Mixing Business With BBQ in Austin, TX

You've probably heard a thing or two about Austin, Texas. People are flocking to the destination in droves for its natural watering holes, buzzy bar scene, and live music on every corner.

While Austin maintains a bit of its southern charm -- think honky tonks, barbeque, and cowboy boots -- it's very much a mecca for start-ups and technology companies due to its lower cost of living and doing business.

If you find yourself here for a conference or convention, which is probably taking place at the new LINE Austin hotel or the Austin Convention Center, you'll want to use downtown Austin as a home base. Check out Upside's hotel view for options nearby (I'd recommend the Element Austin Downtown for its apartment-style rooms and lively public spaces), and then get ready to hit the city like a local.

Here's your down-home checklist to help you make the most of your Austin business trip.

Eat + Drink

Breakfast Tacos at Veracruz All Natural

Fuel Up With Breakfast of Biz Travel Champions

This popular food truck has a few locations, but the one you're hitting up is on East Cesar Chavez, housed in what looks like an old school bus. Get there early and hungry, because it's one of the best taco spots in the country. The order here is migas tacos, the unofficial dish of the city that is essentially a free-form omelet with fried tortilla strips inside of a tortilla. The concoction also includes cheese, pico de gallo and avocado. You won't have to deal with getting hangry during your client meetings when you start your work day at Veracruz All Natural.

BBQ at La Barbecue

Fast-Casual Spot to Meet Clients

Once a buzzy food truck in a parking lot with a lengthy line to match, the team at La Barbecue now has a brick-and-mortar location about a mile outside of downtown. While you may still have to wait a bit to indulge, I promise there's a pile of meat-and-sides around the corner. Everything is by the pound here, so think pulled pork, brisket, beef ribs, sausage, and more. As for sides, the beans and potato salad are a crucial compliment to the meat-filled meal.

Craft Beer at Lazarus Brewing Company

From Daytime Grind to Afterhours Unwind

By day, Lazarus acts as a coffee shop and co-working space where you can take a meeting or finish up that presentation. By night, the outdoor picnic tables fill to the brim with beer-and-taco-lovers ready to celebrate the end of a work day. They have local brews by the glass and limited edition releases, so it's a great spot to sample some beers and make new friends.

Meet on Rainey Street

A 60-Minute Bleisure Activity

Formerly a residential neighborhood, this tucked-away street features former homes-turned-bars. While it may feel like you're hoppin' house parties, these are some of the coolest bars you'll find in the city, from Banger's, a sausage house & beer garden, to Bungalow, an oasis that puts on free crawfish boils.

Need a break from a busy day of meetings? Café 605 at the Hotel Van Zandt is just a block away and offers free WiFi, fresh coffee, and a killer playlist.

See + Do

Relax in Zilker Park and Visit Lady Bird Lake

Team-Building Meets the Great Outdoors

Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake, also known as Town Lake to the locals, is a metropolitan park and reservoir surrounded by hiking and biking trails where you can swim, rent a kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or take a river cruise. In the heart of downtown Austin, it's the perfect team-building spot to roam outdoors with a view of city skyline.

Swim at Barton Springs Pool

Best Bleisure Pool Spot

At over 1,000 feet long, this natural pool is fed by underground springs, meaning the temperature hovers around 70 degrees all year long. Surrounded by grass, it's an ideal place to sunbathe, destress after a week of meetings, and have a swim to beat the Texas heat.

Watch the Sunset (with Bats) at the Congress Bridge

Schedule Some "Time For You" (With A View)

Every summer, beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge, you'll find the world's largest urban bat colony. For prime viewing, find a cozy spot under the bridge and get ready to watch the bats take flight at sunset. Trust me, it's an experience unlike any other, and a great story to share with your colleagues when you're back at the office.

Walk around South Congress

Business Travelers Need Souvenirs Too

Strolling along South Congress you'll find quirky boutiques, long-standing music venues and Austin-only eateries. Stop in for a shop at Uncommon Objects for one-of-a-kind finds, and then take the standard tourist photo at the "I love you so much" sign outside of Jo's Coffee. Jo's is also a great place to crank out some work before you tap into your inner tourist again.

How do you mix work and play when in Austin on business? Share your favorite things to see and do while in town for work with fellow business travelers in the comments below.


Christina Cherry is a travel loving, adventure seeking, wine enthusiast with a knack for trip planning. As a publicist and freelance writer based in New York City, she frequently travels for work and for play, whether it's visiting her hospitality clients around the world or searching for story inspiration. Check out her work at cherrycreativestudio.com and follow along on her blog at everywherewithcherry.com and on Instagram at @everywherewithcherry.

You can use her referral code CHERRY at checkout (or click here) to score at least $100 in gift cards when you book your first Upside business trip (minimum $600 pre-tax purchase required).

Offer valid for first time customers with pre-tax purchase minimum of $600+, see upside.com for terms and conditions.