Austin, Texas

Local Details

Learn more about Austin, Texas using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Austin, Texas so great!

Current Temperature

  • 81.6°F
  • 27.6°C

City Guide

Austin is a city of over 690,000 in the Hill Country region of the American state of Texas. It's the capital of Texas, and also a center of alternative culture away from the major cities on the American coasts. Austin's attitude is commonly emblazoned about town on T-Shirts and bumper stickers that read: "Keep Austin Weird." Austin is also marketed as the "Live Music Capital of the World" due to the large number of venues.


  • Austin Convention & Visitor's Bureau, 301 Congress Avenue, Ste. 200, +1-866 GO-AUSTIN, Daily 9AM-6PM.


Pick up an Austin Chronicle newspaper first thing. These are freely available all over town, including the information desk across from baggage claim at the airport. It will be your guide to everything that's going on in Austin from festivals (Spam Festival, Chili Festival, et al.) to music, theater and food; it's all in there. New issues are out every Thursday.

  • Austin American-Statesman - The major paper; news that everyone else prints.
  • Austin Chronicle - The alternative weekly; all the news that's fit to print, reflects the true vibe of Austin.
  • Daily Texan - The student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin.
  • The Onion - recently opened print edition office in Austin, already quite popular as a local paper.


  • Downtown
  • East Austin
  • South Austin
  • Travis Heights - bordered by I-35 to the east, Oltorf Street to the south, Congress Avenue to the west and East Riverside Drive to the north.
  • UT & The Drag
  • Tarrytown
  • Hyde Park - bordered by Duval Street to the east, 38th Street to the south, Guadalupe to the west and 45th Street to the north.
  • North Loop
  • Riverside
  • Oak Hill

Get in

By plane

Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ICAO: AUS). 6 miles (10km) southeast of the city center, it is served by most major carriers, with non-stop service to 34 destinations. There are a selection of buses, taxis, shuttles and car rentals to get you into town and back. Chauffeured sedans or limos are also available to pick you up or drop you off at the airport but normally require advance reservations. Taxi fare to downtown Austin is approximately $30.

By train

Austin Amtrak station, 250 North Lamar Blvd., Served by the Texas Eagle Line with service from Chicago to San Antonio.

By car

Austin is located on several major freeways. From San Antonio, head north on IH-35, about two hours. From Dallas, head south on IH-35, about three hours. From Houston, head west on US-290, about three hours.

By bus

  • Greyhound Bus Line, (station is on IH-35 near Highland Mall), +1 800-231-2222. Serves Austin daily. Schedules may change. Passengers can catch the number 7 bus to downtown from there.

Get around

On foot

By bike

Austin is hilly to the west but generally mildly sloping toward the river in the center of town. There are bike lanes on some major streets. Biking is a great way to get around year round and the weather is usually agreeable.

  • Yellow Bike Project, Phone: 512-457-9880. Operates two community bike shops where individuals can go and repair their own bikes free of charge. Coordinators are present to answer any questions and guide you, but not to fix your bike for you. At the Main Shop on 51st street there are 10+ work stands and tools sets available for use. The Satellite Shop is better for minor repairs and only has as a few work stands. If you are looking for a cheap bike while in town and are willing to do a little maintenance work, visit The Yellow Bike Project and pick out a bike that needs a little love in exchange for a small donation. If you are interested getting away from touristy attractions on your visit the Yellow Bike shop is a great place to drop in and volunteer a few hours. Their hours change monthly but are up-to-date on their website. If you are lucky you might see one of the name-sake Yellow Bikes around town. If you see a Yellow Bike, feel free to ride it to your destination and leave it for the next person. Yellow Bikes are not to be locked up and you ride at your own risk. The Austin Yellow Bike Project has been operating for ten years and has released over 600 yellow bikes.
  • Bicycle Sports Shop - Bike Rentals, Phone: 512-477-3472. The Bicycle Sports Shop is located Downtown and offers the largest selection of bike rentals in the city.

By bus

Capital Metro, The city's public bus network with a solid system of inexpensive neighborhood express and downtown routes. Busses cost 50c per trip, or you can get a 24 hour pass for $1. CapMetro also runs several free trolley-style buses around downtown, known as 'Dillos (short for Armadillo Express). "E-Bus" and "Night Owl" services serve the city's entertainment districts after hours. The Capital Metro website has a trip planner which can be used to find public transport options between two points in Austin.

By car

Driving is not too difficult, if you're used to living in a large city. Traffic is bad from 7-9 am and 4-6 pm Monday through Fridays, though I-35 through town can be jammed at other times as well

There are two major north-south expressways: I-35 and Loop 1 (also called the Mo-Pac Freeway for former owner of the railroad which runs along it, Missouri-Pacific - or "Slo-Pac" for anyone who has experienced it at rush hour). There is only one true major east-west freeway in Austin located south of the city center, known as Ben White or US 290 West/Texas highway 71. The freeway section of 290 West/Ben White currently runs from I-35 to just east of Oak Hill. Freeway extensions are currently being constructed east on 71 to the airport, and the beginning stages of construction are taking place west towards and past Oak Hill.

Oak Hill is the point at which 71 and 290 split apart and go in separate directions, and in case this isn't confusing enough, some people make the distinction between 290 West and 290 East because at I-35 290 East actually heads up the interstate, and then continues on to the east in North Austin. There is a second freeway that runs from the Northwest side of the city down to the Southeast side of the city past the airport. This freeway is called US 183, and in North Austin it may also be referred to as Research Blvd. Most of it is freeway now, however there are still several major intersections which are currently being constructed and turned into freeway.

I-35 has no loop that circumnavigates the city, so watch out for aggressive, confused drivers. Also, keep your eyes open for the upper deck/lower deck split between Airport Blvd and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd; it's confusing, and accidents occur there frequently. Drivers going through Austin without stopping, or those who wish to avoid the chaos of the lower deck, should use the right two lanes as the deck split approaches, in contrast to other cities where through traffic uses the left lane. On the northbound side, traffic entering I-35 at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd goes directly to the upper deck.

Out-of-towners be warned: on-ramps on I-35, especially the lower deck, are very short.

Austin has a mostly completed network of toll roads, see Central Texas Turnpike System and Central Texas Regional Mobile Authority. These include SH 130, an Austin bypass east of town; SH 45, an east-west artery in North Austin; the North MoPac extension; the US 183A bypass of Cedar Park and Leander; and SH 45SE in far south Austin. TxTag accounts are available for commuters. There has been significant opposition and accommodations have been made in some areas, see Austin Toll Party. Both 183A and MoPac are rather deceptive - if you keep going north on either 183 or MoPac, the freeway seamlessly transitions into a toll road and the signing is rather poor. To avoid the toll, you must keep a sharp eye out and get off the main lanes. Even worse, the first toll on 183A is "TxTag Only" meaning that you cannot pay cash.

