Out-of-town guests

If you have friends and family coming to visit, you might not know where to to take them or how to keep them entertained. Ahhh, so much to do, so little time. Or a lot of time, if they’re those kinds of guests. Here are some ideas for giving out-of-town guests the Grande Tour of Austin:

Morning | Breakfast options

Whole Foods downtown

photo / Aaron Gustafson Whole Foods 

Your guests probably have a Whole Foods in their town, but do they have the Whole Foods headquarters in their town? Nope. Take them here to grab a quick breakfast and browse the aisles and aisles of food that won’t kill you. If you buy anything, be sure to use the grocery valet – that might make your guests pee a little.

Whole Foods downtown
525 N Lamar Blvd • Austin, TX 78703


Magnolia never closes and serves breakfast all day and night, so no matter what time your guests are craving breakfast, you can go here. Their hours might remind you of IHOP, but please don’t make the comparison – the food at Magnolia is high quality and healthy, and they’re locally owned.

512-Go!» Magnolia Cafe
1920 S Congress Ave • 445-0000
2304 Lake Austin Blvd • 478-8645

Day | Stuff to do

We want to enjoy the outdoors: Zilker Park

You and your guests can take your pick of things to do here: fly a kite, ride the train, paddle a canoe, or just walk around the trails and people-watch.

512-Go!» Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Rd • Austin, TX 78746

We like art: Volitant Gallery

Work by Matthew Rodriguez at Volitant Gallery 

Free, fun, hip, cool, great, neat, swell: Volitant is at the southwest corner of 4th and Congress. There’s no free lot, so you’ll need to park on the street or in a nearby lot.

(Sadly, Volitant Gallery closed in late 2007)

Austin Museum of Art

Want more? Walk north on Congress toward 9th Street to the Austin Museum of Art. There’s always a ton to see at AMoA, and the museum store will allow your guests to pick up a few souvenirs on the way out.

Hours | Free–$5

512-Go!» AMoA
823 Congress Ave • 495-9224

We’ll have kids with us: Austin Children’s Museum

Hey, it’s a children’s museum. Expect to have a lot of fun here, even if you’re old.

Hours | Free–$5.50

512-Go!» Austin Children’s Museum
201 Colorado St • 472-2499

We’re willing to drop some cash: Iron Rock Raceway

Wow, this place is awesome. Races are pricey ($20 for 10 minutes), but the experience is worth it if those pussy-mobiles at Malibu Grand Prix always made you yawn. You’ll have to sit through a short physics lesson before you can get behind the wheel of one of the rockkarts – fully clad in a helmet, neck brace, gloves, and a sweeet racing suit. Yeah, you’ll feel pretty cool out there. Note that you have to be over 16 to race, and they’re closed on Mondays.

Hours | Prices vary

Iron Rock Raceway
10320 New Airport Dr • 530-RACE

Evening | Dinner options

We’re celebrating a special occassion: Dona Emilia’s

Dona Emilia’s is a bit expensive, but the food is to die for. Great service, great food, great mojitos – your guests will be quite impressed.

512-Go!» Dona Emilia’s
101 San Jacinto Blvd • 478-2520

We want to go somewhere with a nice outdoor patio: The Oasis

The Oasis, hands down, offers the best outdoor patio in the city. Show up early if you’d like to have a table during sunset, because you definitely won’t be the only hungry person in town with the idea. Though the food isn’t the greatest, the view of Lake Travis makes up for it.

The Oasis
6550 Comanche Trail • 266-2442

Post-dinner entertainment

We want to see a live show: Esther’s Follies

Part magic show, part musical, part sketch comedy, Esther’s Follies is a great option for post-dinner entertainment – so long as your guests will be in town on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

Thursdays at 8pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and 10pm | $20–$25

512-Go!» Esther’s Follies
525 E Sixth St • 320-0553

Alamo Drafthouse Downtown 

We want to see a movie at a theater that won’t make us sit through Fanta commercials before the show: Alamo Drafthouse

If you’ve been, you know that absolutely no amount of explaining can possibly convey to a Drafthouse virgin just how cool this place is. Just look up showtimes and go. If possible, order tickets online to avoid heartbreak/a soldout show.

512-Go!» Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas
Various locations