Pier 6 Seafood on Galveston Bay in San Leon. Photography by Maritere Rice.
From Houston to Marfa—and many vibrant and dynamic cities in between—The Scout Guide runs deep in the heart of Texas. And whether you’re looking for a lively night of live music in Austin, a quiet evening under the West Texas stars, or a relaxing weekend sipping wine in The Hill Country, the Lone Star state delivers. Recently, we checked in with the editors of The Scout Guide Houston, The Scout Guide San Antonio, The Scout Guide Hill Country, The Scout Guide Austin, The Scout Guide Dallas, The Scout Guide Fort Worth, and The Scout Guide West Texas for the can’t-miss spots on a road trip tour of Texas. From where to stay to what to sip to what not to miss, here is the ultimate guide to making the most of your time in each location.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
Our Texas road trip begins with the furthest Scouted stop south in the booming metropolis of Houston, a melting pot of cultures that offers up a big city vibe with lots of Texas charm. Here, The Scout Guide Houston editor Patti Mackey reveals her favorite places to stay, shop, dine, and sightsee.
WHERE TO STAY // The Post Oak (1600 W Loop South). With the unmatched culinary excellence of Mastro’s Steakhouse, Texas’s only Forbes Five-Star Spa, and direct helicopter pad access, The Post Oak is sure to delight the most discerning of travelers.
WHAT TO DO // The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1001 Bissonnet). Prepare to be inspired. Houston’s Museum District boasts world-renowned museums, including the must-visit MFA Houston. Check out our complete Museum Guide.
Houston Farmers Market (2520 Airline Drive). Open daily, The Houston Farmers Market connects the community with locally grown produce and goods, from meats to spices, fresh baked treats to produce, and much more.
Duo Coffee & Pilates (2147 Westheimer Road). If coffee and pilates are your thing, you can’t miss one-stop destination for both!
WHERE TO EAT // Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House (113 6th Street, San Leon). This is Patti’s new favorite restaurant in the Houston area, and not just because the fabulous cocktail menu is designed by TSG Houston members Ladies of Libation.
Field & Tides (705 East 11th Street). A neighborhood favorite located in the historic Heights neighborhood. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with a fabulous brunch on weekends, it’s a local hot spot.
Jonathan’s The Rub (12505 Memorial Dr #140 and 9090 Katy Freeway Frontage Road) With two locations, the Levine family serves American food with flair. Their newest outpost has a fun, fancy Texas vibe, making it the perfect place to watch Sunday night football.
For a more expansive list of recommended places to dine, visit our Restaurant Guide.
WHERE TO SHOP // Frock Shop (9055 Gaylord Drive). For beautiful, easy-to-wear fashions, Frock Shop is a must. Plus, their new space is opening soon and it’s going to be beautiful.
Bering’s Hardware (6102 Westheimer Road and 3900 Bissonnet Street). This Houston institution is a must-visit for all your wants and needs, from gourmet foods to outdoor grills to wedding gifts and more!
Hotel Emma in San Antonio. Photography courtesy of Hotel Emma.
Your quest for excellent Mexican food and margaritas ends here. But culture, history, and architecture are also a big draw to The Alamo City. From art galleries to eclectic shopping, and so much more in between, The Scout Guide San Antonio editor Francie Mannix shares her scouted spots to enjoy the best of what this river city has to offer.
WHERE TO STAY // Hotel Emma (136 East Grayson Street). Once a 19th-century brewhouse, Hotel Emma has been transformed into a riverfront flagship for Pearl’s community, with delicious drink and dining options, too. Instagrammable moments abound.
Fairmont Hotel (401 South Alamo). The Jewel of San Antonio since 1906, stay in their newly renovated yet traditional rooms and book a reservation at their Rooftop Oyster Bar, which serves the freshest East Coast oysters alongside the best views in the city.
Canopy Hotel (123 North St. Mary’s Street). Perched on the San Antonio River downtown, this new addition is designed by local San Antonio architects Lake Flato designs.
WHAT TO DO // Blue Star Contemporary (116 Blue Star). Inspiring, nurturing, and innovating through contemporary art in the heart of Southtown.
The Alamo (300 Alamo Plaza). You absolutely can’t come to San Antonio and not visit this iconic, historic landmark.
River Walk’s Mission Reach (multiple entrances). An eight-mile stretch of trails and parks along the river that provides the perfect family-friendly opportunity to walk around and see parts of the city, including all the city’s historic missions.
DRINKS AND DINING // Little Em’s Oyster Bar (1001 S. Alamo Street). Open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, enjoy world-class oysters, lobster rolls, burgers, and seafood at the cutest spot in Southtown.
Bar Loretta (320 Beauregard Street). This restaurant, bar, and market in the heart of King William District serves modern Texas cuisine and cocktails.