Parts of the city are subject to flooding at times during the year, however it is not too common as Austin does not usually get an excessive amount of rain. 2007 has seen several flood episodes with the worst effects in Marble Falls, northwest of the city. See City of Austin Flood History for historic flooding.

Note: For those of you unfamiliar with proper treatment of flooded areas, NEVER drive through flooded low water crossings. You will lose your car and possibly your life. As little as one foot of running water can and does wash a car away and each year there are some deaths due to this. "Turn Around, Don't Drown."


While driving is not too bad, parking in the city center can be difficult; look for municipal parking garages as officers will ticket you in the blink of an eye. (Check meters, though, because many are free in the evenings, on weekends, and on major holidays.) Worse yet, vehicles illegally parked in private parking areas are very quickly towed, so make sure that you don't park in spots marked no parking. see

Parking is free in the Texas State History Museum garage near UT after hours and on weekends. As of 2005 under SB 1533, state employees may park in state garages during non-business hours for free.

By taxi

There are several cab companies on call if you'd prefer to avoid the driving hassle.

  • Yellow Cab, Phone: 512-452-9999. website includes fare estimator and online booking:
  • Marriton Limousine, Phone: 512-329-7007, Toll free: 1-800-940-7007, For airport transfers or those who just demand a bit more luxury you can rent a chauffeured sedan, limousine or minibus.


  • University of Texas at Austin, is a beautiful stroll. While there you might want to visit the Blanton Art Museum, The Harry Ransom Center, or Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History. The famous tower has reopened and is worth a look for the breathtaking views and history lesson. It is a tour though so you need to make reservations. The theater and music departments are both well regarded and have performances throughout the school year. If you visit during football season, you can see the 2005 National Champion Texas Longhorn football team play at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
  • LBJ Presidential Library, always seems to have something interesting on display. They change their exhibits fairly frequently.
  • The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum,M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM. A very good survey of Texas History and Culture. As with most newer museums it suffers quite a bit in that it seems to have traded depth for lots of multimedia displays and an IMAX theater. What is there, however, is quite well done. Access to the museum and both theaters: $13.50/10.50/8.50/6.50 (General/Seniors 65+/Children 5-18/Children 3-4).
  • The Texas State Capitol, is worth peeking into. It's free and open seven days a week.
  • Austin Bats. Yes, that's right, bats. Austin's Congress Avenue bridge is home to the largest Mexican free-tailed bat colony in North America (1.5 million). The bats are generally active at dusk every evening between March and November.



  • South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. MARCH. Beginning before and overlapping the SXSW Music Festival. SXSW Film is a significant industry conference, but also hosts many film showings.
  • South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. MARCH. One of the biggest music festival in the United States, with more than 1,400 performers playing dozens of venues around Austin for four days. The wrist bands are loved by college students here, but be warned that you'll be turned away at the door at many of the venues even with one. You can still get into some of the larger venues without a wristband if you'd simply like to sample a band or two and check out the atmosphere; you can usually pick one "official" venue where you think you'll like all the bands, and then go early and pay the cover. Hardcore music fans usually make a week long calendar and plan to arrive at different venues for different acts.
  • Zilker Park Kite Festival, Phone: 512-448-KITE. The oldest continuous kite festival in the USA. MARCH. Hundreds of kites will dance in the sky the first Sunday in March (10 am to 5 pm) Admission is FREE. Everyone is welcome whether they fly a kite or just enjoy the spectacle that must be seen to be believed. Kite flying demonstrations will be held all day and delicious food of all kinds will be prepared fresh at the event. See kite ballet, kite battles, kite buggies and giant kites over 50 feet long. Come compete in both youth and adult kite contests with your homemade kite. Trophies are awarded to the winners. Proceeds from vendor sales go to break the cycle of child abuse. Free parking and shuttles. Come on down to Zilker Park and enjoy “Kite Day”. Zilker Park is located in Austin at 2200 Barton Springs Road. Rain date is the following Sunday.
  • SPAMARAMA™ is a fun and irreverent homage to Spam™. APRIL. It includes a Cookoff, the SPAMALYMPICS™ (Contests, some athletic, some not), SPAMJAM® (Music), Arts/Crafts/Food booths and a Kid's Area. SPAMARAMA™ benefits the Disability Assistance of Central Texas, Inc. It was founded in 1976.
  • Eeyore's Birthday Party. APRIL. Held on the last Saturday of every April to ring in spring, there are few things that seem so "Austin" as Eeyore's Birthday Party. It is a unique event: a free-form hang-out of several thousand people... sitting, walking, playing music, beating drums, eating, drinking beer, playing games. Be yourself... there are families, dogs, tattoos, costumes, hotties, hippies, gay, straight, black, white, brown, red, tan.... and a statue of Eeyore dressed like the Statue of Liberty. The drum circle is massive and the beat vibrates throughout the central city. It ends when the sun goes down and everyone leaves peacefully.
  • Old Pecan Street Festival. MAY & OCTOBER. East Sixth Street (formerly Pecan Street) from Congress to IH-35 and adjacent streets are closed to traffic to host over 240 Arts, Crafts and other vendors. Several music stages offer live music.
  • Austin City Limits Festival. SEPTEMBER. An annual three day outdoor music festival. It brings together more than 130 bands on eight stages, including rock, country, folk, indie, Americana, hip-hop, reggae, and bluegrass, and attracts a crowd of about 65,000 music-lovers each day. A great mix of big names as well as local acts, but be prepared to deal with the heat.
  • Texas Book Festival has reached national prominence, in part due to support from Honorary Chairperson Laura Bush. OCTOBER.
  • Austin Film Festival. OCTOBER. Conference and film showings.


  •, 512-329-7007 ( Offers half and full day tours of the nearby Texas Wine country. Rent a chauffeured sedan, limo or minibus, generally departing between 10AM and noon daily. $50-$1500.
  • Austin Ghost Tours, 512-853-9826, Offers several guided walking tours of downtown haunts ~$15.
  • Independence Brewery Tour, 3913 Todd Lane #607, 512-707-0099 (,1-3 PM, first Saturday of the month. Austin's local microbrewery, if you're in town on a tour day they are worth the time to see (and sample).


Austin is a great city for theater, especially if you like new works.

Theater Companies

  • Rude Mechanicals or Rude Mechs, Original pieces are always engaging. Their production values are over the top (10 foot tesla coils on stage), and always make you interested to be watching theater. They did Lipstick Traces, which I loved. Also loved Get Your War On. They tour, so look for them.
  • Pro Arts Collective, They do everything: theatre, dance, hip-hop, musicals, festivals and more.
  • Teatro Vivo, Dedicated to producing quality bilingual theatre. Reflects the heart and soul of the Latino reality.
  • Salvage Vanguard, Original musical pieces in conjunction with the Golden Arm Trio's Graham Reynolds are not to be missed.
  • Different Stages, One of Austin's oldest rep. companies.
  • Refraction Arts, They dabble in multiple mediums. Always interesting.
  • the dirigo group, These critical darlings do original and established work.
  • Bedlam Faction, The typical Bedlam fare is nervy, physical productions of lesser known early-modern playwrights. They occasionally do new, local works.
  • Naughty Austin, Started out dedicated to gay-themed scripts, but they've been branching out lately.
  • Loaded Gun Theory, Original pieces.
  • Yellow Tape Construction Co, New work in theatre, dance, music, and many different combinations of the three.


