A new year has begun, and spring has sprung. Check out these places located in the heart of downtown Austin for new adventures, historic views, and a variety of delicious food from around the world.
The Stanley in Austin
It’s sometimes hard to mix historic and comfortable when it comes to home rentals and travel destinations. Taking up a large corner lot in the heart of Austin, Lodgewell’s The Stanley is a historic home between South Congress and South 1st Street. This uber interesting home also features a one-room cottage in the backyard, a great courtyard for dining and chilling and an aboveground pool.
Take a trip back in time and feel like you’ve been transported to Tuscany with this lavish 1894 home that sleeps 12. The original stone walls and beautiful woodwork throughout the 3,600 square foot property will make your stay one full of unique charm and comfort. The master bedroom is French-inspired, with a stately chandelier, bookshelves abounding and intricately designed doors. Also on the main floor, you’ll find a full kitchen and dining area. One floor below, guests will enjoy a cave-like room with a double bed, a full bath and a living area. Above the main floor is an open loft bunk room, offering four single beds and one king size bed, also with a full bathroom.
If the design and style of this historic four-bed, four-bath home isn’t enough to entice you to book your stay; the house cocktail, The Texas Tea, is sure to bring you home. At The Stanley, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled all over the world (without leaving Austin), and still have that Texas charm. ~ MF
Austin Marriott Downtown
The Austin Marriott Downtown is certainly the nicest Marriott I’ve ever stayed in – and I’ve always preferred Marriott, so I’ve stayed in a lot. The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, from the front desk to the valets. The Lobbyist (lobby bar) sitting area is a large, beautiful, and downright comfortable place to spend several hours working and people-watching along South Congress Street. Not to mention, the hotel is in the perfect central location from which to explore Austin in any direction. And, honestly, the view of the city and the Colorado River from my room’s window made the entire stay – and trip for that matter – worth it. ~ ENC
On the 4th floor of Hotel Van Zandt sits Geraldine’s, a restaurant that has reigned supreme in the popular Rainey District. Their menu is one full page of tapas options like Roasted Brussels Sprouts with mint and basil, savory Oxtail Rigatoni, Short Rib, and Grilled Sweet Potatoes. Pair those with a Motito (Tito’s Vodka), a Geraldine’s G&T (with Hendrick’s gin), or a bold cabernet wine. Don’t skip the Buttermilk Biscuits with maple-butter honey for an undeniable Southern delight.
Pro-Tip: If dining only (no hotel stay), don’t assume you can park in the attached garage if the hotel is at capacity. Paid street spots can be found within a 5 to 10-minute walk, and try to carpool if you can. From the north, consider taking Capital Metro’s red line train to the downtown station, also a half-mile walk or quick Uber ride to the restaurant. Just be mindful of schedules, with the last train leaving downtown close to 12:30 am on weekends. ~ MF & DM
Well-known for their popular food trucks which float around Greater Austin, Garbo’s has been around these parts since 2015. Their newest brick and mortar location opened in the old Opal Divine’s along North Mopac in July of 2021. This family-owned establishment was started as Garbo’s Lobster Austin, Texas | New England Cuisine by a family hailing from Maine. Step into this fun and casual coastal dining environment to find out why their tagline is “New England Cuisine with an Austin Twist.”
Choose from a variety of Maine or Connecticut-style rolls, all served on New England top split buns for an authentic lobster shack experience. Our favorite small plates were the Mahi Smoked Fish Dip, Maine Crab Cakes and Spicy Shrimp Fries. Weekly specials include Tuesday’s Fish and Chips, with the fried cod filets beer battered in Live Oak Hefeweizen beer. In addition, every Wednesday (all day) you can order $2 New England Oysters flown in from Island Creek Oyster Co. Enjoy Garbo’s Cheeseburgers on Thursdays, including kids’ meals complete with a frozen treat of Connor’s Soft-Serve Ice Cream. Sunday brunch is served from 10-3, with lobster versions of Avocado Toast, Eggs Benedict and Flatbread like none other in the Austin city limits. ~ DM
Tacodeli Downtown on Congress
We love this option for lunch downtown on Congress at 3rd. Walk up to order fresh tacos from chicken to beef, pork or shrimp or veggie. Ask for the “blue plate” which combines 2 tacos with a side of rice and beans. Get in by 3pm though, as they close early! ~ MF
milk + honey spa
Downtown’s milk + honey spa is just a block from the Lady Bird Lake Trail and near the 2nd Street District. Whether you want to pop over for an express treatment, like a 45-minute facial or a lunchtime massage, discover this haven of calm amid the downtown chaos.
You might splurge for their 60-minute Signature Massage or 60-minute Signature Facial, with the day spa offering both spa and med spa treatments. Facial products are very gentle on your skin, so just bring along some sunscreen and tinted moisturizer with a little lip and eye color to throw on afterward, or nothing at all to reap the benefits of all Milk & Honey’s nourishing products and services. Robes and slippers are provided in a small relaxation lounge with healthy refreshments. Access a full shower as needed after your services to feel fully refreshed before continuing about your day. Without additional amenities, you won’t need to plan for a long visit; just enough to get you rejuvenated! ~ MF & DM
Cover photo courtesy Austin Marriott Downtown
A proud native-New Yorker, ErinNicole Conti completed her Masters Degree in Publishing: Digital and Print Media at New York University. When not obsessively reading, she catches up on science-fiction and dramedy shows with her adorable cat.
Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She can be seen on TV shows across Texas, offering travel tips, in addition to her long-running “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.
Dana Maass lives with her husband and their dog Chester in Round Rock, Texas. When not working her day job, she can be found traveling, writing, exploring the Hill Country, and serving the community.