Maverick Restaurant (710 South St. Mary’s Street). Southtown neighborhood brasserie serving food with a Texas twist. It has indoor and outdoor dining and a wonderful bar for cocktails.
The Pearl Restaurants (303 Pearl Parkway). Near the Hotel Emma, there are numerous restaurants and coffee shops to choose from in The Pearl, in addition to copious shops. Francie is especially excited about notable newcomers Brasserie Mon Chou Chou and Best Quality Daughter.
Rosella Coffee and Wine Bar (203 East Jones Avenue). Rosella is located in the center of San Antonio. Although it started as a specialty coffee shop, they are now open in the evening as a wine bar. It’s a great place to grab a drink and gather with friends.
WHERE TO SHOP // The Historic Pearl (303 Pearl Parkway). Feliz Modern, Rancho Diaz, Adelante, The Tiny Finch, LeeLee, Dos Carolinas, and Niche are all located in this historic spot. Each shop offers unique finds, including home decor, accessories, gifts, jewelry, and clothing.
Sloan/Hall (5934 Broadway). Find an array of fine antiques, contemporary objects, personal fragrances, limited-edition books, and greeting cards, as well as fashion and jewelry collections, in this highly curated boutique.
Clark’s in Austin. Photography courtesy of Clark’s.
The capital city of Texas exudes a warm welcome with a chill, hip vibe, while also being home to some of the best food and drink in the country. And as the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World,” travelers will be hard-pressed to visit without seeing a band. While it’s difficult to whittle down the highlights, here The Scout Guide Austin editor Shannon Bland shares some of her favorite spots.
WHERE TO STAY // Austin Proper Hotel (600 W 2nd Street). Located in the 2nd Street District, this hotel designed by international sensation Kelly Wearstler fully embraces Austin’s eclecticism. It’s home to many cool elements, including a sunken bar, rooftop pool with panoramic views, and poolside restaurant serving up ceviche, fajitas, and small-batch tequila. It also has Shannon’s favorite lobby bar in the city.
South Congress Hotel (1603 South Congress Avenue). This boutique hotel has a cosmopolitan feel with its stylish lobby bar and contemporary digs. A rooftop pool and bar, DJ, and motorcycle and electric bike rentals make a stay here truly unique.
WHAT TO DO // Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool (2201 Barton Springs Road). A picnic at Zilker Park, the site of the Austin City Limits festival, is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Afterwards, taking a dip in the always cool, three-acre, underground spring-fed pool is the cherry on top.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (4801 La Crosse Avenue). Serving as the state’s botanical garden, the former first lady’s wildflower center features 900 species of native Texas plants in both garden and natural settings. It is also host to a breadth of educational programs.
DRINKS AND DINING //Comedor (501 Colorado Street). Designed by the famous architecture firm Olson Kundig, the open-roof concept features Mexican-inspired fare, a lengthy mezcal list, and a vibey playlist that delivers an all-around spiritual experience for guests.
Uchi (801 S Lamar Boulevard). Shannon’s go-to celebratory spot, Uchi is hands-down her favorite sushi in Austin, and their Sake Social Hour (aka happy hour) is a great way to sample the menu for less. Book early, reservations go fast.
Clark’s Oyster Bar (1200 W 6th Street). Sitting on Clark’s iconic yellow-and-white striped patio drinking wine, downing oysters, and enjoying other delicious seafood fare is one of Shannon’s favorite ways to spend an afternoon.
WHERE TO SHOP// Maufrais (1512 S Congress Avenue). Hats are a staple of Austin wardrobes, and Maufrais makes some of the best. Get yours customized at their brick and mortar on the famous South Congress Avenue.
ByGeorge (524 North Lamar Boulevard). Operating since 1979, ByGeorge has been outfitting college coeds and locals alike with on-trend looks for decades.
Wildflower Organics (524 N Lamar Boulevard). This well-known shopping destination offers high-end furniture, accessories, gifts, and a full line of natural bedding products.
Ololo in Fredericksburg. Photography by Lilianna Story.
For glorious winding roads and some of the most beautiful vistas in Texas, you’ll want to head to the Hill Country, an enticing wine region and home to wonderful antique finds. Here, The Scout Guide Hill Country editor Francie Mannix recommends her can’t-miss stops along the way.
WHERE TO STAY // Stonewall Motor Lodge (14818 US-290, Stonewall). Enjoy this retro 1960s motel in the heart of the 290 Wine Trail that was featured in Condé Nast Traveler as one of the eight classic motor lodges to visit in the U.S.
WHAT TO DO // Absolute Charm Wine Tours (711 West Main Street, Fredericksburg). Tour the Hill Country’s best wineries in style, by pink Jeep or Mercedes van. Visit all the wineries on the 290 Wine trail or those close by San Antonio, Comfort, and Kerrville.
