If you’re in town with kids, one of Austin’s best locales is the Mueller Neighborhood, home to food trucks, several amazing parks, the Austin Thinkery Museum, the Alamo Drafthouse, and restaurants galore. Centrally located, Mueller draws Austinites (and tourists) from all corners of our city. You will see families, hipsters, soccer games, ice cream vendors, food trucks, and ducks. Lots of ducks.
A first stop for visiting with kids is the Thinkery–Austin’s children and science museum which was the original development within Mueller for the surrounding restaurants that followed. The 40,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space boasts several perennial favorites including the Cooking Lab, the Light Lab and The Backyard climbing area, along with rotating exhibits every few months. There are several water features so if you have small children, bring a change of clothes.
The Light Lab exhibit is always a favorite where children can draw pictures with lasers and view them on a television screen. Other features include a “shadow” machine where you can freeze your shadow on a wall. Very creative, very fun. Browse the current and permanent Thinkery exhibit spaces here.
Top Trip Tip: Eat lunch before going to the Thinkery, or take lots of snacks. There is a snack area with vending machines but unfortunately, no restaurant within the museum. Not a bad idea to take a change of clothes for water exhibits.
Second Stop: J.T. Youngblood’s
To fill up after a trip to the museum, walk next door to J.T. Youngblood’s, a reimagined version of the classic Texas family restaurant. Check your diet at the door, because the fried chicken is the real deal here. For a full Southern experience, order the greens (well spiced) and the mashed potatoes as sides. There are chicken nuggets for kids and cocktails for weary parents. It’s a great spot to unwind following what will most likely be an exhausting trip to the sensory overload of the Thinkery. Check out the menu to get your taste buds going.
Top Trip Tip: Visit during Happy Hour for drink and snack deals Tuesday-Friday 3-6 p.m.
Run off some of that food before finishing your action-packed day by visiting the Mueller Lake Park across the street from the Thinkery. A giant mosaic dragon sculpture, “Nessy,” guards the gate. This park has plenty of climbing fun, swings, spinning platforms and is fenced in with benches to give parents a place to sit and watch kids go crazy. Take a breather, you’ve earned it.
Before you head back to the Thinkery parking garage, walk by Lick Honest Ice Cream for a final treat. The delicious handmade confections are an Austin favorite because of their inventive flavor options (try their “Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil & Seasalt” or their “Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey) and locally-sourced ingredients.
Why you should go: To get a sense of the soul of Austin, check off all the boxes at Mueller Park. Food Trucks, check. Great new restaurant and bar district, check. Plenty of greenspace, check. A great science museum for kids, check.
Rainy Day Plan: If it’s raining on your day to Mueller, you can always substitute a matinee movie at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in lieu of the trip to the park. Alamo Drafthouse is an Austin original with locations now across the country showing first run movies as well as special screenings of classic and obscure movies. There is special programming for families with children.
Top Trip Tip: Stay close to all that Mueller has to offer by reserving our 4-bedroom home in University Hills just moments away by car. To plan your family getaway to Austin, check our website for availability.
The Provident is the perfect spot for exploring Austin
Built in 1887, this spacious historic loft comprising the entire third floor of one of Austin’s few remaining 19th-century buildings is now available as a unique vacation rental in the heart of Austin’s entertainment and business district.
The building on East 5th Street got its start as the “Provident Hotel” operating from 1890 to 1920 as a “first class” hotel. Some 100 years later, the Provident, managed by Top Trip Rentals, is available again for travelers exploring the tourist mecca of Austin. Completely remodeled while retaining the building’s original charm, this home boasts an enviable location at 5th and Brazos Streets.
This home is an ideal location for friends traveling together looking for a stylish launching pad to explore Austin or corporate groups wanting to have a downtown presence while in town on business. The Provident is walking distance to hundreds of bars, restaurants and cultural landmarks including theHandleBar (next door), the Paramount Theater, World-famous 6th Street, the Austin Convention Center, SXSW, the ACL shuttle, the Texas State Capitol and hundreds of bars and restaurants.