  • The State and Paramount Theaters feature a wide variety of plays and acts, from Broadway touring shows to Chinese acrobats to plays and unique dance companies. Note that the State Theater is closed for most of the 2006-2007 season due to flooding. Performances not canceled will take place in the Paramount Theater.
  • Go to Esther's Follies for an entertaining Saturday Live-like comedy skits on Thursday-Saturday. Located in the 6th street entertainment district it's a great way to start an evening. Reservations recommended.
  • The Off Center, Managed by Rude Mechs and home to some of Austin's best theatre, music and dance: Deborah Hay Dance Company, Physical Plant Theatre, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, The Golden Hornet Project.
  • The Hideout, Managed by The Austin Improv Collective. You can always find improv comedy there.
  • The ColdTowne Theater, Plenty of comedy, ranging from stand-up to sketch and improv.
  • Zach Scott, Dave Steakley is artistic director. If you are looking for solid musical theatre, this is your venue. They also have a lock on Xmas plays.
  • The Blue Theater, Managed by Refraction Arts and featuring theatre, music, film and dance.
  • The Vortex, Bonnie Cullum is artistic director. Original musicals and operas and plays. Some of the most delightfully weird stuff you'll see.
  • Sam Bass Community Theater
  • Arts on Real
  • The Gas Light Theater


Austin is known as the "Live Music Capital of the World". If you're into the bar and club scene, head to Sixth Street during the later hours for a wide selection of venues, many of which also feature live music. A note of interest regarding Austin clubs and bars: a new smoking ban prohibits smoking in any public building, including these establishments.

  • The Cactus Café, 2247 Guadalupe (at 24th St.), +1 512-475-6515 (,M-Th 11AM-Midnight, F 11AM-2AM, Sa 8PM-2AM (hours may vary during school breaks). A great place to hear many local artists. Much of the music that is played there seems to be singer-songwriter. It's musically akin to Austin City Limits and unlike Austin City Limits you can probably actually get in to the Cactus Café.
  • Austin City Limits (, The venerable PBS show is filmed in the basement of the University of Texas' Radio Television and Film department.
  • Stubb's BBQ, 801 Red River, +1 512-482-8422, This BBQ restaurant has some of the best selection of live music in Austin, thanks to Charles Attal, one of the owners, who is recognized nationally for his music booking business.
  • Antone's, 213 West 5th, +1 512-320-8424, An Austin original that has survived despite many hardships. Considered by USA Today to be one of the best Blues clubs in the nation, Antone's continues to be a launching pad for dozens of new artists each year.
  • The Saxon Pub, 1320 South Lamar, +1 512-448-2552, M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su Noon-2AM. An awesome live music venue. The Saxon hosts live music throughout the week and even has a "no cover" happy hour until 7pm. Look for the giant knight and neon guitar.
  • Reed's Jazz and Supper Club, 9901 Capitol (off Texas Highway on the south corner of the building next to REI), +1 512-342-7977 (, fax: +1 512-372-8029), Located in North Austin Reed's has live Jazz virtually every night. The happy hour crowd is usually a bit yuppie, but the music is worth it.
  • Emo's, 603 Red River St (just off 6th St.), +1 512-477-3667, A great venue for live music. Two stages, inside and outside, showcase indie rock and other interesting performances.


  • Austin Film Festival. See information under Festival heading.
  • SXSW Film Festival. See information under Festival heading.
  • Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, takes place in April, presenting the best in Latino and Indigenous cinema. The Festival presents approximately 100 films with screenings in theaters throughout Austin.
  • The Alamo Drafthouse, Four locations. A movie theater will full restaurant service. Downtown always has an eclectic array of cult and foreign films and a good beer and food menu. They also have a dizzying number of specialty shows and film festivals. Their other locations show first run movies with the same excellent food menu.
  • Arbor 7 Cinema, 9828 Great Hills Trail in the Arboretum area, Even though it is owned and operated by mainstream Regal Cinemas, the Arbor 7 shows art and foreign films.
  • IMAX® Theatre, at Bob Bullock Texas State Historical Museum, Huge screen, 400 seats, with 2-D and 3-D capability.
  • Dobie Theater. Adjacent to the University of Texas, The Dobie plays both mainstream and not-so-mainstream films.

Enjoying the Outdoors

  • Zilker Park, Undoubtedly Austin's favorite park. Amazing location on the banks of Town Lake with several miles of hiking and biking trails.
  • Barton Springs Pool, is one of Austin's most unique (and a refreshing 68 degrees year-round!) attractions: a beautiful spring-fed pool over 3 times longer than a football field, nestled in the heart of the city at Zilker Park. $3 entrance fee for the whole day. If you are short of cash or have a dog, head downstream just on the other side of the fence and find more clear beautiful water.
  • Town Lake Boat Rental Rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city.
    • Austin Rowing Dock, 2418 Stratford Drive (512) 459-0999, From $10 to $25/hr.
    • Zilker Park boat rentals, (512) 478-3852. In the park, $10/hr, $40 per day.
  • Tubing the San Marcos River 170 Bobcat Dr. San Marcos, (512) 396-5466, 25 miles south of town on I-35. There is no more quintessentially Central Texan thing than enjoying a summer afternoon lazily floating down the river. The Lion's club of San Marcos rents tubes at around $4/person or canoes at $10/each. They take you to the river and pick you up.
  • McKinney Falls State Park, A 744 acre state park located in southeast Austin is rich in local history.
  • Town Lake Hike & Bike trail. A big loop around Town Lake, beautiful scenery while getting a good workout. Recent beautification has cleaned up parts, and is making it nicer for all. Runs alongside Zilker park. A good place for biking, running, walking, or taking the dog out for a nice run. Relatively easy hike.
  • Other parks in and around Austin. There are numerous parks all over the city and in the surrounding suburbs that are very popular with the residents of Austin. A significant number of these parks are pet friendly. AustinExplorer is a popular website to learn more about local parks and trails. and
  • Mt. Bonnell, 3800 Mt. Bonnell Dr. (west of Mopac on 2222, left on Mt. Bonnell Rd.). The third-highest point in Austin city limits at 780 feet. Several trails make for pleasant short hikes and points to experience incredible views of Town Lake and the city. The area has a history of romance and is sometimes called Antoinette's Leap, after a woman who supposedly leapt to her death to escape Indians who killed her lover.

