever I’m in the world’s live music capital.

Where to Grab Coffee

  • Thunderbird Coffee: Big, airy space- perfect for a morning catch-up with friends, or space to settle in and work for a few hours. Try the thai iced coffee, delish!
  • Jo’s Coffee: Do the iced turbo and a breakfast taco
  • Caffe Medici: Can’t go wrong with cortados and breakfast tacos (you’re going to notice a taco theme pretty soon ūüėČ )
  • Seventh Flag Coffee: Stellar cold brew
  • Hideout: Comfy couches, plus good almond milk lattes
  • Fleet Coffee Co: A++ espresso
IMG_7783

This mural is nearby Thunderbird ūüôā

Where to Eat

  • Josephine House: The cutest place with one of the best brunches. A must-visit. If the weather is nice, ask to sit on the patio
  • Irene’s: Another strong contender for brunch- ¬†what’s not to love about biscuits & booze? The cheesy shells and ricotta toast with orange marmalade were also two-thumbs up. PS. The drinks are super cheap during Sunday brunch ($3 bloody marys, #YAS)
  • South Congress Cafe: Hope you’re ready to get your brunch game on in Austin, because this is another place not to be missed- the carrot cake french toast and migas benedict are ah-may-zing
  • Magnolia Cafe South: Adorable diner, the gingerbread pancakes and migas are so good
  • Hillside Farmacy:¬†Ridiculously cute decor and v. good food- the mac and cheese is a standout.¬†Love this place for lunch
  • Kerby Lane: The stuff local legends are made of, migas and queso should be¬†required orders
  • Eastside Cafe: Y’all know I love a place that serves homegrown¬†vegetables, bonus points when they do an ace job of it as well
  • Launderette: Renovated gas station turned gorgeous restaurant. I went with a few friends, and everything we ordered was incredible- especially the sticky brussels sprouts and birthday cake ice cream (trust me on the birthday cake ice cream, I was skeptical, but it surpassed expectations)
  • Chuy’s: THE place for outstanding Mexican food
  • Hopdoddy Burger Bar: Everyone raves about the burgers, and I feel just as enthusiastic about the vegetarian one (aka La Bandita), as well as the truffle fries and milkshakes
  • Easy Tiger: Bar and bakery, this place is ideal for sunny Saturday afternoons- grab an outside table, a few pitchers and order some snacks
  • Franklin BBQ or Salt Lick: I’d be remised¬†if I didn’t mention a bbq place here- bbq joints in Austin have cult like followings. Even though I don’t eat bbq, I do love the sides, and can assure you that you won’t be disappointed at either of these places. Please don’t leave Salt Lick without trying the berry cobbler- it’s life changing
  • Uchiko: Truly a treat for the senses. Japanese farmhouse cooking means you can expect twists on Japanese classics. Out of this world food doesn’t come cheap though, go here for a special occasion
  • East Side King: Always on the late night noms contender list, the beet fries and veggie meshi are particularly impressive
  • Home Slice Pizza: New York slices. Perfect after a night out
  • Bufalina Pizza: Craving artesian pizza while in Austin? Come here
  • Flower Child: A lot of my recos fall within the ‘cheat meal’ category, but Flower Child is delicious and healthy. Super good salads, try the Mother Earth bowl

IMG_7784IMG_7785IMG_7791IMG_7568IMG_7779

Where to Have Dessert

  • La Mexicana Bakery: Mexican pastries, dig¬†the tres leches cake
  • Voodoo Doughnut: Straight from Portland, you’ll find all of the classics that made this place so popular to begin with. Their storefront in Austin is huge and beautiful
  • Gourdough’s: The most outrageous doughnuts. So into the Miss Shortcake, Fat Elvis and Heavenly Hash¬†doughnuts
  • Bribery Bakery: Super cute bakery with so many yummy treats¬†(the oatmeal cream pies, ohmygoshhhh)
  • Churro Co.: The best churros I’ve ever had. Just do it
  • Amy’s Ice Cream: Some of the flavors are wacky, but they’ll let you try as many as you want before you order. So rich and creamy, you can’t really go wrong flavor wise
  • Lick Ice Cream: The caramel salt lick is soooo good. Also love the goat cheese, thyme and honey- weird in a really good way

