First Football Game of the Year in Austin

We headed to Austin this past weekend to watch our beloved Horns take on the typically beatable Arkansas State Indians. While I can say that the game was ugly and downright not that enjoyable, at least we won. The team better get to work before TCU comes to town.

Anyway, we had originally planned on staying only on Saturday night but we changed our mind at the last second and included Friday night in our plans. This made for some interesting shuffling around since we booked our lodging with Priceline. That left us with good news, bad news and good news. The good news was that Priceline booked us for both nights without a hitch. The bad news, since we booked about two weeks apart, was that we would stay in two different hotels. The good news was landing the Hyatt and the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental for $100 each.

We've stayed at both hotels and either is a great Austin option. My bids on Priceline were $100 for a four-star hotel in downtown Austin (in case you wanted to know how much we bid to get accepted.) Could we have gone for less? Probably but time was of the essence.

The Stephen F. Austin is located on the corner of Congress and 7th - within easy walking distance to 6th street, the warehouse district and even the 2nd street district. We got a good-sized room with a queen bed. It was bigger than the standard room you might land when making a regular reservation as it had a little seating area with a sofa/coffee table and a desk. We were on the third floor which made the rest of the hotel accessible but we could hear the Congress street terrace late at night (even though we crashed at 1:00). For dinner, we went to Roaring Fork - excellent food, as always, even if the service was somewhat spotty.

Looking across Town Lake to the Hyatt Regency

The next night, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Town Lake. Another great location... just a two minute drive from South Congress, walking distance to the Congress Street bridge (if bats are your thing) with great views of downtown. The Hyatt refurbished their rooms a couple of years ago and they're much nicer. The standard Texana theme has been replaced with a sleek and modern theme including Samsung LCD TVs, dark woods and nice modern touches all around.

On Sunday we ate breakfast at the 2nd street location of Jo's Coffee (a spin-off from the original South Congress location). Sitting outside has a very European feel - mid-rise residential housing on top of retail with a good vibe and buzz on the street. It's very relaxing and you just feel like hanging around outdoors with nothing to do but drink coffee and peoplewatch. Within reaching distance are restaurants like Taverna, CRU Wine Bar and the always delicious Paciugo. You've got to hit Paciugo for great gelato. Two of the best home stores in the area are The Home Retreat (where we found a great clock for our refurbished study) and Mercury Design Studio. Both places that make it easy to drop some cash. There are probably a dozen boutiques and much more. Call it a mini-version of Houston's midtown.

Oh yeah... and course, you know we didn't hit the Austin area without checking out the outlets in San Marcos. We made a quick run on Saturday morning before heading to campus for the game.

All in all, a good trip... some pretty ugly football but a nice long Labor Day weekend.

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