Neighborhood Haunts & Gems
East of Downtown lies three of Austin’s most dynamic neighborhoods–East Downtown, Chavez, and Manor.
The East of Sixth/Downtown area is young, up-and-coming, and seems to be constantly undergoing change. A younger, hipster vibe permeates the area, but offers some good spots to stop, sip and chew. Whisler’s, Revelry Kitchen+Bar, and Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden are some favorites, to name a few.
The East Chavez neighborhood is another area that seems to continually experience growth, yet thankfully has held on to some of its original Latino roots. Locals will tell you that this area is separated just enough from Downtown to rid itself of commerciality, and is a colorful and super-friendly place. Bright homes, picnic areas by Festival Beach, and some amazingly good Mexican food live here. There is so much incredible Mexican food, in fact, that we’d be here all day if we went through the full rankings. A delicious short list: Las Trancas, Juan in a Million, Pueblo Viejo, and Veracruz All Natural Food Truck.
Just north of East Austin, the Manor neighborhood is nestled at the corner of Downtown. Yet another developing area, the vibe here is fun but a tad sophisticated. Austin folk have a serious thing for locally roasted, fair trade coffee, and several spots in this area fit the bill. Caffeine addicts can refuel at Thunderbird Cafe or Bennu Coffee–but don’t be surprised if you bump into some college kids. Can’t blame them for wanting a good mug, too. If your sweet tooth needs to have a moment, let go of your willpower and grab a cupcake at Sugar Mama’s Bake Shop.
Hotel San Jose
Originally constructed as a motor court in 1936, the current property has been renovated into a bungalow-style hotel containing forty rooms. The stucco walls and garden courtyards really make this spot feel tucked away within the city. Just a short trip from East Chavez, Lady Bird Lake, and Downtown, this little oasis is great for people who don’t want to stay in the nightclub areas of Austin.
Hotel Eleven is one of Austin’s newcomers on the hospitality scene. Given that this fourteen-room establishment is new construction, you’re going to have a very modern and clean stay here. Their rooftop patios are perfect for relaxing, morning and night, and offer great views of the surrounding East Austin neighborhood.
Hotel Saint Cecilia
Hotel Saint Cecilia is a small, bohemian hotel that is inspired by a combination of rock, poets, and saints. The property is intimate and exclusive, with some rooms existing in their own bungalows. You can hang by the pool here and feel like you have some privacy–which can be a relief after a day of navigating the city.
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt is an impressive high-rise that captures all the right kind of rock n’ roll vibes–and not the kind that make us roll our eyes. Their design is truly fresh and cool, nodding to the awesome music scene of Austin. After a day of venturing through neighboring areas, return to the hotel for live music at Geraldine’s, and sip on a “Far From the Tree,” their official drink of Austin.
Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
Set in the midst of the downtown bustle, the Omni Austin is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from adventures in the surrounding neighborhoods. Start your day off by heading north towards the Manor, and then grab a cup of coffee at Thunderbird. After caffeine, work your way south through East Austin and then Chaves–stroll, shop, eat, and repeat. Don’t forget the tacos! After a long day of exploring, the Omni’s glorious views from their rooftop pool will give you a perfect Texas sunset to close the day.