Ultimate Sunday-Funday: East Austin (ish) Edition

The Ultimate Sunday-Funday

Last year I hosted the first “Ultimate Sunday Funday” and it was a relative success, if I do say so myself. So this year, I had to host another over our first three day weekend of the summer – Memorial Day Weekend. Nothing is better than spending time with good friends and then, BONUS, having a Monday off!

While we did this on a Sunday, this path is completely do-able for a Saturday of fun or any day that you have free in Austin. The route gives you a great chance to explore the East Side, which is really coming to life and get a bit off the beaten path, but still has you ending up on a local favorite (even though it’s not technically the east side) – Rainey Street.  I planned the outing to be sensitive of the uncertainty of the ride-sharing situation in Austin at the time. I wanted to make sure that we could safely walk between a majority of our destinations.

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Stop one: Hops and Grain

We kicked off our afternoon at Hops and Gain, an award winning sustainable craft brewery, which is a favorite of our group. We went on one of the last weekends where they had the buy a glass, get a set of tokens for beer system – the great news is now you can go and buy by the pint! Their taproom is super spacious, filled with lots of communal tables for sitting, playing board games, or chowing down on food from the food truck outside. Grab a pint, sit outside or in, and be sure to try and make one their free tours. What I love about their tours is the focus on sustainability. It adds a unique spin to the tour and their staff is clearly so passionate about the brew and the environment.

Brew recs: The One They Call Zoe is a great intro into the brewery and an easy lager to drink. I’m a big fan of their A Pale Mosaic (love those Mosaic hops) and the Greenhouse IPA. Check the boards for their small batches – the brewers love to test out different versions of their classics!

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Stop two: Blue Owl Brewing

Less than a 10 minute walk away is a fairly new brewery on the Austin scene – Blue Owl Brewing. If you’re as obsessed with sours as I am or looking to dive head first into the sour scene, this is your spot. They sour-mash their beers, which they explain exactly what they means pretty well during their tours (sign up in advance online or in person) and on their tasting cards. At Blue Owl, you pay for a glass, which you get to keep, and then 4 generous pours. Their taproom set up is one of my favorites – it’s a bit whimsical with all of the art and owl statues above, and there’s a far amount of seating and standing tables. They also offer an outside patio area with even more seating.

Brew recs: This is sours only spot, so be sure your crew knows that before rolling up. My drink right now is their Little Boss, a Sour Session Wheat, which is a great intro to their sours AND if you love it as much as I do, they can their beers so the party doesn’t have to stop in the taproom! Stouts and sours pretty much sum of my favorite kind of beers, so their Professor Black, a Sour Cherry Stout, is a can’t miss. They also offer limited edition pours for the more adventurous types.

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Stop three: Craftsman

Keeping heading down on East Cesar Chavez and you’ll across a group of bars that make for great day or evening drinking. Our group opted to head into Craftsman on our particular day excursion and enjoy the cool, wooden interior and the wrap around patio. Next door is Stay Gold, which offers a great lounge and stage inside and lots of outdoor seating. Across from those is Drinks Lounge. A bit rough around the corners, but plenty of fun. Pool tables and photo booth in the corner that our group has definitely utilized to capture the memories.

Drink recs: Craftsman offers Prosecco on tap. They have a good craft beer and cocktail offerings. If you’re out to explore, definitely grab some craft cocktails and food from the Toaster food truck at Stay Gold.

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Stop four: Rainey street – Craft Pride

So now we opted to call a ride share and make our way down the Rainey Street. Rainey Street is lined with a great selection of bars and restaurants, and most of them are in converted houses. While it’s not technically the East Side, it flowed pretty well with our general direction and flow of the day. Everywhere you look is a great patio, great selection of drinks, DJs and live music, and its all walking distance from spot to spot. It’s about a mile from the bars on Cesar Chavez so if you’ve got an active crew and the weather’s nice, it could be walked, but that wasn’t in the cards for us. We headed straight for Craft Pride. Craft Pride was on the first places I visited in Austin and it’s been a favorite ever since. It’s a beer drinkers paradise – the impressive collection of taps feature only Texas beers and it rotates frequently. There’s a bottle shop built right in and I love popping in to pick up some treasures to bring home. Take a peek at their website, linked above, to get a sense of selection you’ll come face. The staff is friendly and helpful and down to help everyone pick their perfect brew. Another gem shares the space – Via 313 Pizza. Order from the trailer in the backyard patio, sit down with your brew and some live music and you’ll see why we all keep coming back.

Brew Recs: If you’re at Craft Pride, strap in for a craft beer adventure. The tap list is nicely divided out into categories so you can zone in for the style you crave and also consider new brews. Cozy up inside or camp out at a table outside. Just be sure you order some of that Detroit style pizza. Seriously.

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Craft Pride was the last stop for a lot of our Sunday Funday Crew. Some of the more adventurous types (and the ones who joined in later in the day) kept exploring Rainey Street,  but I know I definitely called it a night! Our journey from start to finish was about 7 hours and it was well worth every minute!

