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Red Ash
Photograph: Ashlyn Allison Red Ash

Here's how to spend a perfect day in downtown Austin

Explore downtown Austin with our guide to the neighborhood's best restaurants, bars and activities

By Erin Kuschner

There are plenty of ways to explore downtown Austin, but there’s only one perfect way to spend a day in the Texas capital's center. We've put together an itinerary for your ideal day in this always-entertaining ’hood.


Start your day with a scenic stroll along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail by Lady Bird Lake. Feeling adventurous? You can rent a kayak or paddleboard at Congress Avenue Kayaks for a quick morning paddle. Refuel afterward at Holy Roller, where brunch is served all day and yellow-cake pancakes are stuffed with cookies and cream.


Take yourself on an art crawl by visiting the three biggest downtown art museums. At the Blanton Museum of Art, you’ll find Ellsworth Kelly’s new Austin, a light-filled structure meant to inspire contemplation. Make your way down to the Contemporary Austin’s Jones Center, then hit up the Mexic-Arte Museum for Mexican, Latino and Latin American art. Stop by metal dive bar Casino el Camino for one of the gargantuan messy burgers.


Grab a predinner drink at craft cocktail haven Small Victory, where you can customize the perfect martini and enjoy it with one of the bar’s beautiful cheese boards. Then it’s time for dinner at Italian all-star Red Ash (Be sure to get an order of the wood-roasted meatballs!). End the night with a show at legendary blues joint Antone’s, where you might just see a star in the making.

Looking for more things to do in downtown Austin?


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