South Congress Hotel
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This is a totally personal preference, but our favorites are below. In general, rates are between $200-350/night depending on the hotel (including the room block discount). This is also a great time to think about small gifts to put in your guests hotel rooms—think something local, like Yellowbird Hot Sauce, a small Tito’s vodka from Twin Liquors, or things that are useful like Lyft gift cards or discount codes (Get $5 off your first ride).
The Line Hotel – The newly renovated Line hotel has a sleek lobby and cute pool, with Arlo Grey being the vibey restaurant on the bottom floor. Rooms are very hip and they have the P6 rooftop (so dreamy) which would make for an excellent welcome party or rehearsal dinner space. This hotel truly is a one-stop shop between their room block discounts, pool, event spaces for rehearsal dinner, welcome party, bridal shower, or even the wedding. It’s all topped off with multiple restaurants, including the new Dean’s One Trick Pony and Alfred Coffee (get the Matcha Latte).
P6 at the Line
The Presidential Suite is also great for the wedding party getting ready for the big day.
Fairmont Downtown Austin – This Luxury hotel is perfectly located in all of the action, walking distance to Rainey Street, the East Side, 6th Street and more. The Fairmont is still fairly new, and has everything you need for a one-stop-shop during your Wedding Weekend. Between luxury sleeping accommodations of over 1,000 guestrooms, 5 restaurants and bars, a seasonally heated swimming pool, and enough event space to utilize this hotel as a wedding venue – it makes it the perfect location.
Hotel Van Zandt – The Loretta Suite is amazing for brides getting married, and Shannon is the best to work with! They also have free HH for guests, and can do a pool cabana the Sunday after. Geraldine’s is a great spot for a welcome party or rehearsal dinner. This is a huge hotel that can accommodate large parties. It’s named after Ronnie Van Zandt (lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd) so it also has a ton of musical elements that make it feel very Austin. It is also pet friendly!
Hotel ZaZa – For the boujeeiest of the bouje, very Dallas/Houston vibes, each suite has a different theme (Palm Springs Bungalow suggested for Brides). There’s a great pool, two restaurants including Perfect Strangers when you walk in, and Group Therapy on the 7th floor overlooking the city. Jessica, their sales rep, is adorable and brings you champagne and T-Shirts when you do a walk through!
South Congress Hotel – This is a smaller hotel which tends to book up fast, so be sure to reach out ASAP if you are interested. It’s the perfect spot in the middle of the action on Congress! It also has several restaurants, including Café No Sé, Central Standard, Mañana coffee/bakeshop, and Otoko,the 12 seat Japanese Omakase restaurant.
Hotel San Jose (40 rooms = 80 guests total) or Hotel Saint Cecilia (20 rooms = 40 guests total) – Both are boutique hotels so they are full hotel buyouts and you’re on the hook for all rooms to be rented. Owned by Bunkhouse Group (the group that owns El Cosmico in Marfa, Austin Motel, new Hotel Magdalena, and even Jo’s Coffee), so you can already imagine how pretty these spots are. If you have a larger party, this might make sense and you can have the rehearsal dinner there as well. Saint Cecilia is the one that has the notorious “SOUL” neon sign above the pool. Both are absolutely beautiful and in the heart of SoCo!
- Austin Proper (January 2020) – New McGuire Moorman collaboration spot near Seaholm!
- Hotel Magdalena (Spring 2020) – On SoCo near Equinox and the new SoHo house! This is another Bunkhouse project (Hotel Saint Cecilia, Hotel San Jose, Austin Motel, etc.)
Pro Tip: Start small when you’re committing to rooms. A good rule of thumb is to start with 10 and scale up later if more guests book. Most hotels have a 90% attrition rate, meaning you have to pay for the remaining rooms you held in the block if the guests don’t fill it up. Better be safe than sorry!
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For more information on these venues, tune into our podcast.
Looking at venues can either be super fun or super stressful. Do your research, look at their gallery of photos or Instagram and make sure it goes with your vibe. Before looking at venues, you will want to have your budget set, have a general guest count in mind and targeted time of year. Dates book up SO fast so you want to get ahead of this and get your date locked in.
Fairmont Austin – This luxury hotel is perfectly located within walking distance to Rainey Street, the East Side, 6th Street and more. Fairmont is still fairly new, and has everything you need for a one-stop-shop during your Wedding Weekend. Between 5 restaurants and bars, multiple huge event spaces perfect for large weddings, luxury sleeping accommodations of over 1,0000 guestrooms, and a heated rooftop pool – this hotel can be your perfect wedding venue.
Check out the restaurants – Garrison: a modern smokehouse with high quality meats and local produce; Revue: an upscale food hall that combines 4 culinary cuisines – Asian, Italian, seafood and a pastry shop; and their bar scene that has something for everyone with Rules & Regs on the 7th floor overlooking the city, and Fulton Bar in the main lobby with live music. You would never have to leave the hotel with all these offerings but, if you do, you are in the most centrally located luxury hotel throughout all of Austin.
Favorites around town in order of pricing:
*Ranges depend on packages & time of year
A 365 Favorite – Gingerland Ranch. This farm is just east of Austin near Del Valle, has donkeys, goats, ponds and multiple renovated historic farm homes. Being only 15 minutes outside of Austin, this venue has partnerships with local party bus vendors in the area for $750-1,000 transportation fees for a 5-6 hour service block.
This venue can handle up to 300 people outside and 120 standing inside making it the perfect venue for any size. They run about $4,000 for the venue rental also making it a very cost effective choice! Reach out to them today to book your date ASAP.
