Only in Austin with Becca Tobin
It’s time to wrap up the ‘Only In’ series we’ve been taking on this season of Out Travel the System, by heading to Hollywood South. Yes, it’s Austin’s turn in the spotlight, and you know we had to line up an extremely special guest for this – none other than Becca Tobin, of The Ladygang, among many endeavors.
She takes host Nisreene Atassi through why she left the bright lights of L.A. to make Austin home, and what makes it such an incredibly special place. Just off the top of her head: the thriving music and arts scene, a bridge where you can see a spectacular aerial display from bats, and did we mention breakfast tacos?
Don’t miss her insights on when to visit and what to check out, especially if you’re Only in Austin for 24 hours.
Here is a list of some of the things mentioned within the episode:
Only in Austin with Becca Tobin
Nisreene Atassi: I’ve been to Austin twice in my life, once for business and the other for pleasure. Each visit left me wanting to see and experience more. To say that the people, and of course, the food, has made an impact on my life is an understatement. I’m Nisreene Atassi, and this is Out Travel the System. Here it is, everyone. This is the very last episode for this season of our ‘Only In’ series, which has been profiling some of America’s most vibrant cities. This time, we’re tackling the amazing city of Austin, Texas, with its thriving arts and food scenes. Since this is the last ‘Only In’ feature this season, you know I had to bring on an extremely special guest with me today. You may know her from her time on the TV show Glee or other onscreen projects like Turner & Hooch, which is airing now on Disney+ through October, or maybe you know her from her performances on stage on Broadway. She’s got a New York Times- bestselling book, as well as a massively popular podcast that she co- hosts called The Ladygang. All of this to say, she is a multi- talented person. Here with me today is the one and only Becca Tobin.
Becca Tobin: Hi, it’s such an honor. I didn’t realize this is the last one of the season.
Nisreene Atassi: The last of our ‘ Only In’ series, so our last city profile.
Becca Tobin: It’s a lot of pressure for being a newbie to Austin, but I’m going to try to do it justice.
Nisreene Atassi: It is, but I feel good. I feel good about you. I feel good.
Becca Tobin: Good.
Nisreene Atassi: All right. Well, let’s get started. So, you’re not actually originally from Austin, you have adopted Austin as your new home. You’re an Atlanta native who’s spent a ton of time, actually, in New York and LA. Tell me a little bit about what has prompted you to make Austin your new home base.
Becca Tobin: Like you mentioned, I’m originally from Atlanta, so is my husband. I lived in New York for eight years and I sort of always assumed I would be in that half of the country. When I got the job on Glee, it took me out to LA, which I was very grateful for, and ended up staying a lot longer than anticipated. I met my husband, we fell in love, he moved to LA for me, and we were there for a couple years until the pandemic. We were in a pod with some of our best friends in LA, and we all had the itch to leave LA before the pandemic. We didn’t know where, and we didn’t know when, but then the pandemic hits, we’re sitting around, and it’s like we’re trying to decide what restaurant to eat at that night, except it was like, what city are we going to all just move to? We got really bold in the quarantine. My husband lived in Austin in his twenties, so that was obviously his number one pick. He loves the city, and I’ve always loved the city. I hadn’t spent a ton of time in Austin, so we were kind of toying with that. We were talking about Nashville, and then we just took a trip here once things got a little safer to travel, and spent three days and fell madly in love with the city. We have a lot of really close friends here, and it’s also great because the convenience of being here and going back and forth from Atlanta or back and forth from Los Angeles, it’s very seamless. We’re grateful that we made this choice. We’re in the center of the country and it’s such a cool city.
Nisreene Atassi: Would you say that your friends and family were surprised that you guys were moving to Austin? What were people’s reactions?
Becca Tobin: People were very surprised. I think that we had never really talked about moving to Austin. If anything, we had talked about possibly moving back to Atlanta, but that would have been many years from now. With the pandemic, everybody in our circle and in our families, their jobs changed and everything went very virtual, so it just sort of became a reality that we didn’t have before. They were surprised, but everybody was very, very excited, one, because I’m biased, but I think that visiting Austin is way more fun than visiting Los Angeles. Our friends and family have already started to come in every weekend, our guest bedroom is fully booked through the end of the year, so they’re not complaining, to say the least.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah. Yeah. You visited Austin obviously a few times before you moved, but now that you are actually living there, what has been something that has been the biggest surprise for you?
