love of travel | a guide to austin, texas

THE EXPERT

Meet Sara-Mai Conway, #girlboss, fitness-lover, and all-around badass. A Boston native, she moved to Texas from Los Angeles in 2008 and owns a boutique fitness studio in Austin.  Since no one can show you around town like a local can, we’ve asked Sara-Mai to give us the low-down on what makes ATX a notable travel destination.

resolute-fitness-lamar

 

Tell us about what you’re up to in Austin!

SMC:  I’m the owner of Resolute Fitness Cycling & Yoga studio. We offer those two classes and classes that combine the two – our most popular class is the cycling & yoga COMBO, 30 minutes of cycle, followed by 30 minutes of yoga. It’s everything you need for cardio, strength and balance. We believe in balance. Although we’ve been in business for 4 years now, we just recently moved to the South Lamar neighborhood and we love it! Just one mile south of Central Austin, the south side is a funky, hip enclave with increasingly good food, shopping and of course, fitness.

revolutionweb-41

 

What makes Austin great for you?

Austin’s size and affordability offered me the chance to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams, something I would have been priced out of in my last hometown, Los Angeles. Plus, Austin has a go-getter spirit and a wonderful community of like-minded builders who have provided me with invaluable support. Although it can mean stiff competition, Austin’s fitness-minded community is a wonderful group to be part of.

I first moved to Austin as a rower, and have since competed in triathlons, discovered CrossFit, and completed my yoga teacher training. I actually love the summer heat, and being able to be active outdoors all year round has been a gift.

lenoir-austin
Lenoir Restaurant

What are some of your favorite food spots?

This is hard because Austin is such a foodie city. I love how Austin has really great restaurants, none of which are pretentious, and almost all of which you can get a reservation in.

Current faves:  Odd Duck, because it’s right across the street from my business and offers farm-to-table dining, with a rotating small plate menu.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya is bar-none the best ramen in town, perfect for rainy days, colder evenings. It’s a fun and casual environment.

Sway – amazing Thai food on the south side. Fresh ingredients and a lovely outdoor patio.

Lenoir on South First is the go-to birthday spot, it’s a small space in an old converted house. Great food with a French twist in an sweetly romantic atmosphere.

My casual, fun, historical spot where I like to bring friends from out of town is Hill’s Cafe – way down South on Congress, it’s a Texas standard. Good for steak, biscuits, and comfort food.

maya-star
Maya Star on South Congress (courtesy of Facebook)

SHOPPING

If you love to shop small, you can’t beat South Congress with boutiques like Maya Star. Next up for me would be the 2nd street district, where Luxe Apothetique is my fave.

lobby-bar-south-congress-hotel
Lobby bar at South Congress Hotel

 ATX NIGHTLIFE 

I’m personally an early-to-bed, early-to-rise gal, but I love sitting in the warm outdoors at night with an ice cream from Lick or a gelato from Dolce Neve.  For nightlife, South Congress Hotel and Hotel Van Zandt are super popular right now, for locals and travelers alike.

lbj-wildflower
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

WHAT ELSE TO DO AROUND TOWN

Austin is known for its music! Most popular is the Austin City Limits Festival in Zilker Park and SXSW, of course.

I’m not a late night person, so my favorite haunts are the museums – the Blanton and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in particular.

And as for weekend things to do, being in the outdoors is king here, so hiking the Greenbelt and jumping in the water with my dog, or taking a dip in Barton Springs Pool are always high on my list. We live in the gateway to the Hill Country, the most beautiful stretch of Texas, so if one has a free weekend, a road trip to a small Texas hill-country town like Gruene, Wimberley or Fredericksburg is always fun – you can find me taking my motorcycle on a road trip on the cooler weekends.

hotel-ella
Hotel Ella

TRAVEL TIPS FOR OUT OF TOWNERS

If you need accommodations, I love the smaller hotels like Kimber Modern (more like a HomeAway) and Hotel Ella.  For a little Texas history, and possibly a ghost sighting, stay at the Driskill.

Public transportation is rare in Austin, and there’s no Uber! So plan ahead for how you’ll get around, or just rent a car.

And lastly, bring some walking/running shoes! A 1, 3, or 7 mile loop around Town Lake is a must.

Thanks so much for the tips Sara-Mai!  To learn more about Resolute Cycling & Yoga studio, check out their Instagram. Are you an ATX expert?  If so, leave me more great tips and places to eat/drink/shop/sweat in the comments section!

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fiendishly fond of cooking, SoulCycle, Pilates, green smoothies, and Korean spas.

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