IMG_7781FullSizeRenderIMG_7774IMG_7777

Where to Eat Tacos

(obiv important enough to have its own section) 

  • Torchy’s Tacos: Do not leave Austin without coming here. The breakfast and lunch tacos are both incredible. Also, the queso is legit- it’s a must-order item
  • Juan in a Million: Get the Don Juan taco- huge, delicious and cheap
  • Maria’s Taco Xpress: One of my favs for three reasons 1) its cheap 2) so many vegetarian options & 3) some of the best breakfast tacos in Austin (my go-to order: a migas taco and potato, egg and cheese taco)
  • Veracruz: More outstanding breakfast tacos. Gotta try them all, right? ūüėČ
  • Tacodeli: MORE BREAKFAST TACOS
  • Taco Shack: Mandatory stop on a Sunday morning for breakfast tacos after spending Saturday night out

IMG_7775IMG_7770

Where to Drink

  • The Townsend: Great cocktails, low-key atmosphere makes it perfect for having a conversation
  • Trudy’s Texas Star: Okay, yes, the food is great- especially the migas and queso, but the Mexican martinis are what keep me coming back. There’s a two drink limit for a reason, the martinis are good, but strong
  • Cedar Door: Home to the Mexican martini, sit on the patio and relax with one of them
  • Peche: One of the city’s most popular cocktail bars. The fig manhattan is popular for a reason, it¬†rules
  • June’s: An all day wine bar #HeartEyes
  • Perla’s: Oyster happy hour! Also, really great seafood, worth considering staying for dinner or ordering a few things to share
  • Whisler’s: Brooklyn vibes in Austin, great outdoor seating and a lovely Old Fashioned
  • Yellow Jacket Social Club: Good selection of local craft beer & a chill atmosphere
  • Driskill Hotel: The oldest operating hotel in Austin. Come here for a swanky cocktail before kicking off your night out
  • The Ginger Man: Great for a relaxed scene
  • Spider House: Grab a beer, head to the patio and just chill
  • The Belmont: One of my go-to’s for live music and good drinks
  • Midnight Cowboy: Former brothel turned beautiful speakeasy (aka cocktail heaven)
  • Icenhauer’s: You can’t go wrong with the bars on Rainey Street (live music, lots of outdoor space, great drink deals), but Icenhauer’s is one of my favs. Get the sangria and hang on the patio, you’ll feel like you’re¬†at home
  • Hotel San Jose: $5 Frose happy hour during the week, grab a glass and head to the shaded patio
  • The Oasis on Lake Travis: Technically outside of Austin (~30 minute drive), it’s a bit touristy, but watching the sun set over the lake is unbeatable. Plan to order wine or a beer and have dinner back in Austin afterwards (the cocktails and food aren’t great). Despite some of its shortcomings, this place is special- when the sun sinks below the horizon, the staff rings a bell and everyone applauds

IMG_7580IMG_7778

Other Posts You May Like

Staying in an Airstream at El Cosmico

America is home to some of the most beautiful places and exciting cities in the world. 48 hours in the desert town of Marfa was all it took to develop a major crush on West Texas.

Marfa is the stuff small town dreams are made of. Wide-open Texas sky. No stoplights (only a blinking traffic light). Skylines that stretch for miles. Remoteness.

thumb_IMG_7761_1024

And, with Marfa being the art hub it is, it should come as no surprise there are some seriously cool places to visit, and stay in town.

The best of the bunch when it comes to places to rest your head? El Cosmico.