Spectator Sports

  • University of Texas Longhorns, Austin is a university town and Texas sports are taken very seriously. Home of the 2005-06 National Football Champions. UT also has strong basketball and baseball teams, in particular.
  • Professional Sports. Among the professional sports teams in Austin are the Austin Ice Bats of the Central Hockey League, the Austin Wranglers of the Arena Football League, and the Austin Toros of the National Basketball Development League. The Round Rock Express, affiliated with the Houston Astros, are located in nearby Round Rock, Texas and play Triple-A baseball in the Pacific Coast League.


The Austin Steam Train Association, runs several tours aboard the Hill Country Flyer steam train into and around Texas Hill Country. The train makes short half hour jaunts as well as a 30 mile (50km) circuit on weekends March through December. The Steam Train Association does actually own a live steam train, but it has been out of commission since about 2000. The train still runs though, just using a borrowed diesel engine. Still nice, but not as cool as it used to be.


Austin is one of the premier educational areas in the nation. The University of Texas at Austin is one of the best universities in the world, public or private. The flagship institution of the University of Texas System, it is also one of the largest universities in the world, both in terms of endowment, and in terms of student population. UT has been the largest university in the United States, but has intentionally limited enrollment and now ranks in the top five nationally. The red-tiled roofs of the "Forty Acres," as it is known, shelter many cultural and entertainment institutions. The campus is beautiful and vibrant, and visitors are welcome.

Austin is a college town as well as a government and high-tech center. It draws its population from all over, and many students decide to stay. This gives Austin a high level of general education and a diverse cultural scene.

  • Austin Community College
  • Concordia University at Austin
  • Huston-Tillotson College
  • St. Edwards University
  • University of Texas


Austin is very proud of its local stores. Great places to shop are South Congress (SoCo), The Drag, (Guadalupe, from 17th to 38th, along the West side of the UT campus) and South First. North Loop also has a few fun and funky shops, but you'll probably have to ask a local (or several) how to get there.


  • Barton Creek Mall southwest of town.
  • Lakeline Mall northwest of town.
  • Highland Mall north of downtown.
  • Round Rock Premium Outlets opened in August, 2006 and features upscale outlet shopping in an outdoor courtyard style center. Just north of RM 1431 at I-35 in North Round Rock. 125 stores. IKEA Home furnishings will open nearby in November 2006.
  • Prime Outlets San Marcos and adjacent Tanger Factory Outlets combine for over 200 stores and is worth the trip south from Austin.
  • The Domain and The Shops at Arbor Walk at Braker and MoPac. The Domain hosts Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's and Macy's.

There is a plethora of large retail box stores to the north and south of town (Target, Best Buy, etc.), but of particular note are the Apple Store located in Barton Creek Mall and the Crate and Barrel at Gateway Center.


Austin is home of the original and the world headquarters of Whole Foods. Their flagship store is located downtown at W. 6th St. and Lamar, in the same building as their brand-new corporate headquarters. They have several other stores around town as well. The flagship store is a destination in and of itself.

Austin is also home to the original Central Market, near Lamar and 38th St., and a second location at Lamar and Westgate, down south.

Both Whole Foods and Central Market have a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, wines, beer, cheese, free-range meats, and seafood. The Whole Foods flagship store downtown also has a varied selection of gelato. Biggest Whole Foods in its chain. Spirits live music at night, a ice rink on top, and much much more.

Wheatsville Grocery 3101 Guadalupe, Austin TX 78705, Open Daily 9am-11pm. Wheatsville is now a thriving Co-op grocery and has been around for over 30 years. Their focus on food issues guaranteed an excellent selection of ethical produced products including organics, vegetarian, vegan, free range meats and eggs, fair trade, household items, bulk foods and a full service deli. The store is a much smaller than the large supermarkets and provides a much more personal grocery experience.

Austin also features a large variety of ethnic grocery stores, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and, of course, Mexican.

  • MT Supermarket, North Lamar Blvd. and Braker Lane. 68,000 square foot Vietnamese and Chinese grocery supermarket, part of the 180,000 square foot Chinatown Center.
  • Hong Kong, 8557 Research Blvd. Chinese groceries.
  • Asahi Imports, 6105 Burnet Road. Japanese grocery store.
  • Fiesta Mart, 3909 N. Interstate 35. Mexican groceries, strong selection of other international fare.
  • HEB, one of the largest private (not publicly traded) corporations in America, has many supermarkets around town. They have great selection. Most markets have specialty, organic, and ethnic foods. Many are open 24 hours. Their newest large-scale supermarkets include everything from furniture to electronics to books to eggs.


  • Waterloo Records, Sixth & Lamar. Known around town for having local artists play in-store. Wide selection of music, everything from Blues to Electronica to Country. Has a wall dedicated to local musicians, great if you need a real country fix, not that sugary syrup they play on the radio. Waterloo Video is just around the corner.
  • Cheapo Discs, Like the name says, Austin's home for cheap used CDs.
  • End of an Ear, Experimental music, jazz, other "left of the dial" music. Regular in-store performances, usually on weekends.


  • Bookpeople, Sixth & Lamar. Across the street from Waterloo Records, this locally owned bookstore has two stories of books with lots of quiet corners to sit down for a read. Largest independent bookstore in Texas. Great selection of books on Texas history and architecture.
  • BookWoman, 12th & Lamar. Independent feminist bookstore also specializing in LGBTQ texts.
  • Half-Price Books Five locations around town. This Texas-based chain's stores offer exceptional value for your dollar, and have an extremely diverse selection. A peek in these stores will show you what Austinites are really reading.


  • Terratoys, 2438 W. Anderson Lane (newly re-located). Wide variety of toys and excellent selection of children's books.
  • Hogwild, 100-A East North Loop. Vintage toys.
  • Toy Joy, 2900 Guadalupe (29th & Guadalupe). Awesome selection of novelty, themed, and era-reminiscent toys, candy, and stationary.


There are several antique stores on South Congress.

  • Aqua 1415 S. Congress.


  • Blue Velvet, 3203 Red River.
  • Buffalo Exchange, 2904 Guadalupe.
  • Flashback, 2047 South Lamar.
  • Storeyville Boutique, 5015 Duval St.
  • Blackmail. All black clothing and various accessories.
  • Parts & Labor. 1604 S. Congress. Lots of unique items (clothes, earrings, purses, etc.) made by local artists.


When you visit Austin, or if you decide to live here, you'll have no shortage of interesting and satisfying places to eat. Austin's restaurants are a feast for the mind and the palate. The listings below are only a sampling of the diverse and plentiful Austin restaurant scene.

Austin has many high-end, destination restaurants, but it also has many high-quality, unique, and inexpensive restaurants where the locals eat, drink, and socialize every day (all day). It's a town built for living in, and the affordable, excellent restaurants show it. Just so you know you're in Texas, Austin has a large number of places serving Texas Barbeque and Tex-Mex; many of them are venerable, famous, and exceptionally good eating.


Be aware that Austinites love to eat out for breakfast on the weekends, and you will often encounter long wait times whether you go to Denny's, a Tex-mex joint, or a local eatery.

