The Perfect 3 Days in Austin Itinerary that Will Leave You Wanting More

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I’m pretty much kicking myself that it took me 32 years (hollllllly shit – am I 32?!) to make it to Austin, Texas. It’s been on my list for so long and I had only heard wonderful things about this eclectic city in Texas. Well, suffice it to say – I was not disappointed in the least. My time in Austin forced the city towards the top of my favorites I’ve ever been to. Just like it took me forever to visit, it has taken me forever to get this guide to you as I wanted it to be just perfect but at some point, I just got to put it out there. So, here is my perfect 3 days in Austin itinerary that’ll leave you wanting to book a return trip.

Psst: Looking for more itinerary guides? Check out a few of our other posts!

3 days in austin

Fun Facts about Austin

Who doesn’t love a little trivia first though? Here are a few fun facts to get you excited about spending 3 days in Austin.

  • Janis Joplin got her start in Austin
  • There are approximately 2,000 food trucks in the city
  • The Texas State Capitol building in Austin is the largest state capitol building in the US
  • Austin is considered the Live Music Capitol of the World
  • Whole Foods started in Austin

Day 1 of 3 Days in Austin

I could easily spend over a week here and still not feel like I explored enough but I’m going to try to put together the best itinerary for 3 days in Austin to give you the most for your time.

Austin Zoo

3 days in austin

I know. It practically kills me to type that I went to something with the word zoo in the name. However, try to get past the unfortunate name and know that I did my homework and this place is, in fact, a sanctuary – not a zoo. I knew that I really wanted to visit a sanctuary during my time in Austin and had a few options but limited time. I asked around the Austin Vegans Facebook group and got some great suggestions – one of which was the Austin Zoo.

Naturally, I immediately said, “No, I don’t visit or support zoos.” To this, I got basically a version of what I said above. This place is worth supporting, they said. I have to say after researching, asking questions and visiting myself that I also agree. The Austin Zoo is a sanctuary and worth supporting.

Unlike for-profit zoos, Austin Zoo is a non-profit that does not breed, sell, buy, or trade the animals. They all come from unfortunate circumstances, were abandoned in some way, or come from the exotic pet industry – legally and illegally.

I’ll be touching on this a lot more in my ethical animal tourism guide for Austin that I’ll be putting together soon!

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin
Hours // 9:30-5:30 daily (Nov-Jan) + 9:30-6 daily (Feb-Oct)
Website // www.austinzoo.org


Counter Culture

It’s going to be hard to pick just the places I would eat in 3 days in Austin because I could have eaten for 3 days straight and still not even started to cover the vegan scene in Austin. It’s truly one of the best in the country and I only scraped the surface, unfortunately.

3 days in austin

I thoroughly enjoyed Counter Culture. It was the first all-vegan spot I tried on my trip and ended up being one of my favorites. Counter Culture serves internationally inspired vegan comfort food. The restaurant also attempts to always purchase organic, fair-trade and locally grown food. Additionally, you’ll find gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free items on their menu.

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 2337 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin
Hours // daily (11a-10p); brunch served on weekends from 11a-3p
Website // www.countercultureaustin.com


Hamilton Pool Preserve

One of the more unique things to do while in Austin is visiting all the different natural pools in the area. Unfortunately, I visited during a time that they had a lot of rain which can cause the bacteria levels to rise meaning no swimming was allowed. However, since we already had a reservation and you’re still able to visit, we decided to check it out anyway and I’m glad! I would definitely add this to your list – swimming or not.

READ THIS POST  Unique Accommodation in Nashville | The Sanctuary Treehouse Cabin

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 24300 Hamilton Road, Dripping Springs
Hours // time slots (9-1 OR 2-6) – daily (March-October); weekends and holidays only (November-February)
Website // click here
Cost // $11 for PREPAID reservation (cc) + $15 CASH PAID ON ARRIVAL (both of these are per CAR not per person)


Sunset at Mount Bonnell

I won’t lie – I thought this was a legitimate hike. What I had read said it takes 30 minutes to get to the top. Not true at all. it takes about five minutes.  Despite it not being as exciting of a hike, the view is 100% worth a visit. Definitely go here to check out the sunset during your 3 days in Austin.

