Do you have friends in Dallas? Of course, you do. Do you feel sorry for them because they don’t live in Austin? Yeah, you do. Give them a call, tell them to gas up their car, and show them this guide, because road tripping between our two cities can be a real blast!
While their destination is certainly the main attraction, your Dallas friends can also have fun on the way down here. There are plenty of great little stops and detours to break up the monotony of driving on southbound Interstate 35 through construction projects that have seem to exist for eternity.
If you’re heading south out of the Metroplex and you’ve passed the point where I35W and I35E come together, your first bathroom and snack break should be at the Czech Stop in West for their kolaches. These fruit-filled pastries are so good you may devour them before you get back to the main lanes of the Interstate heading south into Waco. If you think you only want one kolache, get two. You’ll kick yourself later if you don’t.
Once you’ve made it into Waco, you have a few options for stretching your legs. Common Grounds sits just across the street from Baylor University. Students have been caffeinating themselves at this coffee shop since 1994.
For an alternate form of beverage-centric entertainment, you can visit the Dr Pepper Museum. This drink began as a drugstore favorite in 1885 and grew to be a globally recognizable brand. You couldn’t watch a college football game this past season without seeing Dr Pepper commercials featuring stadium vendor Larry Culpepper trying to convince people he came up with the college football playoff system. The museum in Waco takes you through the drink’s history and nostalgia, and you can sample the product.
Waco’s recent tourism boom has been ushered in by a family who turned home renovation, interior design, and their love into a multifaceted business, making them household names across the nation. Of course, we mean none other than Chip and Joanna Gaines. The crown jewel of their empire is Magnolia Market at the Silos where you can shop their wares, play on the lawn, and sample some of Waco’s finest food trucks.
Another hour down the road, you come to the small town of Salado. It is only as long as a few highway exits, but you’ll find shops and restaurants with small-town charm to spare.
Sadly, Salado’s historic Stagecoach Inn is currently closed for renovations, but developers have a plan to restore Salado’s most famous dining and lodging establishment. So, if you happen to be driving through after it has reopened, do yourself a favor and stop by.
Your next place to pull over is Georgetown. By this time in your trip, you’re ready for a good meal. Park the car downtown and take your pick of great places to eat within walking distance of the courthouse square like 600 Degrees Pizzeria, Wildfire, and Monument Cafe.
Now, you’re getting so close to Austin you can almost feel the weirdness. The revelry of Sixth Street and the scenery of West Austin grab all the headlines, but don’t sell North Austin short. At Austin.com, we’ve laid out plenty of options for you to make the most of the north side of town including lists for cheap eats, date spots, and fun things to do.
From here, explore Austin to your heart’s content! And what you don’t do on your road trip to Austin, make the effort to hit those places on the way back. You’ll be glad you did.
Feature photo: Flickr user Gino, Creative Commons licensed