Friday, August 2, 2019

A is for: Austin {bachelorette party planning checklist}

This post is wayyyyyy overdue.

Like.... a year overdue.

But like I always say... it's better late than never, right?

So I last visited Austin in June of 2018 for my friend Megan's bachelorette party. Our group of 12 girls descended on the city for three days of food, fun and debauchery.

Much like I did for the New Orleans bachelorette party I attended last year, I figured it would be handy to type up a guide for any girls (or guys) planning for a similar trip.

As with the NOLA bach party, I was not solely in charge of the planning. I helped out with a couple of things, but I would whole-heartedly recommend our entire itinerary, so I'm including it all here in the form of a mini Austin Bachelorette Party checklist, if you will. Please let me know if we missed anything!

Stay somewhere with a pool: JW Marriott Austin
If you are here for a bachelor or bachelorette party, there's a pretty good chance you will be visiting during warm weather. From April to October, the average temperature in Austin is at least 80 degrees, with 90 degree temps from June-September. Planning for a pool day one or part of one of the days is a great option, and we had this in the JW Marriott. There's no shortage of hotels with pools though, so pick whatever fits your budget and desired location. This pool was perfect for us as it was large and had a bar that served cocktails and frosé.

Eat BBQ: La Barbecue
OK, so this wasn't super high on the list of the rest of our group, but it was arguably NUMBER ONE on my list. For this reason, I planned to go here on my own, before the rest of the girls arrived. (I literally went straight from the airport, LOL.) Two of the more famous spots in Austin are Franklin's and La Barbecue. Both are also infamous for their long lines. The trick is to place a pre-order ahead of time and just go to the separate pick up window to get it. Franklin's has a 5 pound minimum (and to-go only), so as much as I love me some BBQ, this just didn't make sense. La BBQ only has a 1 pound minimum and allows you to eat it there, so I went with that. I probably ended up with at least 2 pounds on account of totally forgetting how big beef ribs are. That said, I pretty much demolished my entire tray, so there's that. (My beef rib, 1/4 pound of brisket, jalapeño sausage and pickles came out to around $50, just FYI.) It was totally worth every penny and every calorie.

Have some $5 frosê & a frito pie: Eastside Tavern
I still had some time kill after my BBQ feast, so I met up with one of the other early-arrivers for a little happy hour a few blocks away at Eastside Tavern. Frosé is a pretty popular cocktail at most Austin establishments on account of it being so f'ing hot all the time. That's perfectly fine by me, as it happens to be one of my favorite hot-weather cocktails. Eastside Tavern has a deal on Thursdays where they do $5 frosé all day. (Woot woot!!) We also happened to visit at happy hour (3-6pm), when their frito pie is only six bucks. Don't ask me how in the world I was still hungry after all that BBQ... but I ate part of this AND sucked down two frosés... which were strong. Highly recommend this spot... especially on a Thursday!

Eat breakfast tacos, part 1: Veracruz All Natural
If BBQ was 1a on my Austin food hit list, then breakfast tacos were probably 1b. After some extensive Twitter polling, I decided that Veracruz All Natural was a must-stop, as it's pretty universally described as having the best migas tacos in Austin. I walked to the East Austin location with my friend Brooke our first morning before our pool day. In retrospect, that probably wasn't the best idea in 90 degree heat, but our efforts were deliciously rewarded when we arrived. This is literally a little truck with some outdoor seating next to it. And you absolutely must get their migas taco (or two.) And probably some large aguas frescas as well.

Side note: I got both a migas and a migas poblanos, which adds poblanos, queso fresco and black beans on top of the traditional migas ingredients. Both were awesome, but I almost preferred the migas origniales. (And if you don't know what migas are... then you should probably check out this recipe post I did.)

Eat breakfast tacos, part 2: Taco Deli Delivery
Our second full day in Austin consisted of an all-day river floating excursion (more on that next), so we decided to order breakfast tacos to the hotel while we got ready and gave Megan her bachelorette gifts. I highly recommend this course of action, especially if you are going to do a river float or head out to Lake Travis. Sure, there were other taco places that may have been higher on my list, but Taco Deli offered free delivery on their catering menu, which was key.

Pro-tip: Everyone who recommended taco deli spoke highly of the doña sauce, which is a creamy jalapeño sauce. I ordered a large container, but all to go orders come with a bunch of small plastic ramekins of all of their hot sauces... which is plenty as it's pretty spicy (so no need to order extra unless you plan on bathing in it.) I also ordered chips, guacamole and queso. Because, when in Austin... queso is appropriate at any time of day. We ordered two tacos per person and it was perfect.