If you are interested in learning more about what East Cesar Chavez has to offer, check out this great blog post from Do512 – a personal favorite of mine for a guide on what to do in Austin!

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From our Sunday Sunday crew to yours! Cheers to a great way to spend the weekend!

Day Trip: Waco, TX

Waco, TX-2 Magnolia
I’m nuts about the HGTV show Fixer Upper. I mean, who isn’t at this point?

Between Jo and Chip’s adorable banter and the magic they work on those fixer uppers, I knew I had to make the trip out to Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Magnolia Market at the Silos has plenty to do for visitors to fill up an afternoon. There’s a warehouse-like shop, garden, lawn games, food trucks, and soon there will be a garden shop and bakery. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely appreciate that every aspect has that irresistible charm and attention to detail that the Gaines are know for.

When my friend Erin and I realized that we were both free during the same weekend in Austin, we knew it was time for a day-trip to Waco and all things shiplap.

Waco lies a cool 1.5 hours-ish north of Austin so it made for an easy trip to fill up up your day. If you’re thinking of coming from Dallas and heading south, the distance is about the same.

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Once we arrived in Waco after an early morning start, we drove around the immediate area surrounding the Silos to scope out the parking situation. There were plenty of pay-to-park lots in the area, but we found that if you you’re willing to drive a bit further down, there’s plenty of free street parking.

The dreary May weather ended up helping – we think it frightened some of the weekend crowd we were expecting. Once parked, we were greeted by that great combo of Texas humidity, some sunshine, and lots of mud. Awesome.

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Photo Op #1 came before we even entered the area. On the wall near where it looks like they get shipments, there’s a giant logo painted. We definitely weren’t the only people stopping for photos, so don’t be shy – walk up and pose!

As you walk along the main buildings, you’ll find the entrance to the market and lawn right by the Silos. We walked straight into the market since we saw they had staff on hand to control lines. We waited about 30 seconds and then entered the market.

Inside, you can feel the excitement. There’s plenty of home goods around – all look like they’ve been hand-picked by Jo herself! They offer beautiful pieces for every part of your house, you’ve just got to be ready to fight the crowd to get to them. Erin and I weren’t there for home decor though, we were on a mission for Magnolia Farms merch.

There’s a few spots throughout the two major areas of the market to get your hands on Magnolia Farms goodies so don’t fret if you can’t find the hats or the shirt you want right away. I knew I had to get a “#demoday” shirt and was pretty narrowed in on that until I had my size in hand. Upon browsing, I also picked up a signature candle and a campfire mug. Erin also picked up some shirts, baseball caps, and beautiful wood postcards. You can check out most of their branded merch here. Once we had our goods in hand, we waited in line to check out. I really appreciate their sales staff – they confirmed every item we were purchasing and went to pick up another shirt size for Erin when we realized she grabbed the wrong size.

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Photo Op #2 is just the outdoors itself. There’s plenty of lawn to play games on, a play structure, and the Silos just photograph beautifully. We strolled around and checked out the gardens and fairy houses and awed over the fresh veggies growing in the garden. You can also see the building that looks like it’ll soon be a gardening store.

We then wandered through the food trucks and grabbed some fresh juice from Luna Juice Bar and sat down on the benches to take the entire setting in. We noticed lots of families visiting – the whole atmosphere is extremely welcoming to kids running around outside and families spending time together.

Since it wasn’t as crowded as we anticipated and opted not to have lunch there, we were able to visit everything in less than 2 hours on site. I’m sure once the garden shop and the bakery open, it’ll be easier to spend a lot more time there.

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Before we left the Silos, we stopped for Photo Op #3 – right at the entrance of the entire Market and Silos. The staff know people love this photo op – a very friendly staffer was stationed there to take group photos!

In order to make the most of our day, we walked around the corner to the Dr. Pepper Museum. It was a 4 minute walk from the Silos and for fans of the drink, it’s a fun visit. Check out Groupon before going for discounts on tickets. The museum itself is very self-guided and laid out in an, well, interesting fashion. At the end of the tour, we grabbed some Dr. Pepper and vanilla ice cream floats – highly recommended. While we were slurping those up, we noticed a continual line to get into the museum. It’s cute, air-conditioned, about a local Texas product – and walking distance from Magnolia Market. No wonder it’s so popular!

From here, we went to drive by the Harp Design Co. shop and take a peak at their house next door. We didn’t stop in since we were ready to head back to Austin, but there were plenty of cars parked along the street!

Ultimately, I recommend the trip out to Magnolia Market at the Silos for fans of the show. We were so enchanted by the charm and the community you felt. As the area gets built out, I think it’ll have more to do for even non-fans of the show. If you’re a day tripping area or even if you’re looking for an opportunity stop and stretch your legs on a drive between Dallas and Austin, definitely stop! You’ll be so inspired by shiplap, I promise.