Healthy Guide to Austin, TX: What to Eat, Where to Go, & What to Do
It has only been a couple months since I moved to Austin, TX, but it has felt like home since day one. There so are many reasons why I love Austin (read why I moved here). The weather is amazing - I was born for the heat, so just call me a toucan. With close to year-round sunshine comes year-round outdoor activities and things to do. Living here has helped me stay even more active than I was in NYC. I ride my bike nearly every day, which if you know me, is one of my favorite ways to clear my head AND move my body. There are loads of conscious eateries, fitness studios, and beautifully curated local shops. Austin really is a mecca for healthy and active living and the wellness scene is exploding. Also, if you're a dog parent you can take your dog pretty much anywhere... need I say more?
Here's a complete guide to all of my favorite healthy things to eat, see, and do in Austin!
Favorite Healthy Restaurants
All of the restaurants listed below accommodate food allergies, sensitivities, and special diets. I personally try to avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, and soy, and all of these restaurants make it easy and delicious!
Curry Dish and Rainbow Salad from Picnik (left)
Turkey Club on GF/V bread at Forthright (right)
Picnik: This is my favorite place ever in the world. Everything at Picnik is 100% free of gluten, corn, soy, and peanuts! So, anyone with serious allergies can safely eat there. They have a full-on restaurant on Burnet Road, and a grab-n-go food truck on South Lamar. I recommend you go to the restaurant if it's your first time. I LOVE the Harvest Hash, Loaded Guacamole, and Creamy Queso (vegan).
Thai Fresh: Grrrreat spot for gluten-free deliciousness! I get the pad thai and sub out the canola oil for olive oil. Also, the massaman curry is incredible.
Curcuma Ayurvedic Food Truck: It's a plant-based, nutrient-dense food truck located in East Austin, and it's founded by the sweetest woman Rachel Musquiz. Everything on the menu is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free. I recommend stopping by for a light breakfast. I love the Golden Matcha and the Turmeric Coconut Yogurt Bowl. *Make sure they are open before you go - the times online aren't accurate. They are open at 9am from Tuesday-Sunday.
Flowerchild: I feel like I spend a million dollars every time I go, but it's really tasty! The Mother Earth bowl with salmon is my favorite. If you're adding a protein, it's another $5-7, so be aware. Go to the Downtown location!
Modern Market: It’s similar to Flowerchild, but slightly cheaper (just as tasty!). I recommend the Buddha Bowl or the Salmon Curry! Great quick lunch spot.
True Food Kitchen: So much yes. True Food has a seasonal menu, and it's packed with vibrant flavor. I love the Cashew Pad Thai and the Farmers Market Crudités!
Taco Deli: When am I ever not in the mood for this place? Nearly everything is gluten-free. Since I’m also allergic to corn, I get my taco in a cup without a tortilla. The chicken molé is my favorite. They close at 3pm,
Cenote: Cute breakfast or lunch spot! You can post up with your laptop or just pop in for a casual sit down meal. If the weather is nice, sit outside. They have lots of different food options and they do carry gluten-free bread.
Bouldin Creek Cafe: Extremely accommodating. I basically create my own meal whenever I'm there. It's not on the menu, but I like to get a rice bowl with black beans, sautéed mushrooms, kale, and a side of their creamy sunflower seed sauce. It's a delicious breakfast spot, and if you can eat eggs, then you'll find endless options!
Cafe No Sé: If you have very strict food restrictions, then I wouldn't recommend Cafe No Sé. If you're more flexible, then I'd say it's a delicious spot worth going to! It's not outwardly allergy-friendly, but they were super accommodating when I was there. I had a salmon dish for dinner, and they made it gluten-free. It was so good! The breakfast/brunch looks delicious, but I cannot eat virtually anything on that menu.
East Side Pies: Craving some gluten-free pizza that doesn’t taste like cardboard? Go to East Side Pies. The gluten-free dough is also free of corn starch and eggs… two culprits that make finding pizza difficult for me. I get mine topped with pineapple, which is like a sin to some people… but it rocks my world.
Odd Duck: Date night, all the way. Incredible farm-to-table spot with high quality seasonal ingredients and a frequently changing menu. It has made a name as one of Austin’s best culinary experiences. They are very conscious and accommodating to guest with special dietary needs.