Float the San Marcos River: Austin Tubing
As you can see from the above photo... this is a very popular activity in Austin, especially for bachelor and bachelorette parties. I was told that the San Marcos River is the best and safest river to float, and there are several tour company options. We went with Austin Tubing for a couple of reasons. Mostly, we were able to do a private tour that picked up directly from our hotel. We had our own vehicle with a/c and were allowed to drink on the way there. It was $69 per person for a group our size, and that included floating coolers, tubes and transportation to and from. (The only thing it didn't include was tax and tip.) Definitely budget most of the day for this, as it takes about 40 minutes to get there, and depending on water flow, the float itself takes around 4-5 hours (which can vary on how many times you stop to beer bong, LOL.) There happened to be a liquor store across from our hotel, which was also convenient for stocking up on beer for the trip.

Pro tip: Someone in our group also had the idea of bringing Uncrustables (packaged PB&J sandwiches) for the trip, and this was GENIUS. We kept them in the coolers, and were able to grab one whenever we needed a little snack. So delicious and perfect for enjoying on the river. (We ordered these and other snacks off instacart for the trip.) Check out the video I made from the go-pro video I shot on the river!

Shopping & Lunch: South Congress & Perla's
One of the afternoons, some of us ventured down to South Congress street for some shopping and lunch. The highlight was definitely a stop at Perla's for oysters, lobster rolls and rosé. This spot was definitely on the pricier side for Austin, but I highly recommend it. I enjoyed the beachy chill vibe, outdoor seating with misters and of course the food. (This area is also where you'll find the "I love you so much" mural if you are looking for a cute photo op!) We also stopped in at Hotel San Jose for some frosé before heading back to the hotel.

Plan a group dinner: Odd Duck
Some of the other ladies took the lead on our big group dinner, having visited Austin the year before. They chose Odd Duck, which is a small plates/tapas spot. The great thing about Odd Duck (aside from the delicious, sharable food) was their ability to craft a special menu just for our larger group, which made it super easy to split the bill. We received family-style portions of seven different dishes, along with two desserts and it was more than enough food!

Drankssssss: Everywhere
There are no shortage of drinking establishments in Austin, which is perfect for a bachelorette party! Over the course of our three nights, we hit up a variety of different areas including East Austin, Rainey Street, and even a short visit to "Dirty 6th" (by request of the bride.) Rainey Street is a great time... both at night and during the day on the weekends. It's basically a bunch of adorable bungalows that have been transformed into bars with string lights, food trucks, lawn games tons of outdoor space. I can't really tell you which ones we went to, as we sort of just hopped around, which is all part of the charm. In East Austin, we had a fun time at The White Horse for Honkey Tonk, as well as Yellow Jacket Social Club, which had a huge backyard area, great cocktails and affordable, high quality food (get the grilled cheese or the roasted beet sandwich!)

"i hate you so much" mural at Bungalow on Rainey Street
Overall, it was a jam-packed 3 days, and I can't wait to go back with Justin. Have you ever been to Austin? If so, leave a comment with some of your favorite spots in the comment section!


  1. Megan Kennedy TuckerAugust 6, 2019 at 8:22 PM

    This is great summary Jaymee!! This was such an absolute blast and I was the luckiest bride-to-be in all the land. When can we go back?? ��

    1. Such a fun time! Thanks for choosing Austin for your bach party. Let's do it again!!

  2. Haven't been, but headed for a music conference in two weeks. Trying to figure out how to get to Franklin's. Will add all the food spots you recommended to my research list.

    1. Definitely try the trick of ordering ahead! (if you don't mind getting 5 lbs of BBQ....) Otherwise you need to get in line at like 8am.

  3. Made a special trip to Austin for BBQ in late 2014, we drove down from SD. La Barbeque-best turkey in town. Visited with the Pitmaster. Franklin, so line by 7:00, tried everything. Brisket and sausage was awesome. Lucky enough to meet Aaron Franklin prior to opening, he sat with us and gave us recommendations for the area. His Manager Benji gave us a tour of the pits! Tried Stiles Switch, good bbq, and Valentinia’s(sp?) for Tex Mex. Beautiful city. Also bopped down to Lockhart for 3 places and up to Louie Mueller’s for the best beef ribs i’ve ever had...9 parts pepper, 1 part salt....such a great trip.

    1. Sounds like an amazing trip! I definitely need to get back. Valentina's was def on my list as well.


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