3-Hour Tour: Austin, Texas

For most travelers, flight delays and layovers are annoying, but the extra time doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to the airport’s duty-free shops. It may only be three hours, but consider this your vacation bonus to see Austin.


First Hour: Flag down a taxi at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and ask them to take you to the Chuy’s on Barton Springs Road. When you arrive, start with their quintessential lime-squeezed margarita, and soak in the flamboyant décor and Austin eccentricities. The Tex-Mex restaurant known for dishes like "chuychangas," tortilla soup, and steak burritos has now expanded with locations throughout the country. The Barton Springs location is the original, preserving all its Austin authenticity.


Second Hour: After getting settled with a beverage, settle into hour two with an order of Chuy’s Tex-Mex. If you don’t mind spice, take a taste of their chile rellenos (battered and fried cheesed-stuffed Anaheim peppers) with a side of green chile rice and charro beans. If you prefer a meat option, you really can’t go wrong with their savory Chuy’s special enchiladas with blue corn tortillas, hand-pulled chicken, and tomatillo sauce. After your robust Tex-Mex meal, walk or cab to Sno-Beach Hawaiin Shaved Ice and order a sugary sweet Tiger's Blood snow cone. 


Third Hour. Snow cone in hand, spend your last hour ambling through Austin’s beloved Zilker Park. The popular outdoor area is located in the center of the city and is the venue for the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. The park also includes a lakeside path that offers numerous picturesque views of the city’s Lady Bird Lake. If you have extra time, stroll through the Zilker Botanical Gardens, check out the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum that features the artwork of Charles Umlauf, or paddle a canoe on Lady Bird Lake.

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Elizabeth Trovall is the Austin Travel City Editor for The Daily Meal.