Sustainable City Guides: 12 Places To Stay, Eat & Shop In Austin, Texas

Joe Daniel Price/Moment/Getty Images

Joe Daniel Price/Moment/Getty Images

The Conscious Traveler's Guide to Austin, Texas

We’ve seen it on bumper stickers and T-shirts, but what exactly is it that makes Austin “weird?” If “weird” has anything to do with being a center for culture, a foodie’s heaven on earth, or a good-hearted and welcoming community, the Texas state capital hits the spot.

It’s no surprise that Austin is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities and is quickly becoming a haven for sustainability-seeking travelers. Whether you’re in search of the perfect vegan breakfast taco or a solar-powered lodge, Austin’s got you covered. Here are some sustainable lodging, dining, and shopping options to help you consciously explore all that Austin has to offer.

 

S T A Y


 

#1. W Hotel Austin

Why We Love It | Located downtown beside the Austin City Limits Music Festival venue, W Austin is committed to delivering a luxury experience while maintaining eco-friendly and environmentally conscious values. The hotel implements measures for conserving energy and water and minimizing waste, and was even constructed and outfitted with the most environmentally friendly materials. Guests are also invited to be a part of W Austin’s green movement. When booking your visit online, be sure to check the box beside “Make A Green Choice” to opt out of housekeeping— this not only reduces water, energy, and toxicity, but also earns you points towards a future stay at any Starwood Hotel! 

Where To Find It | Downtown, Austin

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#2. Habitat Suites

Why We Love It | For 30-some years, Habitat Suites has served guests and environment alike with the utmost care. The property is solar powered, and suites are stocked with organic soaps, cleaning products, and organic mattresses— not to mention locally roasted, fair-trade coffee! If you’re not outside enjoying the hotel’s edible vegetation and herb gardens, your indoor air quality and oxygen are similarly improved by live plants inside. Complimentary breakfasts are tailored to any diet and prepared with only the best local and organic ingredients. You’re even invited to enjoy complimentary beer, wine, and light snacks during the evening hospitality hour!

Where To Find It | North Central Austin

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#3. Park Lane Guest House

Why We Love It | This “urban eco-oasis” is home to private, secluded (seemingly!) cottages within walking distance to downtown. Each cottage is solar powered and outfitted with natural and organic amenities such as coffee, tea, popcorn, and cleaning products. The Vicky House, one of the private cottages available for rent, is built from reclaimed Victorian wood. Electric vehicle charging is free to all guests, and bike rentals are available on site. Guests can enjoy fresh breakfast each morning, prepared with ingredients from Park Lane’s own free range hens and vegetation from the garden. You can eat in the dining room, by the pool, or even have your breakfast delivered to your cottage!

Where To Find It | SoCo District, Downtown Austin

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E A T


 

#1. Bistro Vonish

Type | Vegan food trailer

Why We Love It | This food trailer restaurant provides an upscale vegan dining experience like no other. Menu items change with the seasons to bring only the freshest local ingredients to the table. With a focus on farm-to-table ingredients, innovative vegan dishes, and comfort classics such as pizza and pasta, Bistro Vonish is a delicious option for vegans, vegetarians, and foodies alike. 

Where To Find It | North Loop, Austin

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#2. Bouldin Creek Cafe

Type | Vegetarian & vegan restaurant

Why We Love It | The variety at Bouldin Creek Cafe is sure to please any guest. From specialty omelets to tacos, along with an extensive list of fair-trade teas and locally roasted coffees, Bouldin Creek will happily prepare any order vegan. The menu is exclusively vegetarian, yet still offers unique Austin flavors and specials. If the food isn’t already enticing enough, the owners and staff at Bouldin Creek are committed first and foremost to community, striving to make your experience reflect Austin’s lively community.

Where To Find It | Bouldin Creek, Austin

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#3. The Vegan Nom

Type | Vegan food truck

Why We Love It | What’s a visit to Austin without street tacos? The Vegan Nom is Austin’s— and Texas’— first all-vegan taco truck. Serving breakfast tacos and creative twists on classic Tex-Mex at two locations, The Vegan Nom’s menu is also gluten-free! Freshly made salsas, guacamole, vegan queso, and grilled corn tortilla chips make for the perfect side or afternoon snack.

Where To Find It | East Austin and North Loop

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#4. Lenoir

Type | Farm-to-table restaurant

Why We Love It | Lenoir specializes in what they call “Hot Weather Food,” and they create and change their menus in time with Central Texas’ seasons. With ingredients sourced from local Texas farms, your meal will be— and taste— indescribably fresh. Dishes are paired with carefully chosen wines that complement and accentuate local flavors. Behind the restaurant is the Wine Garden, where guests can also eat or enjoy small plates, wines, beers, and ciders. 

Where To Find It | Bouldin Creek, Austin

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#5. Odd Duck

Type | Farm-to-table restaurant

Why We Love It | The chefs at Odd Duck are better known as artisans of food, seeking to epitomize the art of cooking in every dish. Local Texas ingredients add a fresh and flavorful touch to familiar favorites, but it’s sustaining and supporting local farmers that Odd Duck values even more. Their website lists each farm or local producer and the ingredients they supply. If you’re looking for a spectacular dining experience that cultivates and supports the Austin community, this is the place to go. 

Where To Find It | Zilker, Austin

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S H O P


 

#1. Raven + Lily

Why We Love It | Raven + Lily’s products are made by at-risk women from around the world. Creating and designing not only provides these women with fair-trade wages, but also helps the greater economies in their respective countries. When you shop at Raven + Lily, you cast a vote with your dollar in support of sustainable fashion.

Where To Find It | Cherrywood, Austin

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#2. Blue Lux

Why We Love It | Blue Lux’s inventory is stocked with clothes, shoes, and a variety of accessories from many different vendors, each of which you’ll feel good about supporting. They only carry brands and goods that are sourced and produced ethically. Some products even support social causes and efforts.

Where To Find It | Westgate, Austin

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#3. Mitscoots

Why We Love It | Specializing in knitwear like hats, scarves, and gloves, Mitscoots’s mission supports the homeless population. For each item purchased, Mitscoots gives an item of equal quality to someone less fortunate— but they don’t stop there. Mitscoots employs the homeless who are in transition, giving them the opportunity to work, learn, and continue paying it forward. 

Where To Find It | Holly, Austin

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#4. Parts & Labour

Why We Love It | If you’re looking to support local Texan artisans, designers, and crafters, Parts & Labour is the place to go. You’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts, home goods, and clothes, and the purchases you make support the livelihoods of the locals that create them.

Where To Find It | Bouldin Creek, Austin

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