Oh, El Cosmico, you adorable thing you. The most charming campground there ever was.

thumb_IMG_7756_1024

Picture this: vintage airstream trailers, Mongolian yurts and teepees in the middle of the desert. There are hammocks and wood-fired hot tubs and community events (music festivals, movie nights, etc.). The only sound you hear is the occasional car whizzing by, and the buzz of the neon-Texas sign hanging above one of the outdoor restrooms. 

thumb_IMG_7759_1024thumb_IMG_7753_1024

From the owner:‚ÄúThe hotel‚Äôs aesthetic is more inspired by nomadic cultures than it is modern. There‚Äôs a strong influence from places like Mexico and India, which speaks to the spirit of the wanderer or intrepid traveler. Marfa, Texas, naturally inspires that feeling of slowing down and spending time looking at the beautiful expanse all around you. We built El Cosmico around that natural response to the landscape.‚ÄĚ

We¬†spent one night in El Cosmico on our trip to Marfa, choosing to stay in the Battleship airstream. If you head to Marfa from November-March (when the overnight temps can drop as low as 30 degrees F), I’d recommend trying to get one of the airstreams so you’re warm and cozy.

thumb_IMG_7763_1024

We loved staying in the Battleship one- it’s newly renovated and one of the only ones with an indoor shower, which makes a huuuuge difference during early am showers in the winter. We also enjoyed our spacious¬†deck, and dug how comfy the living room was- hello leather couch you can sink into.

thumb_IMG_7754_1024thumb_IMG_7788_1024IMG_7377

If anything, I wish we would have spent another night at El Cosmico- it would have been great to kick back with a few Lonestars by one of the communal fire pits, and even chat with some of the other guests.

Short on time as we were, we opted to have a dinner of pizza and wine¬†in our airstream the night we spent at El Cosmico. Without tv or wifi, you’re really forced to disconnect- which is all kinds of wonderful when you’re in the middle of the desert.

thumb_IMG_7757_1024

If you decide to stay at El Cosmico, book early. We reserved our airstream three months in advance- it’s not uncommon for the airstreams, as well as teepees and yurts, to sell out.

If you can’t get a reservation, I’d still recommend stopping by to check out the property. El Cosmico has an awesome gift shop, and it’s nearby Marfa Burrito and do your thing coffee- the perfect wander for a morning in Marfa.

IMG_7549IMG_7517

Other Posts You May Like

Photo Diary: Austin & Marfa

If there was ever a post where starting with ‘Y’all’ was appropriate, this is the one- Y’ALL. I finally, finally made it back to Austin during the first week in March.

In case you didn’t know, I lived in Austin for a few summer months six years ago. Even though I was only there for a few months, I fell hard for the city. After I left to return to grad school for a year, I fully planned on returning upon graduating, but then- a job offer in New York popped up and so the story goes.

To be honest, I think I put off a trip back to Austin because I knew how hard it’d be to leave the city I’d fallen so hard for. It also seemed like a convenient trip when I lived in the US, and so I decided to prioritize visiting other places during my years in New York.

Even though I was only back in Austin for a few days, it was just enough time to remember all of the reasons I fell in love with the city in the first place. Can’t wait to share more about our trip, and my recos for visiting this eclectic slice of Texas.

thumb_IMG_7775_1024thumb_IMG_7783_1024thumb_IMG_7773_1024thumb_IMG_7772_1024thumb_IMG_7771_1024thumb_IMG_7785_1024thumb_IMG_7778_1024

Sandwiched between time in Austin, we headed to Marfa, a west Texas desert town, that is in one word: magical. Marfa’s charm is tough to describe: it’s small town life, big sky country, remoteness, and this sense of everything feeling less urgent. It was, without a doubt, one of my favorite trips I’ve taken in recent years.

thumb_IMG_7742_1024thumb_IMG_7752_1024thumb_IMG_7745_1024thumb_IMG_7760_1024thumb_IMG_7763_1024thumb_IMG_7747_1024thumb_IMG_7744_1024

Other Posts You May Like

The Coolest Weekend Guide to Marfa, Texas

There’s a quote floating around about Marfa that I couldn’t agree more with: A place tough to get to. Tougher to explain. But once you get there, you get it. 

