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Local Traveler: A Weekend In Round Rock

Plan your next road trip

A budding food-and-drink scene, an active arts community, a walkable historic downtown and endless recreational activities: Round Rock has the perfect formula for a weekend getaway destination. 

Located just off the northeastern edge of Hill Country, Round Rock is a diverse city filled with warmth and charm. Locals want you to know the place they call home isn’t your typical suburbia.

But much like the rest of Texas, Round Rock has undergone unprecedented growth and opportunity in recent years. It has been transformed from a rural landscape into a massive urban development in a relatively small amount of time, allowing its small-town charm to stand alongside its big-city perks. 


The Drive There

Round Rock is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the city of Dallas. It’s a straight shot south — the kind of road trip where you could make it without stopping if you really wanted to. But if stretching your legs and getting fresh air is more your speed, there are some great places along the way to do it.

Just over halfway there is Waco, home of the wholesome Magnolia empire, where you can grab a cup of coffee, have a quick lunch or browse the Shops at the Silos. But if you’re more into quirky small-town Americana, keep heading south and make a stop in Salado for abundant antique shopping and artsy finds.

Local Profile Tip Save your dining and shopping experiences for Round Rock by packing a picnic for a pit stop at Mother Neff State Park, one of the first state parks in Texas. Located along the scenic stretch of the Leon River, Mother Neff has over three miles of easy and moderate trails with exquisite wildflower and wildlife viewing due to prairie restoration initiatives that are worth learning more about.

Mother Neff State Park
1921 Park Road 14 
Moody, TX 76557


Where To Stay

While Round Rock has dozens of reliable chain accommodations to choose from, none of them compare to a stay at The Ruby Hotel & Bar, a charming thirty-nine room boutique hotel that sits on the edge of Brushy Creek.

The Ruby Hotel & Bar is close to everything, yet it effortlessly exudes a peaceful energy, nestled under oak trees and draped in dappled light. It’s just a ten-minute walk to downtown Round Rock, and the hotel is complete with a perennial garden, outdoor pool, fitness center and cocktail bar — this property really is as dreamy as it sounds.

Local Profile Tip Arrive before magic hour so you have a chance to settle into your temporary digs and explore the grounds, then grab a beverage in time to watch the idyllic creekside sunset as nighthawks soar above and cows graze along the shore.

The Ruby Hotel & Bar
400 Fannin Ave. 
Round Rock, TX 78664


Where To Eat & Drink 

Round Rock’s food and beverage scene is quite dynamic. Chances are, if you’re craving something specific, they have it, but too many options can be overwhelming. For a uniquely Round Rock experience, here are our must-eat-and-drink recommendations for a weekend getaway. 


One of the best ways to get a feel for a community is to explore its local coffee shops. Step inside either of the two Lamppost Coffee locations, and you’ll get a quick feel for what Round Rock has to offer: hospitable people and quality ingredients.

Local Profile Tip Cozy up with a cappuccino while you people-watch at the downtown location. Then, buy a bag of beans to take home for the perfect souvenir or pet-sitter gift.

Lamppost Coffee
1205 Round Rock Ave. Suite 129
Round Rock, Texas 78664

201 E. Main St.
Round Rock, TX 78664


There are a lot of worthy donut shops in town, but the historic Round Rock Donuts reigns supreme. This downtown bakery was opened in 1926 by Reinhold R. Moehring, and it wasn’t until the early 1940s that its iconic donut style was developed by baker Louise Johnson, to whom we owe all praise. Round Rock Donuts is now owned by Jan and Dale Cohrs, the sixth set of owners of the Round Rock landmark, which attracts visitors from far and wide. Hot and fresh donuts are available from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Local Profile Tip Don’t stress if you see a lengthy queue: lines move fast. Using the drive-thru or walk-up window, order a dozen of their original glazed and then immediately eat all of them. Just kidding — eat as many as you want and share the rest with a friend (or two).

Round Rock Donuts 
106 W. Liberty Ave. 
Round Rock, TX 78664


Since 1993, locals have loved Juarez Restaurant & Bakery for its comforting Mexican breakfast classics like migas, chilaquiles and breakfast tacos. The restaurant is also known for tamales, tortas and menudo, which are offered on the all-day menu. Everything is made in-house, and it’s a staple in Round Rock for good reason. 

Local Profile Tip Dine in, but be sure to stop at the bakery counter on the way out for some sweet and savory takeaways. 

Juarez Restaurant & Bakery
1701 S. Mays St.
Round Rock, TX 78664


With an extensive offering of Vietnamese dishes and helpful service, Viet Pho is a Round Rock staple. While it’s been nourishing its guests with comforting bowls of pho for decades, its vermicelli bowls should not be missed. Viet Pho has a lunch menu and is also open until 9 p.m. for a low-key dinner option.

Local Profile Tip Head here if you, or a dining companion, need veggie options. Viet Pho has an extensive list of veg-friendly menu items. 

Viet Pho 
603 Louis Henna Blvd. Suite B 200 
Round Rock, TX 78664
512. 255.7800


There’s never a shortage of barbecue options in Texas, but The Salt Lick is only found in a few places, and Round Rock is one of them. The Salt Lick has been in operation since 1967, and its original location is approximately an hour southwest, in Driftwood. While its mainstream popularity leaves some discerning barbecue critics baffled, it’s undeniably part of the iconic Texas barbecue history.

Local Profile Tip Order a family-style meal or meat by the pound. With its ample indoor and outdoor seating, The Salt Lick is the perfect place for large groups. 

The Salt Lick
3350 E. Palm Valley Blvd.
Round Rock, TX 78665


Owners and Round Rock-raised locals Nelson and Carla Nagle describe URBAN Eat.Drink as upscale casual, and we agree. Anything goes at this quintessential Texas-inspired gastropub set inside a little historic house downtown.