3 days in austin

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 3800 Mount Bonell Road, Austin


Dinner at The Beer Plant

The Beer Plant is another all-vegan gastropub with a large selection of beers, wines, and spirits – all vegan! They’re only open for dinner (and brunch on the weekends) so if you need to alter this itinerary somewhat, just remember that!

These buffalo cauliflower bites were probably the best I’ve ever had; however, their spiciness level is absolutely no joke. There were so many things I wanted to try but I was basically forcing food down my throat at this point.

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 3110 Windsor Road, Austin
Hours // M-Th (5p-12a); F (3p-12a); Sat (5p-12a); Sun (5p-10p) – Brunch Sat-Sun (10a-3p)
Website // www.thebeerplant.com


Day 2 of 3 Days in Austin

Time for day 2 of 3 days in Austin! I’m sure by now you’re realizing how much Austin has to offer but we’re only getting started! You still have 2/3 of your trip left!

Voodoo Doughnuts for Breakfast

A day that starts with donuts is a day to be excited for and Voodoo Doughnuts at that! I’ve tried Voodoo in Portland, Austin, and Orlando now and they’re consistently delicious. They’re also very affordable and they offer tons of vegan options.

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 212 E 6th Street, Austin
Hours // 24 hours
Website // click here
CASH ONLY – ATM located inside store


Street Art Hunting

It’s no surprise that I love finding creative street art on my travels. Austin is littered with it! You can walk a block and see a new mural. I wish I was able to hit up all of them but there simply wasn’t enough time. Here are a few of my favorites though.

3 days in austin

3 days in austin

3 days in austin

3 days in austin


Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake is actually a man-made lake that felt more like a river. Regardless, it was a lot of fun to rent a kayak and paddle my way towards the city for a beautiful view of the skyline and then check out the spring head. I kayaked down the lake and all the way down the spring head and back – this took less than two hours and I stop a lot for pictures.

We went with a company called Rowing Dock and I felt like the price was completely reasonable – it’s $10 cheaper on weekdays so plan accordingly!

3 days in austin

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 2418 Stratford Drive, Austin
Hours // Daily 9a-6p
Website // www.rowingdock.com
Cost // $10-15/hour ($25-$35 maximum)


The Vegan Nom

Please for the love of whatever god you worship – go here. I’ve never been a big taco person. I mean they’re cool and all but this place changed my taco life. The Vegan Nom is Austin’s first all-vegan taco truck. The ‘East Slider’ and the ‘Birdie Sanders’ were my favorites and you should get them too!

3 days in austin

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 2324 E Cesar Chavez Street, Austin
Hours // M-S (9a-6p); Sun (9a-4p)
Website // www.thevegannom.com

READ THIS POST  Nashville Animal Rescue & Activism // Ways to Get Involved

Barton Springs Pool

Another place that was closed but we went and checked it out anyway! Barton Springs, unlike Hamilton Pool, is within the city limits making it a better option if you’re really short on time. Barton Springs is much more like a pool though and not as natural feeling.

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 2201 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
Hours // Fri-Wed (5a-10p) – Th (5a-9a and 7p-10p)
Website // click here


Graffiti Park or Hope Outdoor Gallery

I had a bit of a moment. I had on my itinerary to visit Graffiti Park as that’s what I found it as when I was searching for things to do in Austin. One of my friends, told me I should visit Hope Outdoor Gallery so I also added it to my list. Well, I showed up to Graffiti Park to find out it is also Hope Outdoor Gallery. Sounds a lot less ignorant now than I felt at the time.

Sadly, it looks like this unique outdoor space will be forced to move as a developer bought the land. I don’t think that will be happening until the Spring so I’ll keep this here for now so people can enjoy this spot while it’s still there.

Not only is this place free, a really cool expression of creativity, but it also has arguably one of the best views of the skyline. Another great sunset spot!

3 days in austin

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 1101 Baylor Street, Austin
Hours // 9a-7p
Website // www.hopecampaign.com


Congress Bridge Bats

Austin has the largest urban bat population of any city in the country and it is honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. When you hear about 1.5 million bats flying out from the bridge at sunset, you think “oh that’s really cool.” But, when you actually see it – it’s chilling and mind-blowing. There’s a reason why people start lining the bridge half an hour (if not more) before sunset to see this natural phenomenon.

