For our first kid-free weekend in many months, we wanted to do something super fun. We had visited Central Texas before, but we did it with kids and knew there was plenty more to see and do without them. It didn’t take long after getting our first dose of the vaccine to start looking for a way to celebrate once we were fully vaccinated and we decided to give Waco and Austin another go! Here’s our guide to a low-key weekend in Central Texas!
We drove south from OKC to Waco on Thursday night. It was a perfect drive length so we could leave after lunch and not be too tired. Waking up in Waco was a great plan because we got to explore there a bit before moving on to Austin.
We started the day with breakfast. Of course, Magnolia Table is a big draw for tourists, but the wait can be super long and we didn’t want to waste time in line. We opted to visit what Yelp reviewers decided was the second best breakfast place in town, but now that we’ve been I can’t imagine anything being better.
Y’all. The biscuits at Butter My Biscuit were the best biscuits I’ve ever had. Yes, even better than my great-grandmother’s (sorry, MaMa). I will say it’s a bit of an odd setup and we took a double take when we pulled up. The place is part gaming shop and part brunch restaurant. The two themes could not be more different, but they share a unique storefront. I’m so glad we didn’t let that odd mix keep us from trying it. We won’t go to Waco again without visiting this strange little treasure!
If you’re driving through Central Texas, you can’t visit Waco without seeing Magnolia Market at the Silos. We had been a few years ago and didn’t have a great day. There wasn’t a lot to do back then and it was suuuuuuper hot. We also took three small kids and that was not ideal. This time we had a great time. They’ve expanded the area and there are several small shops and other areas to explore. My favorite part was probably the restored chapel they’ve moved to the property. It was absolutely beautiful.
Even though we enjoyed our time at the Silos very much, we wanted to explore more of Waco. Walking around downtown was the perfect way to get an overview of what Waco has to offer. There are some great little shops and the downtown area is super cute. If you get the chance to visit, make sure you take some time to wander around and find a hidden gem off the beaten path.
After we left Waco, we headed south to Austin. We checked in to our hotel (which we found using our favorite method for getting a great deal), and walked around for a while before we grabbed some tacos for dinner.
Friday night we had tickets to an awesome outdoor concert that we got to see with friends. It was a perfect socially distanced experience to get our toes wet at an event again. Of course, because it’s Austin, there’s plenty of live music to be found. Even if you’ve never heard of a band before, I’d recommend just grabbing tickets and taking it in. You’ll likely have a great time. Side note: The band we went to see is called Flatland Cavalry and they’re awesome. You should definitely check them out if you haven’t heard of them!
Saturday morning we slept in and took our time getting ready. It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to have lunch at The Picnic in Barton Springs! It’s a cool collection of food trucks that has quite a bit of variety! I tried some street tacos and Jon grabbed a burger and we shared. It was perfect for a light lunch and we saved room for some ice cream as we explored the shops on South Congress later on.
Even though there are some fantastic ice cream places in Austin, we stopped at Jeni’s. We grew to love this Columbus, OH original when we lived in Cincinnati and anytime we see a Jeni’s while we’re traveling we have to get it! Brown Butter Almond Brittle will change your life.
That afternoon, we visited Wonderspaces for an interactive art museum experience. It was lots of fun and a great date option.
Wonderspaces even had a virtual reality exhibit that was really neat. It was a little intense for me, but I had never tried anything like that before and I’m glad I did!
After we left Wonderspaces, we headed to 6th Street to try to find some dinner. This may not have been our best idea because there’s not a ton of dining in that area and most of the bars don’t serve much in the way of dinner, but we ended up at a great little spot called Parkside. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was great. If you’re into the bar scene, 6th Street would be great, but it didn’t really fit the low-key vibe we were going for on this trip.
Sunday morning we didn’t do much because we wanted to get back home to the kids! We grabbed a quick breakfast taco at OneTaco and it was SO good. Huge portion size, lots of flavor. There are multiple locations around town, so you should definitely give it a try when you visit! There are also many Torchy’s locations and while we love Torchy’s, we also have that in OKC and wanted to go for something we can’t get at home.
- If you’re driving from OKC or North Texas, Central Texas is a pretty direct shot down I-35. However, it’s not the most pleasant drive. There’s a lot of traffic and not a ton to see… and even the most seasoned road tripper could have a panic attack driving through DFW. I may have personal experience with this… It only took a little longer for us to drive on the back roads and I’d highly recommend doing that instead. The scenery is much nicer and you might find a cute town or two to check out.
- There’s not a lot to eat in the 6th Street entertainment district… we found this out the hard (hangry…) way. If you’re planning on walking around downtown, have reservations or at least a restaurant in mind before you go. We were lucky to find that table at Parkside.
- Central Texas is a great place for winging it. Don’t overplan your trip and you’ll probably find some really fun local spots to check out just from driving around!
Have you been to Central Texas? What are your favorite spots? We’ll definitely be going back, so I want to know what else is good!