Becca Tobin: The biggest surprise for me, I got here, I landed at the airport, I was in Vancouver for six months working, and when I landed in Austin, it was my first time back since visiting, and officially as a resident, the driver said to me, ” Oh, it’s really bad traffic. Just get used to it. It’s so crazy.” I get in the car, and 10 minutes in I’m looking around and I’m like, ” We’re moving so quickly. Is this your traffic?” He said, ” Yes, it’s getting so bad.” I think that after living in Atlanta and Los Angeles, two very, very, very populated cities with the worst traffic, in my opinion, in the country, I was pleasantly surprised that this is nothing, so the people of Austin can rest assured that it doesn’t even touch Atlanta or Los Angeles, or New York, for that matter.
Nisreene Atassi: When I was in Austin, and this was over maybe six or seven years ago, the last time I was there, they were talking about how bad the traffic was. At the time, I was living in Chicago, which was like if you don’t leave the city basically by one o’clock, then it’s going to take you six hours to get wherever you’re going. So, it’s really all relative based off of what you’re used to.
Becca Tobin: It is. I was ready for Los Angeles 2.0, and getting geared up to get a comfy car to be stuck in all day. But, yeah, it’s been nice.
Nisreene Atassi: Do you think people have misconceptions about the city of Austin, since it’s in Texas, in the middle of America, compared to other big cities?
Becca Tobin: Definitely. When we told a lot of our friends from LA that we were thinking about moving to Austin, a lot of people’s response was, ” Texas?” You know? With disgust. It’s hard. We’re in a very liberal city of Los Angeles, and Texas’ reputation is not the same as Austin’s. I think that we always had to follow it up with a caveat being, ” It is Texas, but it’s Austin,” kind of its own little mecca in the middle of big old Texas.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah. What are some of the things that you think make Austin atypical from any other city in Texas?
Becca Tobin: I mean, I’ve spent a little bit of time in Dallas and Houston. I can’t say a lot for any of the more rural areas of Texas, but Austin compared to those cities, it’s just got an energy, it’s a hip energy, not to sound cheesy, it feels young and energetic, just has more character. It has a lot of character. It has a lot of different types of people here, whereas I didn’t experience that much diversity as far as culturally in those other big cities of Texas.
Nisreene Atassi: Yep. I get that. You get that vibe with Austin that it’s open, non- judgmental, people can come and be who they want to be, which I think is a very good characteristic that any major city has. So, people just, I think it takes a minute to put Austin on that level, but once you actually travel there and you actually see it, it makes total sense.
Becca Tobin: For sure.
Nisreene Atassi: I totally get that. A lot of our listeners have probably actually never been to Austin. Can you do us a favor and give us a bird’s eye description of the city and its neighborhoods?
Becca Tobin: Okay. I’m going to do my best here, but I’m still learning. There’s downtown, proper Austin, with the capitol building, and then there’s neighborhoods like Sixth Street and Rainey Street with the bars and all that, and hotels. There’s the Colorado river, which is on one side of it, which is really cool. You don’t really get that in a lot of cities. There’s South Austin, which has places like one of my favorite neighborhoods, which is South Congress, my favorite place to walk around and shop. There’s East Austin, one of the city’s biggest and most diverse neighborhoods, and you’ll find a really good range of cuisines and culture. West Austin, there’s Tarrytown. A lot of the houses on Lake Austin are in that area. Westlake, they’re both pretty affluent neighborhoods where families live, mostly. Then if you go further west, there’s the suburbs that I live in. It’s pretty boring. It’s suburbia. Then past us is Dripping Springs, which is a really, really cool area with really great breweries and all that kind of stuff. Oh, and of course I can’t forget, just north of downtown, University of Texas. That’s a major thing.
