Michael's Guidebook for Austin - 2022 Edition

Michael
Michael's Guidebook for Austin - 2022 Edition

Austin Nightlife: Michael's Main Suggested Destinations

Austin has an extremely wide variety of nightlife options, most of which are available year-round and also a 5-10 minute ride from my place (except where noted). I would be more than happy to supply specific recommendations upon request, if there's something in particular you like.
Sixth Street has long been Austin's most famous - or infamous, depending on who's doing the talking - nightlife destination, but what served as Austin's version of Bourbon Street for decades has since evolved and expanded ... both literally and figuratively. Nowadays it's divvied up into three sections that all feature relatively raucous nightlife scenes, but cater to distinctly different crowds. West Sixth is the stretch located between San Antonio St. and West Ave., and its bars and clubs primarily cater to a post-collegiate, 20- and 30-something crowd of young professionals who generally dress up for a night out. (In Austin terms, that means ladies wear dresses and gentlemen wear trousers instead of jeans or shorts!) East Sixth was practically desolate barely a decade ago, but these days features numerous developments along with plenty in the works. It's the part of the street east of I-35, and its bars start about a block from the interstate and stretch another dozen or so blocks further east. I know some folks take offense at the term "hipster," but ... well, it's an apt descriptor for the area. If you like divey bars - featuring unusually good draft beer selections, along with inexpensive Lone Star cans (it's the National Beer of Texas btw) - and a very casually dressed crowd featuring guys with ample amounts of facial hair, this is the place to find it. The "OG" part of Sixth (the area akin to Bourbon St.) is now generally referred to as "Dirty Sixth," and it covers the area roughly between Brazos St. and Red River St. On weekend nights and during special events (e.g. SXSW), it's closed off to vehicular traffic, so you can hop from bar to bar. It's not *quite* as raucous as the actual Bourbon Street, plus unlike New Orleans you're not permitted to take "go cups" (anything with alcohol in it) with you, but particularly if you're under 25 and up for a long night on the town, this is the place to do it. (Pro tip: don't brag about any affinity you might have for UT's main rivals, OU and Texas A&M, unless you're lookin' for trouble!) Also, even if you're a teetotaler and have a car with you in town, I'd recommend taking a Lyft or Uber down to any of Sixth's three nightlife areas. Finding parking of any sort is both a huge hassle and nearly as expensive as the roundtrip rideshare fare to my place.
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Sixth Street Historic District
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Sixth Street has long been Austin's most famous - or infamous, depending on who's doing the talking - nightlife destination, but what served as Austin's version of Bourbon Street for decades has since evolved and expanded ... both literally and figuratively. Nowadays it's divvied up into three sections that all feature relatively raucous nightlife scenes, but cater to distinctly different crowds. West Sixth is the stretch located between San Antonio St. and West Ave., and its bars and clubs primarily cater to a post-collegiate, 20- and 30-something crowd of young professionals who generally dress up for a night out. (In Austin terms, that means ladies wear dresses and gentlemen wear trousers instead of jeans or shorts!) East Sixth was practically desolate barely a decade ago, but these days features numerous developments along with plenty in the works. It's the part of the street east of I-35, and its bars start about a block from the interstate and stretch another dozen or so blocks further east. I know some folks take offense at the term "hipster," but ... well, it's an apt descriptor for the area. If you like divey bars - featuring unusually good draft beer selections, along with inexpensive Lone Star cans (it's the National Beer of Texas btw) - and a very casually dressed crowd featuring guys with ample amounts of facial hair, this is the place to find it. The "OG" part of Sixth (the area akin to Bourbon St.) is now generally referred to as "Dirty Sixth," and it covers the area roughly between Brazos St. and Red River St. On weekend nights and during special events (e.g. SXSW), it's closed off to vehicular traffic, so you can hop from bar to bar. It's not *quite* as raucous as the actual Bourbon Street, plus unlike New Orleans you're not permitted to take "go cups" (anything with alcohol in it) with you, but particularly if you're under 25 and up for a long night on the town, this is the place to do it. (Pro tip: don't brag about any affinity you might have for UT's main rivals, OU and Texas A&M, unless you're lookin' for trouble!) Also, even if you're a teetotaler and have a car with you in town, I'd recommend taking a Lyft or Uber down to any of Sixth's three nightlife areas. Finding parking of any sort is both a huge hassle and nearly as expensive as the roundtrip rideshare fare to my place.
Decades ago the Broken Spoke was located on what was formerly the southern "edge" of the Austin area -- which has since grown roughly 25 miles further out! Most of its legendary old-music venues from past eras are gone, but the Spoke remains largely unchanged from its appearance 50 years ago ... well, except for the minor detail of it now being surrounded by recently built apartments around half of it, but you get the point. Every weekend night, along with many weekday nights, features bands performing live music (mostly of the country bent - after all, Willie Nelson spent many a night playing here earlier in his career) and a variety of old-timers performing old-timer dance moves.
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Broken Spoke
3201 South Lamar Boulevard
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Decades ago the Broken Spoke was located on what was formerly the southern "edge" of the Austin area -- which has since grown roughly 25 miles further out! Most of its legendary old-music venues from past eras are gone, but the Spoke remains largely unchanged from its appearance 50 years ago ... well, except for the minor detail of it now being surrounded by recently built apartments around half of it, but you get the point. Every weekend night, along with many weekday nights, features bands performing live music (mostly of the country bent - after all, Willie Nelson spent many a night playing here earlier in his career) and a variety of old-timers performing old-timer dance moves.