  • Kerbey Lane Cafe, Several locations. Open 24 hours. Breakfast all day. Arguably the best pancakes in Austin, as well as the best queso. Also try Dave's enchiladas.
  • Mi Madre's, 2201 Manor Rd (near Chestnut Ave), +1 512-322-9721. 6AM-2PM. It's worth it for the deliciously cheap tacos. The staff is friendly and the small restaurant is filled with regulars. Nice patio; they also serve lunch. Amazing migas as well as chips and hot sauce. Don't miss this one.
  • Bakehouse Restaurant & Bar, 5404 Manchaca Rd, +1 512-443-5167. Daily 7AM-Midnight. A South Austin tradition. They have one of the most inexpensive and hearty breakfasts around. Their fresh fruit and texas toast sitting next to your eggs make it worth waking up in the morning.
  • Cisco's Restaurant Bakery, 1511 E 6th St, +1 512-478-2420. LBJ's favorite breakfast spot is still going strong. This historic eastside spot offers outstanding migas and fajitas, and don't miss the fresh biscuits.


  • The Salt Lick, 3801 N Capital of Texas Hwy, +1 512-328-4957 ( Daily 11AM-10PM. Technically outside of Austin. You'll get to drive through some beautiful hill country before arriving at the sprawling restaurant. It is BYOB and cash only, but they have an all-you-can-eat menu option that will have you staggering back to your hotel. A satellite restaurant, called Salt Lick 360, is located on Capital of Texas Highway. The 360 location may not be the best, but the airport branch is a great place to eat. If you've got withdrawal symptoms, and need your maintenance dose, Salt Lick barbeque is available shipped worldwide! All-you-can-eat $16/5 (Adults/Children under 12).
  • Sam's Bar-B-Cue, 2000 E 12th St, +1 512-478-0378. Killer BBQ! It's in a "bad" part of town, but well worth going. Open till 3am, which works well after leaving 6th St.
  • BBQ World Headquarters, 6701 Burnet (past 51st - just look for the giant pig). Some of the best BBQ in all of Texas.
  • Stubb's BBQ, 801 Red River St, +1 512-482-8422 (, Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Quintessential BBQ joint located near downtown. In addition to the great BBQ, the kitchen turns out some great side dishes, which are often overshadowed by the smoked meats. This unique venue has two concert venues, one indoor and one outdoor that can accommodate over a thousand people. Dinners $10-15.
  • Iron Works Barbecue, 100 Red River St, +1 512-478-4855 (, fax: +1 512-478-2272),M-Sa 11AM-9PM. Decent BBQ very close to the Austin Convention Center downtown. BBQ plates, sandwiches, and side dishes. Dinners $6-12.
  • Ben's Long Branch Barbecue, 900 E 11th St (just east of I-35), +1 512-477-2516. Excellent BBQ. Magnificent mutton! Plates, meat by the pound.
  • Rudy's Country Store & BBQ, Three locations in Austin. Butcher shop style BBQ. Famous for their BBQ sauce and baby back ribs.
  • Ruby's BBQ, 512 West 29th Street, just off Guadalupe, +1 512 477 1651. Close to campus, this older establishment serves natural meats slapped onto a piece of butcher paper and served on a plastic tray. The dog-friendly patio is a good place to eat (though you may want to avoid it in the summertime). The food is one of the better casual BBQ joints in town. And it shares an alley with the Spider House, so you can go get some good coffee after your meal.


  • Austex Mex Cafe, 2804 N. I-35 (at 26th St.), +1 512-479-0288. Real authentic stick to your ribs Tex-Mex. When Texans think of Mexican food this is it, it's heavy on the chili con carne and cheese. Great beer drinking food.
  • El Rey, 4109 S Capital of Texas Hwy, +1 512-443-1911. If you don't think Tex-Mex should resemble the Taco Bell menu, check out El Rey. Sonoran specialities. Good Mexican food right next to Trudy's SouthStar location, and they hardly ever have a wait.
  • Chuy's Restaurant, 4 locations ( Austin institution with great Tex-Mex food. The North Lamar location is somewhat out of the way, but also tends to have the shortest wait times. Call ahead because the wait can sometimes be extremely long, though there are free chips and salsa to help make up for it.
  • Trudy's, 3 locations, Generally regarded as the favorite for Tex-Mex food in town, but this also means they are generally incredibly crowded and loud.
  • Maudie's Cafe, 2608 W 7th St, +1 512-473-3740, Daily 9AM-10PM. Good, down-home Tex-Mex with something for everyone. Try the Strait Plate, if you need breakfast and lunch at the same time. Freshly made tortillas and tortilla chips. Multiple locations. Dinners $5-9.
  • Baby Acapulco's, This is a well known Tex-Mex restaurant serving out of 5 locations throughout the Austin area. A fun place for happy hour with a more upbeat and younger crowd. The famous purple margarita will do you just fine. But they serve a limit of two so drink responsibly!
  • Enchiladas Y Mas, 1911 W Anderson Ln (just east of Burnet Road), +1 512-467-7100 (, Tu-Sa 7AM-9PM, Su 7AM-2PM. As the name implies this restaurant has enchiladas, and they are some of the best north of San Antonio. "y Mas", as it is called by locals, has a broad selection of Tex-Mex fare including flautas, soft and crispy tacos, migas, burritos, and fajitas. This is a must try on the Tex-Mex trail in Austin. They are closed on Mondays and the lunch crowd starts early, so be prepared for a short wait between 11AM and 1:00PM. y Mas has the best motto in town, "Never trust a skinny cook!". Dinners $6-10.
  • Curra's Grill, An Austin original, this restaurant brings outstanding traditional interior Mexican food to four locations. Some of the best pork recipes around and you will not find better Mexican style seafood dishes anywhere in the city. The south eatery is at 614 East Oltorf and the north location is at 6801 Burnet Road.
  • Serranos, A homegrown Tex-Mex restaurant with five area locations aroud town offering a great selection of tasty Tex-Mex dishes. The food and service are consistently good for a reasonable price. For something different try the enchiladas con huevos.
  • Jardin Corona, 13233 Pond Springs Rd., +1 512-250-1061. A favorite of those living in Northwest Austin Jollyville.


  • Cuba Libre, 409 Colorado St, +1 512-472-2822 ( Caribbean cuisine with some Pan-Asian overtones but also some Southwestern touches such as mesquite grilling and a bit of Mediterranean thrown in the mix. If you like seafood there is something you will like here. Nice fusion restaurant. Moderately expensive. Dinners $12-18.
  • Gilligan's, 407 Colorado St, +1 512-474-7474.
  • Habana Calle, 709 E 6th St. (one block west of the I-35 bridge). Cuban and Puerto Rican families eat here a lot. Lotsa fried stuff, lotsa pork. Spiciness. Plantains. Yummy. Everything from Cuban sandwiches to Bisteca Milanese, a steak wrapped in ham, breaded and fried. Also try the Lechon Asado, a great dish with slow cooked marinated pork loin, and the Ropa Vieja, delicious strings of mildly spiced beef in a Cuban tomato sauce. Dinners $12-18.


