Local Advice For Visiting the Fasting Growing City in the US
As a native Austinite, travelers often ask me what to do with a weekend in this vibrant, growing city. Here’s what one local tells his friends.
Austin Has Many Sides, so the best recommendations depend on what you are into.
Partying: The Infamous Sixth Street
- For the crazy party scene, stay as close to 6th street as possible. “Dirty 6th,” between Brazos and Red River, is the classic spot for getting real drunk and listening to cover bands.
- “West Sixth,” particularly the few blocks between San Antonio and West St., has a similar vibe but tries to appeal to a slightly older crowd.
- Fifth street, right around Congress Ave., tends to cater more to dancing, with my favorite being Kingdom (after midnight)—an EDM club with $3 Texas craft beer drafts like Thirsty Goat.
- For the more relaxed party vibe, wander close to Rainey St. south of Cesar Chavez. For the hipster vibe, outdoor patios and food trucks, head to 6th St. east of I-35.
There should be live music at all of these places; local bands play all over the city in bars, restaurants, and coffeeshops, but the largest hub is probably around Red River. As usual, where you go depends on what style you like. It would be pointless to recommend the Broken Spoke if you are into metal. There are more and more music festivals every year, from the massive ACL Fest to Honk, the street band festival—just check around for the time of year you want to go.
Outdoor Activities and Nature
One of my favorite parts of this city is the prevalence of outdoor activities.
- Town Lake (Now called Lady Bird Lake) rents stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and has over ten miles of fantastic running and biking trails criss-crossing the river downtown.
- The Greenbelt—hiking, swimming, or rock climbing (for climbing, there’s sport and bouldering in town, and trad 1.5 hrs away), or nearby watering holes like Hamilton Pool.
- Barton Springs Pool is classic Austin.
- Zilker park. There are usually pickup soccer, sand volleyball, and ultimate frisbee games.
- Floating the Guadalupe or San Marcos river—great bachelor/ette party daytime activity.
Other Austin-y stuff worth noting:
- Wandering around South Congress Ave. during the day is generally enjoyed by people who like shopping (which is not me).
- Alamo Drafthouse is fun—a theater that serves food and beer—especially their wacky nights such as AirSex competitions and quote-a-longs.
- My favorite restaurants are Kerbey Lane Cafe, Taco Deli, Hula Hut, and Pinthouse Pizza. There are a lot of new and fancier things for foodies, but these are my go-tos. Everyone else likes all the food trailers (like East Side Kings), but I’m neutral about them.
- Houndstooth is expensive and delicious primo coffee.
- The flagship Whole Foods at 6th and Lamar is cool, especially during the winter when they have an ice skating rink.