Fareground: My weekly ritual. I love riding my bike downtown and sitting outside of Fareground with my laptop all day. Fareground is a food hall that has lots of delicious spots - get coffee from Easy Tiger and lunch at Henbit or Dai Due (both have GF options).
Forthright Cafe: ***CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO KITCHEN FIRE (they are running from a temporary food truck outside of their normal location weekdays 8-2). I raved about this place on this Instagram post. I hardly ever get to eat bread at restaurants, because most gluten-free bread is made with eggs and/or corn starch. Lucky for me, Forthright carries a delicious GF/V and corn-free bread, so I highly recommend it! It's a great lunch spot. If you're looking to do some work, you can bring your laptop and sit outside on the patio.
Honorable Mention: Sway is definitely worth mentioning - it's a beautiful gluten-free Thai restaurant (a perfect date night spot). It's Andrews favorite, but sadly, it's way too spicy for me. I had three bites of the brussels sprouts, and I swear it was the best I've ever had... but after that my mouth was on fire and I couldn't taste the rest of the meal. I have baby tolerance for spicy foods, so don't let me deter you! GO FOR IT!
Looking to post up somewhere with WiFi and do a little work? These cafes are the best spots to sip on some matcha - or coffee - while you get your healthy hustle on.
Greater Goods Coffee: Beautiful space, not overly-crowded since it's fairly new! I've worked from here for hours on end. They have gluten-free goods too (but not egg-free sadly!). Definitely get a latte with Fronk's cashew/almond mylk. It's clean, fresh, and delicious. Note: They have matcha that tastes decent, but no one has been able to tell me the brand they use. So, for matcha, it's not top of my list yet since the brand is a mystery. The coffee, however, is wonderful.
Flat Track Coffee: Get the matcha latte! They use matcha from Matchaful which is one of my favorite matcha brands (related: 5 Things You Should Know About Matcha). They also have the Swedish oat milk brand Oatly. I don't love that Oatly contains rapeseed oil (a.k.a canola oil), but it's a nice treat once in a while (especially if you're tired of almond milk). ALSO, get the gluten-free/vegan chocolate donut and thank me later!!!
Seventh Flag Coffee: The coffee here is great! It was one of the first coffee shops I visited in Austin, so it holds a special place in my heart.
Alfred at The Line Hotel: This hotel is gorgeous. I love riding my bike here, and spending the first half of the day working from Alfred's inside the lobby of the hotel! I approve of their matcha too. :)
Juice Society: Juice, coffee, matcha... they have it all. Say hello to the owner Danielle for me!
Favorite Fitness Studios
It's no surprise that Austin's fitness scene is blowing up. There are new places popping up everywhere, but here are my current faves.
Practice Yoga: It's donation-based yoga, and all of the instructors are great!
Wanderlust Yoga (Downtown or The Domain)
CorePower Yoga (many locations)
Austin Bouldering Project: Favorite place. You can boulder, use their sauna, take fitnesses classes (they have yoga too), use their gym, and work from their co-working space upstairs. A day pass is $16. We're becoming members next month!
Ride Indoor Cycling: It's similar to SoulCycle, but a bit cheaper.
Barton Springs (in the FREE section)
Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake
Running along Auditorium Shores
Favorite Outdoor Activities
One of the best things about ATX is that there are so many outdoor activities you can enjoy most of the year. These are my favorites!
Auditorium Shores Dog Park & Running Trail: We go here every weekend with Luna, so she can play off-leash! Wear shoes that you don't mind getting muddy if you're planning to be around the swimming dogs.
Ann and Roy Butler hike-and-bike trail and boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake: One of my favorite places to bike downtown for a scenic view of beautiful Austin!
Sit outside at Fareground, eat food, and people watch!
Favorite Local Shops
Austin has so many beautifully curated local shops, many of which are owned by some badass females. Check 'em out and support!
Take Heart for gifts, ceramics, and modern minimal decor
The Paper & Craft Pantry for the cutest cards and stationery - say hi to the owner Pei for me!
Apt F for bohemian home decor, cool mugs, rugs, prints, and candles - say hello to the owner Ashley!
Favor the Kind for more boho clothing and home decor!
Tillery Street Plant Co. for plant heaven.
Frond Plant Shop for beautiful handmade ceramics and more plants!
Esby Apparel is a beautiful, sustainably-made slow fashion brand born out of Austin.
That's it for now! I'll continue to update this as I encounter more places. If you know of any other spots we should try out, let me know in the comments below. Happy exploring!