  • Burger Tex, 3 locations, 29th & Guadalupe (Just north of UT), Airport Blvd, and Wm. Cannon & 71 near the Y in Oak Hill (free Wifi at the Y). Don't let the ragged building fool you, this place has the best burgers in town. Big and thick with a condiment bar that has the usual lettuce and tomato, but also pico de gallo for those that like it a little bit spicy. The menu also features bulgoki, a Korean dish of marinated beef that doesn't have a great sounding name but it delivers on the palate.
  • Huts Hamburgers, 807 W 6th St, +1 512-472-0693. A great, inexpensive 50s diner style hamburger joint on 6th St. near downtown. Every burger available with regular beef, bison (buffalo), chicken, vegetarian, or Hawaiian. Usually packed after a football game. Once you have completed your sinning here, the Whole Foods flagship store is right down the street.
  • Dan's Hamburgers, 5602 N Lamar Blvd (at Koenig in North Austin), 4308 Manchaca Rd (at Ben White, in South Austin). Big, greasy burgers and tasty milkshakes. Choose your burger size: Small, Medium, Large. Choose single or double meat. There is also Fran's Hamburgers, and the story is that Dan & Fran divorced and each took part of the franchise.
  • Dirty Martin's Place, 2808 Guadalupe St (at 27th - on the Drag), Daily 11AM-11PM. A staple for hungry football fans after UT home games, Dirty's has been in the same building since the 1920's. Still has a simple old-time feel, and you can watch the burgers grilled right in front of you at the bar. Dinner specials $7+.
  • Wally's Burger Express, 8107 Mesa Dr (in Northwest Hills), +1 512-345-7441. Good fastfood burgers and shakes.
  • Waterloo Ice House, Several locations. Austin classic. Delish burgers, some of the best onion rings in town. Don't miss the Cinnamon Chocolate Shake!
  • Casino El Camino, 6th street between Red River and Neches. Bar (over-21 only) that serves juicy 3/4 pound patties of certified Angus Beef. Also available: Chicken sandwiches, hotdogs, veggie sandwiches, etc. Everything is SLOOOOOW-cooked so expect 45 min to and hour waits for food at peak times, but it's worth it. Dark decor, eccentric jukebox, and nice back garden.


  • Din Ho Chinese Bar-B-Q, 8557 Research Blvd, +1 512-832-8788. Open till 1am most nights.. Lunch and dinner. Some of the most authentic Chinese fare in town, specializing in Cantonese and seafood dishes. Chinese BBQ pork and whole roast duck are available for take-out as well. Don't bring Caucasian friends who are squeamish about real Chinese food - take them to Chinatown instead.
  • Chinatown, 3407 Greystone Drive, +1 512-343-9307. Authentic Chinese flavor with a modern twist. Not really fusion, not really traditional either, but very delicious. The restaurant is located upstairs in a two-story building; the bottom floor houses the Japanese restaurant Musashino
  • Wanfu, 2400 E Oltorf St, +1 512-462-3535. Often open until 4AM. Smoked duck dishes to die for. Amazing lettuce wraps (tofu or chicken). Wanfu too on Barton Springs has a cut down version of the menu. The original is still the best place to be for a late night crab rangoon craving.
  • T & S Chinese Restaurant, 10014 N Lamar Blvd (a few blocks south of Braker Lane), +1 512-339-8434. Traditional Cantonese fare - open late. Dim Sum on weekends.


There are numerous Japanese restaurants in town. Note - if you are looking for the real thing - most Japanese restaurants in town also are Korean (An-nyong Ha-se-yo) restaurants or Chinese run (Ni Hao Ma) - if you see Bulgogi or other Korean fare its likely a Korean restaurant for you food Nazi's out there - still these places are pretty good - and if you're not really into sushi - it's great to also have the option to eat Korean food. For Japanese fast food try Wiki Wiki Teriyaki on Congress a 1/2 a block up Congress from 6th street; they also have a location in the Arboretum shopping center in Northwest Austin.

  • Musashino on Greystone, underneath Chinatown (see above in Chinese) wins awards now and then. It's pretty good. The beef tataki and the sea eel are very good.
  • Origami at 620 and I-35 in Round Rock is one of the only Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants around. They have pretty standard fare, and also do plus shabu-shabu, which isn't something you usually see.
  • Uchi, just south of the river on Lamar gets lots of press. Very trendy, sometimes fusion-y. Expensive. Friends like the fried Brie.


  • Korea House 2700 W. Anderson Ln. #501, 512-458-2477. Located in the Village Shopping Center and can be a little hard to find; the entrance faces towards the inner courtyard area of the shopping center. They have a decent sushi offering but the Korean dishes are delicious and authentic. Sometimes they have OB beer - but not recently.
  • Koreana 12196 North MoPac Expwy., 512-835-8888.
  • Korea Garden 6519 N Lamar Blvd ., 512-302-3149. Recently reviewed in Austin Chronicle.
  • Shilla 6406 N IH 35 ,(512) 453-4111. Located in Lincoln plaza off I-35 access road near US 290 and Highland Mall. Standard korean dishes and bbq. This place also has Hite beer and Jinro Soju. I'd say this place is more authentic than Korea house based on the number of Koreans that actually go here.


  • Hai Ky. Consistent fresh, high quality Vietnamese food with great bowls of pho, delicious stir fries and noodle dishes, bubble tea and friendly service. At 1931 E. Oltorf about 3/4 mile east of I-35 in a strip shopping center on your right just past the Whataburger. Locals in the know and Asian students yearning for a genuine taste of home frequent this small restaurant. Great electronic music adds to the casual ambience. Best Vietnamese food in Austin. Very affordable and now serves imported beers. Great staff w/ mellow ambiance. Two thumbs up.
  • Lamar Blvd.. Several Vietnamese places are scattered in strip malls both north and south of US-183 on Lamar Blvd. Notably Le Soliel, Saigon Pho, and Kim Phung.
  • Sunflower Although it's in a strip mall in North Austin, this restaurant is notable for its amazing vegetarian options. Service is kinda spotty, and the staff tends to use extremely aromatic cleaning products (read: "potpourri"-fragranced cleaning spray spritzed on tables between customers), but it's well worth the trip North. Absolutely delicious, especially for the price.
  • Pho Tai Son Three or four locations (Burnet Rd & Parmer in the HEB strip mall, Wm. Cannon and Brodie by ChoobieDoos, the Drag, and maybe Oltorf, but that's probably Hai Ky now?). Good fresh Vietnamese standbys, pho, bun, stirfry and bubble drinks. No beer but maybe you can bring your own?


  • Frank and Angies. Pizza and Italian food. Supposedly Quentin Tarantino's favorite restaurant in Austin. Right next to Hut's Hamburgers.
  • Reale's Pizza and Italian Food. Northeasterners love Reale's, as it reminds them of family Italian restaurants from home. Good food. 13450 North US 183.


