We know we’re a teeny tiny bit biased, but here at Brit HQ, Austin is one of our favorite places in the US. While that *may* have to do with five Brit + Co. employees being from Texas, there’s no denying Austin (aka ATX) is a pretty rad place to visit. Whether you’re headed there for SXSW this weekend, or you’re planning a trip for our spring Re:Make event—you might be wondering what you spots you should hit while you’re there. Well, have no fear. We’ve pulled together a list of our favorite maker places you won’t want to miss.
Are you looking for an excuse to take a trip to Austin in 2014? Re:Make ATX might be the perfect reason to plan that road trip or buy a plane ticket. Don’t forget to sign up, or RSVP on our Facebook invite.
Let’s start with where to stay.
1. Hotel San Jose: The Hotel San Jose is located right in the heart of Austin’s South Congress neighborhood. We can’t get enough of its hipster-chic vibe. (Think Ace Hotel.) The Hotel San Jose embodies the local maker community. Each room is decorated with handmade goods by local Austin makers. They also offer Public bikes if you want to cross the bridge, and head into downtown Austin.
2. Hotel Saint Cecilia: If you’re looking for a fancier vibe, check out the Hotel Saint Cecilia just down the road. You might even recognize this local fave for their iconic SOUL sign that lights up their swimming pool. Don’t miss the amazing small-batch bath products available in the humongous bathrooms. Pro tip: Order the room service breakfast. Enjoy it in your room wearing their oversized Kimono robes and listening local Austin artists on the in-room record player.
Alright, you’ve secured your lodging. What’s next? Food, of course… While there are tons of amazing restaurants in Austin, there are two categories you MUST hit: Tex-Mex and BBQ. Everything else is just a bonus.
3. The Salt Lick: Okay, prepare yourself for this one. You’ll have to rent a car to get there. It’s a 45 minute drive from downtown, but we promise—it’s worth it. The Salt Lick is one of Austin’s oldest BBQ establishments, and it’s pretty much non-negotiable that you should try it. Pro tip number two. Save room for the peach cobbler—it will “make” the evening.
4. Torchy’s Tacos: Next up we have a more low-key Austin Tex-Mex experience, Torchy’s Tacos. There are TONS of locations across the city, and the tacos are pretty much insane. Believe it or not, there is a fried avocado taco. Yup, you heard us—a fried avocado taco.
5. Contigo Austin: While there are hundreds of other amazing spots in Austin, the inner maker in each of us at Brit HQ has to recommend Contigo Austin. Owner Ben Edgerton designed this outdoor restaurant to embody the vibe of a traditional Texas ranch. You’ll fall in love with the stucco and stone walls topped with an authentic tile roof. By the way, did we mention the food and cocktails are delicious?
6. Amy’s Ice Creams: Amy’s Ice Creams is your chance to be a maker. They have all the fixin’s for you to create the perfect ice cream. At Amy’s you’ll skip the “topping” in favor of a “crushin.” What does that mean exactly? Amy’s customizes your ice cream by mixing your favorite candy or cookie into the scoop. Um, yes please!
Alright, so you’re sleeping like a maker and eating like a maker, now it’s time to shop like a maker.
7. Take Heart: On the hunt for all things handmade? Look no further than Take Heart, an awesome little boutique in East Austin. It’s not walking distance from the hotels, but is just a quick jaunt by car. They pride themselves on their “thoughtful” collection of vintage, handmade, and modern goods. Bet you won’t be able to walk out without buying something :)
8. JM Dry Goods: Okay, caveat here: This one is a splurge. That said, how gorgeous are their handmade embroidered cotton dresses and shirts. We love how owner Michelle Teague finds and sells these pieces that were originally embroidered and crocheted by makers in San Antonio, Oaxaca.
9. BookPeople: We’ve said it before, writers are makers too. That’s why you can’t spend a couple of days in Austin without checking out BookPeople. They’re Texas’ largest independent bookstore, and they’ve built their business around a community of authors and readers who are “bound by books.” Grab a coffee and a Quacks Pastry from their cafe, then get ready for a two floor adventure that includes every book you can imagine.
10. Allen’s Boots: Last, but definitely not least, is Allen’s Boots—just up the road from the Hotel San Jose. If you’re going to leave Texas with a new pair of cowboy boots, this is the spot to buy them. Be sure to try on a pair of Lucchese boots. They’ve been handmade and handcrafted in the state of Texas since 1883.
What did we miss? Tell us your favorite must-see Austin spots in the comments below.