If you’re wondering where to stay in Austin and don’t want to deal with pricey and crowded downtown hotels, I know just the place…
I was recently invited on a whirlwind trip to Austin to celebrate the 300th TownePlace Suites location in North Austin (Tech Ridge). While my mom had both visited Austin and stayed at a TownePlace Suites before, I’d done neither and jumped at the chance. Thanks for hosting me, TownePlace Suites Austin!
TownePlace Suites is perfect especially for longer trips because each one is a fully-loaded extended stay hotel — it has everything you need to feel at home when you’re traveling, like an in-suite kitchen, spacious elfa closet from The Container Store, awesome gym, and Weber grills outside that you can use whenever you like. Plus, it’s brand new and beautifully modern.
As I said, the main reason I was in town was to attend the celebration event and enjoy the brand new hotel, but since I flew in a day early I had time to explore the city a little bit. Since the Tech Ridge TownePlace Suites is north of the city, I hitched a ride downtown via an similar-to-Uber-but-not-actually-Uber service called Ride Austin. (Uber isn’t available in Austin anymore due to some kind of political thing, so keep that in mind if you’re visiting!)
In doing some sightseeing research before the trip there was one suggestion that popped up in every Google search: the Congress Avenue bats. Sounds weird. Let’s do it.
But first, food.
I asked friends on Facebook what to eat and they unanimously said TACOS. I decided to visit Maudie’s and have a true Tex-Mex experience. Was not disappointed, and because there are several Maudie’s locations in Austin, you’ll probably be able to find one nearby no matter where you decide to stay.
After stuffing my face/before seeing the bats, I’d intended to hit up an antique/vintage store called Uncommon Goods that a couple of my favorite Texan YouTubers talk about all the time, but by the time I made it downtown through the thick Austin traffic, they were closed. Sad times.
Instead I walked around in SoCo — the nickname for the neighborhood along South Congress Ave. It was a hipster paradise, with tons of patios, beers, and interesting shops. Unfortunately weather was overcast throughout the time I was in town so my pictures didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but here’s one I ended up liking:
As sunset approached, it was time to head to the river for the piéce de resistance — the Congress Avenue bridge bats. Every night at dusk, up to 1.5 million bats fly out into the night sky in search of food. It’s hard to grasp just how many bats that is until you see it happen.
If you’re wondering how I got a video from that angle it’s because I decided to book a $10 river cruise to see the bats so I could hear a bit more background information from the cruise tour guide, but seeing the bats is a free event if you opt to stand on top of the Congress Ave. bridge instead of taking the cruise underneath.
The cruise is great because you get to hear some interesting facts about the city skyline and the culture of Austin — how it’s an incredibly active city with exercise paths and parks everywhere. Sounds like my kind of place!
After the sunset cruise I was pretty whipped, so I headed back to my hotel room/home away from home, took a bath in the spacious tub, finished this graphic novel my brother got me for my recent birthday, and hit the hay.
The next evening, it was time to celebrate! At the 300th TownePlace Suites party, there was tons of local flavor to take in.
There was live music. There were custom TownePlace cocktails like this smoked peach old fashioned.
There was a make your own spice blend station.
There was an awesome local food artist — Jessie Bearden — replicating an iconic Austin postcard design in only different flavors of barbecue sauce!
And there was a grill-off between two great Austin chefs who were challenged to create a dish incorporating something from the TownePlace “In a Pinch” market at the front desk — luckily they had plenty to choose from like bagged snacks, frozen dinners, fresh fruit, and a variety of beverages.
Between the appeal of the phrase “keep Austin weird”, the killer Tex Mex food, and knowing exactly where to stay in Austin when I’m in town, I’ll definitely be back sometime very soon! Find a TownePlace Suites near your destination at their website.
Comments & Reviews
Robin Rue says
I have never been to Texas before (well for a quick layover, but that’s it). This sounds like a great city and an awesome place to stay.
Rebecca Bryant says
What a fabulous place. Packing bags and moving in with you, we will have a great time. Plus it will be a new adventure for me having never been to texas.
Kelly Hutchinson says
I have never been to Austin, but when I visit, this is where I am staying! What a great place!
Sarah Bailey says
I would love to visit Austin myself it seems like there is so much going on there and how amazing g is that hotel!
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
Texas is SO MUCH FUN! I’ve been to Texas several times, and it’s so wonderful. I love everything about the state.
Vera Sweeney says
I adore Texas. They really do do everything bigger in Texas. The food, the music – everything.
Bill Sweeney says
Austin is an amazing place. I went there a few years ago, and I don’t think there was one second that was fantastic. Their music scene is great.
I’ve never been to Austin, though I have been to Texas. I would get freaked out by the bats though, even though I love horror movies, I’d prefer them to stay on screen, LOL. That hotel looks amazing, well cared for, and so cool!
I’ve never been to Austin but it’s on my list of cities to see. That food looks delicious!
I love everything I hear about Texas! I would love to go for a visit! Sounds like a great place to stay!