Nisreene Atassi: I love that you brought up how each neighborhood is sort of unique and different. I want to dig into that a little bit more, because I think as we’ve been doing these ‘Only In’ city overview episodes, it’s becoming really, really clear that within each city, there are pockets of communities that live in different neighborhoods. Literally depending on what you want to experience that day or what you want to do that day, our guests are always recommending certain neighborhoods. Do you feel like Austin has that, where it’s like if you want to go and get the best food, you want to go to this street, or if you want the best nightlife, go to this neighborhood, or arts and live music is in this neighborhood? Are there certain neighborhoods that are really well known for really specific things?
Becca Tobin: Yes, definitely. There’s that famous South Congress Bridge, where at night you can see thousands and thousands of bats flying out from underneath it.
Nisreene Atassi: Oh, is that nice, or is that creepy?
Becca Tobin: It’s a little creepy, but it’s so cool, because the bridge is beautiful and there’s the water and you can see downtown, and it’s a little surreal. It’s something you can’t do in any other city. But that area in general, South Congress has really great restaurants, an actual coffee truck called Joe’s that is so busy on the weekends. To me, that is the perfect Saturday, to have brunch, cocktails, shopping, and then West Sixth, the craziness and the partying, and same with Rainey Street. You can go down at Rainey Street any time of day and you’ll see people really getting after it, if you will.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah.
Becca Tobin: Zilker Park, you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of a big city. It’s green and beautiful, and there’s so many little pockets around there to be outdoorsy and adventurous.
Nisreene Atassi: Are all of these places relatively close to each other? How tight is everything or how spread out is everything? If you’re a traveler coming in and if you just sort of stay really central right in downtown, how easy is it to get around to all of these different areas?
Becca Tobin: It’s very easy. I would say the only things I’ve mentioned so far that are a little bit more of a trek would be the Dripping Springs and Spicewood areas, where there’s the breweries. But everything else is considered within downtown, which is also what makes Austin so cool, is that you can take out a kayak on the river and you’re still downtown.
Nisreene Atassi: That’s awesome.
Becca Tobin: It’s really accessible, and you can spend an entire day and sort of stay within a couple miles and see so, so much and do so much.
Nisreene Atassi: That’s so nice. in terms of transportation, do you think travelers need a rental car, or do you think they can make do with Ubers, Lyfts, free bikes, anything along those lines?
Becca Tobin: I would say if it’s a weekend trip, you’re really going to stay in the same central location of downtown. I probably wouldn’t suggest driving. I would do a rental car if you’re going to be here for more than a couple of days and want to take it out and explore outside, the outskirts of the city.
Nisreene Atassi: What about, you know what’s been popping up a lot in Seattle have been, we first had the free bikes, then we had free motorized bikes. You can rent them for a dollar a minute or whatever. Now we have scooters you can rent and drop off any place, and now there’s little mini moped type things. Does Austin have a lot of that kind of stuff? I find that people in Seattle are really enjoying using those to get around from one neighborhood to the next. Austin feels like a place where that kind of vibe would be really popular.
Becca Tobin: People are on bikes everywhere here. Also, the Lime electric scooters are all over downtown.
Nisreene Atassi: I could see myself getting in on one of those. Have you ever ridden one?
Becca Tobin: I haven’t, but I am such a chicken with stuff like that. I can barely ride a bike in a cul-de-sac of a neighborhood.
Nisreene Atassi: I mean, my only thing is, it’s like, am I going to take a helmet around? That feels like a really cumbersome thing to lug around to the bars and restaurants, but I like the idea of it.
Becca Tobin: I think that’s why the scooters do so well, because you can just pop on, zip around a couple blocks, get to your bar, leave it outside, maybe not return to it.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah. Is there public transportation in the downtown Austin area? What do you think is the best way for people to get around?
Becca Tobin: There is public transportation, but I wouldn’t say that it’s the most efficient way to get around, I would say walking around downtown is great, but the rental bike situation or the car share situation is usually the most efficient, in my opinion.
Nisreene Atassi: I want to dive more into the whole Austin scene, including why some people have started calling it the Hollywood of the south right after this, so stay with us.
