You know what I love? Vacationing in my own city. We think Austin is one of the best cities in the entire world, and so why would we not choose to sometimes just go downtown and get us a hotel room for two nights and have a great stay-cation in a place we love.

A few months ago we won a night stay at a brand new hotel, and so when we were also given tickets to the Food & Wine Festival we decided to make a weekend out of it. Unfortunately the festival was cancelled, but that did not stop us Ivey’s from having our own Food & Wine Festival in Austin!

First stop was our hotel. Hotel Eleven did not dissappoint at all. The owner of the hotel took our reservation, and chatted with us each time we walked through the lobby. They cared about our visit, and wanted to exceed all of our dreams for a weekend downtown.

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It seemed awful that the food and wine was cancelled because our weather was amazing! Literally the perfect Austin weather!

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We had decided that we would eat at all new restaurants during our weekend. I mean if we were missing a great food festival, then this would be a great chance to experience new places around town!

BUT, Aaron had to meet me downtown on Friday night after a previous speaking arrangement, and so we went to something very familiar and probably our favorite place to end up – Second Bar + Kitchen. We love this place and it never disappoints us. Aaron always gets the short rib and I can’t stay away from the kale salad.  IMG_3321

That’s us at Second, but we were also getting a picture of the amazing outfit in the background!!

Of course we slept in. Duh.

Then we hit up Sawyer & Co.

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It’s the only place I took a picture of the food, and maybe that’s because it was just downright so amazing. Such a cute little diner feel to the restaurant. It was the perfect start to a wonderful Saturday in Austin!

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Aaron took this picture of me because he said he wanted to remember what I looked like when I talked non-stop for an hour. I love getting away with Aaron and I feel like these days when we are alone I have so much to talk to him about!
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After brunch we headed back to the hotel to check out our bikes. Yes, I had the grand idea that we should rent bikes and ride around Austin. You know, exploring the city we love so much!

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Come to find out, renting bikes in Austin is easy, and difficult at the same time. You can check them out from any of these locations, but you have to check them in every 30 minutes. Perfect for getting from one spot to the next, but not perfect for long rides around town. More like a great way to get from place A to place B, but not best for riding around town for 2 hours (which, clearly I thought I was a bit more prepared than I truly was if I thought I was going to be riding a bike non-stop for 2 hours!).

At first I thought this would be a problem, but I quickly realized that a break every 30 minutes was about 22 minutes too late. Y’all literally my legs hurt within 3 minutes of getting on my bike. 3 minutes. I was walking the bike within 10. Yes, Austin is hilly, but also I’m so dang out of shape it’s not even funny. Aaron had many laughs on my behalf. Like the time I nearly ran into a car next to me in the turn lane. Or the time I stopped in the middle of traffic and someone honked at me. Or …. actually this list could go on forever. Just know this. Jamie + Bike Riding = crazy.

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Of course we had to take a picture in front of the state capitol! We were playing the part of tourist, and so this was a must. I wish that we would have actually rode around the capitol, but that can be saved for next time!

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We ended up down in Sea Holm (the old power plant) and decided to park our bikes and walk around. Remember you have to park every 30 minutes, and good gracious I needed to get off that bike and get some water in me before I fell out. (And side note – bikes hurt. In places that shouldn’t hurt. I’ll leave it at that.)

We found Boiler Nine, which is a new restaurant that our friend David is a part of. It was fun to see it coming together because you know we’ll be eating there as soon as it’s open! (Side note – I actually wrote this post a few months ago and just haven’t ever posted it, and we’re getting the chance to eat at this restaurant this week!)
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Next stop was our favorite movie place. We sure do love Alamo Drafthouse, but nothing  beats Violet Crown. They have the best Bloody Mary’s, show independent films, and if you can score a seat on the front row than you will have the best movie watching experience ever!
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Next stop up was some coffee at Juan Polete. I think Lance Armstrong owns it, but I’m not sure. It is inside a bike shop, which makes me think that statement is true, but still still I’m not for sure. We drank our coffee before getting back on our bikes to get back to our hotel. I sure needed the caffeine because of what was ahead of me.

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Literally the largest hills I have ever seen.

Dramatic?

No.

Seriously, I thought I was going to die, and had to walk too many times to count.
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Aaron took that picture of me above. If you can’t see the strain in my body, then you can’t see. Also, notice that car to the side of me. Yes, I almost ran straight into it. Aaron yelled at me from behind to watch what I was doing, but clearly he wasn’t watching what he was doing since he was busy being all paparazzi on me. (Another side note – is there anything less camera worthy than a picture of woman from behind on a bike. Especially if that woman is not a biker, and is about to die.)

For dinner we went to Jacoby’s and it was my favorite food spot of the weekend. Loved the vibe, loved the food, loved the atmosphere, loved so much about this place. Next time I want to go when it’s still light out, so we can take in the view in the back.

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Then Sunday hit, and we slept in again.

Of course.

We are on vacation.

In a hotel.

Of course we are sleeping in.

First stop was World Market where we picked up some shoes for Story plus a puzzle for the kids. That was 2 months ago and we have yet to do that puzzle. Oh well. It was a great thought. Maybe I’ll pull it out this week and we’ll all work together on it!

Then we hit South Congress and had to take this picture. Why wouldn’t we?

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We had breakfast at a place that I would highly recommend even though I didn’t take one picture there. Cafe No Se is the cutest little restaurant at the bottom of the South Congress Hotel. I wanted to badly to eat healthy, but I couldn’t. Not on a staycation, and so of course I went for the burger and didn’t regret it for one second!

We walked past Guero’s and low and behold there’s live music, which is not uncommon in Austin! We sat down and got ourselves some chips & salsa (because of course we needed that after we had just eaten!)

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Our last stop of the day took us to the Hey Cupcake trailer where we bought cupcakes for all of our kids. I thought about eating a cupcake and then I realized it would be my third meal in a matter of hours (brunch + chips and salsa!), so I passed.

Walking around South Congress is fun and I highly recommend if you are coming to Austin anytime soon!

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We love our city, and this is the second time we’ve gotten away for a weekend and never left Austin. We always find new restaurants to try, plus our all time favorites as well. If you are coming to Austin soon, hopefully this list gave you some great places to try! Check out other things I’ve written about our great city HERE.