InSight Gallery (214 W Main Street, Fredericksburg). InSight Gallery represents a select group of the finest painters and sculptors living and working today. Travel up Main Street and take in an Art Tour at Insight Gallery any day during the week or on their first Friday art tour.
DRINKS AND DINING // La Bergerie (312 East Austin Street, Fredericksburg). With their boutique wines, housemade charcuterie, artisanal cheese, and local bread, this is a delicious addition to the region.
Kelani Yogurt (463 S. Main Street, Boerne | 301 East Main Street, Fredericksburg). For dessert or a healthy snack, visit Kelani Yogurt and order a delicious smoothie, milkshake, or frozen yogurt treat.
Sage (241 E. Austin St, Fredericksburg). This is one of the newest additions to Fredericksburg. Opening in fall 2021, the restaurant and lounge offers modern cuisine and a tasteful selection of wine.
WHERE TO SHOP // Laurie Saunders LTD (176 S Main St, Boerne). This shop is known for its timeless collection of antiques, books, and tasteful home decor, including their stunning collection of blue and white porcelain.
The Mercantile at Mill and Grain (304 S. Main St. #101, Buda). The Mercantile is by definition a general store and features a highly curated, always classic collection of home and kitchen goods, upscale apothecary lines, apparel and accessories. Located in Buda, which is just south of Austin, it is a must-see as you enter the Hill Country.
Vaudeville (230 East Main Street, Fredericksburg). Located in the heart of Fredericksburg, Vaudeville is owned by chef Jordan Muraglia and artist Richard Boprae. They aspire to share their collective creativity and charm through the products at their store. Find the best selection of home decor, beauty, and fashion. If you get hungry, be sure to stop by the bistro for lunch.
For more recommendations on what to do and see in the Hill Country, follow The Scout Guide Hill Country on Instagram.
Virgin Hotels rooftop in Dallas. Photography courtesy of Virgin Hotels Dallas.
There’s an abundance of things to do and see in this larger-than-life Texas city—from an impressive arts scene to an extensive Design District and vibrant and diverse food offerings. Here, The Scout Guide Dallas editor Ginna Wilbanks shares her top picks for visitors.
WHERE TO STAY // Virgin Hotels Dallas (1445 Turtle Creek Boulevard). Located in the heart of the Design District, this gorgeous hotel is a destination for both visitors and locals alike.
WHAT TO DO // Dallas Arts District. A visit to Dallas Arts District is an absolute must. The number of organizations throughout the city has grown immensely over the past decade and is truly impressive. You can easily spend an entire day exploring the collections of the Nasher Sculpture Center or the Crow Collection of Asian Art. Additionally, consider catching a performance at the Meyerson Symphony Center or the Moody Performance Hall.
DRINKS AND DINING // The Pool Club (1445 Turtle Creek Boulevard). This fourth-floor rooftop bar is the crown jewel of the Virgin Hotels Dallas. By day, partake in an umbrella cocktail and a dip in the pool. Come nightfall, enjoy chill beats and the killer view of the Dallas skyline.
Mi Cocina (77 Highland Park Village). A Mambo Taxi margarita (or two) and great queso is a must when visiting Dallas. Mi Cocina is our go-to spot for enjoying fantastic Tex-Mex in stylish surroundings.
WHERE TO SHOP // Talulah & HESS (5810 Live Oak Street). Situated in the Lakewood neighborhood, the storefront stands out with its lovely pink door, perfectly manicured planters, and inviting interior glow from the chic lamps and chandeliers on display inside. Owner Elizabeth Mast and her talented team curate a beautiful and unique collection of furniture, home decor accessories, artwork, jewelry, clothing, gifts, and more.
Jacksons Home & Garden (6950 Lemmon Avenue). This wonderful, family-owned business has been providing distinctive, high-quality items to enhance the home, patio, and garden for nearly 40 years. Browse the Southwest’s largest selection of pottery, peruse gorgeous tabletop decor by the likes of Juliska and Vietri, or simply spend the afternoon roaming the many rows of perennials, annuals, and seasonal plants.
ALG Collective (1302 Dragon Street). Located in the heart of the Dallas Design District, this collaborative multi-media fine art studio and sophisticated showroom is not to be missed. It primarily features extraordinary fine art from its resident artists in a rotating gallery of available artwork.
Righteous Foods in Fort Worth. Photography courtesy of Righteous Foods.
For a dose of legendary cowboy heritage mixed with modern-day culture, Fort Worth should be a must-stop on your list. From world-class museums to dining that won’t disappoint, The Scout Guide Fort Worth editor Leigh Brown shares all that this lovely Texas town has to offer.
WHERE TO STAY // The Ashton Hotel (610 Main Street). A fabulous boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. Book your stay early, because the 50-room hotel can fill up fast.