Rainey St. is one of Austin's newer nightlife destinations, located on the southeast edge of downtown. It's a rapidly changing area: what was once a residential area with early-20th-century Victorian and Craftsman houses has morphed into one of Austin's premier spots for both bars as well as restaurants -- not to mention an ever-increasing number of upscale condo and apartment towers. The Hotel Van Zandt, a Kimpton property, is a great place to start the night - it's the easiest to access via Lyft or Uber, and you can have an excellent drink inside its extremely spacious lobby - and roughly a dozen different bars of all stripes line the street, along with a surprisingly good food-truck court. (Pro tip: do NOT drive here! Even if you're not planning on drinking, parking in the area is almost nonexistent, and parking either at the Van Zandt - or at the new Fairmont Hotel located two blocks to its north - costs $40/night! I'd highly recommend using Lyft or Uber to get to and fro.)
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Rainey Street Historic District
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Rainey St. is one of Austin's newer nightlife destinations, located on the southeast edge of downtown. It's a rapidly changing area: what was once a residential area with early-20th-century Victorian and Craftsman houses has morphed into one of Austin's premier spots for both bars as well as restaurants -- not to mention an ever-increasing number of upscale condo and apartment towers. The Hotel Van Zandt, a Kimpton property, is a great place to start the night - it's the easiest to access via Lyft or Uber, and you can have an excellent drink inside its extremely spacious lobby - and roughly a dozen different bars of all stripes line the street, along with a surprisingly good food-truck court. (Pro tip: do NOT drive here! Even if you're not planning on drinking, parking in the area is almost nonexistent, and parking either at the Van Zandt - or at the new Fairmont Hotel located two blocks to its north - costs $40/night! I'd highly recommend using Lyft or Uber to get to and fro.)
The Red River Cultural District is one of Austin's last remaining bastions where finding excellent live music is all but guaranteed. It stretches from Sixth St. north to 10th, and features both music clubs (some with live music, others with various types of dance music) along with a variety of bars. Its most famous destination is Stubbs, a barbecue joint that just happens to feature a stage in its backyard that can fit over 1,500 people. While Austin's had a number of newer large music venues open in recent years, Stubbs still regularly attracts some of the top touring acts - which run a wide gamut but lean more in an indie-rock direction. (Pro tip: Cheer Up Charlie's, a gay-friendly club on the corner of Red River & 9th, features one of downtown Austin's most impressive natural features - a 50-foot-high limestone wall that serves as the backdrop for its stage.)
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Red River Cultural District
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The Red River Cultural District is one of Austin's last remaining bastions where finding excellent live music is all but guaranteed. It stretches from Sixth St. north to 10th, and features both music clubs (some with live music, others with various types of dance music) along with a variety of bars. Its most famous destination is Stubbs, a barbecue joint that just happens to feature a stage in its backyard that can fit over 1,500 people. While Austin's had a number of newer large music venues open in recent years, Stubbs still regularly attracts some of the top touring acts - which run a wide gamut but lean more in an indie-rock direction. (Pro tip: Cheer Up Charlie's, a gay-friendly club on the corner of Red River & 9th, features one of downtown Austin's most impressive natural features - a 50-foot-high limestone wall that serves as the backdrop for its stage.)
Get your mind out of the gutter! Deep Eddy isn't *that* kind of "cabaret"! The origins of its thoroughly tongue-in-cheek name are a bit hazy, but it's been an Austin mainstay since 1951 - and hasn't changed a whole lot in the interim, aside from adding hard liquor to its original beer-only menu a few years back. Despite its location only five minutes west of downtown, Deep Eddy has remained relatively off the standard tourist trail, and it's a great place to encounter some "local color" (and play a few rounds of pool).
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Deep Eddy Cabaret
2315 Lake Austin Boulevard
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Get your mind out of the gutter! Deep Eddy isn't *that* kind of "cabaret"! The origins of its thoroughly tongue-in-cheek name are a bit hazy, but it's been an Austin mainstay since 1951 - and hasn't changed a whole lot in the interim, aside from adding hard liquor to its original beer-only menu a few years back. Despite its location only five minutes west of downtown, Deep Eddy has remained relatively off the standard tourist trail, and it's a great place to encounter some "local color" (and play a few rounds of pool).
How to describe Donn's ... hmmm. It's in a boxcar that features Christmas lighting year-round, along with live music and dancing most nights - as well as a decidedly eclectic crowd, both young and old. It's not far from Deep Eddy, so if you're in the mood to hit some old-school Austin dive bars where actual locals go, both are highly recommended.
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Donn's Depot
1600 West 5th Street
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How to describe Donn's ... hmmm. It's in a boxcar that features Christmas lighting year-round, along with live music and dancing most nights - as well as a decidedly eclectic crowd, both young and old. It's not far from Deep Eddy, so if you're in the mood to hit some old-school Austin dive bars where actual locals go, both are highly recommended.
I avoided The ABGB for a number of years solely because of its name: as it so happens, I used to live in New York and my roommate was the longtime manager of its (in)famous CBGB's club, so I initially took offense at its name. Upon finally visiting, however, I was sold. The ABGB is a sizable venue that's a hybrid brewpub / restaurant / live music venue, depending on the day (or night). It's a little hard to find - look for it immediately to the right after you cross the train tracks on eastbound Oltorf - but well worth a visit. (Parking can be a hassle, however, so I'd recommend taking Lyft or Uber there if possible.)
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The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
1305 West Oltorf Street
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I avoided The ABGB for a number of years solely because of its name: as it so happens, I used to live in New York and my roommate was the longtime manager of its (in)famous CBGB's club, so I initially took offense at its name. Upon finally visiting, however, I was sold. The ABGB is a sizable venue that's a hybrid brewpub / restaurant / live music venue, depending on the day (or night). It's a little hard to find - look for it immediately to the right after you cross the train tracks on eastbound Oltorf - but well worth a visit. (Parking can be a hassle, however, so I'd recommend taking Lyft or Uber there if possible.)