Definitely pay attention to what vendors they utilize for food, is it BYOB for booze, etc. because if they have a specific vendor or you have to utilize in-house bar for alcohol, those can add up super quick.
Also take into account transportation – selecting a venue that is outside of Austin in Dripping, Driftwood, Kyle, etc. to get a cheaper price may seem like the right play, but transportation can cost $4k+++ to and from the venue, so be mindful.
Pro Tip: Be sure to ask what time you are allowed to get there and what time the sound has to go off. This will also tell you if you need to plan ahead for a hotel room for the Wedding Party to get ready in the day of, or if you can get ready at the venue. There are costs associated with both so be sure to ask!
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Join South Congress Hotel on Thursday, August 1st from 6 to 9 pm for First Thursday featuring a live performance by Kalu and the Electric Joint, dance jams by DJ ulovei, a VIP Pool Lounge hosted by Bumble, drink specials and more. Hungry? Guests are invited to head up to Otoko for the à la carte #staffshokuji or grab dinner at Café No Sé or Central Standard. To RSVP, visit
Join South Congress Hotel on Saturday, July 27th from 3 to 6:30 pm for the 3rd Annual Ice Cream Showdown hosted by New Waterloo Culinary Director Amanda Rockman. Head to the SCH courtyard starting at 3 p.m. and purchase your scoop tickets from the Stephen F. Frostin’ ice cream truck. Each scoop is $3 — try one or try ‘em all! Cast your vote at your favorite chef’s table by 5:30pm, then stick around to see the winner crowned at 6. Contestants include Reigning Champ Natalie Gazaui, Augusta Passow of Barley Swine, Hanna Mikulandra of Launderette, Krystal Craig of Intero and Lindsay Flagg of South Congress Hotel. For more information and to RSVP, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/700901703688363/.
Join South Congress Hotel on Saturday, July 21st from 10 to 11 am for a strength + conditioning weekend workout taught by personal trainers Izzy El-Ubaydy and CJ Finley. Weekend Workout is free and open to the public with all levels welcome. Space is limited. RSVP to save your spot at weekendworkout.splashthat.com. All guests are asked to bring their own mat and towel for this event. Food and beverages available for purchase after the event in the South Congress Hotel Lobby Bar.
Join South Congress Hotel on Friday, June 21st from 7 to 11 p.m. to celebrate the longest day of the year at the Summer Solstice party with Arya. The party will feature the release of Arya’s EP “it wasn’t love”, tarot card readings with Abundant Heart Circle, a live DJ set by Charles Mxxn, and drink specials with Juice Society. This event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, visit schsummersolstice.splashthat.com.
Ahh, March. Is there a better month for music in Austin? South Congress Hotel is kicking it off strong with First Thursday on March 1st. Featuring a live performance by Black Pumas – Adrian Quesada + Eric Burton’s (of BROWNOUT) new soul band, dance jams by DJ uLOVEi, an interactive photobooth by MYEVENTISTHEBOMB, DJs Ben Zink and Dan Gentile in the Lobby Bar, drink specials, $8 valet parking, and more! Entry is free, as always. RSVP here: facebook.com/events/161782581144941/
After the holiday hiatus, First Thursdays at South Congress Hotel are back and better than ever, starting with a kick-off party from 6pm to 9pm this upcoming Thursday, February 1. The evening will feature a performance by festival-artist Mobley, jams from DJ uLOVEi, drink specials, a photo booth and pop-up shop from Outdoor Voices and more. Entry is free, as always! Programming details include:
So many activities:
+ Live performance by Mobley
+ Dance jams by DJ ulovei
+ DJs Manolo Black + Daetron Vargas in the Lobby Bar
+ Outdoor Voices photobooth + pop-up shop
+ Interactive photobooth by MYEVENTISTHEBOMB
+ Drink specials + more!
+ $7 SCH Lemonade
+ $7 Wine
+ $3 Beer
Austin Duck Derby Kick Off Party
When: Friday, June 10, 5-8 pm
Where: Whole Foods Domain, 11920 Domain Dr., Austin
For $5, your family can adopt a duck in preparation for the 3rd Annual Austin Duck Derby taking place on Saturday, August 6th. This kick off event will have live music and family-friendly entertainment. Cost: FREE admission, $5 per duck adoption.
Second Saturdays are for Families
When: Saturday, June 11, 11 am – 2 pm
Where: The Contemporary Museum of Art, 3809 W. 35th St., Austin
A missing cat, lost money—why are things suddenly vanishing at Laguna Gloria? Embark on a scavenger hunt to see if you can help solve this mystery, then stick around to make an artistic pet poster using tips from Austin’s own Pet Detective. Cost: FREE!
Taste of North Austin
When: Saturday, June 11, 11 am – 4 pm
Where: 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, The Domain II, between Dillard’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods
Sample delectable fares from over 60 restaurants at this family-friendly event. Kids of all ages will enjoy activities and live music. Cost: $20 for 10 tastes, entertainment is free.
Summer Free Family Film Series: The Aristocrats
When: Saturday, June 11, 2-3:30 pm
Where: Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave., Austin
All summer long, the Bullock Museum is presenting a biweekly Summer Free Family Film Series that is cat and mouse themed. These programs are free and open to the public with preferred seating for Museum members.
Ice Cream Social
When: Sunday, June 12, 1-4 pm
Where: South Congress Hotel, 1603 S Congress Ave., Austin
Bring the family down to the South Congress Hotel to enjoy ice cream and cold treats by Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Rockman and the Stephen F. Frostin’ artisanal ice cream truck while enjoying live music & drink specials on rosé, bubbles & beer. Cost: FREE!
Image credit: The Domain