WHAT TO DO // The Stockyards National Historic District (131 E Exchange Avenue). Exploring this district allows visitors to witness the center of cowboy culture, which is alive and well in Fort Worth.
DRINKS AND DINING // Ellerbe Fine Foods (1501 W Magnolia Avenue). Fresh, seasonal, local fare from 2020 James Beard Semi-Finalist Molly McCook. Say no more.
Righteous Foods (3405 W 7th Street). A clean food eatery offering healthful food that tastes as good as it looks.
Thirty Eight & Vine (212 Carroll Street, Suite 130). Calling all wine lovers! Thirty Eight & Vine’s fantastic selection and fabulously knowledgeable staff make this spot a must for oenophiles.
WHERE TO SHOP // You Are Here (5109 Pershing Avenue). This popular shop carries beautiful and timeless apparel, accessories, gifts, shoes, and a curated selection of fine jewelry.
Esther Penn (3328 West 7th Street). This women’s fashion boutique exudes a California-cool vibe, with styles perfect for everyday or a special occasion.
Hale House (4900 Camp Bowie Boulevard). Hale House is a fabulous lifestyle boutique with a little something for everyone, including apparel, jewelry, home goods, gifts, and accessories.
Birdie (4933 Camp Bowie Boulevard). A women’s boutique focused on casual luxury silhouettes with a feminine/minimalist aesthetic.
The Local Chapter in Big Bend. Photography courtesy of The Local Chapter.
West Texas is a unique pocket of the Lone Star State for many reasons. Here you can take in breathtaking views while hiking Big Bend National Park, enjoy the growing metropolis of Midland, or immerse yourself in the booming art and food scene in Marfa. The Scout Guide Midland editor Claire Ramirez shares a handful of her favorite things to see and do in her city here, and look for volume 1 of her city guide in 2022.
WHERE TO STAY // The Local Chapter (53801 TX-118, Terlingua). The Local Chapter is a village of modern luxury yurts near Big Bend in Terlingua, Texas. Each yurt has a brass dome over the center of the king bed for unmatched stargazing and planet-spotting. Accommodations include Sferra linens, Dyson hair dryers, Tulo mattresses, high-end interior design, and private outdoor fire rings.
WHAT TO DO // The Wagner Noël (1310 N. FM 1788, Midland). A state-of-the-art event center we are incredibly proud of here in West Texas. Some of the famous acts who have performed at The Wagner include Rod Stewart, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, Robert Earl Keen, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Kacey Musgraves, Kristin Chenoweth, and many more! Come experience a “big city” show in a quaint “small city” atmosphere.
Mira Marfa (105 E Oak Street #4, Marfa). Mira Marfa is a one-shop stop that not only offers holistic skincare but also offers facials that will raise your standards forever. By incorporating soothing herbal elements into medical-grade skin treatments, Mira brings out your natural shine that will not go unnoticed.
DRINKS AND DINING // Red Oak Kitchen (7260 TX-191 Frontage #200, Odessa). Red Oak Kitchen has an atmosphere that makes you want to sit and stay a while. With a fantastic menu and extensive drink selection, you will not be disappointed. Pro tip: Ask to sit in the Beer Garden to elevate your experience.
Butter (200 Spring Park Drive, Midland). This is a small plates and craft cocktail concept restaurant designed around a very relaxed and trendy vibe. It’s the perfect spot for your next date nights or girls’ night out, and an excellent place to grab brunch in Midland. Chef Kali takes the time to greet each table with her huge smile and makes everyone feel like a regular.
Cochineal (107 West San Antonio Street, Marfa). Enjoy a multi-course seasonal menu curated by James Beard semi-finalist and executive chef Alexandra Gates at this innovative Marfa hot spot. This fare is inspired by the highest quality sustainable ingredients procured from their garden as well as local and regional farms and ranches.
WHERE TO SHOP //Ally Village (200 Spring Park Drive, Midland). This is the place to shop in West Texas thanks to its beautiful architecture and outdoor space as well as the locally owned and operated businesses. With a high-end boutique, fresh flower shop, workout studio, specialty children’s clothing store, luxury home decor store, and fantastic restaurants (like Butter), here you can get some serious shopping accomplished.
The Hotel Paisano Gift Shop (207 Highland Street, Marfa). Ready to sport the “MARFA” ball cap you’ve been seeing around town? This is the place to snag your very own and other Marfa souvenirs.
V6 Collections (102 NW 1st Street, HWY 90 W, Marathon). Connected to the famous Gage Hotel, this curated boutique showcases a collection of artisan jewelry, pottery, textiles, home decor, and a beautiful coffee table book selection dedicated to West Texas’s beauty and history. Famous Texas artists, such as Jon Fleming, David Caton, and Mary Baxter have their work on display at the V6.
For more recommendations for what to do and see in the Midland and West Texas area, follow The Scout Guide West Texas on Instagram.