Marfa is the stuff small town life dreams are made of. Wide-open spaces. No stoplights, seriously, not even one- there’s a¬†blinking ‘caution’ light in the center of town. Skylines that seem to stretch for miles. Remoteness.

Things feel less important when you’re in Marfa.

thumb_IMG_7766_1024

The reward of spending time in Marfa is worth what it takes to get there. With a population just over 2,000, Marfa is in the middle of the West Texas desert. The shortest drive there is from El Paso, but still clocks ~3 hours.

Yes, it’s a long drive, but you’re driving through desert, mountains and blue skies with no traffic, so it’s not terrible. And once you get to Marfa, an art mecca filled with cool restaurants, fun shops and lots of installations, it feels worth it.

Wondering how a tiny town in Texas¬†became known as an art mecca? In the 1970s, U.S. sculptor, Donald Judd, bought several warehouse buildings in Marfa and filled them with his work, as well as the work of his friends. Cue a spectacular art exhibition that’s drawn interest for decades.

We spent two days and two nights in Marfa, which felt like a good amount of time. However, there were a few things we didn’t get around to doing, so if you’re able to spare another half or full day, that’ll be¬†plenty of time.

Regardless of how long you’re there, try to relax and soak up the small town life. Marfa is the only place I’ve been, aside from national parks, where I’ve felt disconnected and content with just being.

thumb_IMG_7756_1024thumb_IMG_7029_1024thumb_IMG_7759_1024

What to Do

  • Visit Prada Marfa: A Prada store in the West Texas desert that’s never open for business? Not a mirage. Art. Actually, an installation by Elmgreen and Dragset. Fun fact: The handbags inside are missing bottoms, and all of the shoes are for the right foot to prevent vandalism/theft
  • The Chinati Foundation: Widely known for the “15 Untitled Works of Concrete” by Judd placed across 1.5 miles of the desert, there are multiple collections to see. We didn’t have a chance to do one of the tours, but the experience has come highly recommended from friends
  • Ballroom Marfa: Cultural arts space devoted to¬†contemporary art issues explored¬†through arts, film and music
  • Marfa Courthouse: Climb three floors for a great view of the top from the top
  • The Marfa Lights: Ah, the mysterious Marfa lights. Also known as the Marfa ghost lights, they’ve been ascribed to paranormal phenomena (ghosts, UFOs). They can’t be seen every night, but there’s a viewing area at a rest stop about 10 miles east of Marfa. Come at night, pack snacks and wait for the show

thumb_IMG_7039_1024thumb_IMG_7306_1024thumb_IMG_7751_1024

Where to Get Coffee

  • do your thing: Cutest coffee shop. They brew Blue Bottle, serve delicious artesian toast and pastries, have a roaring fire pit and make horchata lattes. Does it get any better?
  • Frama: A coffee/ice cream shop right next to a laundromat. Basically, my dream
  • Big Bend Coffee Roasters: Wholesale only, but man, does it smell good in there. If you brew your own coffee, stop by to take some beans home

