Traveling to Austin Alone
Are you traveling to Austin alone? Then you came to the right place! I haven’t written enough quality content about my adventure to Texas – which is something I’m rectifying right now.
Seriously, you guys, you ought to visit Austin in the near future. The capital of Texas is so stinkin’ fun and unique too, with plenty for a solo traveler to enjoy. The atmosphere differs from other American cities that I have visited in the past. It’s open, friendly, unique. Additionally, Austin’s population is growing at a crazy rate, which makes it an incredible place for travelers, especially of the solo variety.
As for me, I visited Austin during my Spring Break – which was really an ideal time to go to Texas. The weather was gorgeous, with sunny skies and 75 degree balmy breezes, and the humidity was non-existent except for one day. Could you experience a thunderstorm? Eh, maybe. But overall, spring’s weather is wonderful.
Now I compiled this list of seven terrific experiences in Austin to get you off to a strong start for planning your trip. As always, I welcome more suggestions in the comments. I only stayed in Austin for five days, so, of course, I don’t know everything that this funky capital offers. I’m not that arrogant (yet).
1. Food Trucks. Oh, the food trucks.
Um. Yum. Austin’s food trucks are incredible. High quality, diverse, and plentiful. Especially in South and East Austin, I was never more than a few blocks away from an enticing food truck so it was easy, maybe too easy, to plan my meals. Furthermore, I especially loved Austin’s food trucks as a solo traveler since I have a crippling fear of eating alone in restaurants, haha. So, if you’re traveling to Austin alone, please take advantage of this gift from the Travel Gods.
On my own trip, some of my favorite food trucks were Hey Cupcake, ARLO’S, Veracruz All Natural, and Gourdough’s Big. Fat. Donuts. Mmmmm, yummy. Seriously, here the food truck possibilities are endless. Endless.
Personally, I recommend going to a different food truck every day you’re in Austin. You’re bound to discover some new and fun cuisine. Myself? I have a newfound appreciate for veggie burgers, thanks to ARLO’S.
- Hey Cupcake is located on 1511 S. Congress. If you’re a fan of cupcakes, then place needs to be on your list.
- ARLO’S is located on 1700 E. 6th at The Grackle. Even if you’re a meat fan, ARLO’s veggie burgers are divine and filling. I couldn’t believe the taste – rich and cheesy! I wouldn’t have a beef burger again if ARLO’s was close to me!
- Veracruz All Natural is located on 1704 E Cesar Chavez. An excellent place to try breakfast tacos. This place gets packed in the mornings so try and arrive early to enjoy your tacos. Outdoor seating is limited. I loved the red beans, eggs, pepper jack cheese, and chorizo.
- Gourdough’s. Big. Fat. Donuts is located on 1503 S 1st St. I can’t even begin to describe the variety of donuts available at this place. After walking 13 miles, I sat down to the Best Meal Ever, which was an Elvis donut with peanut butter, bananas, and bacon. My waistline sure appreciated it.
2. Visit the State Capitol Building.
No visit to Austin is truly complete without popping into the State Capitol Building. Keep in mind that you need to go through security before exploring the interior of the capitol. Don’t worry. It’s not as intense as the airport, haha.
Once inside the State Capitol Building, you can opt to take a guided tour and learn all about the history. I took my tour through Austin Detours (more on them below), but you can also take a free guided tour that’s arranged through the State Capitol itself. Tours are approximately 30 minutes long, so it’s easy enough to fit a visit into an otherwise packed day.
Now should you take a tour? Yes, you should. Honestly, I thought a tour was worthwhile. I learned a lot about the female governors of Texas – such as Miriam “Ma” Ferguson who took a stand against the Ku Klux Klan.
Some more good news: photography is permitted inside the building, so you can take some pretty amazing pictures. The interior is beautiful. You may need to fight crowds for that perfect shot, though, haha! Be sure to explore the grounds too!
- The State Capitol Building is located at 1100 Congress Ave. Although, let’s be honest, this extravagant building is pretty difficult to miss!
3. Enjoy an “Austin Detours” Tour.
Transparency Disclosure: In exchange for promotion on this blog, Austin Detours kindly comped me a 2 hour tour. I enjoyed it a lot, however, and I would absolutely pay for the experience. It was very worth it.
Personally, whenever I visit a new city, I like booking myself on day tours that give me an overview of what there is to see and do. As a solo traveler, tours like these also give me the chance to talk to people.
The Real Austin Tour takes you to Austin’s coolest locations – including food trucks – and teaches you all about the history behind “making Austin weird.” My guide was fabulous too! It was also nice to have a driver since a lot of Austin’s sites are very spread out, haha. My “inner lazy person” was pleased.
Make sure to read my in-depth review about Austin Detours for more information about this Austin experience.
4. Learn some US history at LBJ Presidential Library.
Traveling to Austin alone and a huge US history buff? Then you’ve come to the right city, my friend!
