An Insider's Guide to Doing Austin Like a Local

Style blogger Jessi Afshin shares her favorite local spots.

Texas's state capital is now a major tourist destination, and for good reason: Sample its world-famous barbecue, hopping live music scene, trendy shopping, and gorgeous scenery. (Not to mention those high temps and all that sunshine—nice if you're stuck wintering in a colder part of the country.) Here, discover blogger Jessi Afshin's guide to her hometown, and discover the best places to check out from the eyes of a local.

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Your Local Guide

Austin-based style blogger Jessi Afshin is passionate about her hometown (she studied at University of Texas), regularly referencing the city's coolest hangouts and chic new openings on her blog, The Darling Detail. With a knack for mixing stylish looks with practical aspects (like heels you can actually walk in), she was our go-to girl for everything Austin.

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Dressy Drinks: The W Hotel

A chic lobby bar can be the perfect meeting point for a drink—especially after a long day of holiday shopping— and is an alternative to a traditional bar. "The W Hotel in the Second Street District is good for lounging with a delicious cocktail in hand," Afshin says. There's even a house DJ for vibes."

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S'mores: Halcyon Coffee Bar

Downtown Austin's Halcyon Coffee Bar features three of our favorite treats under one roof: s'mores, coffee, and cocktails. "Here in Austin, we love our bar and coffee scenes—so why not hit up both at once?" Afshin says. She suggests popping by after work for a wintry drink with a side of s'mores: "Gather your co-workers for a cozy marshmallow and graham cracker roast. That's my favorite kind of office party!"

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Shopping: South Congress

For the best shopping in town, head to Austin's South Congress neighborhood. "Hit SoCo with the girls for an afternoon of Christmas shopping, fabulous dining, ice cream, and cocktails," Afshin suggests. And don't forget to snap a photo for social while you're at it—"The iconic 'I love you so much' wall outside Jo's Coffee is an Instagram spot for both tourists and Austinites," she adds.

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Southern Hospitality: Josephine House

"Josephine House is a wonderful place to host a special occasion dinner or holiday happy hour with your girls," Afshin says. "I love meeting up with old friends who are in town at this spot—it's so cozy and quaint."

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Best Holiday Attraction: The Trail of Lights

"As one of Austin's most-loved holiday traditions, visiting the Trail of Lights —when Zilker Park is lit up every December with more than 2 million twinkling lights—is a magical must," Afshin says. She recommends grabbing a hot drink at Mozart's Coffee Roasters (above) first to keep warm. "Mozart's is always a good idea when it comes to enjoying an afternoon overlooking Lake Austin. Grab your mocha and round up the fam to experience the outdoor wonderland."

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