3 days in austin

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // best locations for parking
Hours // March-November nightly
Cost // free


Dinner at Arlo’s

I’m going to go ahead and say it. This is the best burger I’ve had. This is actually the only place that I ate at twice because I just couldn’t imagine only having one of those bac’n cheeze burgers. I also had the mac n cheese and tater tots – both really good.

Arlo’s is a food truck that sits permanently in the lot of several businesses. They have three trucks in different locations. The one I went to was outside of The Grackle – a pretty cool looking dive bar on East 6th street.

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 1700 E 6th Street, Austin
Hours // 12p-2a daily
Website // www.arlostruck.com


Day 3 of 3 Days in Austin

Are you sad it’s coming to end? I understand that feeling. Don’t worry though – the last of your 3 days in Austin is going to be just as spectacular as the first two.

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Cathedral of Junk

I thought this was going to be kind of neat but, honestly, this may have ended up being one of my favorite things to do. Once you get the Cathedral of Junk, meet the artist, and realize how intricate this creation is – well, it would take a lot to not be impressed. After twenty years, numerous zoning disputes, and tons of junk – the Cathedral of Junk is still around and open to visitors.

3 days in austin

*You must make an appointment by calling 512-299-7413.

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 4422 Lareina Drive, Austin
Hours // must call for appt (does not show on Sundays)
Contact //512-299-7413
Cost // $5 donation


Lunch at Sundaze

After visiting the Cathedral of Junk, head nearby to the Sundaze food truck for a vegan chicken sandwich! The menu is incredibly simple. Vegan wise, they’ve got a sandwich, seitan nuggets, and french fries. But, when it’s good it’s okay if it’s simple!

READ THIS POST  Vegan Guide to Asheville, North Carolina

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 4304 Clawson Road, Austin
Hours // 12p-9:30p daily
Website // www.sundazetx.com

Tubing on the Comal River in New Braunfels

Looking for another fun water activity besides kayaking or the different natural pools? Try tubing! I went with a company called Texas Tubes – they operate on the Comal River in New Braunfels – which is about 45 minutes south of Austin. The other river option for tubing is the Guadalupe River but one of the things we heard ahead of time was that the Comal River has a couple man-made shoots (like little slides) which were a lot of fun so I’m glad we went with this option. Tubing companies don’t run in the fall/winter and it took a long time of calling around to find one that was even still open.

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 250 Meusebach, New Braunfels
Hours // vary depending on the time of year and river status
Website // www.texastubes.com
Cost // $20 (includes tube and shuttle)


Dinner at Bouldin Creek Cafe

It’s time for the last meal of your 3 days in Austin and I’m going to have to suggest Bouldin Creek Cafe. Bouldin Creek is an all-vegetarian cafe with plenty of vegan options, a diner-type atmosphere with exceptional food.

3 days in austin

ESSENTIAL INFO
Address // 1900 S 1st Street, Austin
Hours // M-F (7a-12a) S-S (8a-12a)
Website // www.bouldincreekcafe.com

Have more than 3 days in Austin?

Do you have more than 3 days in Austin? Lucky you! Here are a few more suggestions to fill up your extra time!

  • Check out the Museum of the Weird on 6th Street. Lots of incredibly odd things, wax figures, and even an actual sideshow!
  • There’s a cat cafe in Austin! Sadly, the timing didn’t work out for me so I didn’t include it in the itinerary but you should definitely check out Blue Cat Cafe. They have an all-vegan menu too!
  • Do you like vegan ice cream and alcohol? How about together?! Check out Prohibition Creamery!

Where to Stay in Austin

The Firehouse Hostel

Looking to save some money during your 3 days in Austin? That way you can spend it all on food as I did! Check out The Firehouse Hostel (this is where I stayed). It’s located on Brazos Street – you can walk almost anywhere downtown and even down E 6th Street if you’re really up for it.

Book Now | Read TripAdvisor Reviews

Habitat Suites

Habitat Suites is locally-owned and consciously run. You’ll find uniquely spacious, hypoallergenic suites where they utilize solar power and serve local ingredients (for any diet).

