ELLE Escapes: Austin


Take a quick stroll through the streets of Austin, Texas, and you’re guaranteed to find the city’s slogan “Keep Austin Weird” plastered across storefront windows and bumper stickers. While the saying was first coined by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses, it’s since become a full-blown lifestyle for natives and visitors alike. Of course, Austin is weird in the best possible way, with an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants, kitschy stores, elegant hotels, and a renowned live music scene. The city’s also home to some of the biggest events nationwide, drawing thousands of guests across state and national borders for festivals including South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and the Texas Book Festival. For your reading pleasure, we compiled these spots in a guide to having fun—and, of course, keeping it weird—in the heart of the South. Enjoy!

What to See

Greetings From Austin Mural

greetings from austin mural


Did you even go to Austin if you didn’t post about it? For a grid-worthy Instagram moment, stop by this colorful wall mural at 1720 S. 1st Street, inspired by a postcard from the 1940s. Snap a pic, then quiz yourself on whether you can ID famous Austin landmarks in the painting: Keep an eye out for the Texas State Capitol and the Congress Avenue Bridge.

Barton Springs Pool

elle escapes austin

Getty Images

Austin gets hot in more ways than one, and chances are at some point on your journey you’ll take up any offer to cool down. The locals love to swim, and when they do, they go to Barton Springs. The 900-foot-long outdoor swimming pool located in Zilker Park (where Austin City Limits is held each year) is filled with water from several underground springs. It’s an ideal place to unwind after dancing all day under the blazing Texas sun.

South Congress Avenue

south congress avenue

Courtesy of Visit Austin

South of Lady Bird Lake is South Congress Avenue, a buzzy neighborhood better known as SoCo to locals. A walk through this area is mandatory for some of the best shopping, live music, and sight-seeing Austin has to offer. Snap a photo in front of the iconic “I Love You So Much” mural, catch performances at Guero’s Oak Garden, or succumb to the Western trend and buy a pair of real-deal Lucchese cowboy boots at Allens Boots (you know you want to).

Lamb Suede Fringed Jacket

Stetson Lamb Suede Fringed Jacket

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Lacquered Denim Shorts

Tom Ford Lacquered Denim Shorts

Ladies Tall Tulip

Luchesse Ladies Tall Tulip

Where to Eat


perla’s austin

Justin Cook

An umbrella-shaded, fairy light-adorned patio makes Perla’s a must-see spot, day or night. Located on South Congress, the seafood restaurant is known for its raw bar and decadent lobster rolls, with La Grande Dame champagne to pair with both. We recommend stopping in during happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to beat the evening crowd and cash in on deals (like oysters on a half shell for $4).

Matt’s El Rancho

matt’s el rancho

Jody Horton

You’ll find classic Tex-Mex fare and delicious cocktails at this low-key, no-frills eatery that’s been an Austin staple for 70-plus years. If you’re overwhelmed by the plethora of menu options at Matt’s El Rancho, order one of the combination plates, a Matt’s Knockout Martini (tequila, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice in an ice-filled shaker), and the signature Bob Armstrong queso dip for the table.

Terry Black’s Barbecue

terry black’s

Bethany Ellen Ochs

If you’re looking for some of best barbecue in Texas, locals will say this is it. Owned by twin brothers and fourth-generation pitmasters, Terry Black’s serves up some mean brisket, giant beef ribs, mac and cheese, and, for the grand finale, banana pudding. Warning: Like most BBQ, this stuff is more filling than it looks.

Ohara Straw Cowboy Hat

Rag & Bone Ohara Straw Cowboy Hat

Mallory Pendant Necklace

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Puff-Sleeve Jumpsuit

J.Crew Puff-Sleeve Jumpsuit

Where to Drink

Soho House Austin

soho house austin

Courtesy Soho House Austin

When a Soho House opens in a city, you know it’s having a moment. Although Austin has been gaining popularity for years, the latest addition to the cult chain of private members’ clubs, situated in the Music Lane shopping mall just off South Congress Avenue, has all the essentials: an elaborate wood-carved bar, a rooftop pool, and live music from local and visiting artists courtesy of its new concept, Dante’s Hi-Fi.