Nisreene Atassi: You’re listening to Out Travel the System. I’m your host, Nisreene Atassi. In every episode this season, we’re trying to make sure you have the information you need when it comes to the world of travel, whether that’s the latest information right before you head out to a destination, or stories to inspire a trip at some point in the future, it’s all here. You can check out past episodes that give you the inside scoop on booking your next trip to Disney, or even your next cruise. Like and subscribe to Out Travel the System now on your podcast player of choice, to get episodes right when they drop. All right, we are back with actor, host, author and fellow podcaster, Becca Tobin of The Ladygang , proudly representing her adopted hometown of Austin, Texas. Okay, Becca, let’s dig back into the nitty gritty of what makes Austin such an amazing place. A lot of people associate Austin, Texas, with festivals, like Austin City Limits or South by Southwest. I’m just curious if you feel like there’s just a general sort of vibe that people have that make it really good for festivals, or specifically for those two festivals, do people talk about it all the time? I’m always sort of curious as to how locals perceive those two big events.
Becca Tobin: I think that the reason those events are so special is because Austin in itself is such a special city, people make an event out of it. You’re asking them to come see not only these amazing acts and musicians and events, but afterwards, they can go to dinner at some of the best restaurants in the country, or walk around some of the most historical parts of a city that are actually really exciting. Texas is expansive. I mean, even though Austin is a big city, there’s still all around it, there’s wide open space. I’ve been once for South by Southwest, and it does get a little congested, but still, compared to other big cities, I don’t think you could achieve the seamless event that they do the way that they do it here, because it’s expansive, and everybody’s looking for an excuse to come to this city, it feels like.
When we first moved here, I can’t believe the amount of people who just wanted any excuse, any reason to just book a plane trip and come out here, because they suddenly had a place to stay and people to take them around. So, there’s just an overall appeal to a city like this. When you have that built in and then you bring in all these incredible talents from all over the world, it’s just kind of a no brainer.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah. That makes total sense. You know, I think because of these festivals, I know I personally, and I think other people might share this as well, have started to really think about Austin as a great live music city. Obviously, there’s Nashville, which nothing is going to compare to Nashville, but it feels like if you’re talking about emerging bands and that sort of indie rock vibe, Austin really is a great place to call home for that kind of live music. What do you think are some of the best spots for travelers coming in who want to go and see some great live music year round?
Becca Tobin: The Paramount Theater downtown is just very cool. That’s a little bit more of a formal situation where you buy tickets and it’s assigned seats. It’s a beautiful venue and very cool, and still feels really intimate. But my personal favorite is Stubb’s BBQ. It’s this very casual outdoor picnic table set up, but they have live music all the time, and it’s just general admission, and you can’t really see music like that or big artists in those kinds of settings in a lot of other cities, but it just has this clout with live music. To me, that’s my ultimate venue in Austin.
Nisreene Atassi: Is there a particular neighborhood that is known to have more places with live music, or is it sort of all over the place?
Becca Tobin: There’s places all over downtown. There is the Red River District where Stubb’s BBQ is located. I know that that’s for the ultimate music fan. The scene is the most famous there.
Nisreene Atassi: Is it mainly country music?
Becca Tobin: I think it’s heavily country, but at this point, it’s half and half ish. When I see the lineups for things, I love country music, but I’m happy that there’s all sorts of music that comes through here now.
Nisreene Atassi: Did you love country music before?
Becca Tobin: I grew up in Atlanta, so I appreciated country music, but I didn’t get super, super into country music until I was in my twenties, which is interesting. I think I was so inundated with it as a child that I was excited to get out and explore other genres, but it feels nostalgic to me, and now it’s kind of my favorite.
Nisreene Atassi: I love that.
Becca Tobin: Yeah.
Nisreene Atassi: I want to just talk about the sort of re-entry into live events, because I think it’s really bringing back a sense of renewed excitement, I think, for some of these types of things, that maybe perhaps we sort of took for granted. I know part of the expansion of your super hilarious Ladygang podcast is the Ladyhang live shows. Tell me a little bit about what it feels like navigating back to live performances. Obviously, live performances aren’t new to you. You’ve done Broadway and things like that, but we’ve been in the midst of a pandemic, so I want to just hear it from a performer’s perspective.