thumb_IMG_7745_1024thumb_IMG_7760_1024

Where to Eat

  • Food Shark: A well-known Marfa staple. Gourmet mediterranean with a rotating menu. You can’t go wrong with the marfalafel- some of the best falafel I’ve had
  • Stellina: Before coming to Stellina, we were at The Capri enjoying a few cocktails and decided to come here because everyone we talked to recommended it. They described it as ‘Italian’, which none of us were really in the mood for, but I’m so glad we decided to go. It’s Italian, but not in the ‘pasta and breadstick’ sense.¬†We loved everything we ordered. Please go and order a bunch of starters to share over a bottle of Malbec
  • Marfa Burrito: Cash only and you have to order in Spanish, but it’s so worth it.¬†This place, a favorite of Matthew McConaughey by the way, is serving authentic tex-mex burritos the size of a forearm.¬†Simple & ridiculously good
  • Squeeze Marfa: The best spot for a fresh, healthy breakfast (enter smoothies and juices)
  • Pizza Foundation: Yelp describes the pizza as ‘magical’
  • Jett’s Grill: We didn’t make it here for dinner, but I’ve heard the food is good, drinks are strong and the overall experience feels like stepping back in time
  • Cochineal: Hailed as the best place to eat in Marfa, Cochineal was closed while we were in town. Even if it was open, I’m not sure we would have checked it out. I’ve heard mixed things- mainly the food is more expensive than it’s worth from people who live in cities known for good eats
  • The Get Go: This adorable grocery store is stocked with¬†tons of awesome food, drinks and snacks. I felt like I hit the jackpot when I discovered my favorite chips- Zapp’s Voodoo

thumb_IMG_7750_1024thumb_IMG_7277_1024thumb_IMG_7128_1024thumb_IMG_7746_1024

Where to Drink

  • Planet Marfa Beer Garden: Yes, a beer garden in Marfa. It’s awesome, come here for happy hour
  • The Capri: Such a lovely bar with great outdoor seating. My first drink, a hibiscus margarita was okay, but the next cocktail I had- a champagne and tequila based one was great. Stick to the basics here and you’ll be fine
  • Hotel Saint George: Lovely cocktails, with a great happy hour, situated in a beautiful hotel
  • Lost Horse Saloon: Amazing dive bar- cheap drinks, pool tables and locals abound. We spent a few hours here our first night in Marfa, talking with cowboys and learning how to two-step #TexasForever

thumb_IMG_7752_1024thumb_IMG_7762_1024thumb_IMG_7744_1024

Where to Shop

  • Marfa Book Company: Great collection of art and books, inside the Hotel Saint George, so grab a cocktail and peruse the¬†shelves
  • Cobra Rock Boot Company: This boot retailer uses grain leather techniques to handcraft beautiful footwear
  • Moonlight Gemstones: Small store, but a good array of gemstones and crystals
  • Wrong Marfa: Part art gallery, part shop, dogs everywhere. Loved everything about this place
  • Freda: Beautifully curated lifestyle shop
  • Mirth: Perfect for take-home keepsakes
  • Ranch Candy Marfa: The candy is good, but there’s also a small shop with accessories and clothing attached to the back where I found an awesome pair of gemstone earrings
  • Mano: Cute gift shop, we bought matching leather friendship bracelets, because #Marfa

thumb_IMG_7749_1024thumb_IMG_7765_1024thumb_IMG_7747_1024thumb_IMG_7748_1024thumb_IMG_7201_1024thumb_IMG_7250_1024

Where to Stay

  • El Cosmico: The most charming campground there ever was. Picture this: vintage airstream trailers, Mongolian yurts, teepees, hammocks and wood-fired hot tubs in the middle of the desert. From the owner: “The hotel’s aesthetic is more inspired by nomadic cultures than it is modern. There’s a strong influence from places like Mexico and India, which speaks to the spirit of the wanderer or intrepid traveler. Marfa, Texas, naturally inspires that feeling of slowing down and spending time looking at the beautiful expanse all around you. We built El Cosmico around that natural response to the landscape.” Oh, and El Cosmico has an awesome gift shop- pop by the check it out even if you aren’t staying there

thumb_IMG_7757_1024thumb_IMG_7754_1024thumb_IMG_7788_1024thumb_IMG_7341_1024thumb_IMG_7761_1024

  • Hotel Paisano: A landmark hotel known for its architectural details, it’s quite literally an old world retreat
  • Thunderbird Hotel: Horseshoe-shaped and the epitome of vintage chic
  • Airbnb, specifically The Love House or Rock City House at Corte del Norte: Um, hello beautiful attention to decor detail. If you’re coming to Marfa with a group, I’d recommend spending a night at El Cosmico and the rest of your stay here- Corte del Norte’s location downtown is perfect
    • There are a couple other Airbnb options listed, a few of which have lots of great reviews and clock in under $90 a night

thumb_IMG_7067_1024thumb_IMG_7742_1024

What to Do Nearby

Marfa is cool enough to visit in its own right, but if you’re heading to the West Texas desert, there are a few other things worth checking out if you have the time.