The Cloak Room was a quasi-speakeasy long before speakeasy-style bars became a trend; it dates all the way back to the '70s. It's directly across the street from the Texas Capitol - and if you're having trouble finding it, look for the historical marker for the Goodman Building, a New Orleans-style edifice that happens to be one of the oldest remaining structures in the city. (The stairs leading to its entrance are at the building's far-right corner.) When the Texas Legislature is in session (only 140 days every two years - long story...), a visit to the Cloak Room makes for some interesting people-watching and eavesdropping. (Well, assuming you can see: particularly if you visit during its notorious happy hour when it's still daylight out, entering the subterranean space -- located in one of the very few bona fide basements in the city -- is typically disconcerting until your eyes adjust.) Even when the "lege" isn't in session, staffers at the Texas Capitol complex tend to hang here, and the place has many an urban legend associated with it. (One of them is that it contains a secret tunnel connecting it to the Governor's Mansion two blocks south, but that's never been proven.) Regardless of your political bent, the Cloak Room is definitely worth a visit.
The Cloak Room
1300 Colorado St
The Cloak Room was a quasi-speakeasy long before speakeasy-style bars became a trend; it dates all the way back to the '70s. It's directly across the street from the Texas Capitol - and if you're having trouble finding it, look for the historical marker for the Goodman Building, a New Orleans-style edifice that happens to be one of the oldest remaining structures in the city. (The stairs leading to its entrance are at the building's far-right corner.) When the Texas Legislature is in session (only 140 days every two years - long story...), a visit to the Cloak Room makes for some interesting people-watching and eavesdropping. (Well, assuming you can see: particularly if you visit during its notorious happy hour when it's still daylight out, entering the subterranean space -- located in one of the very few bona fide basements in the city -- is typically disconcerting until your eyes adjust.) Even when the "lege" isn't in session, staffers at the Texas Capitol complex tend to hang here, and the place has many an urban legend associated with it. (One of them is that it contains a secret tunnel connecting it to the Governor's Mansion two blocks south, but that's never been proven.) Regardless of your political bent, the Cloak Room is definitely worth a visit.
It's admittedly a bit of a drive, but the Little Longhorn (née Ginny's Little Longhorn) remains one of Austin's better-kept, off-the-beaten-path destinations. Ginny finally sold the place (after several decades of ownership) a few years ago, and the new owner "fancified" the place in a number of ways - they now serve wine & gourmet beer, AND they finally accept credit cards! - but it's one of the few places outside of the downtown vicinity where you can find live music every night. ...but that's not the main reason to visit. You see, the Little Longhorn is famous for a Sunday afternoon event (4pm-8pm) that remains altogether unique: chicken-sh*t bingo. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. (Look it up!) It's "all ages" in the sense than kids 13 and younger play first, and seniors 92 and up play second. No, I am not making any of this up! Truth really is stranger than fiction sometimes.
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The Little Longhorn Saloon
5434 Burnet Road
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It's admittedly a bit of a drive, but the Little Longhorn (née Ginny's Little Longhorn) remains one of Austin's better-kept, off-the-beaten-path destinations. Ginny finally sold the place (after several decades of ownership) a few years ago, and the new owner "fancified" the place in a number of ways - they now serve wine & gourmet beer, AND they finally accept credit cards! - but it's one of the few places outside of the downtown vicinity where you can find live music every night. ...but that's not the main reason to visit. You see, the Little Longhorn is famous for a Sunday afternoon event (4pm-8pm) that remains altogether unique: chicken-sh*t bingo. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. (Look it up!) It's "all ages" in the sense than kids 13 and younger play first, and seniors 92 and up play second. No, I am not making any of this up! Truth really is stranger than fiction sometimes.
Oilcan's is Austin's oldest gay bar/club, having celebrated its 30th anniversary not too long ago, and is also located on W. 4th St. adjacent to downtown's other main gay-bar destinations, notably Rain and Sellers Underground. All three are notably lively on weekends, and if you arrive after midnight you might have to wait in line to get in - not because they're being pretentious, but because they're literally at capacity! This being a college town, the crowd at all three skews young, but all ages (and genders) are welcome. Most nights don't have a cover charge, but there might be a nominal one if a special event is going on.
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Oilcan Harry’s
211 West 4th Street
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Oilcan's is Austin's oldest gay bar/club, having celebrated its 30th anniversary not too long ago, and is also located on W. 4th St. adjacent to downtown's other main gay-bar destinations, notably Rain and Sellers Underground. All three are notably lively on weekends, and if you arrive after midnight you might have to wait in line to get in - not because they're being pretentious, but because they're literally at capacity! This being a college town, the crowd at all three skews young, but all ages (and genders) are welcome. Most nights don't have a cover charge, but there might be a nominal one if a special event is going on.
Most of Austin's legendary old-school music venues have now gone the way of the do-do, but the Saxon Pub lives on -- and it's one of the best places where you're most likely to see a performance by a true Austin legend. Also, unlike a certain "continental" venue elsewhere in South Austin, the Saxon Pub is much less touristy and attracts a mostly locals crowd. You can check out their list of upcoming performances at thesaxonpub.com.
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Saxon Pub
1320 South Lamar Boulevard
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Most of Austin's legendary old-school music venues have now gone the way of the do-do, but the Saxon Pub lives on -- and it's one of the best places where you're most likely to see a performance by a true Austin legend. Also, unlike a certain "continental" venue elsewhere in South Austin, the Saxon Pub is much less touristy and attracts a mostly locals crowd. You can check out their list of upcoming performances at thesaxonpub.com.

