Texas Weekend Getaway: Austin, Waco, & Dallas Guide
Texas Weekend Recap
As I mentioned here, over MDW we headed down to the Lone Star state for a friend’s wedding and a little weekend getaway. Usually, when we travel on the weekends it’s to see family, which is great, but it was fun to head somewhere just for fun. And let’s be honest, for me, for the food.
I actually lived in Dallas for four and half years, during college and for my first 6 months of real adult working life after, and I adored that town. It’s always a pleasure to go back, so when we found out we had a wedding Sunday evening there we figured we’d make the long weekend a whole Texas vacay.
We decided to start in Austin, then take a quick jaunt through Waco en route to Dallas, and then finish off in that glistening north Texas city that houses my alma mater.
The Quick & Dirty:
- Where We Stayed: Hyatt Place Downtown
- Where We Ate Lunch: Fresas on 1st
- Where We Ate Dinner: The Salt Lick
- Where We Ate Dessert: The Churro Co. Austin Food Truck
We flew into Austin on Friday morning, arriving right around 11 am, just in time to work up a little appetite for lunch. We grabbed our rental car from Hertz (hubs travels A LOT) for work so we’re loyal to a few travel brands like SouthWest and Hertz. So lucky for us we got to pick our car and wouldn’t you know it seemed fitting to pick a FORD.
We quickly headed to our home for the night, the Hyatt Place downtown which was lovely but most definitely a top bachelor/bachelorette party mainstay. How could I tell? Besides for the 8 gaggles of 20 something men checking in, and it’s proximity to all of the fun downtown spots, they made us sign a “tranquility contract” LOL basically stating that you’d be quiet and respectful from 11 pm to 6 am, I assured the woman I would be fast asleep at that time of night.
After dropping our stuff we decided that instead of driving we would get a little exercise by walking to the taco place I wanted to try. It said 1.6 miles on the map, we’re city folk I walk that all the time in Chicago, so we set out. Halfway there we were DRIPPING in sweat from the walk, it was in the mid-90s and there was barely any part of the trek that wasn’t in the sun but by golly, I EARNED that queso I had been daydreaming about for weeks. We arrived at Fresas and despite the cool air-conditioned inside area we opted to be like real Texans and most of the patrons there and sit outside, in the shade, to enjoy our tex-mex meal. We never did stop sweating but a few icy drinks and chips/guac/queso/burrito bowls later and we were pretty content. To get back to the hotel we got an Uber who called himself a “professional” and I will say his car was equipped with everything you may want so kudos to him.
That afternoon we drove over to a little shopping area and SURPRISE SURPRISE stopped into a West Elm because we do that every weekend and then bopped around a few more shops. Then we headed back to the hotel to cool down and freshen up before our drive out into the Hill Country for dinner.
For those that don’t know, the Salt Lick has become pretty famous in recent years. It is a massive BBQ restaurant out in Driftwood, about 30 min from Austin. I usually advocate skipping out on red meat where you can, and I follow that 90% of the time but in some instances, you gotta experience the local culture am I right?? So we deiced to go with a big combo plate: brisket, turkey, pork ribs, & sausage served up with coleslaw and potato salad (both of which are more of a light vinegar base than heavy mayo base, and super delish). It was a quick meal but a peak experience, I hadn’t been in years and hubs had never been - check one off the bucket list!
For our last little bit of time in Austin, we headed back downtown and over to the South Congress area to wander around a bit in the cooling evening which was delightful. At that point, my sweet tooth kicked in and after some quick google searching, I found the Churro Co. Austin close by on South First. The churros are made to order and so freaking good, plus I NEVER eat churros so that’s fun right?
We called it a night after that and rolled ourselves into bed pleasantly full and ready to wake up early to head north!
The Quick & Dirty
- What Time We Arrived: 7:30 am
- How Long The Whole Thing Took: 1.5 hours
- Where We Ate Breakfast: Magnolia Bakery
- Where We Ate Lunch: Zoe’s Mediterranean Kitchen
- Overall rating: 7/10 - it was cool, but definitely not a full day’s worth of actives
We got up early because everything we read said that to get to Magnolia Market/Silo and have a good experience you gotta get there before the doors open to get in line. When we arrived hubs dropped me off at the bakery to get in line while he found parking (which I thought would be hard but he got an easy street parking spot just a block away). We waited in line for about 15 minutes before ordering some decadent pastries and enjoying them in a shady spot on the patio.