Becca Tobin: I am so very excited to not only attend these live shows and live concerts, but obviously to be able to put them on again is so exciting. I will say I’m really grateful as a performer to have had that quiet time and a renewed gratitude for the opportunity to have audiences and live music and perform. I feel like I’m coming into this weird moment in time with extra enthusiasm. I was never really a festival person. I would go because I always ended up having a great time, but I always was a little bit wary and a little tired from life. I don’t know how to explain it.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah, sure.
Becca Tobin: But you go and you work and you run errands and you go to meetings, and so before the pandemic, it’s like, you go, go, go. So, on the weekends, I wanted to sort of hibernate and stay in the house. Now I’m just so excited that we get to get out and we’re all energized to do that. I’m a little nervous about the live Ladygang shows. It’s a rowdy crowd even before the pandemic, so I’m excited, but also a little nervous to see what happens when we’re all led out of our cages. This is going to be in November. Hopefully they’ve let off a little bit of steam between now and then, but who knows?
Nisreene Atassi: I love ow you say letting people out of their cages, because I really do feel like that’s kind of what’s happening right now. People have just maybe forgotten a little bit about how to behave in public, and the excitement and the enthusiasm, and people are just, they’re just really properly losing their minds. You see all these videos of people just going ballistic on airplanes and stuff like that, and somebody asked me why I thought that was happening. I was like, ” I think people are just really excited to live life.”
Becca Tobin: Yes.
Nisreene Atassi: We’ve been cooped up. I don’t even know, but letting people out of their cages, that’s a pretty good analogy. Of course, music isn’t the only major artistic endeavor happening in Austin. What have you seen in terms of the emerging theater scene or TV and movie productions taking place in Austin? Obviously, you haven’t been there super long, but have you seen a increase and a focus in these areas since you’ve been there?
Becca Tobin: The film and TV industry has always had a presence in Austin since the seventies, and actually a couple of years ago, it seemed like every pilot I was auditioning for was planning on shooting in Austin. It slowed down a little bit since then, but it feels like there might be a resurgence coming. What’s really cool is I have friends who also moved here from LA , also actors, and after being here for only a few months, one of them was cast in the show, Walker, Texas Ranger, the remake that they’re doing, and it shoots here in Austin. That was super exciting, and just a little sign that there’s life happening and film and TV is kind of here, at least in that capacity. There’s obviously cool film festivals year round, and I recently participated in the Austin Television Festival, which happens every summer. It’s a super cool event.
Nisreene Atassi: That kind of stuff also does wonders for the city’s economies as a whole, and also their tourism scene, because when we’ve done this show or this episode specifically about places like New York, for example, people have this vision of this idyllic New York vacation. So much of it is based off of what they see people living in New York and things like that on TV and in the movies and stuff like that. So, there’s a very natural cause and effect of when a city is featured in a movie or in a TV series, and then literally people wanting to go and visit that destination. So, I think on the one hand, it does wonders for the economies and the local tourism there, but on the other, I think a lot of the locals maybe get a little bit frustrated. It’ll be interesting to see how the increase in filming in Austin, what that does to the overall tourism industry in the city. Have you seen that happen at all yet or not yet?
Becca Tobin: I can’t really tell yet if the locals hate it or love it, because I haven’t actually shot anything here. I haven’t seen a lot of sets or base camps set up throughout town, so it’s hard to say. But I do imagine it’s less intrusive shooting here in Austin than other cities, just because it’s such an expansive city. You don’t always have to be in the heart of downtown. That’s when I feel like it gets really tricky. It messes up traffic, everybody’s on top of each other, but the bottom line is that there’s a ton of talented local people who work in the industry who I’m sure would love to stay in town more often for work. I think for the most part, people would be happy to see more of Austin on their screens.
Nisreene Atassi: Let’s talk about the weather in Austin, because I think people associate Texas, hot, humid summer, that maybe spring or even winter might be a better time to go. Do you think there’s a time of year that’s best to visit Austin?
Becca Tobin: Every time I told people that I was moving here, they said, ” Are you ready for the summer? Because it is very long, it’s very hot, and it’s very humid.” But, again, I’m from Atlanta, and we have humidity just like Austin, so I was used to it. My skin feels better here. It’s definitely glowing. I don’t know if it’s sweat or it’s just the humidity. I don’t mind it. It starts to cool down a little bit in October. The winters are very mild except for obviously this past winter, which was the craziest snow storm ever. The lowest it gets really is the forties, December, January, and the fall is pretty short.