Parks & Nature

Below are just a few of my recommendations for outdoors sights worth seeing. Note that some of them can get quite crowded either on warm (but not too hot) spring & fall days, as well as nearly all weekends between April & November assuming it's not raining.
Barton Springs is an Austin legend: a spring-fed swimming hole that's been a core element of Austin life for the better part of a century. Owing to its spring-fed source, its waters are an even 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, even on the hottest summer days. (Okay, more or less: the temperature actually varies a few degrees depending on a few factors, but it's rarely above 72.) Its gently sloped "shore" has been a popular relaxation spot for generations, and makes for some excellent people-watching.
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Barton Springs Municipal Pool
2131 William Barton Drive
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Barton Springs is an Austin legend: a spring-fed swimming hole that's been a core element of Austin life for the better part of a century. Owing to its spring-fed source, its waters are an even 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, even on the hottest summer days. (Okay, more or less: the temperature actually varies a few degrees depending on a few factors, but it's rarely above 72.) Its gently sloped "shore" has been a popular relaxation spot for generations, and makes for some excellent people-watching.
You don't commonly encounter a heavily wooded hiking trail barely a mile outside of a large downtown area, but that's exactly what you'll find at the Greenbelt. It covers a wide expanse of permanently protected parkland starting near Austin's famed Zilker Park, and from there sprouts in multiple directions. While it gets pretty packed on weekends and during nice weather, you can still usually find a trail with minimal hikers on it. Its three main entry points are Zilker Park, Spyglass Drive across from the original Tacodeli, and off of a neighborhood street called Barton Hills Dr. -- look up the Gus Fruh Boulder to find the entry point. (Pro tip: be sure to bring sunscreen!)
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Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
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You don't commonly encounter a heavily wooded hiking trail barely a mile outside of a large downtown area, but that's exactly what you'll find at the Greenbelt. It covers a wide expanse of permanently protected parkland starting near Austin's famed Zilker Park, and from there sprouts in multiple directions. While it gets pretty packed on weekends and during nice weather, you can still usually find a trail with minimal hikers on it. Its three main entry points are Zilker Park, Spyglass Drive across from the original Tacodeli, and off of a neighborhood street called Barton Hills Dr. -- look up the Gus Fruh Boulder to find the entry point. (Pro tip: be sure to bring sunscreen!)
You'll definitely need a car to get there - it's about 90 miles west of the city - but Enchanted Rock is one of the nicest places in Central Texas to do a day hike, particularly on a good-weather day in the spring or fall. (This being Austin, good-weather days - with temps in the 60s and 70s - aren't uncommon in winter, either.) Weekends and afternoons can get crowded, but it's definitely worth the trip on a nice weekday morning.
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Enchanted Rock
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You'll definitely need a car to get there - it's about 90 miles west of the city - but Enchanted Rock is one of the nicest places in Central Texas to do a day hike, particularly on a good-weather day in the spring or fall. (This being Austin, good-weather days - with temps in the 60s and 70s - aren't uncommon in winter, either.) Weekends and afternoons can get crowded, but it's definitely worth the trip on a nice weekday morning.
Lady Bird Lake – still referred to as Town Lake, its original name, by many locals – is Austin's premier natural attraction, running due south of downtown and separating it from South Austin. Its 10-mile-long hike-and-bike trail circling the lake is open year-round and attracts sizable numbers of locals on warm days. Although motorized watercraft are forbidden on it, you're welcome to rent kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, or stand-up paddleboat to cruise the lake.
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Lac Lady Bird
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Lady Bird Lake – still referred to as Town Lake, its original name, by many locals – is Austin's premier natural attraction, running due south of downtown and separating it from South Austin. Its 10-mile-long hike-and-bike trail circling the lake is open year-round and attracts sizable numbers of locals on warm days. Although motorized watercraft are forbidden on it, you're welcome to rent kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, or stand-up paddleboat to cruise the lake.