By about 8:15 am we were done eating and figured we’d get in line for the Market which opened at 9 and we could see the queue piling up. If you haven’t ever seen photos, the whole thing is basically a big square. In the middle is a huge turf area for kids to run around and play, fully equips with big comfy bean bags for older kids to lounge in and all within easy eyeshot for parents waiting in line for the market which is in one corner of the square. The rest of the perimeter is full of food trucks (none of which were open yet while we were there) as well as a garden area with the most perfect looking plans including a variety of chards.
After waiting in line for about 45 minutes while we took turns walking around the property, the doors opened and we very quickly shuffled into the market. It was beautiful and had lots of stuff you’d want, but the reality was so much of it could be found at Target or online and we weren’t out to wait in line to ship stuff home. Still, it was fun to spend 30 minutes looking around, getting inspiration.
We decided to duck out around 9:30 but not without a 2-hour detour to Crawford TX to see if we could randomly find the Gaines’ home. Of course, we couldn’t (not my idea thankyouverymuch) so we came back through Waco, stopped at an old college favorite Zoe’s for a salad, then on to Dallas!
The Quick & Dirty
- Where We Stayed: The Hilton Anatole
- Where We Ate Dinner: Coal Vines Pizzeria
- Where We Ate Lunch: Mesero on Henderson
So we arrived in Dallas around 2 pm on Saturday afternoon which meant we had a few hours to kill before getting ready for the welcome party for the wedding. We did a quick run by the bookstore at SMU to get Ford his first college onesie, then over to the hotel to check in. After dropping our bags we headed down to the pool, or should I say water park, for a little time in the searing heat because why not? This wasn’t a lovely relaxing adult pool but more like a combination of Vegas pool party and Disney water park. At least it was good people watching!
That night we had a welcome party to attend at the Art House at Hotel Zaza and then got a bite to eat after down the street at an old favorite of mine Coal Vines. They specialize in delicious coal-fired pizzas and you bet I bought the extra’s home for the mini fridge in our room for the late night after the wedding Sunday (genius I know).
Sunday I woke up bright and early to meet some girlfriends for an 8:30 am soul cycle class, then brunch with a couple I went to college with at Mesero on Henderson where I got my second fix of queso. It was a HOT morning so the afternoon was spent cooling down and checking out my old favorite mall NorthPark LOL hubs is what I call a “mall rat”. We ended up doing another 1-hour stint at the Vegas water park before getting ready for the wedding and then we had quite an adventure.
There weren’t any wedding websites for this particular event so I was left with just my memory to determine the church. I knew it was Baptist and for whatever reason, I thought “First Baptist Church” and I knew it was in the bride's hometown. The ceremony was at 5 pm and we pulled up to that church at 4:47 only to both realize there was NO ONE there. We quickly thought on our feet remembering the maid of honor speech about it being the church of their high school graduation and routed our way there, 17 minutes away. Since hubs has a serious lead foot, we got there buzzing 100 sown the highway at 4:59 and luckily as most weddings go, they started 15 minutes late. We slid into our seats and signed a bit sigh of relief. The ceremony was short and one bridesmaid managed to fall down the front steps mid-ceremony which cause quite the commotion/entertainment (don’t worry she was fine!!). After the ceremony, we went to the reception at the Dallas Arboretum which was HOT but fun. The food was Texas comfort - with an avocado bar & BBQ. We stayed until about 10 and then ducked out because this momma’s feet were hot and swollen and as DD I was ready to drive home.
All in all the weekend was a blast and it was kinda fun to sweat your life away for a few days to be appreciative of the seemingly mild weather in Chicago!
I bought a ton of comfy stuff and few cute light pieces that were perfect in the summer heat with my growing belly. To shop the essentials head to my LikeToKnow.It Page or click below - then check out all my pics!