Clive Bar

clive bar


Located on the nightlife mecca that is Rainey Street, Clive Bar is casual yet scene-y, serving up local beer and cocktails on a sweeping outdoor patio and upper deck against the backdrop of live music.




If you’re looking for decadent craft cocktails in an opulent setting, stop by Goldie’s in the Austin Proper Hotel. Maybe it’s the sunken marble bar and velvet chairs talking, but something about it screams fancy.

Yshaia Mini Bag

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High-Low Denim Mini-Dress

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Slash Sandals

Chelsea Paris Slash Sandals

Where to Stay

Austin Proper Hotel

austin proper hotel

The Ingalls

Situated in downtown Austin, the sophisticated Austin Proper Hotel offers a host of amenities to ensure an unforgettable stay. Boasting views of the Colorado River and within walking distance of the famous 6th street, the hotel’s prime location is perfect for exploring the city on foot. The property features multiple restaurants and bars; we recommend the Crispy Shallot Hummus at the Mediterranean-inspired The Peacock. Additionally, guests can take advantage of the hotel’s fitness center, rooftop pool, and the indulgent full-service Verbena Spa. (The spa staff’s commitment to their clientele shows, as they offer treatments using the natural beauty brand Monastery, which prides itself on using organic and wildcrafted ingredients chosen for their ability to deliver the best results. Not to mention, the products’ scents are heavenly.) After a night out on the town, unwind with the spa’s signature “The Gua Sha Facial” or “The Proper Massage,” leaving you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready for your next adventure.

The Line Hotel

courtesy of the line hotel

Courtesy of The LINE Hotel

Located at the crossroads of Lady Bird Lake and downtown, this fun and trendy hotel attracts young crowds for its poolside DJ and bustling brunch at P6. Suites feature lakeside views and a stacked mini bar. For more to snack on, stop by Veracruz All Natural for authentic tacos and queso. (The migas breakfast taco is a must.)

Miraval Austin

the arrival center of miraval austin


A soothing retreat from the bustle of downtown, the gorgeous Miraval Austin property is nestled in the surrounding Texas hills, outfitted with sweeping rock formations and lush walking paths. The digital, device-free resort (don’t fret: designated areas allow the use of your cell phone) promotes rest and rejuvenation via fitness and yoga sessions; pools, trails, and climbing gym courses; guided meditation classes; and a full menu of massage, facial, and body care offerings at the Life in Balance spa. Nutritious meals, including smoothies and snacks, are included in the cost of your stay, and a nightly resort credit can be applied to spa services and fee-based activities. To make the most of the inclusive packages, get up early to attend one of the morning sessions in the Yoga Barn or Solidago buildings, then peruse the Sophia or Serenity Labyrinths before snagging a spot by the pool. Don’t forget to reserve a dinner slot at the Hilltop Crossings Kitchen—you won’t want to miss anything on the ever-changing menu.

Tousan Robe

Highway Robery Tousan Robe

The Sweetheart Small Hatbox

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Beauty Picks

Play Everyday Lotion SPF 30 with Sunflower Extract

supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF 30 with Sunflower Extract
Credit: supergoop

Avoid sunburns with this gentle sunscreen formulated with sunflower extract. The best part? You can slather it on both your face and body for full coverage.

ATTAR Floral Repair Concentrate

ATTAR Floral Repair Concentrate
Credit: Courtesy of Monastery

This facial balm is smooth like wax and melts into a soothing oil when warmed between the fingertips. Its versatile formula can be used on the face, eyes, and lips, making it the perfect all-in-one solution for your skincare needs on-the-go. Under the unforgiving Texas sun, Attar provides a much-needed respite, helping to hydrate the skin. Free from harmful chemicals, it’s the safe choice for those with sensitive skin who seek a luxurious skincare routine.

GOLD Botanical Oil Serum

GOLD Botanical Oil Serum
Credit: Courtesy of Monastery

Looking for that effortless dewy look? Gold is a moisturizing oil packed with vitamins to nourish the skin. With ingredients like plumeria and raspberry, Gold is like a drink of water for your skin. It provides instant relief from sun exposure and calms any redness with its anti-inflammatory properties.

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