The city of Austin has four separate bodies of water that pass through it, the somewhat unusual part being that each is part of the same main body of water: the Colorado River (which, despite its name, has no relation to the much larger Colorado River out west, plus it's wholly located in Texas). All were created between the late 1930s and early 1950s as part of a WPA initiative during the Great Depression: a total of six dams were constructed, to both serve as reservoirs for municipal water-drinking supplies throughout Central Texas and prevent the originally dam-free Colorado River from flooding downtown Austin, which occurred multiple times following Austin's founding with significant damage each time. Lake Travis serves as Austin's main municipal water reservoir, and it's also extremely popular during the summertime months for watercraft of all types. Its depth can vary considerably depending on the amounts of rainfall received throughout the region, and during periods of drought its water level could be 60 feet or more less than normal. (Note that low lake levels can make normally invisible sandbars and the like hazardous for watercraft.) Rentals of all types of watercraft – everything from ski boats & jet skis to sailboats and pontoon boats – are available except at times when the water levels are exceptionally low; please feel free to ask for recommendations of where you can rent them. Regardless of water level, the Oasis Restaurant – located off of RM 620 on the lake's south shore – is admittedly touristy, but also one of the best locations in the state to watch the sunset. Although it's quite large, it can get quite crowded during peak season (March to October), and if you wish to visit, I'd advise getting there at least 90 minutes prior to sunset (and preferably earlier if possible).
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Lac Travis
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The city of Austin has four separate bodies of water that pass through it, the somewhat unusual part being that each is part of the same main body of water: the Colorado River (which, despite its name, has no relation to the much larger Colorado River out west, plus it's wholly located in Texas). All were created between the late 1930s and early 1950s as part of a WPA initiative during the Great Depression: a total of six dams were constructed, to both serve as reservoirs for municipal water-drinking supplies throughout Central Texas and prevent the originally dam-free Colorado River from flooding downtown Austin, which occurred multiple times following Austin's founding with significant damage each time. Lake Travis serves as Austin's main municipal water reservoir, and it's also extremely popular during the summertime months for watercraft of all types. Its depth can vary considerably depending on the amounts of rainfall received throughout the region, and during periods of drought its water level could be 60 feet or more less than normal. (Note that low lake levels can make normally invisible sandbars and the like hazardous for watercraft.) Rentals of all types of watercraft – everything from ski boats & jet skis to sailboats and pontoon boats – are available except at times when the water levels are exceptionally low; please feel free to ask for recommendations of where you can rent them. Regardless of water level, the Oasis Restaurant – located off of RM 620 on the lake's south shore – is admittedly touristy, but also one of the best locations in the state to watch the sunset. Although it's quite large, it can get quite crowded during peak season (March to October), and if you wish to visit, I'd advise getting there at least 90 minutes prior to sunset (and preferably earlier if possible).
Lake Austin is the body of water located between Lake Travis and Lady Bird Lake: Mansfield Dam at its western end separates it from the former, and Tom Miller Dam does so at its opposite end, a few miles west of downtown. In some ways it combines the best features of each of those lakes: like Lake Travis, almost all types of watercraft can be used on it (and rentals are available for it as well), but like Lady Bird Lake it's kept at roughly the same water level year-round. Lake Austin is also surrounded by most of Austin's most exclusive neighborhoods, where celebrities ranging from Matthew McConaughey to Emma Stone and even Elon Musk live either part- or full-time.
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Lac Austin
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Lake Austin is the body of water located between Lake Travis and Lady Bird Lake: Mansfield Dam at its western end separates it from the former, and Tom Miller Dam does so at its opposite end, a few miles west of downtown. In some ways it combines the best features of each of those lakes: like Lake Travis, almost all types of watercraft can be used on it (and rentals are available for it as well), but like Lady Bird Lake it's kept at roughly the same water level year-round. Lake Austin is also surrounded by most of Austin's most exclusive neighborhoods, where celebrities ranging from Matthew McConaughey to Emma Stone and even Elon Musk live either part- or full-time.