We came to house hunt in October of last year, which I felt like was a really beautiful time to be here. The days were warm, but it got down to the sixties at night, low to mid sixties, and I felt like it was a really nice way to still explore the city, walk around, be comfortable, but then layer at night and not be still sweating when the sun goes down.
Nisreene Atassi: Okay. So, fall and spring. What about the winter time, like Christmas? Does it ever get super cold? Obviously, we had the bizarre winter this past year, but overall, how would you have described Christmas in Austin?
Becca Tobin: I haven’t spent the holidays here yet because we were in Vancouver, but I hear that the daytime is mid sixties, which to me is a dream. Then nighttime average is mid forties. For someone like me, who’s been in Southern California, I can handle that. You know? It’s not too terrible.
Nisreene Atassi: Okay. We should come to Seattle. It’s the same all year round, except for the summer. Lovely in the summer. All right. Well, let’s talk about food, which is basically my favorite subject of all time, after travel. My listeners know that that is a very big part of how I travel. Like, ” Okay, I’m going to go to this place. What is the absolute best thing to eat in that place?” I want to make sure that we deliver on that for this episode. Let’s start with tacos. What are the best taco places in Austin and why?
Becca Tobin: Okay. I’m still very much new the city and exploring and trying to hit up a new place every weekend, but we have friends, like I said, who are from here who have been guiding us through the way. I think it’s important to divide the breakfast tacos and then regular tacos, because breakfast tacos are something I wasn’t crazy about. They have them in California, but they’re just different here, and I’m so into them here. Breakfast, definitely, the migas taco at Veracruz All Natural Food Truck. These trucks are all over Austin. They have several locations. But they have tacos, delicious smoothies, juices. It’s a really cool, family run, I think all female run food truck.
Then Taco Deli is a big chain, but it has super, super simple, delicious breakfast tacos. So, it is a chain, don’t hate me, but very popular one here. Another chain is Torchy’s, which the first time we came here, every single person was like, ” You got to go to Torchy’s. You’ve got to go to Torchy’s.” This was several years ago. It is delicious. They have them all over the city, and you always know what you’re going to get. They have a great menu. Another place, which is a nice place to sit outside, got a good brunch, Tamale House on East Sixth Street. Obviously, tamales are what they specialize in, but they have my favorite fish tacos in all of Austin so far.
Nisreene Atassi: Wow. See, this is the stuff that shows are made out of. All right. Great. All right. Let’s talk barbecue, because I feel like we have to, because it’s Texas. You mentioned Stubb’s BBQ. Is that your favorite barbecue joint in Austin?
Becca Tobin: This is a very heated debate, because barbecue is massive, like you said, in Austin. But I love Terry Black’s. It’s where we take anybody who’s visiting because it’s just a very cool vibe. It’s quintessential Austin, you stand in line and you get these frozen, they’re called the Black’s margaritas, and they’re actually black. I actually have no idea why it’s black, maybe it’s charcoal, and you definitely don’t want to walk around the city after you’ve done this. You definitely want to take a nap afterwards because it’s just so much food. So, you sip on your black margarita, you go through the line cafeteria style. The sides are insane. All the meat is delicious and insane. They have beef ribs that are the size of your head. I really love it. Obviously, Franklin’s is so popular here.
Nisreene Atassi: What about Salt Lick? I went to Salt Lick Barbecue when I was there, and it was a real situation. It felt maybe like a big tourist trap, but it was delicious. What’s your perspective on Salt Lick?
Becca Tobin: I actually am guilty, I have to say, I have not had Salt Lick yet. It’s a staple here, obviously, and it must be great because they have one in the Austin airport.
Nisreene Atassi: Yeah, no, I get that. I get that. All right. Well, these are good ones. For our listeners, we will find links to these places and put them in our show notes, so you don’t have to worry about trying to rewind and jot them all down. Becca, we’re calling this episode and this entire series ‘ Only In’. That’s because we want to talk about and hear about the things that are really specific to the destination. So, in your mind, what are the things you can do only in Austin?
