Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
Been here 5 years. Having kids, I haven't done too much of the town but here are my suggestions. Be prepared for music in and about town, because this is the Live Music Capital of the world!!! Get an Austin Chronicle (think LA Weekly) for music and events in and around the city, it will be your bible for day and nightlife.
Lady Bird Lake runs along the southwestern span of the City and next to it you will find Zilker Park, Town Lake park and Auditorum Shores. There is cool funky mix of restaurants off Barton Springs Road and Lamar. If you head toward Zilker park you will see a cluster of restaurants on the right. Take your pick and enjoy the atmosphere.
BAT'S at dusk at the Congress ave bridge. It's a sight to behold, all the bat's flying out to dine for the evening:
Get out to the Oasis if you have the opportunity, on the cliffs of Lake Travis, food is nothing special but the drinks, view and music are worth the drive north. The decks burnt down the week before we moved here(bummer), but have been rebuilt since then and the locale just can't be beat.
Rudy's BBQ - There are a ton of BBQ places in the Austin area but this one is tried and true, plus you get a unique Texas feel with the gas station connected to the restaurant.
Salt Lick BBQ - The original location in Driftwood is a drive but if you have the time maybe something you try for a truly Austin experience. If not, their Round Rock location is next to Dell Diamond, the triple A baseball team's stadium, is much closer to town.
Cover Three - Great upscale Sport's Bar & Restaurant. Check out the menu!! Food is very good. cover-3.com
6th street is the Westwood of Austin, lot's of Bar's and music, but off Sixth you'll find other spots which aren't crowded with co-ed's and off the hook partier's.
Whole Food's has one of the most amazing stores in the country. I know it's kinda weird to visit a grocer store, but this place is worth it, and their deli is amazing.
Amy's Ice Cream - This place was Cold Stone before Cold Stone but with an Austin T'wang. www.amysicecreams.com/
SOCO - Take a stroll down South Congress, it's a mini Melrose, but cool none the less.
Scholtz's - It's a gameday staple for Horn's fans. The place gets pack out prior to all home games, maybe go by early and check out the scene. Walking distance to UT.
Pappadeaux - Upscale Southern Seafood chain. I never tried it till I moved here, but I will kill for their fried shrimp.
That's my recommendations, try one, try them all, you will not be disappointed!!! Austin is a very cool city, enjoy!!!
UPDATE (N): Also don't forget to check out Trainer24's recommendations re. Tex-Mex and burgers. GO BRUINS.