24 Hours in: Austin, TX

Austin, Texas is a town known for its weirdness, tacos, SXSW, and Austin City Limits Music Festival. It was ACL that brought me to Austin for the second year in a row, and while most of my time was spent tossing back $9 beers at the festival (RIP my bank account) we did manage to make it to some favorite spots. Read on for the highlights of my trip!

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I've been traveling like a mad woman these past couple months, and I will not be stopped.

Am I going to need to sell my eggs, exist solely on Ramen and pick up trivia shifts like crazy to make up the deficit in my bank account? YUP.

Am I enjoying meeting people, making memories with my friends and experiencing new places and restaurants? More yup.

Do I miss being at home so I can go on more terrible first dates with shitty DC guys? AbsoLUTELY not. #needtomove #goingtoManFran #seeyaneverDC

As such, between Nashville weekend and Charlottesville weekend, there was Austin weekend. Because I would never dream of missing ACL, I was TOO excited to reunite with my best friend Kelsey, and The Killers and Red Hot Chili Peppers were headlining. Seeing the sexy hunk of man that is Brandon Flowers perform "Mr. Brightside" live was THE highlight of my inner 8th-grader's life, hands down.

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Austin also has good food, and we ate lots of it! So let's get started.

I landed in Austin at 8:15 PM on Thursday evening, RAVENOUS after not eating since breakfast. After a beer at the airport bar while waiting for Kelsey to land, we headed to Matt's parents' house. We dropped off our bags and I dug into some leftover Torchy's chips and queso (HEAVEN ON EARTH) before heading out to meet up with Matt's brother and our friends Amanda and Eric at…

Halcyon

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Kelsey and I were the only ones who ordered cocktails at Halcyon, as we were under the impression we would be going out (update: we did not go out). I ordered a London Calling (Austin Reserve Gin, Earl-Grey Infused Syrup, Lemon, Lavender Bitters) and Kelsey opted for the Indigo Moon (Pearl Blueberry Vodka, Crème de Violette, Lemon Juice, Blueberries, Topped with Champagne). Both drinks were incredible - mine more earthy, Kelsey's very sweet with almost no taste of alcohol.

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Once we wrapped up at Halcyon and decided we were entirely too exhausted to go out, the obvious choice was late night food at…

Whataburger

Amanda, a Dallas native, has been my best friend for over 2 years now. In that time, I have hear her wax poetic about Whataburger no fewer than one million times. We NEEDED to go. So, we piled in the car, rolled up to Whataburger, joined the throng of high schoolers in line (seriously SO MANY HIGH SCHOOLERS) and placed our orders - me and Kelsey for a joint order of chicken tenders and fries with honey mustard, Matt for a honey butter chicken biscuit. They were amazing, and the perfect thing to lull us to sleep before the long day ahead of us!

Taco Shack

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We woke up the next morning, excited for what ACL had in store! Before taking Matt's dogs on a walk up to Mt. Bonnell, we enjoyed incredibly filling breakfast tacos from Taco Shack. Mine had eggs, potatoes and cheese and was exactly what I needed to fuel up for a long day at the festival. Once we had changed, we called an Uber and headed to the Westin to change and start pregaming.

Mmmpanadas

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On day one of the festival, we hadn't yet decided that beer was infinitely more important than food, so we had three square meals. Our lunch? The Green Chile Chicken empanada from mmmpanadas, paired with their incredible chimichurri sauce. This was INCREDIBLE - I totally could have had 3 more if I wasn't distracted by the siren song of The Revivalists.

Chipotle

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During Vulfpeck, hunger caught up with Kelsey, Amanda and me, AND we spotted a "Life is Burritoful" sign surrounded by attractive men, so we each grabbed a burrito bowl from the Chipotle truck. Most notable here is that they had queso! But I couldn't really taste it because I was absolutely wasted. You win some, you lose some.

Roppolo's Pizza

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Post-ACL (and post-me meeting a dreamy-eyed 20-year-old Dean lookalike at Jay-Z and getting his number #noshame) our group hopped into an Uber to go to a late-night show featuring Lauv (my absolute one true love) and Louis the Child (an actual child!!! Who knew?!). The concert was INCREDIBLE, and was peppered with some… interesting moments. Some excerpts:

J - I think someone just grabbed my butt?!
Strange Man - Did someone just grab your butt?
J - Yes…
Strange Man - Oh, that was probably my girlfriend. She loves butts.

J - *talking about a past date story*
Same Strange Man - Are you talking about SEX?!?! Can I chime in??

Keep Austin Weird, y'all.

Anyway, post-concert we walked into a bar, chugged a vodka soda, then immediately walked over to Ropollo's Pizza for the most AMAZING Sausage-Pepperoni Pizza we'd ever had. Was it only good because we were wasted? Maybe. Did I also get it the next two nights? Yes.

JuiceLand

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When Amanda, Kelsey and I woke up the next morning, we were a touch hungover. The cure? Smoothies!

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Matt had mentioned the day before that JuiceLand was one of his favorite places in Austin, so we made the short walk over. I ordered the Berry Godmother (Pineapple Juice, Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Goji Berry, Camu Camu) which was healthy, refreshing, and exactly what I needed pre-festival. Kelsey got the Morning Sunshine (Pineapple Orange Juice, Banana, Mango, Goji Berry, Local Bee Pollen) and Amanda got the Paradise Found (Pineapple Juice, Banana, Mango, Guayusa, Blue Majik, Ginger, Lime). Amanda's was my favorite - in fact, I'm still dreaming of it!

Chuy's

Well, apparently Chuy's is becoming my home-away-from-home, so it became our lunch spot on the way to day 2 of the festival! We had a big group, so we collectively demolished several batches of chips, salsa and their ranch dip. I had the Veggie Combo, which included a Cheese Chile Relleno and a Veggie Enchilada alongside Rice & Beans. It was ok, but what was BETTER were my two Strawberry-Lime Swirl Margaritas with a floater. It's fine, we're fine.

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We enjoyed the rest of the day sans food, seeing many amazing bands, teaching men the hokey pokey but calling it the Flat Lick Frolic, hanging out with my 20-year-old lover from the day before, and all collectively dying at Black Angels (still unsure how this happened). The next thing I knew I was at the Red Hot Chili Peppers with my new (age-appropriate lover), Hot Brad. After the show, his roommates drove me to 6th St and I got Ropollo's for the 2nd night in a row before heading home to sleep.

Moonshine

The next morning got off to a slow start as Amanda packed up to leave and Kelsey and I ventured to Starbucks to grab an iced coffee to revive us while we re-applied our glitter.

We finally made it to brunch at Moonshine, a cute restaurant with several patios that was close to the Westin. Their brunch was served buffet style, so we all loaded up our plates with grits, chicken tenders, biscuits and gravy, salad, pasta salad, kolaches, roasted potatoes, and more. Along with this, the boys sipped beers while Kelsey had the Red Sangria and I got the Tito's Lemonade. At this point in the festival we had fully resigned ourselves to not eating at all in the park, so this would serve as our meal for the day.

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And we were never tempted to eat, running between Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Danny Brown, Portugal. The Man, DRAM, Brothers Osborne, THE KILLERS (!!!), and so many other amazing artists. I ended the night with a pedicab ride and some more Ropollo's, and bid farewell to my action-packed stay in Austin.

That's a wrap! Cheers to the most incredible weekend, great friends, amazing performances, and my two lost but not forgotten boyfriends, Brayden and Hot Brad.

XOXO,
Jesse