Becca Tobin: Kayaking or paddle boarding through downtown is something that you can’t do in any other city, I don’t think. The bats that are under the South Congress Bridge that fly from it every night at sunset is pretty crazy. On the music side, ACL at Moody Theater is the longest running concert series on public television. That’s a really, really, really cool epic thing to be able to experience.
Nisreene Atassi: All right. Love it. That’s perfect. If you’ve got a friend coming in from LA, they only have 24 hours, how are you going to tell them to spend their 24 hours in Austin?
Becca Tobin: Okay. This is a lot of pressure, but if this were one of my friends, I would say, you wake up, you go to South Congress, you go to Joe’s Coffee, they have an iced turbo coffee. It’s delicious, it’s sweet, it’s everything you can imagine. Maybe you get a breakfast taco. They have them there. I love shopping around South Congress. That’s just such a fun area. You can get cowboy boots, you can go into higher end boutiques like By George, you can go into cool vintage stores. It’s just a great vibe. There’s Guero’s Tacos or home sliced pizza on that street you could grab for lunch. But if you really want to get crazy, I would say probably go to Terry Black’s for barbecue, because you really can’t come here and not go to barbecue. I said you shouldn’t work out or walk around after barbecue, but this is an exception, because you only have 24 hours, so you got to suck it up and do it. I would go to Lady Bird Lake and kayak or stand up paddleboard, work off that barbecue, and then happy hour, the Line Hotel has a beautiful rooftop. Aba is this delicious Mediterranean place for dinner in a courtyard that’s just gorgeous, delicious drinks. Then I would go have drinks at The Beez Kneez. It’s this really cool little bar that’s decorated like your grandmother’s basement, literally. They also have just delicious drinks, and it’s just quintessential Austin, in my opinion.
Nisreene Atassi: I love that. What a great 24 hours. Before we wrap up, is there anything that we haven’t covered about the city of Austin that you think would be really good for our travelers to know? Any other favorite bars or restaurants or favorite hotels, or any other really important tips that you think a traveler should know?
Becca Tobin: I love the Proper Hotel. It’s just decorated beautifully. Let’s see what else? Oh, the Red Headed Stepchild is this fun speakeasy type place for drinks. You don’t think of sushi really when you hear Texas, but Umi is this amazing sushi restaurant. Then as far as getting outside and getting outdoors, Barton Springs Pool is really cool. It’s a huge, huge pool fed from underground springs. I think the temperature is pretty ideal year round.
Nisreene Atassi: I love it. This is great. I’m ready to go.
Becca Tobin: Well, I hope I did it justice. Like I said, I’ve only been here for six months, so I’m sure some locals are screaming at me for places I missed and things I messed up, so forgive me. I am trying to learn the city very thoroughly, because it’s such an awesome city. I just love it so much.
Nisreene Atassi: But the thing is, Becca, you would be surprised. We’ve done a few of these, and I think the longer you live in a place, the harder it actually is to narrow things down, because your head then begins to cycle through literally every restaurant in the city, because you’ve been to so many of them. So, it’s almost like you have a fresher perspective, which is why you were able to I think zero in on some of your best and favorite things so quickly. I think there’s something to be said for having that sort of newbie vibe.
Becca Tobin: Oh, and I just thought of another great place. It’s a restaurant called Mattie’s. It’s in this old home, and there are peacocks, so you’re waiting for your table and there’s just peacocks. The peacocks are outside roaming the grounds, you’re pulling in and you’re trying to literally not hit a peacock with your car, but they have delicious drinks. The food is insane. The bar is really cool. It feels like you’re back in the Twenties going to a cool speakeasy.
Nisreene Atassi: That’s so fun. I love that all of these places that you’re recommending have just a good experience attached to them. Obviously, the meal’s going to be amazing, the drinks will be amazing, but just the atmosphere. It sounds so great. Very exciting. Becca Tobin is an actor, author, and cohost of the podcast, LadyGang. You can also catch her on her latest show, Turner & Hooch, airing now on Disney+ through October. Thanks so much for sharing your love of Austin with us, Becca.
Becca Tobin: Thank you so much for having me.
Nisreene Atassi: I’m Nisreene Atassi, and this is Out Travel the System, brought to you by Expedia. Happy travels.
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