Highlights of a Southern Road Trip / by Shane Henderson

southern roadtrip

Earlier this month I had to drive my car from Texas up to New Jersey so that I could leave it with family while travelling. Not wanting to undertake the 25+ hour drive by myself, I convinced my good friend Jesse to join me for a mini Southern road trip. From Austin, we drove through New Orleans and Nashville, staying in each city for only a night or two each. I didn't take many photos during our trip because my camera wasn't working properly, but here is a sadly photo-free list of some of our favourite stops.

(We have a lot more Austin rec's from living there for the last 5 years, but if you only have 1 day to spare, these are some of our favourites near downtown)

Barton Springs
It's on every list of what to do in Austin for good reason. The grassy hill is perfect for laying out and the cold, clear water feels incredible. The people watching will keep you entertained for hours.

Starting at Barton Springs you can walk this urban hiking trail for miles, stopping for dips in the creek as you go. The trail might meander right through Central Austin but when you are on it, it feels like you are miles away from the city.

Book People
A wonderful, independent bookstore with a great selection, frequent book signings and events. 

Taco Deli
Anna's hands-down favourite Austin taco. Stop by the Spyglass location just off the greenbelt for breakfast or lunch. Don't leave without trying the queso!

Terry Blacks BBQ
Big BBQ spot near Barton Springs where you won't have to worry about encountering long lines or running out of food. Solid brisket and huge delicious beef ribs. Also, has nice patio seating if it's not a thousand degrees outside. 

Very popular Austin institution serving sushi and creative Japanese dishes. It's expensive but they have great deals during happy hour. 

New Orleans

City Park
Personally, I prefer City Park over Audobon Park. It's bigger, has a great sculpture garden, and you can rent a kayak to explore the ponds and canals!

New Orleans Museum of Art
Great variety of classical and contemporary art.  I especially liked the Pride of Place exhibit featuring contemporary New Orleans artists (on display until September 3rd).

Magazine St
Popular shopping street stretching from uptown to the garden district. Grab a coffee or a sno-ball and take a stroll. If you are on the hunt for French children’s books (and who wouldn’t be!), check out The French Library! Arguably the most adorable bookstore ever.

Morning Call
A café that serves New Orleans-style café au lait and beignets like the more famous Café Du Monde, but with fewer tourists and better coffee! Skip out on the crowds at Café du Monde and come here instead.

Mahony’s Po Boy Shop
Solid PoBoy option on Magazine St. They have a lot of options but I would recommend the classic shrimp or oyster sandwich.

Harbor Seafood and Oyster Bar
A little off the beaten path over in Kenner, but if you have a car or are up for a longer Uber, this is a great option for affordable fresh seafood and Cajun fare.

Popular and frequently recommended bar/restaurant/wine store in the hip Bywater neighborhood. You can buy a bottle of wine from inside or a craft cocktail from the upstairs bar and relax on the patio as you listen to live music. We weren’t sure if this place would live up to the hype but it was great. Drinks were strong and the food was delicious.

We loved this place so much last time we were in town we had to come back again. The pita and hummus still is great but the roasted chicken dish we got didn’t hold a candle to the incredible slow cooked lamb from our last visit.


Frist Center
Great contemporary art museum housed in an art-deco, former post office. Some great works on display.

Hattie B's
Famous Nashville spot that serves up hot fried chicken. The wait time is pretty long but we showed up for a late dinner right before closing time and got in pretty quickly. The chicken was perfect. Will have to come back sometime for Chicken and Waffles on Sunday!

Classic honkytonk on Broadway that is just as popular with local’s as it is with tourists. We stopped in for a cold beer and some live Country music.

Pancake Pantry
A Nashville institution near the Vanderbilt campus that serves 23 different kinds of pancakes.  We thought the regular buttermilk pancakes weren’t particularly memorable, but the Sweet Potato pancakes with Cinnamon Sugar Cream Syrup were definitely worth the wait.