Welcome to Austin, the Capital of Texas and the Live Music Capital of the World. The city boasts an eclectic mix of culinary tastes, unique accommodations, and unmissable tourist attractions. This comprehensive guide is designed to help you make the most of your visit, whether you’re an adventurous foodie, a history buff, or simply looking to soak in the laid-back Texan vibes.
Get ready; it’s time to embark on our journey exploring Austin!
Austin, Texas, a culture-rich city with an infectious energy, is a charming blend of cutting-edge innovation and deeply rooted traditions. Whether you’re a careening food enthusiast, a music lover, or a history fan, this eclectic city offers attractions to capture your imagination.
Foodie Delights: Austin’s Must-Try Local Eateries
Stepping into Austin’s food scene can feel like diving into a deliciously deep sea of foodie delights, each restaurant with its unique flavor and charm. Expect to encounter an eclectic blend of traditional Texan cuisine spiced with influences from around the globe in a setting that proudly celebrates its weird and wonderful uniqueness. We’ve done comprehensive research to discover the authentic local stars of the culinary scene.
Fun Fact 👀– Austin is home to over 2,000 food trucks.
- Franklin Barbecue – Kickstarting our food journey at Franklin Barbecue, where multiple threads of Austin’s rich food culture intertwine into a single, irresistible platter. The savannah-dry smell of smoked meat wafts through the air, enticing food connoisseurs from every city corner. The beef brisket, slow-cooked to perfection, is the star attraction here, and, believe us, it is worth the lengthy queues.
- Uchi – Moving on, we uncover a completely different slice of Austin’s food scene at Uchi. The brainchild of Tyson Cole, Uchi serves contemporary Japanese sushi and sashimi with an intriguing Texan twist. The attention to detail, the culinary innovation, and the sheer tastiness of the dishes are sure to mesmerize your senses.
- Home Slice Pizza – Lastly, for a taste of New York in Texas, a visit to Home Slice Pizza is a must. Known for its hand-tossed, thin crust, New York-style pizza – this traditional, homespun pizza joint is a local haunted hangout. Whether pizza is your comfort, party, or just-because food, Home Slice will become your new favorite location to satisfy those cravings.
- Matt’s El Rancho – This iconic Austin restaurant has served delicious Tex-Mex dishes since 1952. From their famous Bob Armstrong Dip, a creamy and flavorful combination of queso, guacamole, and ground beef, to their sizzling fajitas and enchiladas, Matt’s El Rancho offers a wide range of traditional Tex-Mex favorites. The vibrant atmosphere and friendly service make it a must-visit spot for locals and tourists.
- Olamaie – This award-winning restaurant specializes in modern Southern comfort cuisine, showcasing the flavors and traditions of the South in a refined and innovative way. Their menu changes seasonally, but you can expect dishes like buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken, shrimp, and grits. The attention to detail and high-quality ingredients make every bite at Olamaie a true delight. The elegant and cozy ambiance adds to the overall dining experience, making it a top choice for those seeking a taste of Southern hospitality in Austin.
Each eatery we’ve discussed here adds a unique and remarkable flavor to the blossoming culinary bouquet that is Austin’s food scene. Rest assured, the city is full of other incredible establishments that strive to offer a memorable culinary adventure. Take the plunge, embrace your inner foodie, and savor the city’s unique food offerings. Happy dining!
Stay in Style: Austin’s Trendiest Accommodations
When exploring Austin’s vibrant culture, it’s crucial to feel the city’s rhythm through its local food and must-see spots and its accommodations. The beauty and charm of Austin are reflected in its eclectic lodging offerings, each keeping an eye on design and comfort while staying true to authentically Austin aesthetics.
- The Driskill – Considered one of Austin’s grand dames, the historic hotel, established in 1886, effortlessly combines old-world charm with modern luxury. Its location in the heart of downtown makes it a prime home base for your Austin adventure. After a tiring day of exploring, you’ll appreciate the exquisite comfort of your room, outfitted with plush bedding, opulent décor, and an inviting sense of history that you can barely resist.
- Hotel Saint Cecilia – Nestled in the South Congress district, Hotel Saint Cecilia is a boutique hotel with a bohemian vibe. It draws inspiration from the patron saint of arts and poetry, providing a quiet escape amidst lush gardens and thoughtfully designed private bungalows. Whether you marvel at the vinyl collections in each room or soak in the soulful ambiance, you’re bound to experience a creative stimulation that’s unique to this place.
- The Line Hotel – There’s no better choice than The Line Hotel for design enthusiasts. Situated downtown, this mid-century building turned chic hotel celebrates local history and contemporary Austin culture. Every corner is a visual feast, from the floor-to-ceiling windows offering incredible lake views to local artwork adorning the minimalist interiors. And with renowned chef Kristen Kish leading its restaurant, you’re also in for a gastronomic delight.
- Heywood Hotel – In East Austin lies the surprise that is the Heywood Hotel. As a seven-room boutique accommodation, it offers an intimate setting that’s hard to find elsewhere. Emphasizing craftsmanship and comfort, the Heywood stands out with its locally made furniture, minimalist yet warm interiors, and offerings like onsite bike rental that allow you to embrace the local way of life.