Arts & Culture

The Blanton – located on the south end of the University of Texas campus – is the best museum in town, and also houses one of the biggest collections of Latin American art in the *world*. It features a wide variety of special exhibitions, along with a wide variety of artworks from periods, including Modern & Contemporary; see what's currently on show at blantonmuseum.org.
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Musée d'Art Blanton
200 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
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The Blanton – located on the south end of the University of Texas campus – is the best museum in town, and also houses one of the biggest collections of Latin American art in the *world*. It features a wide variety of special exhibitions, along with a wide variety of artworks from periods, including Modern & Contemporary; see what's currently on show at blantonmuseum.org.
The Paramount is a downtown landmark, and plays host to everything from concerts to plays to a slate of classic films each summer. These days it's also commonly used for film premieres in conjunction with festivals such as SXSW and the Austin Film Festival. It's been fully restored to its 100-year-old glory, and you can see what's going on there performance-wise at austintheatre.org.
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Paramount Theatre
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The Paramount is a downtown landmark, and plays host to everything from concerts to plays to a slate of classic films each summer. These days it's also commonly used for film premieres in conjunction with festivals such as SXSW and the Austin Film Festival. It's been fully restored to its 100-year-old glory, and you can see what's going on there performance-wise at austintheatre.org.
The Moody Center is Austin's newest sports and entertainment venue; it made its debut during SXSW 2022 and has quickly evolved into one of the most popular venues for touring acts. Its first six months of performers includes everyone from Harry Styles, Lizzo & Olivia Rodrigo to The Who, Bon Jovi & the Dave Matthews Band. Although most shows sell out many months in advance, you can usually find extra tickets for sale on sites like StubHub (usually for a premium) to Craigslist (where you may be able to find tickets available at face value).
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Moody Center
2001 Robert Dedman Drive
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The Moody Center is Austin's newest sports and entertainment venue; it made its debut during SXSW 2022 and has quickly evolved into one of the most popular venues for touring acts. Its first six months of performers includes everyone from Harry Styles, Lizzo & Olivia Rodrigo to The Who, Bon Jovi & the Dave Matthews Band. Although most shows sell out many months in advance, you can usually find extra tickets for sale on sites like StubHub (usually for a premium) to Craigslist (where you may be able to find tickets available at face value).
ZACH's history dates back over 90 years, and to this day it's Austin's preeminent not-for-profit theater, with small and mid-sized venues on its campus (about a half-mile north of the complex). Its programming varies depending on the season, but includes everything from reduced productions of well-known plays and musicals (including "Into the Woods" and "A Streetcar Named Desire") along with annual favorites like "The Santaland Diaries" as well as a focus on shows originally crafted by Texans.
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ZACH Theatre
202 South Lamar Boulevard
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ZACH's history dates back over 90 years, and to this day it's Austin's preeminent not-for-profit theater, with small and mid-sized venues on its campus (about a half-mile north of the complex). Its programming varies depending on the season, but includes everything from reduced productions of well-known plays and musicals (including "Into the Woods" and "A Streetcar Named Desire") along with annual favorites like "The Santaland Diaries" as well as a focus on shows originally crafted by Texans.
The Long Center – part of a retrofitted arts center that reopened in 2008 following a nine-figure revamp – is the permanent home of several of Austin's premier arts groups: the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, and Ballet Austin. It also hosts a diverse array of musicians and speakers; check their website to see what's showing during your stay.
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The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
85 recommandé par les habitants
The Long Center – part of a retrofitted arts center that reopened in 2008 following a nine-figure revamp – is the permanent home of several of Austin's premier arts groups: the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, and Ballet Austin. It also hosts a diverse array of musicians and speakers; check their website to see what's showing during your stay.

