I am so fortunate to have lived in the state capitol of Texas for the last four years. It has only been a few months since graduation, and there are already things there that I am missing. One of the things I loved the most about Austin is how health-focused it is. Austin not only offers plenty of healthy dining out options (that are always very accommodating to food allergies and dietary restrictions), but also ample things to do to get your body moving and your blood pumping! It really was the perfect setting for a nutrition student. Now that I have had time to catch my breath after the frenzy of graduation and moving, I wanted to share with you all of the places in Austin I have come to love over the last four years.
This blog contains a wide variety of places - there are healthy restaurants, indulgent restaurants, things to do, and selections covering a wide variety of price ranges (a.k.a. places I went frequently versus places I only went to when my family was in town and they were picking up the bill... #collegestudent).
So here it is - all of my favorite places to go and things to do in ATX! I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I did!!
My Top Healthy Picks:
I feel like I can't really talk about restaurants in Austin without mentioning food trucks (it is kind of what Austin is known for after all), and this one is my favorite! Everything on the menu is vegan, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and organic.
Curcuma is the scientific name for turmeric, a spice known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric, as well as a variety of other superfoods, are in just about every single thing on the menu, maximizing the antioxidant and nutrient content of their food, making this place a nutrition geek's dream! I highly recommend the Kitchari Bowl, Spirulina Pesto Toast, and Golden Mylk!
This restaurant is located inside the South Congress Hotel on one of the most Austin-like streets in the city. For breakfast, I love the Red Quinoa Porridge, and I am obsessed with the Kale Salad and Quinoa Bowl at dinner. The aesthetics here are also amazing! My one and only complaint is that they can go a little overboard on the serving size of the grains, but that is easily fixed by just eating most of the veggies and not all of the grains.
This was one of the first restaurants I ever went to in Austin, and it has remained one of my favorites! I love that they use locally-sourced ingredients whenever they can, and much of the menu changes seasonally. My two favorite items are the Big Chopped Salad and the Rice Bowl, though sometimes their seasonal options top even those!
If you are looking for a good place to get seafood in Austin, this is it! I went here for all of my birthdays and other celebrations because I love it so much. Their redfish with the roasted paprika sauce and endive & watercress salad is to die for!!!
This is one of my favorite all-vegetarian restaurants in Austin. They use local, organic ingredients when possible, and have plenty of healthier takes on classic Southern cuisine. I love their Citizen Power Bowl (though I must admit their tofu is not my favorite), and their side of Grilled Pecan Pesto Beets is an absolute MUST!
This converted laundromat is one of my favorite places to eat in Austin. Order the Sunshine Bowl (turmeric humus, sprouted beans, pickled beet, quinoa, butternut squash, and tahini dressing)... trust me! The deviled eggs pictured below are also amazing!
The owner of this restaurant lived in Japan for a while learning how to cook traditional, healthy Japanese bento boxes, and it payed off! They don't use any artificial ingredients, all of their eggs are free-range, and the meat is antibiotic and hormone free. There are also plenty of delicious vegan options as well! I personally love the Bento Garden Bowl with smoked salmon and avocado.
Best açaí bowls in Austin! My favorite is the Chill Berry Bowl, and I used to get one every Saturday after yoga! One thing to keep in mind is that these bowls can get pretty high in sugar, so be mindful of the ingredients.
There is no better place to go when it is cold and rainy outside. Just a heads up, this place can get crazy busy, so prepare to wait in a line if you don't get there early! I always get the Veggie Ramen (soy and mushroom broth, tofu, Brussels sprouts, corn, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, and lots of greens) and add garlic and nori (seaweed).
If you are needing a quick and easy meal that is both tasty and healthy, Snap Kitchen is the place to go. I actually worked for this Austin-based company while I was in college, and am now one of their affiliates. I can say with complete honesty that I am proud of the things they do and the meals they create. Everything on the menu is dietitian approved! My personal favorite item is the Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon, though the Bison Quinoa Hash is the company's best seller.
If you live in the Austin, Dallas, Houston, or Philadelphia area, you can also sign up for one of their meal plans and save $20 on your first week by clicking here and using the promo code SNP2482 at checkout.
*Disclosure: My Healthful Life is an independent business that may receive compensation for sales from affiliated companies.
Some of my other favorite places:
Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors - a.k.a. where 99.9% of my homework and blog posts were completed! If you are looking for a cute coffee shop to visit with friends or get work done, this place is a must! The design is really cute with industrial tables and chairs, a copper bar top, and plants everywhere. Their coffee is also my favorite in Austin, and they have a wide assortment of teas, kombucha, and more.
Madam Mam's - I lived WAY too close to this restaurant! Their Pad Thai is to die for! It's definitely a student hang-out place because it is so close to the university, but everyone I have ever taken there has absolutely loved it!
Patrizi's - I found this Italian food truck not long before I moved out of Austin, so I have only been there once, but it was so good I had to mention it! All of their pasta is homemade, and the ingredients are local. My friends and I shared a lot of different pastas on the menu which were all fantastic, but my favorite was the Karah's Diavalo! I should also mention that you can order half-sizes of their pastas.
Juniper - This is my other favorite Italian restaurant in Austin. This is the perfect place if you are wanting more of a gourmet, sit down meal.
Tyson's Tacos - Tyson's is a complete hole-in-the-wall place, but in my opinion it has some of the best tacos in Austin. They are open 24/7!
Taco Deli at Jo's Coffee on South Congress - This will sound kind of strange, but there are a ton of Taco Deli locations, and none of them are as good as the ones catered to Jo's Coffee. In fact, the actual locations don't even offer the same tacos! Jo's is also home to the famous "I love you so much" graffiti in Austin, so you should definitely stop by.
*Tip: make sure to get there relatively early, because they do sell out of tacos every day!
Mother's Cafe - They may be lacking in atmosphere, but their food makes up for it! Every time that one of my friends came to visit Austin, he required that we go here for dinner. I am obsessed with their Garden Stir Fry and their Spinach Mushroom Enchiladas with mole sauce.
Walton's Fancy and Staple - This is easily one of my favorite brunch spots in Austin! It has very strong New York café vibes, and you can also do some flower shopping while there!
Jeffrey's - Owned by the same people as Josephine House, this is the perfect place if you are looking for a fine dining restaurant! They have everything from a Little Gem Caesar Salad and Summer Corn Tortellini to Prime Rib Steak and Foie Gras. My personal favorite is the Hamachi Carpaccio!
Staying Active in Austin
Austin pretty much has a yoga studio on every block. My two favorites are Wanderlust Yoga Studio (the location downtown also has a Blenders and Bowls inside it which makes for the perfect meal right after a yoga class) and Black Swan.
I loved going to Zilker with friends to throw a frisbee around or just simply watch all of the adorable dogs. Zilker is essentially a huge, grassy, open area with a stellar view of the downtown skyline.
One of the most popular hiking trails in Austin is the Greenbelt, but I preferred to drive about 45 minutes outside of Austin to River Place Nature Trail because it is not nearly as crowded. There's a gorgeous river with lots of small waterfalls. It is breathtaking! Just prepare yourself for A LOT of stairs. The long trail is a total of 6 miles round-trip.
If you don't want to go far from downtown, there is a trail along both sides of Lady Bird Lake where you can walk, run, or cycle.
Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, and more
There are numerous places along Lady Bird Lake and Travis Lake where you can rent paddle boards, kayaks, etc.
Please comment below if you have any questions about any of these places or just general questions about Austin! It was definitely bittersweet to leave, but I am looking forward to starting my next adventure!