- Native Hostel – An eclectic fusion of comfort and style, Native Hostel stands out not just as a place to rest your head but as a genuine cultural hub. Here, minimalistic interiors meet quirky design elements, while communal spaces and a bustling events calendar encourage mingling with fellow travelers. From live music sessions to pop-up shops and art exhibits, you’ll soak in Austin’s creative pulse without stepping out.
- The Carpenter Hotel – Once a functioning Carpenter’s Union Hall, the converted The Carpenter Hotel now opens its doors to guests seeking an unconventional stay. Locally sourced handcrafted furniture adorns each room. Their courtyard cafe, serving artisanal Texan cuisine, beckons you for lazy brunches underneath sprawling trees—an experience underscored by Austin’s charm.
- Kimber Modern Hotel – Residing in the heart of the SoCo district, the Kimber Modern Hotel is an architectural marvel that beautifully synthesizes modern design with warm hospitality. From keyless entry to an assortment of self-serve gourmet foods, this hotel’s attention to comfort is rivaled only by its commitment to privacy. The bamboo courtyard—a tranquil oasis in the city center—offers a serene escape from Austin’s hustle and bustle.
In conclusion, whether you’re a culture enthusiast, foodie, design lover, or someone seeking solace, Austin’s quirky accommodations cater to all whims and fancies. The city’s unique venues provide more than a bed—they offer engaging narratives, creating stories you’ll carry long after checking out. This is part of what makes Austin a truly unforgettable travel destination.
Explore Austin: Must-Visit Attractions and Landmarks
If you’re planning a visit to Austin, regardless of how long your stay will be or what your interests are, be sure that your itinerary involves some exploration of the city’s iconic landmarks and unique attractions — because, trust me, they’re worth the detour.
Zilker Park – For those who relish the great outdoors, visit Austin’s renowned Zilker Park. Spanning a whopping 350 acres, Zilker Park is not just a park—it’s an experience. Whether you take a tranquil stroll through its sprawling gardens, explore its fascinating nature and science center, or enjoy a picnic by the tranquil Barton Springs Pool, every corner of this urban oasis invites you to unwind and reconnect with nature.
Texas State Capitol – No visit to Austin would be complete without a tour of the Texas State Capitol. Steeped in history and architectural wonder, this impressive granite and marble structure is one of the US’s oldest surviving state capitol buildings. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the Capitol Rotunda, where portraits of every person who has served as president of the Republic of Texas or Governor of the State of Texas are featured.
Mount Bonnell – If it’s an unforgettable view you’re after, make your way to Mount Bonnell. As Austin’s highest point, this stunning viewpoint over Lake Austin offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding hill country. This sight will undoubtedly take your breath away, particularly at sunset.
South Congress Avenue – For those seeking a vibrant slice of Austin’s eccentric culture and retail therapy, head to South Congress Avenue. Lined with an array of unique shops, delightful eateries, bustling coffee shops, and live music venues, this lively avenue perfectly encapsulates the city’s vibrant energy and creative spirit. Don’t forget to take a snapshot with the numerous colorful murals that adorn its street walls, most notably the iconic “I love you so much” graffiti.
Austin, indeed has much in store for every explorer. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an outdoors lover, or an urban dweller searching for culture and entertainment, Austin’s landmark attractions and must-see spots have something to offer. So go ahead, let this city captivate you with its charm and character.
Art and Culture: Immerse Yourself in Austin’s Creative Scene
Culture vultures, rejoice! Austin houses various museums, art galleries, and significant cultural institutions that offer something for every palate. This city embraces creativity, from formal visual arts to eclectic street murals. Let’s delve into some must-visit cultural spots that accurately depict Austin’s vibrant and diverse art scene.
The Blanton Museum of Art – As part of the University of Texas at Austin, the Blanton Museum of Art isn’t just a bastion of knowledge but also an extraordinary treasure trove of art. Housing over 18,000 works, from ancient Greek pottery to contemporary Latin American pieces, Blanton is bound to leave you amazed. Exiting the Museum, don’t forget to marvel at Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin,” a vibrant freestanding building that’s a work of art itself.
East Austin Murals – Unleash your inner hipster as you stroll around East Austin’s outdoor galleries. The many buildings in this area are adorned with cutting-edge, vibrant street art, lending the city a striking character. Visit the iconic ‘You’re My Butter Half’ mural and ‘Hi, How Are You?’ mural embodying Austin’s unpretentious, friendly vibe.
Contemporary Austin – Positioned at two unique spots – downtown Jones Center and lush Laguna Gloria, the Contemporary Austin showcases national and international artists. With ever-changing exhibitions and beautiful outdoor installations at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, exploring Austin’s contemporary art scene here is a must.
Mexic-Arte Museum – Delve into a vibrant expression of Mexican and Latin American arts at the Mexic-Arte Museum. This museum, situated in downtown Austin, is dedicated to preserving traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture.
Remember, the true Austin experience involves discovering art in unexpected corners of the city. Whether it’s murals that liven up ordinary buildings or art installations in parks, we encourage you to let Austin’s diverse art scene surprise and inspire you. After all, the city’s slogan is ‘Keep Austin Weird!’.
