Sunday, May 13, 2018

Texas | Austin City Guide (part II)

On our first day in Austin, we took it quite easy. We strolled around the city, ate some good food and chilled by the pool. Day two was a little more culture-focused: museums, sculpture parks, we did it all. I'd say that Austin is very do-able in two days. The only slight inconvenience was that day two was Easter Sunday, so the museums didn't open until noon. But that didn't stop us from making the most of our time. And the museums were actually really worth the wait. 
Texas | Austin City Guide

Brunch at Elizabeth Street Café

It was Easter Sunday, so even though we couldn't celebrate with Belgian chocolate Easter eggs, we went for the second best option: an egg-filled brunch at Elizabeth Street Café. Someone personally recommended this to me, and it was within walking distance from Hotel José. The cuisine is Vietnamese, so the menu consists of a mix of Bahn mi sandwiches, bao buns and spicy salads. The food was fresh and tasty, and the Vietnamese coffee was excellent. A nice place for a meal al fresco, since there's plenty of outdoor seating.
 1501 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

Texas | Austin City Guide




Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


After brunch, we headed Downtown.


Texas | Austin City Guide

Ellsworth Kelly Chapel
In 2015, Ellsworth Kelly gifted the design concept of this "chapel" named Austin to the Blanton Museum of Art. It's his most monumental work and also the only building he ever designed. Inside are 14 of his iconic black and white marble works and a wooden structure. The colorful stained glass adds a rainbow-like light to the interior of the chapel, which contrasts nicely with the black and white works. Try to go on less busy hours to enjoy it in the most peaceful way possible (next time for us..). I had no idea we'd find such a special building/art installation in Austin and I was more than impressed, although I must add that I preferred the exterior to the interior. 
Ellsworth Kelly's Austin,  Austin, TX 78712


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide

Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Blanton Museum of Art
Right by Ellsworth Kelly's Austin, there's the main act (well, depending on how you see it): the Blanton Museum of Art. It's located at the University of Texas, making it the largest university art museums in the world (Texan students are lucky! remember the Turrell at Rice University?) The main focus is modern and contemporary art, and there's a good section on more Ellsworth Kelly works. I really enjoyed this museum because the collection is great and the layout/design are very pleasant. I can highly recommend a visit. 
> 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide





Texas | Austin City Guide

Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide

Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycles at the Waller Creek Conservancy
Though I'm not always a big fan of Ai Weiwei's work, it's usually quite spectacular to see. So when I heard that we'd find one of his work in this riverside park, we went and had a look. It's a huge sculpture of 1200 bicycles, which creates a very strange but cool effect when photographed. This artwork has been displayed in several cities across the world and funnily enough, I already saw it in Melbourne Australia in 2016. Since it's now located in a park you can come see the Forever Bicycles whenever you want, free of charge. 
> Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, Austin, TX 78701

Texas | Austin City Guide


The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria
Though we were quite disappointed with the Contemporary Austin museum in the city, we decided to check out their sculpture park a little outside the city, in a place called Laguna Gloria. We were promised that this was a beautiful little pocket to Austin nature, so we drove over (about 10-15 minutes from the city). The sculpture park itself is quite beautiful, the nature around it left wild and unkempt. There's a wide variety of sculptures, my favorite being Ai Wei Wei's Iron Tree Trunk. I can imagine that it's best to visit this place on dry, sunny, days.
>  3809 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703


Texas | Austin City Guide

Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide

Texas | Austin City Guide


Juice Austin
After all the museum visits, we headed back to our hotel to relax and eat since we were starving and parched. I headed straight to Juice Austin for some refreshing juices and salad. Both the smoothie (strawberry pineapple) and juice (watermelon) were so delicious and fresh. Just what I needed! This place is right opposite Hotel San Jose so it's perfect. 
> 1221 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Home Slice Pizza
While I went to get the healthy stuff at Juice Austin, my siblings went to get the real stuff at Home Slice. A big box of beautiful pizza slices, all for us! My favorite was the margarita with fresh basil and diced tomatoes. Home Slice pizza is super tasty and not too greasy or heavy. The dough is excellent too. Just perfect. 
> 1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704


Texas | Austin City Guide

After refueling it was time to stroll around South Congress Avenue a bit. 


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide

SoCo (South Congress) is basically one big street with one cool place next to the other. Restaurants, bars, shops, hotels, all with the same cool hipster Austin vibe.

Texas | Austin City Guide

We explored the South Congress Hotel inside and out. I really liked the vibe here, it's much bigger than Hotel San Jose and a little more upscale. Also a good option if you want to stay in this area!

Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Amy's Ice Creams
Amy's is an ice cream parlor chain which originated in Austin. The SoCo location, also right opposite our hotel, had a queue whenever we passed by. They have a ton of different ice cream flavors and crazy combinations, but we tried the Mexican vanilla. To be honest I've had much better vanilla ice cream and this tasted a bit artificial. But if you're into special combo's you'll like this place.
> 1301 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Home Slice Pizza part two
After some chilling by the pool, some Netflix and some naps (How great is vacation! And yes we do chill sometimes), we were hungry again. We initially sat down at Perla's but the service was so unfriendly and unaccommodating that we decided to leave before we ordered. I don't care if a place comes highly recommended if the service sucks, I leave.

So we went to the place where we had nothing but excellent service, earlier that day: Home Slice. We ordered a big pizza, half margarita half pepperoni. Because the restaurant was busy we went next door to the takeaway spot and then sat down again on the patio of the restaurant (it's allowed and super convenient!) If you go to the same restaurant twice in one day, that already says everything. 
> 1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide

Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide




Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide


Jo's Coffee
Jo's is a very casual takeaway all-day café which is part of Hotel San José. We only tried it on the last day, but we saw people queueing up here every single day for coffees and breakfast tacos. They have a nice selection of baked goods and coffee. I didn't think the vegetarian breakfast tacos were any special but it's a pretty healthy way to get a filling and quick breakfast. The cinnamon swirly bun was tasty! 
1300 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704


Texas | Austin City Guide


Texas | Austin City Guide

Aaand that concluded our trip in Austin. This was probably my favorite city in Texas so I can highly recommend going. Make sure to check out part one of my Austin Guide too. After Austin, we moved on to my absolute favorite place in Texas, so stay tuned for the next posts! 


Texas | Austin City Guide

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