Take a quick look around the streets of Austin, Texas, and you’re guaranteed to find the city’s slogan “Keep Austin Weird” plastered on store windows and stickers. Although the motto was first coined by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses, it has since become a staple of life for locals and visitors alike. Of course, Austin is amazing in the best way, with tons of bars and restaurants, kitschy shops, luxury hotels, and great music. The city is also home to some of the largest events in the world, drawing thousands of visitors across national and international borders to festivals including South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and the Texas Book Festival. For your reading pleasure, we’ve put together these spots for you to enjoy—and, keep it amazing—inside the South. Have fun!
Things to See
Greetings From Austin Mural
Have you ever been to Austin if you haven’t written? For an Instagram-worthy moment, stop by this beautiful wall at 1720 S. 1st Street, inspired by a postcard from the 1940s. Take a picture, then ask yourself if you can identify the famous Austin landmarks in the picture: Look out for the Texas State Capitol and the Congress Avenue Bridge.
Barton Springs Pool
Austin hears it hot in more ways than one, and chances are at some point in your journey you’ll be able to take everything to lighten up. Locals like to swim, and when they do they go to Barton Springs. The 900-foot outdoor swimming pool in Zilker Park (where Austin City Limits is held each year) is filled with water from several underground springs. It’s the perfect place to relax after a day of dancing in the hot Texas sun.
South Congress Avenue
South of Lady Bird Lake is South Congress Avenue, a lively area known as SoCo to locals. Walking around the area is a must for great shopping, live music, and seeing what Austin has to offer. Snap a photo in front of the famous “I Love You So Much” poster, catch a performance at Guero’s Oak Garden, or give in to the Western scene and buy authentic Lucchese cowboy boots at Allens Boots (you know you want to. ).
Where to Eat
The umbrella-shaded, well-lit and well-lit courtyard makes Perla a must-see, day or night. Located on South Congress, the seafood restaurant is known for its raw bar and black lobster, with La Grande Dame champagne to match both. We encourage you to stop by during happy hour from 3 pm to 5:30 pm to beat the evening crowd and get some bargains (like oysters on the half shell for $4).
Matt’s El Rancho
You’ll find affordable Tex-Mex and delicious cocktails at this low-key, no-frills spot that’s been an Austin staple for 70-plus years. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of options at Matt’s El Rancho, order a single shot, Matt’s Knockout Martini (tequila, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice in a shaker filled with ice), with Bob Armstrong’s signature queso. table setting.
Terry Black’s Barbecue
If you’re looking for some of the best barbecue in Texas, the locals would say this is it. Owned by twin brothers and fourth generation, Terry Black serves brisket, prime rib, mac and cheese, and, finally, banana pudding. Warning: Like most BBQ, this stuff is more filling than it looks.
Where to Drink
Soho House Austin
When a Soho house opens in the city, you know it’s having a moment. Although Austin has been popular for many years, the latest addition to the cult of private members, located in the Music Lane shopping center near South Congress Avenue, has all the essentials: a wood-burning bar, a rooftop pool. , with music by local and visiting artists who come alongside his new concept, Dante’s Hi-Fi.
Located on the nightlife mecca that is Rainey Street, Clive Bar is casual but event-y, serving local beers and cocktails on an outdoor patio with a loft behind it for live music.
If you’re looking for smooth cocktails in a fun atmosphere, stop by Goldie’s at the Austin Proper Hotel. Maybe it’s the marble sinks and velvet chairs talking, but something about it screams super.
Austin Proper Hotel
Located in the heart of downtown Austin, the Austin Proper Hotel has many amenities to ensure an unforgettable stay. With sweeping views of the Colorado River and within walking distance of the famous 6th avenue, the hotel’s prime location is perfect for exploring the city on foot. The area has many restaurants and bars; we recommend the Crispy Shallot Hummus at the Mediterranean-inspired The Peacock. Additionally, guests can take advantage of the hotel’s fitness center, rooftop pool, and full-service Verbena Spa. (The dedication of the spa staff is reflected in their customers, when they provide treatment using the beautiful Monastery brand, which boasts of using natural and organic products selected to provide the best results. Not to mention, the smell of the products is heavenly.) When you go outside of at night, treat yourself to the spa’s signature “The Gua Sha Facial” or “The Proper Massage,” leaving you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready for your next adventure.
Located at the intersection of Lady Bird Lake and downtown, this funky and modern hotel draws crowds for its poolside DJ and brunch at P6. Suites feature ocean views and a fully stocked mini bar. For more, stop at Veracruz All Natural for authentic tacos and queso. (Migas breakfast taco is a must.)
The beautiful Miraval Austin resort is nestled in the Texas mountains, with beautiful rock formations and beautiful hiking trails. The digital, equipment-free lounge (don’t worry: designated areas allow the use of your cell phone) encourages relaxation and rejuvenation through exercise and yoga classes; pools, trails, and fitness courses; guided meditation classes; and a full list of massage, facial, and body treatments at Life in Balance spa. Refreshments, including snacks and refreshments, are included in the price of your stay, and a nightly credit can be used towards spa services and paid services. To get the most out of the all-inclusive package, wake up early for a morning session in the Yoga Barn or the Solidago buildings, then explore the Sophia or Serenity Labyrinths before hitting the poolside. Don’t forget to make dinner reservations at Hilltop Crossings Kitchen—you don’t want to miss a single thing on the menu.