Nightlife Unleashed: Austin’s Hottest Bars and Clubs
While you may already be familiar with the term “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin puts on a different kind of show by nightfall. A city that thrives after dark, Austin’s nightlife scene is energetic, diverse, and just a bit quirky – very much reflective of the city itself. With a mix of eclectic bars, vibrant clubs, and intimate lounges, you’re guaranteed to find something to match your energy, mood, and preferred style of nighttime entertainment.
Let’s wander, shall we?
The Roosevelt Room – As if torn from the pages of a 1920s novel, The Roosevelt Room delivers vintage charm wrapped in a warm, vibrant atmosphere. Here, you can sip on meticulously crafted cocktails from some of the city’s most renowned mixologists. Frequented by those searching for more than just a drink but an experience, the Roosevelt Room is a journey back to a time of classic sophistication and timeless elegance.
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar – Ready for a night of jubilant sing-alongs, good-natured ribbing, and plenty of laughter? Look no further than Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar. This institution of Austin’s late-night scene hosts dueling pianists battling out your favorite tune on their baby grands. Sing along, dance, or watch in awe as an ordinary evening becomes a memorable night.
Whisler’s – For lovers of all things vintage, Whisler’s is a must-visit. Set inside a rustic 100-year-old building, this East Austin favorite offers artisanal, handcrafted cocktails and a comfortable environment steeped in character. Retreat to their open-air patio, where string lights twinkle above while you enjoy your drinks beneath the Texas stars.
Barbarella – If you’re set on dancing the night away, Barbarella is just the spot you’re looking for. With its dynamic playlists and celebratory mood, it’s the ideal spot for those craving a no-holds-barred, feet-on-fire dance night. From indie to 80s classics, disco to current hits, the music spans genres and eras, promising an eve as diverse as Austin.
Remember, Austin’s nightlife isn’t just about escapism; it’s about immersion. It’s about joining a city-wide symphony that resonates with good times and unforgettable memories. So, whatever your vibe, there’s a place in Austin that sets the stage for a great night and brings out the local flavor and the city’s vibrant spirit. Whether refining your palate, singing at the top of your lungs, swaying to the music, or chatting with the locals over a sherry barrel-aged Negroni, Austin’s nightlife is an experience you won’t soon forget!
Festivals and Events: Don’t Miss Out on Austin’s Vibrant Calendar
In a city as lively as Austin, you can rest assured that your calendar will be brimming with musical extravaganzas, spirited festivals, and community events that celebrate the vibrant culture and spirited soul of this Texan city. Don’t just be a tourist; join Austin’s pulsating rhythm by plunging into some of the city’s most cherished events and festivals.
South by Southwest (SXSW) – Held every March, South by Southwest is one of the most anticipated events on Austin’s cultural calendar. With a remarkable variety of presentations and performances spanning the fields of music, film, and interactive media, SXSW is a must-experience for creatives of all disciplines. Emanating an egalitarian energy and bringing together a diversity of ideas and talents, SXSW offers an opportunity to experience Austin’s innovative spirit first-hand.
ACL Music Festiva – As the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, it’s no surprise that Austin plays host to one of the country’s most beloved music festivals: the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL). Taking over Zilker Park every October, ACL brings together an eclectic mix of established acts and up-and-comers across every genre imaginable. So grab a friend, spread out a blanket, and lose yourself in the magic of music under the vast Texas sky.
Pecan Street Festival – Twice a year, Austin’s historic Sixth Street transforms into an open-air market for the Pecan Street Festival. Artists, crafters, and food vendors from across the globe gather here to create a vibrant, bustling atmosphere that’s a delight to explore. It’s a feast for the senses—one where you can appreciate art, savor mouthwatering food, and make this a must-see, fun-filled family event for all ages.
Keep Austin Weird Fest and 5K – Celebrating Austin’s unconventional spirit, the Keep Austin Weird Fest and 5K are cherished local traditions. The event is characterized by unorthodox costumes, amusing antics, and a delightfully laissez-faire ethos. Thumb a nose at conformity and embrace the eccentricities that give Austin its signature charm. So why not join in the weirdness, and remember—you’re not just in Austin; you’re part of it!
With festivals and events that cater to all tastes and interests, Austin’s vibrant calendar is a testament to the city’s unity in diversity. Music, art, film, food—the city’s eclectic festivities seem to say, ‘Whatever you’re into, we’ve got an event for that’. And remember, no matter which events pique your interest, showing up and participating is what Austin is all about.
So there you have it, an extensive round-up of the best Austin offers – from mouthwatering must-try food spots and luxurious and quirky accommodations to vibrant cultural landmarks and music scenes that resonate with the soul. But remember, this enlightening guide only scratches the surface of what you can discover in this bustling Texas capital.
So go forth, plan your itinerary, or just let the city surprise you! But remember to keep these highlights in check to ensure you don’t miss out. Austin awaits you—with all of its unassuming elegance, culturally rich streets, echo music, and quintessential southern warmth—it’s a city where strangers transform into friends, food into art, and every day turns into an event.