Business trips are all too often a whirlwind of meetings, presentations and dinner obligations, a reality which can be excruciating when you’re visiting a city as fun-filled as Austin. Luckily the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt is located smack-dab in the center of it all, so if you find yourself with a short break, there’s plenty to do and see. It’s all within arm’s reach, so you’ll be back to business in no time.
1.) Start with a Local Beer
If you just stopped staring at a Powerpoint presentation, we know where your priorities lie. The Van Zandt is in the heart of the Rainey Street district, which is filled with historic bungalows-turned-bustling-bars. Craft Pride (literally 4 houses down from the hotel) is the only place focused on the beer brewed across the state of Texas — in fact, that’s all they pour from 54 taps and 2 casks. Pro tip: order a flight and try five different Lone Star brews from spots outside of town, like Deep Ellum and Lone Pint Brewery.
2.) Stop for a Quick Dose of Culture
You might not have time to hoof it to the Blanton Museum of Art up by the University of Texas campus, but the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center is located right at the end of Rainey Street. It’s also conveniently across the street from Craft Pride. The Center houses two gallery spaces which feature rotating exhibits by local and national Latino artists, and admission is always free.
3.) Become One with Nature
From the Mexican American Cultural Center — did we mention there is a sidewalk that connects the hotel to MACC?— it’s easy to access the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, which runs alongside the section of the Colorado River best known as Lady Bird Lake. Stop for coffee with a view at Alta’s Cafe, and if dusk is approaching, keep walking toward Congress Avenue to witness the mass exodus of bats from under the bridge.
4.) Try the Tac-o the Town
If business lunches and dinners haven’t weighed you down too much, one of the best tacos in town is in walking distance from Rainey Street. Cross under I-35 to the eastside and, just down Cesar Chavez, you’ll find Veracruz All Natural’s original trailer. Their avocado-crowned migas is definitely the most popular, but you won’t be disappointed with lunch items like al pastor or gussied up fish tacos.
5.) Take a Break to Caffeinate
If coffee’s your thing, you’re in the perfect place to try some of Austin’s greats. Flat Track Coffee, a bean roastery and café which shares space with a bike shop, is located just across the street from Veracruz tacos. We love the coffee so much, the Hotel Van Zandt even serves it in Café 605! Relax on the patio of Cenote, a café in a white picket fenced-lined house, or head to the center of downtown to visit Houndstooth for one of their coffee mocktails.
– Veronica Meewes