  • Big Bend National Park: We didn’t have time to drive down for a hike, but definitely at the top of the list for next time. Straddling the border with Mexico,¬†the park is full of breathtaking views
  • Alpine, TX: A mere 25-30 minutes from Marfa, Alpine is bigger than Marfa, but missing its charm. We stopped here to grab pineapple and jalape√Īo¬†pizza one night (a few places are open later than in Marfa) from Guzzi Up- so indescribably good. Alpine is also known for it’s brewing company- Big Bend Brewing, which does tastings some days from 4-6 pm
  • Marathon, TX: About an hour from Marfa, Marathon is another West Texas desert town. We came here to check out The Gage Hotel, a hotel with a lot of character and history- soooo Texas
    • PS. If you make the drive from Marfa to Marathon, keep an eye out for the fake Target store (see Prada Marfa)

thumb_IMG_7789_1024thumb_IMG_7790_1024thumb_IMG_7758_1024thumb_IMG_7764_1024

EXTRA KNOW BEFORE YOU GO INFO

  • Language:¬†English
  • Currency:¬†USD, bring cash- some places (food trucks, small restaurants) are cash only ūüôā
  • Getting There:¬†The easiest way to get to Marfa is via flying into El Paso and then driving ~3 hours. You can also reach Marfa via driving from Dallas, Austin or Houston, but you’ll be looking at 6-8+ hours of drive time
  • Getting Around:¬†Walk.¬†We were surprised by how walkable everything was in Marfa. Even though we had a car, we walked everywhere downtown
  • When to Visit:¬†We went in early March, which means daytime temps of 60, but chilly nights at 30/40 degree. As long as you bring a coat and clothes to layer, you’ll be just fine if you visit during the winter months of November-March. Marfa is best experienced Thursday-Sunday- the town basically shuts down otherwise
  • Wifi Access:¬†Wifi is easy to find in Marfa- we had no service issues while in town. However, if you drive to Prada Marfa, the nearby town of Marathon or elsewhere, you’ll likely loose service at some point until you reach another town

Other Posts You May Like

10 Of My Favorite US Cities

With a move to London on the horizon, I’m growing increasingly excited to live in another country and see as much of the UK and Europe as possible during my time there.

I’ve done a lot¬†traveling around the US the past few years, and will definitely¬†miss the breadth and diversity of cities across the country. I say it all the time, but travel doesn’t have to be expensive or far flung- so many places in America are the perfect (affordable!) destinations for a long weekend.

10 Of My Favorite US Cities

Seattle

When I hear the ‚ÄúEmerald City,‚ÄĚ a few things come to mind: Quirky music and art, the great outdoors, first-rate local produce, and, of course, adventure. Every time I visit Seattle, I‚Äôm reminded of how eclectic of a city it is.

Having visited the Pacific Northwest many times, I‚Äôve had the chance to explore a lot¬†of Seattle‚Äôs neighborhoods, and because I know a lot of people automatically think ‚ÄúSpace Needle‚ÄĚ whenever they hear ‚ÄúSeattle,‚ÄĚ I‚Äôve put together a list of my favorite places to go in the city, as well as my must-sees for Pike Place Market.

Between the food, the music and the shops, you can’t go wrong spending a few days in Seattle. And, it’s close enough to Portland, Victoria, B.C., and Vancouver to¬†warrant spending more than a weekend in this part of the country.

img_5923img_6085img_5865

Los Angeles

Every time I visit the Golden State, I fall a little bit more in love with the land of laid back. It’s a refreshing break from the East Coast- palm trees, sunshine and warm weather year-round, what more could you ask for?