This spectacular space features high ceilings, exposed brick, original hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows with treetop views of 5th Street. The Provident home retains the classic loft feel with an open floor plan that features 3 bedrooms, 2 living spaces, a modern kitchen and 2 baths.
The views out of the Provident’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer a similar scene of a bustling downtown that 19th-century guests would have seen—the world-famous clubs and bars of Sixth Street that have been entertaining saloon goers and bar hoppers for more than 100 years of Austin’s history.
To enjoy the historically recognized Provident-Heierman building for your next trip to downtown Austin, visit Top Trip Rentals to reserve your dates.
Think Luke’s Diner (without the food). Or Central Perk (but definitely no Smelly Cat kitty litter). Maybe you flashed back—way back—to “Cheers.”
That friendly neighborhood place is probably the best comparison to Top Trip Rentals’ newest guest amenity, the Lounge at Littlefield.
From Loft to Lounge at Littlefield
Loft #705 has morphed into the Lounge. Top Trip Rentals owner Chereen Fisher described the welcoming space on the 7th floor of downtown Austin’s Littlefield Building as a “landing spot to interact with staff” and, laughingly, a place for the “temporarily homeless.” By that, she means Top Trip Rentals guests who are early for check-in or need a spot to hang before going out or heading out of town.
The Lounge features the same sleek decor of guests’ lofts, minus bedrooms. Sleeping areas have been converted to upstairs meeting space, which can be reserved for use. Those striking paintings with their distinctive style and iconic subject matter are originals by Cornelius Carter, an Austin artist whose work has been showcased at City Hall.
Stop by the Lounge on Friday through Sunday (11 a.m.–4 p.m.) and you’re likely to encounter reservations specialist Cara Thibodeaux. “I love being able to meet our guests,” said Thibodeaux. In her spare time, Thibodeaux writes a blog (The Great Full Girl, which includes pieces on food and travel) so it’s no surprise that she enjoys “offering some great local recommendations of where to go and what to eat.”
Thibodeaux is at the Lounge at Littlefield to put a smile on guests’ Top Trip Rentals stay. In addition to relaxing on the sofa or stashing luggage, try out an Urb-E (and helmet), host a meeting in the upstairs space seating four to six people, and pick up featured products from Top Trip Rentals’ local partners. A jar of queso (Austin Slow Burn), scented candles (Benjamin Soap Co.), hot sauce (Yellowbird), and caffeine fix from Third Coast Coffee are a few of the items currently available at the Lounge.
Did You Say “Happy Hour”?
Top Trip Rentals’ staff is truly interested in providing unique experiences, so Littlefield Loft registered guests should watch for texts and check out hallway signs announcing upcoming Lounge special events. A recent happy hour included impromptu live music, complimentary libations and snacks, plus a lot of friendly mingling. (Why does everybody always wind up in the kitchen?)
Among our guests that night: a bike messenger/clothing designer from Brooklyn, happy group of girlfriends from New Orleans celebrating one’s 30th birthday, and really big dog (plus his very nice owner).
Who knows what extra goodies Top Trip Rentals might choose to feature in the Lounge? During ACL Festival, for example, guests can stop by for some High Brew coffee and Voodoo Donuts as they make their way to Zilker Park on Saturday morning. At a recent staff meeting, there was talk of margaritas….
Whether it’s Cara’s friendly smile, a place to relax, or some tasty goodie, Littlefield Lounge is part and parcel of the Top Trip Rentals experience. We’re definitely doing everything we can so you’re always glad you came. Stop by and say “hi”!
As we greet 2017, our Top Trip Rentals staff doesn’t want 2016 to get away without reflecting on a few special highlights.
In 2016, Top Trip Rentals welcomed more guests from more varied locations to more accommodations than ever before. That kind of growth introduced new faces to our guests.
We added two great new team members: Rebecca Barbeau, general manager, and Cara Thibodeaux, reservations specialist. Both come with extensive travel-related professional and personal experience.
Meet Cara Thibodeaux, Reservations Specialist
If you’re booking a Top Trip Rentals stay in Austin, your first contact will most likely be with Cara. She calmly and knowledgeably answers hundreds of daily calls and emails regarding accommodations in Austin and the surrounding Hill Country.
