The capital of Texas shines with museums and street art. Drink in the visual stimulation at these top picks: Cool Bars. Downtown Austin has the highest number of bars per zip code in the entire United States. Check out legendary spots like: Midnight Cowboy; Stubbs; The Mohawk; Flamingo Cantina; Barcelona; Firehouse Lounge; Seller’s.
Austin features a multi-faceted urban-wildland interface along the Colorado River (yes, there are two Colorado Rivers in America) and in the nearby hill country, all of which make for phenomenal chill-out zones. Top spots include: Mount Bonnell; Mayfield Park; Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail; Pedernales Falls State Park; Zilker Botanical Garden; Hippy Hollow Park; Barton Creek Greenbelt (aka ”The Greenbelt”) Places to Stay. The Hilton Austin Downtown is ground zero for festivals like SXSW. Things are more laid back in West Austin and more hip in East Austin. Allow us to recommend Hotel Eleven, a new 14-room boutique hotel in the East 11th District, about a block away from the barbecue line at Franklin (see below). This isn’t one of those “boutiques” opened by a global chain. This is a true craft-scale hotel, built and operated by a local couple, Mark Vornberg and Shelly Leibham. The lobby and rooms are extremely hip but not in an obnoxious Brooklyn-does-Texas kind of way.
Plus, the staff at Hotel Eleven (including Louie the hotel cat) are so warm and welcoming that it’s like staying at a hotel your friends happen to run. Relatively flat downtown Austin has many bikeshare, rideshare, and scootershare options. Bird scooters are so ubiquitous that local comedians craft jokes around them JUMP bikes are similarly available everywhere Uber and Lyft also stand ready to pick you up. Pro tip: Do yourself a favor and load all the apps before you arrive in Austin so you can just grab an option and go. Nobody wants to wait for you to tap in your credit card number there on the sidewalk. (Courtesy of Geoff Duncan, Visit Austin) Austin is a world-class city to eat your way through—from the requisite barbecue and Tex-Mex to amazing brunches and munchies. on weekends); Dirty Gloves Midwest BBQ; Micklethwait Craft Meats; La Barbecue; Stiles Switch BBQ. Pro tip: Keep in mind that Texas barbecue joints don’t always operate like your typical restaurant. Many open in the late morning, around 11 a.m., and close once the goods are sold out. This makes for some epically long lines and borderline unbearable wait times. Plan to wait multiple hours—literally—for a seat at Franklin Barbecue in East Austin. Austin has a crazy cheese or “queso” food culture, so make sure to try all of it. Beyond that, check out: Uncle Julio’s; Juan in a Million; Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop. There are tacos galore in Austin, and most will do you right. If you’re looking for a local favorite, though, grab a breakfast taco or three. (Go super local and get one with smoked brisket.) Why aren’t these more popular on the West Coast? Austin food truck culture mirrors other national exemplars like Portland, OR. Go with the flow and snack on lots of small meals to soak up the booze. Be on the lookout for these gems: Krab Kingz Seafood Austin; Emojis Grilled Cheese; Chi’Lantro BBQ; Paperboy; DEE DEE; Tony’s Jamaican Food (those jerk chicken wings…) Craft Beer. About 10% of all Texas breweries are based in Austin, making for a robust craft beer drinking culture. Top spots include: Austin Beerworks; Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.; Black Star Co-op; Lazarus Brewing Company; Craft Pride. Austin Eastciders; Texas Keeper Cider; Fairweather Cider Co; Argus Cidery. Little Lucy’s; Big Top Candy Shop; Gourdough’s Donuts. Pro tip: Old Thousand (1000 East 11th St.) isn’t well known to visitors, thought it should be. A friend and I wandered into Old Thousand on a late Thursday night in February, hungry as hell, not expecting much.
We started ordering, almost at random, from the menu: Mala fried chicken, Char Siu with extra steamed buns, Silk Road ribs, smoked brisket fried rice. We dug in, and ten minutes into our meal we looked at each other like, “WTF. ” We couldn’t stuff it into our greedy maws fast enough. It was as if we had the munchies without having partaken. Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza; Via 313; The Backspace; Home Slice Pizza. La Condensa; Trudy’s; Licha’s Cantina; Matt’s El Rancho; El Alma; Guero’s Taco Bar. Maria’s Taco Xpress; Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden; Better Half Coffee & Cocktails; Fonda San Miguel; Suerte; Pitchfork Pretty; Launderette; Contigo; Holy Roller; Cenote; Hillside Farmacy. More realistically, load up on rare vinyl and books commensurate with this robust college town.
The hot spots: West Sixth Street District: BookPeople; Waterloo Records; The Domain. With cannabis law reform advancing in the nearby statehouse, Austin promises to get even better in the years to come. Munchie Madness Tour Austin: 420 Friendly Silent Party + Silent Cinema. Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 9:00 PM – Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 2:00 AM CDT. SILENT PARTY + SILENT CONCERT + SILENT CYPHER + SILENT CINEMA.