Contrary to what many people may think, LA is not just Hollywood. During most of my trips to LA, I’ve stayed in Santa Monica or Venice to get my fill of beach vibes. And, if you head outside of the main areas, Malibu, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree State Park, and even Disneyland are great places to kickback and unwind while soaking up some sunshine.

IMG_0727IMG_1129Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 9.29.54 PM

Austin

I haven’t written about Austin yet for this blog, but after living there for a few months a couple of years ago, I fell hard for the city. Known as the live music capital of the world, Austin is all about seriously good eats, strong¬†drinks, great beats and being outside. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where people applaud sunsets.

One of the best parts about Austin? It’s compact enough to see and do a ton of stuff during the shortest of trips. I’m planning on spending a few days here as part of a visit back to the US in early March. Already excited to discover how much the city has changed since I’ve been there, and revisit a few of my favorite spots.

NYC

After calling New York City home for over six years, it’s really tough for me to imagine settling down anywhere else. Even though I (and many New Yorkers) have a serious love-hate relationship with the city, it’s a place brimming with energy morning, noon and night- you can’t help but feel so alive when you’re here.

Aside from never-ending options of things to do, I also love how walkable New York is, and even though I complain about subway delays, the public transit system really is top notch. There’s no question this city is somewhere everyone should visit at least once in their life.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 5.16.28 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-10 at 5.18.04 PMscreen-shot-2016-09-10-at-10-06-03-pm

Miami

In Florida, they salt margaritas not¬†sidewalks. My first time in Miami was during a particularly brutal February in the northeast, but it’s the perfect escape any time of the year.

With stunning beaches, a bustling art scene, great food and nightlife, and some seriously cool art deco architecture, there’s no shortage of things to do in Miami. And, because I know a lot of people think of the South Beach party scene when Miami comes up, I haven’t spent much time there, and have still loved every trip I’ve taken to the city. Although, I love a good night out, I’ve spent more time in Wynwood, Little Havana and Key Biscayne.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.11.43 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.11.55 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.11.32 AM

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World conjures up images of kids in strollers, characters roaming the parks and a lot of mouse shaped things. And, sure enough, as soon as you walk into the parks, you feel like a kid again- you’re excited to get your picture taken with Pluto, wait in line for Space Mountain, and buy a pair of sparkly mouse ears because, magic.

Disney may be extra special for kids, but I’ve come to appreciate it more as an adult through vacations and runDisney events. One of the best parts of visiting Disney as an adult? Seeking out the best spots to grab a drink when you need a break from the magic madness.

Whatever your reasons for visiting Disney, you have to appreciate the attention to detail everywhere from the resorts to the parks- it’s truly¬†astounding. And yes, I recognize Disney isn’t technically a city, but it sure is big enough with enough to do to warrant a spot on this list.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.30.38 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-07 at 7.57.39 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-07 at 7.58.17 PM

New Orleans

New Orleans is a city bursting at the seams with Caribbean vibes and Cajun attitude.

In Nola, it’s all about the details. Strings of beads are draped on cast-iron balconies year-round, an assortment of cultures, and live music bring Bourbon Street to life. There’s savory beignets for breakfast and steamed crawfish for dinner. It’s the perfect place to spend a long weekend.

img_1363img_0565Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.55.54 PM

Charleston

Charleston is the epitome of Southern charm. Quaint streets lined with sprawling, pastel homes and palm trees. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And, seriously good eats.

After spending a long weekend in downtown Charleston, I realized nothing is truer than this statement: north is a direction, south is a lifestyle.

thumb_IMG_4761_1024thumb_IMG_4796_1024thumb_IMG_4760_1024

San Francisco & Napa and Sonoma

San Francisco is the kind of city that never gets old, no matter how many times you visit, because there’s always something new to do or explore. Having been to San Francisco a few times, I have my go-to recos for things to do or see, but also have a slew of things I still want to do on return trips.

