Austin, TX

7 of the Best Coffee Shops Offering Outdoor Seating and More in Austin, Texas

Carol Lennox

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Outdoor sandy bar area at Plaza Colombian Coffee.Photos courtesy of Plaza Colombian Coffee

Sometimes I dream that I’m staying somewhere, and when I get up in the morning there is no coffee. It's a nightmare.

To comfort myself after such frightening dreams, I go to one of the top coffee shops in Austin. The fact that I'm a writer, and writers hang out in coffee shops, gives me an advantage. I've been to several of the best.

Plaza Colombian Coffee on S. Congress is a little piece of paradise in the middle of the city of Austin. This inside is nice, but these days a good patio or outdoor dining area is a must. Plaza Colombian Coffee has made theirs into a replica of a South American beach, with a large sand area, hammocks, piped in and live South American music, and vibrant tropical flowers. Order tapas and a tiki drink, or coffee and a hotdog. Yes, I did say hotdog. Here's the description from their website.

"Wagyu beef sausage on a New England style bun topped with house sweet pineapple chunks, caramelized white onions, melted mozzarella cheese, pink salsa, mustard, and crumbled potatoes chips."

I don't know about you, but if I can go in the morning and have coffee and something sweet from the bakery, and at lunch or dinner and order tapas, Colombian sandwiches, a hotdog, and wine, beer or cocktails, all while listening to Latin American music, I'm happy.

Jo's is located on Austin's iconic S. Congress Avenue and has the famous "I Love You So Much" mural. Thousands of tourists pose there every day. You'll find merchandise in the market up the street with the mural depicted on shopping bags, coasters, magnets, and coffee mugs. The story is that a former lover wrote the original phrase in lipstick on the side of the building and the owner kept it and made it permanent. Regardless, the coffee is excellent, they have breakfast tacos for as long as they last each day, which isn't long, and some of the most succulent cinnamon rolls in town. There's almost always a line for the coffee, the breakfast tacos, and to take a photo next to the mural.

Mozart's Coffee is on Lady Bird Lake in West Austin. Outdoor seating not he patio and on the walkway allow for views of the ducks and swans swimming by on the lake. My niece once drove over two hours just to go there for coffee and muffins before driving back. Now she's moved back here, and is a regular again. Writing there can be difficult, as there are so many people hanging out, drinking coffee or hot chocolate, and writing, working, or doing schoolwork that the WiFi can get overwhelmed. When that happens, get another cup and watch the rippling water. During the winter holidays, Mozart's presents a fantastic outdoor light show complete with live music.

Opa's on South Lamar is where I'm usually writing. Old school Austin, it's small, dimly lit, with an outdoors covered in dusty, shabby chic chairs and tables. They serve great coffee, Greek food, and $5 wine at happy hour. Acoustic music happens on the front porch Tuesdays and weekends. Tuesdays are open mic night starting at happy hour.

Radio Coffee and Beer in South Austin has the advantage of a huge outdoor seating area, and three food trucks parked on the property. It hosts a South Austin flea market on the second Sunday of the month, with jewelry, art, and antiques for sale. Radio Coffee and Beer, like Opa's, serves wine. As the name indicates, though, it also serves wine and cocktails. However, their prices for adult beverages is a little high and there's no happy hour. What they do have are some great events, including Radio Talent Show on Tuesday nights.

Buzz Mill is a one of a kind on Town Creek Drive in the Riverside area of Austin, Texas. The vibe is old west sawmill, laid back and casual. The patio has been home to a Witches' Market and musicians. There's always a food truck or two, and they also serve alcohol. Most importantly, as they state on their website,

"Buzz Mill is a comunity driven brand that strives to improve our Neighborhoods a little at a time. A community driven brand is a brand that's sole purpose is to cultivate the community around it, from building gardens, cleaning rivers, to creating a place where people can interface with their community in new ways."

In my nightmares I search more and more frantically for coffee, convinced there must be coffee there somewhere. Occasionally I find coffee but nothing to make it in. Other times, I find a coffee maker, but no coffee. Lucky for me, there's plenty of excellent and eccentric coffee shops to choose from where I live in Austin, Texas.

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My purpose is to inspire and inform. You can read more by me on Medium.com/@carollennox, and on the Good Men Project. I've had a lifetime of valuable experiences, and I want to share the lessons I've learned readily, or been forced to learn. I'm a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a mother to my amazing son, Blake Scott, whom I write about often. I also write about race, equality, social justice, sex, government, and Mindfulness, not in that order.

Austin, TX
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