Austin is vegetarian-friendly, and many restaurants have a good selection to choose from. The following restaurants are completely Vegetarian or Vegan.

  • Veggie Heaven. 1914 Guadalupe St. Taiwanese Vegetarian.
  • Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse. 1501 S. 1st Street. Great Coffeehouse with all Vegetarian Menu.


  • Scholz Garten is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Texas, and also the oldest business in Texas. It was started just after the war, the Civil War. Good German and other hearty fare. As the name implies, Scholz Garten also has a biergarten, and serves many different types of beer. A traditional Democratic party hangout, it's where Ann Richards is supposed to have plotted her successful run for governor. In the middle of it all, the Capitol is a few blocks away, and the University of Texas is just north. 1607 San Jacinto.
  • Texas Chili Parlor. Get your red on. Serves the national dish of Texas, chili, in all heat ranges, as well as other great Texan-American fare. This downtown neighborhood chili parlor is reportedly the local Republican hangout, when "The Lege" is in session. Near the Capitol, and South of UT at 1409 Lavaca Street.
  • Threadgill's has two locations, one just south of downtown and one on North Lamar. The menu focuses on southern comfort food. The chicken fried steaks, salads, and peach cobbler are all especially good. Both locations are famous concert venues, starting the likes of Janis Joplin. Weekly gospel brunch at the south location on Sunday, for which you might want to call for reservations.
  • Katz's Deli & Bar I can't help it I gotta tell ya -- Katz's never Kloses!
  • Amy's Ice Cream has several locations around town. The atmosphere is lively and the employees are friendly. Add a fruit or candy "crush'n" to your ice cream for even more flavor. The recently-added location on Burnet Road, aside from being right beside the Amy's production facility, also features a burger joint - Phil's Ice House. Try the sweet potato fries and the burger sampler.
  • Pacific Star Oyster Bar, 183 North, just past Anderson Mill. Best oysters and catfish in town. Parking is scarce, but well worth while.
  • Catfish Parlour, 4705 E. Ben White, +1-512-443-1698. 11AM-10PM every day. All-you-can-eat catfish with hushpuppies on the side is a true Southern experience. $15-20 ($12 all-you-can-eat special).
  • Opal Divines, +1-512-733-5353. Serving up an american food menu at all three Austin locations. Downtown on west 6th street, 3600 block of South Congress in the Penn Field complex and North Austin at the corner of Mopac and Parmer. All three locations have large outdoor decks for those who prefer to dine or enjoy an adult beverage with nature.
  • Doña Emilia's, 101 San Jacinto Blvd. (corner of Cesar Chavez/East 1st), +1-512-478-2520. Gourmet South American cuisine, heavy on the beef. Outdoor patio is great for lunchtime, not too crowded despite proximity to downtown. Good selection of South American wines.
  • Most supermarkets such as HEB, Fiesta and Randall's offer inexpensive prepared food. Don't forget about the downtown Whole Foods HQ and its extensive food court.



Austin is coffee mad. The coffeehouse culture is strong and growing here in Austin, and you can hear poetry and live music at quite a few of these places, as well as getting light eats. Coffeehouses are where the liberal heart of Austin beats for all to see. Free wireless Internet connections are very common (and available at many other businesses as well).

  • Spider House, 2908 Fruth St (just north of the UT Campus), +1 512-480-9562. Daily 7AM-2AM. A lovely place to spend a night out on the patio by yourself or with friends. Table service available. The Chai Milkshake is a dream; the Sangria pitcher is pricey but a fun way to unwind. Decent food as well.
  • Epoch Coffee, 221 W North Loop Blvd, +1 512-454-3762 (, Always open.
  • Cafe Mundi, 1704 E 5th St, +1 512-236-8634 (
  • Genuine Joe, 2001 W Anderson Ln, +1 512-220-1576,M-F 7AM-11PM, Sa-Su 8AM-11PM.
  • Green Muse Cafe, 519 W Oltorf St, +1 512-912-7789. Try the rose lemonade. Perfect for writing on a Saturday morning.
  • Metro Espresso Bar, 2222 Guadalupe St, +1 512-474-5730.
  • Texspresso Cafe, 2700 W Anderson Ln, +1 512-467-9898.
  • Little City, 916 Congress Avenue, +1 512-476-2489,M-F 8AM-Midnight, Sa 9AM-Midnight, Su 9AM-10PM.
  • Ruta Maya, 3601 S Congress Ave (turn off So. Congress at the strip joint and go uphill), +1 512-707-9637 (, fax: +1 512-472-9639),M 7AM-11PM, Tu-Th 7AM-1PM, F 7AM-2AM, Sa 8AM-2AM, Su 8AM-11PM. An Austin tradition. Located at the Peen Field complex in a cavernous space with classes, entertainment, and events. Be aware that the service can be haphazard, but always friendly.
  • Teo, 1206 W 38th St, +1 512-451-9555, M-Th 7AM-10PM, F 7AM-Midnight, Sa 8AM-Midnight, Su 9AM-10PM.
  • Mozart's Coffee Roasters, 3826 Lake Austin Blvd, +1 512-477-2900 (, fax: +1 512-477-1971),M-Th 7AM-Midnight, F 7AM-1AM, Sa 8AM-1AM, Su 8AM-Midnight.
  • Cafe Caffeine, 909 W Mary St, +1 512-447-9473.
  • Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse, 1501 S 1st St, +1 512-416-1601 (, M-F 7AM-Midnight, Sa-Su 9AM-Midnight.
  • Jo's, 1300 S Congress Ave, +1 512-444-3800.
  • Flipnotics Coffeespace, 1601 Barton Springs Rd, +1 512-480-8646, M-F 7AM-Midnight, Sa 7AM-1AM, Su 8AM-11PM.
  • Lava Java, 2901 Medical Arts St, +1 512-495-9228. M-Th 7:30AM-Midnight, F 7:30AM-10PM, Sa-Su 9AM-10PM.
  • Anderson's Coffee Company, 1601 W 38th St, +1 512-453-1533.
  • Trianon the Coffee Place, 3201 Bee Cave Rd, +1 512-328-4033.
  • Halcyon Coffee Bar & Lounge Cafe, 218 W 4th St, +1 512-472-9637 (, M-W 7AM-1AM, Th 7AM-2AM, F 7AM-3AM, Sa 8AM-3AM, Su 8AM-1AM.
  • Progress Coffee, 500 San Marcos St, +1 512-493-0963 (, fax: +1 512-493-0964),M-W 7AM-8PM, Th-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM. Best Iced Toddy in town!
  • Pacha, 4618 Burnet Rd, +1 512-420-8758. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8AM-7PM.


Austin's main strip is on 6th Street downtown. But like most entertainment districts that get raves in the media, it's a little overhyped. Check out the nearby Warehouse District and Fourth Street if you don't want quarter wells and million-dollar sorority girls.