Local Profile Tip Grab a pre-dinner drink at sister concept Urban Rooftop, a cocktail bar and lounge that offers signature drinks, light bites and live music with a view. Located on the fourth floor of the building across the street. 

URBAN Eat.Drink
110 S. Harris St.
Round Rock, TX 78664

Urban Rooftop
411 W. Main St.
Round Rock, TX 78664


Hoot & Annie is Round Rock’s premier speakeasy and prides itself on providing a one-of-a-kind experience with hand-crafted cocktails that have been expertly developed and crafted by a skilled team of mixologists. 

Local Profile Tip Skip the booze and socialize with a zero-proof libation; Hoot & Annie has a thoughtfully curated menu of complex nonalcoholic options. You’ll thank us later.

Hoot & Annie
113 West Main St.
Round Rock, TX 78664

What To See & Do

Rock Round is full of cool stuff to explore. Whether you want to shop independent businesses or catch a Minor League Baseball game, there’s something for everyone. For a uniquely Round Rock experience, here are our must-see-and-do activities for a weekend getaway.

Shop Small Businesses

For a charming and leisurely downtown shopping experience, take a stroll along Main Street. And be sure not to miss these two Round Rock favorites for a mix of home decor, gifts and apparel. 

Hometown Gift & Decor
400 E. Main St. 
Round Rock, TX 78664

306 W. Main St. Suite 11 
Round Rock, TX 78664

Take Food Tours

Round Rock is home to two outstanding Texas food purveyors, Round Rock Honey and Gourmet Texas Pasta. Lucky enough for the public, they both offer an inside peek into their processes. Head to their facilities for factory tours and to pick up products straight from the source. 

Round Rock Honey has been owned and operated by Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard since 2003. The Bouffards started selling honey at farmers markets with just four backyard hives, and now, you can find their products at H-E-B and Trader Joe’s statewide. Konrad Bouffard proudly publishes his pollen reports and is committed to making an honest product in an industry that is often prone to mislabeling. He shared, “We want to make really, really good honey and do good doing it.”

Round Rock Honey
1308 Chisholm Trail
Round Rock, TX 78681

After leaving a fast-paced job in the fashion industry in 2014, Courtney Heitmann found herself learning how to make pasta to relieve stress. In an unlikely twist, she soon bought Gourmet Texas Pasta and its operating facility from the previous owner. She’s poured her love into it ever since. Gourmet Texas Pasta is handmade, vegan and full of flavor. Heitmann also has a gluten-free pasta in her lineup. You can find Gourmet Texas Pasta at nearby farmers markets, Whole Foods and Central Market. 

Gourmet Texas Pasta
1100 Sam Bass Road Suite 103
Round Rock, TX 78681

Buy Antiques & Vinyl

If searching for the perfect rare treasure or flipping through stacks of records is more your speed, then be sure to check out these thrift, antique and music store options. 

Antique Gallery Round Rock 
1601 S. Interstate 35 
Round Rock, Texas 78664

Treasures Charity Thrift Store & Boutique
1099 E. Main St.
Round Rock, TX 78664

Piranha Records
1208 N. Interstate 35 Suite 200
Round Rock, TX, 78681

Support The Arts

Explore the anchor of the Round Rock arts community at Downtowner Gallery. Its vision is to create, support and promote an inclusive community as an art gallery and venue where lives are transformed and enriched through the shared experience of art.

Downtowner Gallery
231 E. Main St. Suite 160 
Round Rock, TX 78664

Take a class at Round Rock Community Clay, a three-thousand-square-foot facility offering classes for all ages and skill ranges, including couples’ wheel throwing and an animal figure sculpting class. 

Local Profile Tip Classes frequently sell out. Register for the class of your choice in advance. 

Round Rock Community Clay
900 Round Rock Ave. Suite 310
Round Rock, TX 78681

Experience the performing arts with a show at the historic Sam Bass Community Theatre. It has been operating since the 1970s and offers year-round entertainment and education. 

Sam Bass Community Theatre
600 N. Lee St.
Round Rock, TX 78664

Explore Parks & Rec

Memorial Park is centrally located near downtown and provides over fourteen acres of abundantly shaded land. Follow the half-mile trail along Brushy Creek to view the legendary “Round Rock” at Brushy Creek Crossing. 

Memorial Park
600 N. Lee St.
Round Rock, TX 78664

Brushy Creek Crossing
County Road 173
Round Rock, TX 78681

The viewing area for Round Rock’s Mexican free-tailed bat community may be lesser known than Austin’s famous Congress Avenue Bridge, but it’s just as spectacular (and probably less crowded). The bats can be seen nightly at dusk from March to November. 

Local Profile Tip Free (but limited) parking is located in the NAPA Auto Parts store lot. 

Round Rock Bat Viewing Area
601 N. Interstate 35 Frontage Road
Round Rock, Texas 78664

Head to Old Settlers Park to take advantage of over six hundred acres of recreationally purposed land. Take up a game or be a spectator of baseball, cricket, disc golf, football, horseshoes, soccer, softball and so much more. 

Old Settlers Park
3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd.
Round Rock, TX 78665

Rock Round has earned the Sports Capital of Texas title with its nationally recognized facilities, fields and courts. But don’t just take our word for it, experience it for yourself and catch the city’s very own Minor League Baseball team, the Round Rock Express, playing a game at the Dell Diamond stadium.

Local Profile Tip Grab a pre-game bite at The Salt Lick — it’s conveniently located next to the stadium. 

Dell Diamond
3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd.
Round Rock, TX 78665 

This article was originally published in Local Profile's latest magazine