Cara’s extensive experience includes working with hotel brands and vacation rentals, including HomeAway.com and TurnKey Rentals. When she’s not working, Cara travels the world (recent trips include Guatemala, France, Spain, and Italy) and writes an Austin food blog, Foodofthe512.
Meet Rebecca Barbeau, General Manager
Rebecca joined Top Trip Rentals in 2016, filling our newly created General Manager role. Rebecca has years of experience globe-hopping and working in resort hospitality at some of the nation’s most gorgeous locations: Big Sky, Catalina Island, and the Grand Canyon.
Rebecca keeps everything running smoothly at Top Trip Rentals. You will find her at the Littlefield Lofts property handling guest relations, working with our housekeeping staff, and overseeing the moving behind-the-scene pieces. When not tenaciously problem solving for Top Trip, Rebecca loves traveling and used to live out of the largest piece of Samsonite luggage you’ve ever seen.
Cara and Rebecca can be reached at Top Trip’s email if you have a question about an upcoming stay. Make sure you say “hello” when you book your stay.
The people, the attitude, the winter weather, the music–there’s a lot to love about Austin. So, how do locals narrow down what to do when entertaining out-of-town friends and family?
Whether visiting for a few days, traveling for work, or enjoying Austin’s signature festivals and events (ACL, SXSW, F1, The University of Texas Longhorn games, and more), our Top Trip Rentals’ staff members can guide visitors to live like a local.
Here to help are some of our favorite places and things to do in ATX. #goplaystay
Rebecca’s Top 5
Walking the Barton Creek greenbelt (and stopping for swims in Barton Creek along the way).
Wednesday night margaritas and “Texas Radio Live” at Guero’s Oak Garden.
Answer: Austin. South Congress Avenue (“SoCo”), to be exact.
#GOPLAYSTAY on Austin’s South Congress
Top Trip Rentals’ updated 1930s era SoCo bungalow is a mere one block off of Austin’s famous South Congress Avenue. Some of the coolest (and weirdest) shops are a short walk away in the heart of this incredibly fun neighborhood.
Stroll over to Big Top Candy, Austin’s famous Continental Club, Amy’s Ice Creams, Kendra Scott Jewelry, Perla Restaurant ,and many more than we can list in one blog. Also, some of the best boot shopping in the state as mentioned in the Conde Nast article. It’s old Austin meets new.
Former 19th Century Saloon and 20th Century Architect’s Private Home now 21st Century Private Rental Available through Top Trip Rentals
March 5, 2014, Austin, Texas—For the first time in more than 60 years, this tucked-away private residence on Austin’s 6th Street is available for over-night rentals and special events. Top Trip Rentals, an Austin-based vacation rental company, represents the property.
Graeber House History
The 19th century limestone building at 410 E. 6th Street began life as the rough-and-tumble Shamrock Saloon. More recently, it was the private residence of David Graeber, Austin architect, urban planner, and founder of GSC Architects.
An LA-based digital media company became its first guests after reserving for this week’s SXSW Interactive Conference. Chereen Fisher, owner of Top Trip Rentals, explained why this was such a perfect fit for the client:
“Space plays an important role in the creative process. Our SXSW guests were interested in the house’s unique character, history, and location. These stand-out characteristics gave them a chance to connect with business partners and entertain clients in a memorable space right on 6th Street.”
Location, Location, Location
The Graeber House has all the feel of a small boutique hotel. Yet this protected Austin Historic Landmark is located in the heart of Austin’s famed 6th Street Entertainment District.
Within its 4,623 sq. ft., there are 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 separate wings, an indoor pool facing the 19th century structure, and 2 kitchens, all spread across two floors of living space. Walls are decorated with original art provided by IEI Austin.
Fisher spoke fondly of this uniquely special Austin home:
“The building at 410 E. 6th Street is a time capsule, with references to times and lives lived over 130 years in this one location. When guests stay with us, they too add to this home’s story, so we hope they have a great time and make it a good story.”