Located on a peninsula surrounded by water, San Francisco‚Äôs climate is mild year-round, although summers tend to be on the cool side. If the weather is a bit chilly during your visit, and you’re in the mood for warmer temps, plus some wine, head an hour north to Napa and Sonoma.

My first visit to wine country felt intimidating- so many wineries! According to Lonely Planet, there are over 600 wineries in Napa and Sonoma¬†Counties. But it‚Äôs quality, not quantity, that sets the region apart ‚Äď especially in Napa, which competes with France and doubles as an outpost of San Francisco‚Äôs top-end culinary scene. Sonoma prides itself on agricultural diversity, with you-pick-em orchards and roadside fruit stands.

Fortunately, one of my girlfriends has grown to love wine as much as me, and every year we plan a weekend back to the region. Rolling hills, blue skies and vineyards as far as the eye can see make California’s wine country a relaxing and fun weekend getaway.

998853_10100176154681876_504722645_nScreen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.19.55 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 11.26.18 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 11.25.50 PM

Portland

If you like to shop and eat, Portland is the town for you. Usually, when I’m in the PNW, it’s to visit Seattle, so I haven’t spent as much time in Portland as I’d like. If you’re visiting for the weekend, get ready for days filled with walking all over the city, popping into shops and eating and drinking all of the delicious things.

And, like in Seattle, just outside the city, there are a lot of outdoorsy activities to do, including hiking the Oneota Gorge. Off I-84 near Mulnomah Falls outside of Portland, Oregon, the Oneonta Gorge is one of those bucket list natural wonders- you kind of have to see it to believe it.

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 11.59.16 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-19 at 11.58.44 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 11.12.19 PM

Chicago

The third largest city in the US (by population) is known by a multitude of nicknames- The Windy City, the Second City, the City of Broad Shoulders- and for good reason. There’s a lot to do in Chicago, from cultural gems like the Art Institute to exploring the city’s booming food scene.

If you‚Äôre only visiting for a weekend, it‚Äôs impossible to do everything, but there are some things that shouldn‚Äôt be skipped over. It‚Äôs been a while since I‚Äôve been to Chicago, but I‚Äôm hoping I’ll be able to spend a few days becoming reacquainted with the city on a return trip to the US- already excited to¬†revisit a few of my favorite places and check out some new restaurants and bars that have popped.

421864_792051695366_1689504280_n418939_790794654486_687032138_n525895_817589577246_1115056162_n

Honorable Mentions to: Denver, Savannah, Pittsburgh and San Diego.

On my list of cities to visit on return trips to the US over the next few years?

  • St. George, Utah
  • Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Marfa, Texas
  • Billings, Montana (aka Big Sky Country)
  • Portland, Maine
  • Nashville, TN (I’ve only been there once for a conference)
  • Oahu, Hawaii

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Travel Crush: Marfa

Saying Marfa is off the beaten path would be an understatement. Roughly¬†200 miles of drive time from nearby airports, it’s truly¬†off the beaten path in the southwest.¬†

Located in¬†the middle of nowhere Texas, Marfa moves at its own pace- stores are open when they want to be. Marfa’s¬†remoteness is the perfect cure for those who need a break from the pace of city life.

In addition to wide-open spaces, desert campgrounds and a sky full of stars, Marfa is also known for its cultural scene and food options ranging from fine dining establishments to quirky food trucks and in-home eateries.

Knowing all this, is it any wonder I’m already looking forward to a southwest road trip I’m planning for next February? On our trip, we’re going to spend a few days in Marfa to experience the magic everyone raves about.

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Photo from DesignLoveFest.com

Processed with VSCOcam with a8 preset

Photo from DesignLoveFest.com

Processed with VSCOcam with a8 preset

Photo from DesignLoveFest.com

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Photo from DesignLoveFest.com

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Photo from DesignLoveFest.com