If there’s a city in the United States that knows how to kick back and have a good time with no stress involved, it’s Austin. So it’s no surprise that couples love to bring their favorite people together in the heart of the Lone Star State to celebrate their last hurrah before settling into married life. If you’re headed there for your bachelor or bachelorette party and wondering what to do in Austin to make it absolutely epic, we’ve got some ideas for a weekend to remember.
Just like the song says, the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas, and Austin by day is beautiful too. With more than 212 miles of trails under the city’s care and a vibrant lake culture to boot, there’s no shortage of ways to get outdoors and bond with your best friends under the sun. Take a group excursion through the Barton Creek Greenbelt for some hiking, biking or climbing followed by a dip in the famed Barton Springs Pool, or spend the afternoon stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking on Lady Bird Lake downtown, followed by a big night out in the city.
Boat rentals are easy to come by on Lake Austin, from pontoons to full-scale party boats for large groups. Or, for a truly unique experience, NLand Surf Park, one of the world’s largest man-made surf parks, is just a 30-minute drive from downtown Austin. It offers a bodacious surfing experience in its manmade lagoon, plus yoga, live music, surf lessons for newbies, and a restaurant and juice bar onsite, as well as an in-house planner to help with group visits.
New Orleans has Bourbon Street and Nashville has Broadway, but in Austin, the height of revelry can be found on East Sixth Street, also known as “Dirty Sixth” for its no-frills shot bars, dueling piano shows, and rambunctious row of dance clubs. It’s filled with so many pedestrians on weekends that the city shuts down traffic for several blocks after dark so revelers can enjoy themselves freely.
Start the night off by booking a dinner and dance party at the Alamo Drafthouse in the old Ritz Theater on Sixth, then amble up the avenue together for your drinks of choice at any number of local watering holes. Or, for a truly laid-back local experience, plan a bar crawl up Rainey Street, where gracious old houses have been converted into bars with big backyards. There, local brews and cocktails are poured generously for friendly groups of folks who gather around picnic tables and food trucks for live music and conversation.
Pro tip: both Dirty Sixth and Rainey Street are a mere stroll from the Hilton Austin, where you can hunker down at the end of the evening (and/or in the wee hours) for a perfect night’s sleep.
If you want to spend the weekend enjoying the best of everything without lifting a finger, downtown Austin is the place to be. Check into luxurious high-rise accommodations in the heart of the city and book a laundry list of hotel spa appointments for yourself and your crew. Then, make a top-shelf dinner reservation at one of the city’s best restaurants, many of which are a short walk, pedicab or ride share from your hotel lobby.
Finish the night strong with drinks at the stylish Townsend Bar or the quirky Garage Bar, both of which Thrillist has dubbed among the “most beautiful bars in town.” Then, tuck yourselves in for the night and, after sleeping late the next day, enjoy a hearty meal at any of the hottest brunch spots in town. You’ll find indulgent sweet-and-savory dishes at Geraldine’s, unrepentant hangover fare at Holy Roller, and Southern favorites at Jacoby’s, which is casually perched alongside the Colorado River.
Both the hum of the city and the calmness of the country can be enjoyed in a single Austin weekend without any bother at all. Midmorning, take a short road trip to Fredericksburg, where you can enjoy a series of winery tours and tastings at Grape Creek Vineyards or Messina Hof Winery amid the breathtaking backdrop of Texas Hill Country. Then, take your time strolling along the quaint downtown storefronts and enjoying local wine pairings over dinner before heading back into the city for a night of fun with friends.
Wherever your bachelor/bachelorette festivities may take you in the Live Music Capital of the World, you’ll always have a soft place to land at Hilton Austin. Best wishes from all of us at the Hilton family of hotels to all the happy couples out there.