As for me, I wanted to visit LBJ Presidential Library, because I didn’t know much about Lyndon B. Johnson other than the Vietnam War, one of the darkest periods in United States history. Not to mention, I developed some sort of amnesia since I’ve taken AP US History II in high school.
Anyway even if you’re not a fan of this president, the interior of the library is beautiful and photogenic. Like the Capitol Building, you’re more than welcome to take photographs throughout the museum. Additionally, there are plenty of rooms that offer insights to daily life in America in the 1960s, which I think is one of the most fascinating time periods in US history.
Overall, I found LBJ Presidential Library one of the most educational experiences in Austin. The tour guides are very passionate about history. They’re also very friendly and willing to take all sorts of questions.
- LBJ Presidential Library is located at the University of Texas – Austin. The exact address is 2313 Red River St.
5. Spray paint at Baylor Street Art Wall.
Yesss, spraying the paint is one of the most fun activities you can do when traveling to Austin alone. Then again I love art so I might be a tiny bit bias here, haha!
This open air art galley is free and allows everyone, locals and tourists, to express themselves through street art. I’m a big fan of street art. I love how this gallery changes every day of the week. I sprayed a purple heart on the wall, which is no doubt covered up by now, but there’s something beautiful about the art changing and growing day in and day out. It represents life itself, you know?
So buy a small spray can. Add a piece of your personality to this wall. Express yourself. Take plenty of pictures of graffiti that’s not guaranteed to exist the next weekend. Just don’t get paint all over your clothes like I almost did.
I think Baylor Street Art Wall really embodies Austin’s “weird” spirit in a tangible way. And you’re invited to join in the fun! Loved it. I want to go back and paint again.
6. Stroll down South Congress.
I loved South Austin a lot. I wish I spent more time in this part of the city. Something about the vibe just “stood out” for me. In particular, South Congress is a great street for shopping fiends. Is it touristy? Yes, but, hey, we’re all tourists here. Nothing to feel ashamed over. Buy some cool souvenirs on this street. And definitely check out the “I Love You So Much” painted wall! It’s sweet.
One of my favorite stores was South Congress Books, a used bookstore located at
1608 South Congress Avenue. You can find some unique and unusual books here. Also you may want to check out their events! You could come face to face with a favorite author of yours, making your trip extra special.
If you’re not into shopping, then check out some of the cool houses on the surrounding streets. I remember seeing a house that looked like a miniature Disney castle, haha.
7. Discover Texas at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Are you ready for some more history, you guys? Duh, of course you are! Austin’s museum game is strong, folks. Now I’m learned all about United States history in high school. I even took AP US History II when I was sixteen, because I thought history was so cool. But I’m a bit spotty on each state’s history.
Texas, without a doubt, has an incredibly rich history so it’s easy to understand why locals are so proud of their state. I loved learning about Texas when it was part of Mexico and when it functioned as an independent nation. Did you know you’re allowed to fly Texas’s flag at an equal height to the USA flag since Texas was technically its own country? I didn’t!
Overall, I thought that The Bullock Texas State History Museum had many fascinating and interactive exhibits that gave visitors a deep look into Texas’s past. You can choose a general admission ticket, or you can pay more to watch the latest movies in the museum’s state of the art IMAX theatre.
Keep in mind if you visit during the week that you’ll likely bump into school trips. I’m a teacher so groups of kids don’t bother me, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
- The Bullock Texas State History Museum is located at 1800 Congress Ave.
Did I Like Traveling to Austin Alone? Where Should I Stay?
Over all, I thought Austin was a great place to travel alone. Like any capital city, you can fill your schedule with plenty of cultural sites, as well as delicious food. Now I will say that solo travelers don’t necessarily overrun Austin. This city is a attractive to friend groups since it is known for its live music and nightlife. While I did strike up conversation here, it was harder to find fellow solo travelers than other destinations. So you may have to entertain yourself if you’re traveling to Austin alone.
When traveling to Austin alone, you need to make your personal safety a priority. While I found Austin safe, you do need to stay aware of your surroundings (like any other big city) and make smart choices. Firstly, keep in mind Austin has a rather large homeless population, especially near Front Steps and the Salvation Army downtown. In my experience, the homeless weren’t very aggressive at all, but still, just something to be aware of. Another tip would be to watch the drinking. As I’ve said, Austin is a bit of a party city and drinking too much may lead to trouble. All things in moderation, my friend.
As for where to base yourself, I stayed at HK Hostel in East Austin. You may also know this place as “Nomadic Matt’s hostel,” haha. HK Hostel was great! It felt like I was staying at a friend’s house rather than a large hostel chain. Additionally, I liked East Austin a lot more than downtown, due to the fun cafes, food trucks, and boutiques. During my stay, I pretended I was local and spent time sipping coffee outside and watching all the people. It was lovely.
Have you ever been to Austin? Do you think you would ever try traveling alone to Austin? What are your favorite experiences? Leave your own suggestions in the comments. And don’t forget your guidebook! Thanks!
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