10 Things to Do in Austin – Spas, Fitness, Food and Fun
VISIT THE TOP SPAS IN THE AUSTIN AND TEXAS HILL COUNTRY
Lake Austin Spa Resort is nestled on 19 lakefront acres in Central Texas’ legendary Hill Country. Recipient of numerous awards by virtually every travel and wellness publication, this resort is consistently rated as one of the country’s top Destination Spas. Guests enjoy beautiful accommodations, deliciously healthy cuisine, and world-class spa services, just 30 minutes from downtown Austin.
Travaasa Austin is located on the edge of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve in Texas Hill Country. This experiential resort, with its all-inclusive rates, offers an extensive selection of guided wellness activities inspired by its rugged setting, including spa treatments, culinary classes, wine tasting, hikes to explore native healing flora and fauna, yoga, fitness and dance classes, horseback riding and equine encounters.
Viva Day at the Domain is the newest of three locations for this Austin favorite Day Spa chain. Located in the Rock Rose entertainment district at Domain Northside in North Austin, guests enjoy a full menu of skin care (including medical grade injectables), massage, natural nail care, body care, and more, in 14 beautiful treatment rooms, including Infrared Saunas and two Relaxation Rooms.
Novita Spa on the Square is just a 30 minute drive from Austin in charming downtown Georgetown. This award-winning medical spa has been featured on numerous television programs for its innovative wellness services, all helmed by its owner, Megan Di Martino, an early pioneer in the product development of Alpha Hydroxy-Beta Hydroxy and Antioxidant skin care. Your skin is worth the drive!
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WINE & DINE
Austin is known for its world-class Tex-Mex and local fare ranging from hot and spicy fare, food trucks, and beloved tamale and taco shops, but its green and clean culinary scene is just as noteworthy. Explore these healthy options.
This splendid tea room and cafe has two locations — The Domain and North Lamar. Visit The Steeping Room for hearty but clean breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea time fare, featuring natural meats, organic dairy, cage-free eggs as well as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan selections, and a diverse tea selection. Relax in the bright and airy dining room, the sunny sidewalk, or take your order to go.
After a night of music, dancing, street festivals and imbibing, Austinites line up at the Bouldin Creek Cafe and get on the right side of health. The cafe features a fair trade and locally roasted coffee menu as well as a hearty vegetarian menu. All of the eats are made from scratch, only when ordered, with guest favorite dishes such as hot tamales, nachos, street tacos, salads and omelettes, plus beer, wine, Sake screwdrivers and lemonades.
Eastside Cafe was Austin’s pioneer in the urban farming movement. It was one of the first to use herbs and vegetables from its own garden, and features those seasonal ingredients in its brunch, lunch, and dinner entrees. Many items are made daily from scratch, including the popular jalapeno cornbread muffins, crepes, soups, dumplings, daily specials, pies and sweets. Many items are vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free.
True Food Kitchen has a devoted following of Austin diners thanks to its engaging open-kitchen concept, its health-driven, seasonal menu of nutrient-rich ingredients which rotate regularly, and its care to cater to all dietary needs and preferences, including gluten-free, naturally organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings. Add to that a beverage menu of wine, local beers and seasonal cocktails and you’ll understand the well-deserved accolades.
Austin has an abundance of water sports and activities thanks to its location near Lake Austin, Lake Travis, and the Colorado River. There are tours galore for lake activities, plus, here are some of our favorite parks, trails, and natural wonders.
Austin’s 358 acre Zilker Metropolitan Park is home to all manner of outdoor fun, ranging from picnic areas to educational displays — plus one of the most beloved outdoor activities in the city — the Barton Springs Pool. This Texas sized natural pool (about 3 acres) is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, making it an idea swimming hole year-round. Adjacent to the pool bathhouse is an educational exhibit about the history and biology of Barton Springs and the aquifer which feeds it.
Lady Bird Lake (formerly called Town Lake) is a fitness lover’s destination in the city. There are no motorized craft permitted, but the Austin Rowing Club, Texas Rowing Center and Zilker Boats are on the lake. Watch rowing crews, take lessons, rent a kayak or canoe and paddle around entire lake. Staying on terra firm, make time to walk or run the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, with its 10 miles of meandering pathways around the lake, through downtown core, and by cultural attractions.
Austin’s 358 acre Zilker Metropolitan Park is also home to the Zilker Botanical Garden. The gardens are on parkland with spectacular flora and fauna, natural grottoes and aquatic features that have been carefully crafted into a space for beauty and tranquility. Bring your smart phone or tablet and use the gardens’ innovative Virtual Tour as you meander through a Japanese Garden, Succulent Garden, Floral Displays, Butterfly Trail, Herb Garden, Prehistoric Garden, Children’s Garden, a Pioneer Village, and more.
For a bird’s eye view of Austin, take to the skies with Austin Biplane. Experience life as a barnstomer in this open-cockpit biplane. Two passengers ride side-by-side in the front seat while your pilot, Capt. Robert Whiteside, USAF-ret., flies from the rear cockpit and whisks you off the ground into the skies above downtown Austin, the Colorado River, Lake Travis and the surrounding Texas hill country. Book popular tours from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, or plan a custom tour with your pilot.
TAKE A DAY TRIP
Hit the road for these easy Day Trips near Austin
A short trip from Austin, in Dripping Springs is the Hamilton Pool Preserve. Hamilton Creek spills over limestone outcroppings to create a 50 foot waterfall as it plunges into a steep box canyon. The pool, collapsed grotto and canyon was formed by thousands of years of water erosion and is home to lush plants and a variety of wildlife. Cultural remains date back over 8,000 years. Enjoy swimming, picnic tables, hiking trails, and peace and quiet but be forewarned — to maintain the pristine conditions, only a limited number of guests are permitted at one time, so call and plan ahead.
Texas Hill Country has a popular and established Wine Trail. With 52 unique and visually stunning wineries scattered throughout the Hill Country, from Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfel, this Texas Wine Trail day trip will take through scenic country and gracious hosts offering wine, entertainment, music, food and fun. Best of all, this is an all-season attraction. Enjoy wildflowers in the spring, water sports in the summer, colorful leaves and trees in the autumn, and dazzling displays of Christmas lights in winter.