Day Trip Secrets From An Austin Local

Enjoy out-of-the-way restaurants and getaways beyond the city limits.

By Marika FlattOctober 5, 2017 9:30 am,

Friends often come to Austin and ask me where to go and what to do. Lately, I’ve been recommending a lunch on the water at Hula Hut after a jog around Lady Bird Lake, then shopping on South Congress, also known as SoCo. But there are so many more great spots around the Capital city!

Beneath a nondescript sign hanging over the shaded door, Andiamo Ristorante sits quietly in a strip center off Burnet Road in north Austin. But when you walk in, you smell the fresh garlic and bread like from grandma’s Italian kitchen and you feel like you are home for the night. With burgundy walls featuring beautiful paintings of Italy, this small, tucked-away restaurant makes a big impression.

Try the fried calamari tossed with sea salt and fresh leeks which is possibly the least greasy calamari you’ll try. You will be delighted with the housemade mushrooms and ricotta, ravioli sautéed with saffron sauce and green peas.

The next morning, try brunch downtown at the JW Marriott’s restaurant, Corner. Try their chilaquiles or 7-layer salad. You also can’t go wrong with a burger or crispy chicken sandwich. Then head to the 6th floor to enjoy a manicure, facial or massage at the spa.

If you’re looking for a hotel for your weekend getaway to Austin, Sonesta Bee Cave is only 20 minutes from downtown or the airport. It’s a hip spot on the edge of the hills outside of Austin. It’s really close to the Hill Country Galleria, where you can shop and dine. Sonesta’s restaurant, Meridian 98 on the 6th floor boasts a great view.

But if you’d like to leave the city for a more remote destination, Sage Hill Inn & Spa is 30 miles from downtown, but might as well be hours away. Just outside of Kyle, Sage Hill Inn sits on 88 acres above Onion Creek, and features two faux-historic buildings. They were only built about 20 years ago but look like they could be from the early 1900s.

Great attention has been paid to small details in almost every area of the inn. From HGTV-style decorated bedrooms and spacious bathrooms to a garden spa that highlights some of the best products of Texas.

Sage Hill Inn has 16 rooms that include one-bedroom inn suites, a few private cottages hidden in the woods and even a three-bedroom home. The sunsets are spectacular and, because the night sky is unimpaired by big city lights, you can enjoy a sweeping view of the stars.