Book Now | Read TripAdvisor Reviews


Getting Around Austin

If you plan on following this itinerary or even checking out a few of the outer locations (tubing, Hamilton Pools, Austin Zoo), you’re going to want to rent a car.

If you’re just going to stay near Downtown, you can use the following methods.

Psst: Looking for more information on Austin? Check out a few of our other posts!

  • Vegan Guide for Austin (coming soon!)
  • Ethical Animal Tourism in Austin (coming soon!

What to Pack for Austin

Pacsafe Cross Body Purse (I love my Pacsafe products and would highly recommend using them when traveling)
Comfortable Shoes (my feet tend to hurt pretty easily and these are the best shoes I’ve had in a while for walking a lot)
Bathing suit (for all the fun water activities!)

Have you ever been to Austin?? Tell me about it in the comments below ↓↓↓

Looking for accommodation in Austin? Check out reviews here and book here.
Want to know where I stayed? The Firehouse Hostel
Want to know where to eat in Austin? Vegan Guide coming soon!
What else have I written? 
You can find more Austin posts here.
Like this post? Have Questions?
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3 days in austin
3 days in austin

Traveler. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Vegan. Risk Taker. Voice for the Voiceless.

10 Comments

  1. Kara

    November 8, 2018 at 9:43 PM

    Austin looks like a great place to go. Hopefully I can go there soon. Need a trip West.

  2. Heather

    November 13, 2018 at 10:19 PM

    I feel just like you….I can’t believe it took me so long either! And I wish I had more time, I have to go back again when I can really spend at least a week there. I’m surprised the sanctuary has a name with zoo in it. I can’t wait to read about the story behind that! Counter Culture was for sure yummy and I would love to try Voodoo Doughnuts! I loved the street art I did get to see (which wasn’t a lot) and didn’t get to take photos of some that I did see. This is high on my list.I especially want the “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” sign! I will definitely be using your guide for when I return!

  3. Janiel Green

    November 13, 2018 at 11:46 PM

    I didn’t realize that the Cathedral of Junk was there! I’m so sad I missed that! It so fun to see just what everyone did while they were there. Feel like you went the super extra mile on this one though!! Love all that street art you found, wish I would have found more of it.

  4. Sarah

    November 14, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    Wow you’ve really convinced me to visit Austin (just as you did with OKC!). I love how you always find super unique places. I particularly enjoy outdoors and nature related activities, even when I’m traveling to a city. It seems like Austin has a huuuuge variety of those! I would love to visit Hamilton pool and any other natural pools. It’s also great to see they have a big vegan scene – I would think (and hope) the same is true of gluten free.

  5. Elaine Masters

    November 16, 2018 at 12:35 AM

    I’m no vegan but seeing Austin through that lens and your love of nature makes me want to visit more than ever. Heard about the bats before – gotta love that phenomenon. Hadn’t heard about the Cathedral of Junk but that’s amazing too. Thanks for all these details.

  6. j

    November 16, 2018 at 6:42 PM

    Austin was so much fun. I can’t believe it took me 46 years to visit (holy cow I’m 46;) ) but you nailed it with this post. Austin is weird, cool, fun, hip and not what I expect Texas to have been like. I didn’t even 3 days of vegan food either, it was that good. I can’t wait to show this to Ed so he knows what we did.

  7. Eileen Cotter Wright

    November 17, 2018 at 8:28 AM

    I really, really really want to book my trip there! I think I’d fit right in Austin perfectly. Love all these photos, the city seems so colorful! Maybe it’ll be on my list for 2019.

  8. Juliann Jones

    November 18, 2018 at 1:00 PM

    I waited even longer than you to visit Austin! I’m finally going next year. I already knew I wanted to see the Graffiti Park and stop in Voodoo Donuts, but now my list is much longer. I want to see the Cathedral of Junk and visit the Weird Museum. Maybe I’ll even get out on Ladybird Lake. But first things first, I’m going to check out the accommodations you recommend since I have booked a place to stay yet. Thanks for that!

  9. Andi

    November 28, 2018 at 7:09 PM

    We stayed in the area in our RV, all I did was E-A-T! Austin has a lot of great things to do, but I didn’t manage to do much but E-A-T! I definitely need to go back to do actual stuff!

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