Shopping

South Congress has one of the most eclectic varieties of retail shops around, nearly all of which are locally owned and operated. You'll find everything from art galleries to high-end designer boutiques to old-time candy stores along its main stretch, situated roughly between Academy Dr. to the north and Mary St. to the south. Each month it hosts First Thursdays, held exactly when you'd expect (the first Thursday of each month), where the entire street is blocked off to traffic and hundreds of merchants set up booths selling all types of goods.
375 recommandé par les habitants
South Congress
375 recommandé par les habitants
South Congress has one of the most eclectic varieties of retail shops around, nearly all of which are locally owned and operated. You'll find everything from art galleries to high-end designer boutiques to old-time candy stores along its main stretch, situated roughly between Academy Dr. to the north and Mary St. to the south. Each month it hosts First Thursdays, held exactly when you'd expect (the first Thursday of each month), where the entire street is blocked off to traffic and hundreds of merchants set up booths selling all types of goods.
You've probably heard of Whole Foods, now that it's become an international chain, but did you know it was founded right here in Austin? Its flagship store on the western end of downtown is a must-see; it's the largest Whole Foods in the world, and also hosts over a dozen "dining stations" where you can order meals of all types and eat them right then and there. In addition to the usual staples found at all Whole Foods stores, the flagship has a walk-through "beer fridge" featuring hundreds of craft beers -- including a huge number produced by independent brewers right here in Texas -- as well as its own mochi (ice cream) bar.
466 recommandé par les habitants
Whole Foods Market
525 North Lamar Boulevard
466 recommandé par les habitants
You've probably heard of Whole Foods, now that it's become an international chain, but did you know it was founded right here in Austin? Its flagship store on the western end of downtown is a must-see; it's the largest Whole Foods in the world, and also hosts over a dozen "dining stations" where you can order meals of all types and eat them right then and there. In addition to the usual staples found at all Whole Foods stores, the flagship has a walk-through "beer fridge" featuring hundreds of craft beers -- including a huge number produced by independent brewers right here in Texas -- as well as its own mochi (ice cream) bar.
Austin's a pretty casual city on whole -- you can still walk into even its nicest restaurants wearing shorts, with little notice -- but it also houses one of the best designer-clothing boutiques in the country. By George has an *extremely* well-curated selection of clothes for both women and men (though note that the N. Lamar location is the only one with the latter) that wouldn't look the least bit out of place at the heady likes of Barneys -- with the price tags to match. (Pro tip: you can snap up some excellent buys at its clearance sales every January / February and July / August, with prices reduced by as much as 75 percent.)
19 recommandé par les habitants
ByGeorge
524 North Lamar Boulevard
19 recommandé par les habitants
Austin's a pretty casual city on whole -- you can still walk into even its nicest restaurants wearing shorts, with little notice -- but it also houses one of the best designer-clothing boutiques in the country. By George has an *extremely* well-curated selection of clothes for both women and men (though note that the N. Lamar location is the only one with the latter) that wouldn't look the least bit out of place at the heady likes of Barneys -- with the price tags to match. (Pro tip: you can snap up some excellent buys at its clearance sales every January / February and July / August, with prices reduced by as much as 75 percent.)
The Domain is Austin's premier shopping area, with retailers ranging from Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton to Nordstrom and Neiman-Marcus. (Note that it's split into two section: Domain and Domain Northside.) It's in an outdoor live / work / play setting, and the Domain also includes 30+ restaurants and bars, a half-dozen hotels, thousands of apartments, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space. It's located near the northern edge of the city, and is most easily accessed if you'll have a car with you during your stay.
397 recommandé par les habitants
The Domain
11410 Century Oaks Terrace
397 recommandé par les habitants
The Domain is Austin's premier shopping area, with retailers ranging from Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton to Nordstrom and Neiman-Marcus. (Note that it's split into two section: Domain and Domain Northside.) It's in an outdoor live / work / play setting, and the Domain also includes 30+ restaurants and bars, a half-dozen hotels, thousands of apartments, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space. It's located near the northern edge of the city, and is most easily accessed if you'll have a car with you during your stay.