Mama to 6 Blessings says
I definitely could do without the bats! Sounds like a nice place to visit or live, I have heart great things about Texas!
Marcie W. says
Austin is such a great city and definitely has my type of vibe! I love all of the live music and definitely plan to see those bats during my next trip.
juliana Tomasek says
I have never been to Austin, in fact my first to Texas was six months ago when I earned a trip to Dallas with my company. While I am not sure if I want to see bats, a spice bar when you can create your own sounds right up my alley
I would love to be able to go to Texas! This looks like the perfect place to stay, too.
I have heard that Austin is THE place to be in Texas! I can see why! It is beautiful! I might want to move there myself! LOL
Wow! Looks like a great place to visit! The Tex- Mex place is one for my list of places to visit in the future!
Amy Desrosiers says
Wow, this place really does look and sound awesome! I have never been to Texas but now you got me wanting to check it out too.
Heather Johnson says
I have never been to Texas. What a great guide! Now I kind of want to take the kiddos!
Okay, the Congress Avenue Bats are pretty cool. That is such a unique thing to see.
Claudia Krusch says
I bet the cook off was fun. These are great places to stay in Austin. I am hoping to be in the area this summer.
Tacos, eh? I would have thought something like prime rib would have been the recommendation. Those bats are creepy, but beautiful at the same time.
I’ve always heard great things about Texas. I have never even been there before. It’s one of the states that I would really love to visit though.
I have friends in Austin and would love to check it out as I’ve never even been to Texas! You totally make me want to visit. 🙂
I would love to check this out. It looks like you had an amazing time.
I cannot imagine seeing 1.5 million bats all at once! How cool!
I love staying in extended stay hotels because I have a big family and it is more convenient for us. Townhouse Suites looks like a wonderful hotel and also family-friendly! I love that they offer good closet space and a grill for cooking out! It definitely seems like it’s a home away from home!
Alicia Taylor says
I’ve never been to Austin, but it looks like your stay was pretty fantastic. I love that they used a whole peach in that Old Fashioned. I’ve never seen that before.
I’ve never been to Texas but it’s on my list. Sounds like Austin would be a great town to visit!
Dawn McAlexander says
I could see why you liked Austin so much. That looked like a lot of fun. I would love to visit there someday myself. Who can beat great food and a wonderful place to stay?
Dawn Lopez says
I think I need to plan a trip to Austin for just those tacos alone! It really does look like a great place to visit though. Those bats are crazy!
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
Wow! These are really great reasons to go to Austin! Love that there’s an amazing hotel where we can stay comfortably! Thanks for sharing this!
Texas is one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit! I’ve just written this place down so I don’t forget it as it looks so nice here 🙂
Ashley S says
You had me at tacos! Texas is great if you are looking for delicious cuisine.
Seattle Travel Blogger says
TownePlace Suites look like a great place to stay. I like the layout of the place and your photos and film do a very good job of showing it off.
This is amazing! Wish I can visit Austin, Texas one day! Thanks for sharing this!
I would love to visit Austin. It sounds like there are so many unique things to see and do. The whole “Keep Austin weird” appeals to me too. I’ll look into the TownePlace Suites when I get to visit.
This place looks really nice to stay at! I have never been to Austin, TX but have family there.
Sounds like such a great visit to Austin. I would love the see all of those bats.
Austin is such a cool city! And we just moved to Houston, Texas!!! I love it here. Best decision for our family!
Amy @ Marvelous Mommy says
Nom nom, you can’t beat tacos! That is a TON of bats! I thought they were birds at first!
Chelley @ A is For Adelaide says
I have been wanting to visit Texas forever! MY hubby went on business a few years ago, and STILL talks about it!
My Teen Guide says
Whenever I visit a new place, it is the memory of the delicious food that sticks with me. Those tacos are definitely going to win a place in the limbic system of my brain!
Dana Vento says
I never wish to travel in Texas but when I read your post , I am completely amazed of what you’ve experienced there. I wish I could go there too!
April Hammond says
I would love to visit Austin someday as there seems like there is a lot to do! That suite sounds amazing, love the closets! Looks like the opening event was so fun.
Michelle Waller says
Oh, wow!! This place looks amazing. I have always wanted to visit Texas.
Wow… that suite is to die for… I loved your pictures and I am sold… I have to plan a trip to Texas… just to stay in that suite… Loving it!
Annemarie LeBlanc says
Towneplace Suites looks like a great place to sty when visiting Austin TX. I love the cozy ambiance and the relaxed atmosphere of the place. I have not been to TX yet but I would love to do so someday soon.
katrina gehman says
those all look amazing. i have a friend in austin. if i ever go i will have to check some of those out.
Alissa Apel says
I’ve been to different parts of Texas. There’s so much to do there! I have to say that the food you posted looks good!
TownePlace Suite sounds like a great place to stay. I would of been all over that spice making station!
Aziel Morte says
I haven’t been in Texas but this is one of my bucket lists and it has a many tourist spot and I would love to stay there.
It was great meeting you at the event!! What a happy coincidence.