Essentials

South Austin has a paucity of grocery stores, but aside from Whole Foods downtown, Central Market is your best bet. It's an offshoot of H-E-B, the dominant grocery store chain in most of Texas, but with a decidedly more upscale flavor, roughly halfway between H-E-B and Whole Foods. Much like the latter, it features a wide variety of gourmet and ready-made foods, along with a huge beer and wine selection. Much like the former, its staples are available at unbeatable prices. (Pro tip: the Central Market Cafe is a great, reasonably priced casual dining option, and it features live music most evenings.)
192 recommandé par les habitants
Central Market
4477 West Gate Boulevard
192 recommandé par les habitants
South Austin has a paucity of grocery stores, but aside from Whole Foods downtown, Central Market is your best bet. It's an offshoot of H-E-B, the dominant grocery store chain in most of Texas, but with a decidedly more upscale flavor, roughly halfway between H-E-B and Whole Foods. Much like the latter, it features a wide variety of gourmet and ready-made foods, along with a huge beer and wine selection. Much like the former, its staples are available at unbeatable prices. (Pro tip: the Central Market Cafe is a great, reasonably priced casual dining option, and it features live music most evenings.)
While there's nothing particularly unique about this Target location, it's the closest place to find the basics -- soap, cosmetics, medicine, etc. -- at reasonable prices. (Note that Central Market doesn't carry items like Coke or Kleenex.)
28 recommandé par les habitants
Target
2300 West Ben White Boulevard
28 recommandé par les habitants
While there's nothing particularly unique about this Target location, it's the closest place to find the basics -- soap, cosmetics, medicine, etc. -- at reasonable prices. (Note that Central Market doesn't carry items like Coke or Kleenex.)

Entertainment & Activities

It's really not an exaggeration to state that the Drafthouse set a new standard for the moviegoing experience. When its first cinema opened 20 years ago, it was one of the only ones in the country -- if not *the* only one -- to offer a full food-and-beverage menu, including beer, available at one's seat in the theater. While their flagship location downtown -- housed in the classic Ritz moviehouse -- is the best, this location is a 90-second walk. :-) These days you can also select seats in advance and buy mixed drinks and wine in addition to beer. (Pro tip: Do NOT talk to your seatmates or use your cell phone during the movie! This infamous video clip explains why: https://goo.gl/BfA1jv)
446 recommandé par les habitants
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar
1120 South Lamar Boulevard
446 recommandé par les habitants
It's really not an exaggeration to state that the Drafthouse set a new standard for the moviegoing experience. When its first cinema opened 20 years ago, it was one of the only ones in the country -- if not *the* only one -- to offer a full food-and-beverage menu, including beer, available at one's seat in the theater. While their flagship location downtown -- housed in the classic Ritz moviehouse -- is the best, this location is a 90-second walk. :-) These days you can also select seats in advance and buy mixed drinks and wine in addition to beer. (Pro tip: Do NOT talk to your seatmates or use your cell phone during the movie! This infamous video clip explains why: https://goo.gl/BfA1jv)

Getting Around

If you make it into town without renting a car at the airport, but then realize you *really* need a full-fledged rental car for some reason, Enterprise is your best bet. The S. Lamar location is less than a mile from my apartment, and like most off-airport locales, they offer substantially discounted rates on weekends. (Note: Their hours of operation vary on weekends.)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
319 S Lamar Blvd
If you make it into town without renting a car at the airport, but then realize you *really* need a full-fledged rental car for some reason, Enterprise is your best bet. The S. Lamar location is less than a mile from my apartment, and like most off-airport locales, they offer substantially discounted rates on weekends. (Note: Their hours of operation vary on weekends.)
Capital Metro (usually referred to as "CapMetro") has both northbound and southbound stops just south of my apartment complex on S. Lamar. Standard one-way fares are $1.25, or you can buy a 24-hour pass for $2.50 -- and you can buy both from any bus driver, or you can purchase them online and "pay" with your smartphone. You can access route maps and other info at capmetro.org.
Lamar Square Station (NB)
Capital Metro (usually referred to as "CapMetro") has both northbound and southbound stops just south of my apartment complex on S. Lamar. Standard one-way fares are $1.25, or you can buy a 24-hour pass for $2.50 -- and you can buy both from any bus driver, or you can purchase them online and "pay" with your smartphone. You can access route maps and other info at capmetro.org.