  • Opal Divines Freehouse, 700 West 6th Street, 512-477-3308. 11AM-2AM every day. This place serves great pub food and has an excellent beer menu. They have an enormous wrap around patio that affords an excellent view of drunk Austin staggering past.
  • Maudie's, 2608 West 7th Street, 512-474-7271. Austin as Austin can get. A staple Tex-Mex favorite with five locations around town. Great salsa and better margarita's. If you crave cheese enchiladas get the Hernandez Enchiladas.
  • Trudy's, 409 W 30th Street, 512-477-5720. Known for its 'Mexican Martini'. Great place for decent Tex-Mex and great frozen margaritas. Close to campus, so watch out for the frat crowd on weekends. Relaxing patio overlooks a city park.
  • Draught House, 4112 Medical Parkway, 512-452-MALT. A neighborhood pub that features 78 taps with an ever-changing selection of unique self-brews in a classic English pub environment that doesn't come off feeling cheesy. Locals bring folding chairs and dogs and tailgate in the parking lot. Check the website for great specials. Often crowded. Homebrews are $2.25 on Thursdays before 11 pm.
  • The Ginger Man, 304 West 4th Street, 512-473-8801. Dark and warm warehouse with 79 drafts at last count. Pool table and darts and a nice patio out back. Noted for its wide array of craft and local brews.
  • Barfly's, 5420 Airport Blvd (above Burger Tex), (512) 452-6455. Dark and dive-alicious. Great juke-box, super-cheap and STRONG drinks. Guaranteed interesting crowd of locals. Excellent bartenders.

Local Beer

Most grocery stores (especially HEB and their Central Market) carry a variety of Texas beer. There are five microbreweries operating in Texas, and you can expect to find their beer at outlets with moderate to wide selections:

  • Independence Brewing Co. relatively new, and in Austin.
  • Spoetzl has several brews, including the Texas staple, Shiner Bock.
  • Rahr & Sons out of Fort Worth
  • Real Ale Brewing Company is based in Blanco, about an hour west of Austin.
  • Saint Arnold Brewing Company from Houston is fairly established and has a near-cult following.
  • Live Oak Brewing is another Austin microbrewery. You can find their beers on tap all over town.

Gay and Lesbian

Most gay and lesbian bars and night clubs are located downtown with the highest concentration in the the Warehouse district. Avoid Sapphire, they are not gay-friendly and don't deserve your business.

  • Oilcan Harry's, 211 W 4th Street, 512-320-8823.
  • Rain, 217b W 4th Street, 512-494-1150 (
  • Fabric, 101 W 5th St, +1 512-322-9333.
  • Rainbow Cattle Company, 305 W 5th Street, 512-472-5288 (, Tu-Fr 3PM-2AM, Sa-Su 8PM-2AM.
  • Charlie's, 1301 Lavaca St, +1 512-474-6481, Daily 2PM-3AM.
  • Chain Drive, 504 Willow St, +1 512-480-9017.
  • 1920's, 918 Congress Ave, +1 512-479-7979.


Note that many hotels sell out for Austin festivals, particularly South By Southwest. Book well ahead for anything downtown.


  • Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Austin-North, 7400 IH35 North, Austin North, (512) 380-0008 (fax: (512) 380-0046). Charming country style décor, convenient to Austin Airport, University of Texas for Business or Leisure Travel
  • Austin HI Hostel, 2200 South Lakeshore Boulevard, 512-444-2294. Austin's only hostel.
  • Motel 6 Austin South - Airport, 2707 Interregional Highway South, (512)444-5882.
  • Motel 6 Austin Central-South/University of TX, 5330 North Interregional Highway, (512)467-9111.
  • Studio 6 Austin Midtown, 6603 North I-35, (512)458-5453.
  • Motel 6 Austin North, 9420 I-35 North, (512)339-6161.
  • Motel 6 Austin Central-North, 8010 I-35 North, (512)837-9890.
  • Studio 6 Austin Northwest, 11901 Pavilion Boulevard, (512)258-3556.
  • Austin Motel, The one, the only, located in colorful, wonderful South Austin.


  • Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin, 111 Cesar Chavez at Congress, (512) 478-9611 (fax: (512) 473-8399), Great unique downtown austin lakeside location, close to 6th Street, the Austin Convention Center. Meeting facilities which can accommodate up to 600.
  • Clarion Inn & Suites Central Austin Hotel, 2200 IH-35 South, (512) 444-0561.
  • Summerfield Suites by Wyndham Northwest Austin Hotel, 7685 Northcross Drive, (512) 452-9391.
  • Holiday Inn Austin Town Lake Hotel, 20 North IH-35, (512) 472-8211.
  • AmeriSuites Arboretum, 3612 Tudor Boulevard, (512) 231-8491. Spacious guestrooms with in-room microwave, refrigerator, separate workspace and free high speed Wi-Fi Internet access. Plus, free hot breakfast, fitness center and pool.
  • AmeriSuites North Central, 7522 North IH-35, (512) 323-2121. AmeriSuites Austin North Central is centrally located north of downtown Austin and 14 miles from the airport. Three adjacent restaurants will deliver to your suite.
  • Hawthorn Suites Austin Airport, 7800 East Riverside Drive, (512) 247-6166. Situated in good location, with Downtown Austin, 6th Street, the Austin Convention Center, the State Capitol, the University of Texas and the Frank Erwin Center all within minutes. Also offers a courtesy airport shuttle and car rental.
  • Hawthorn Suites Austin Central, 935 La Posada Drive, (512) 459-3335, The Hawthorn Suites Austin Central is conveniently located less than 15 miles from Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The University of Texas, Sixth Street, the State Capitol, the LBJ Library and more await you in Austin.
  • La Quinta Inn Austin Capitol, 300 E. 11th St, (512) 476-1166, The La Quinta Inn Austin Capitol is right smack in the heart of downtown Austin near the Texas State Capitol Complex and the University of Texas Campus.


  • Driskill Hotel, Gorgeous and historic hotel - regarded as a centerpiece for Austin's high society. The Driskill has been lauded as one of the most haunted hotels in America, so you might catch a few ghostbusters around. If you'd like to not go entirely bankrupt but still check out this truly beautiful Austin landmark, try out the 5-star Driskill Grill at lunch time or visit the bakery.
  • Hilton Austin, 500 E 4th St., (512) 482-8000, Austin's convention center hotel. The city owns this beautiful, enormous new hotel in the heart of downtown, just off I-35 and 6th st. This hotel has Austin at its doorstep. It's eminently possible to stay here and enjoy yourself and never have to travel beyond walking distance. 6th St, the Capitol, and the university are all within 1-1.5 miles.
  • Hilton Austin North, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, (512) 451-5757. This hotel is near the north shopping district, anchored by Highland Mall
  • Hilton Austin Airport, 9515 New Airport Dr, (512) 385-6767. The Airport hotel. This cylinder-shaped hotel is on the grounds of Austin-Bergstrom International airport.
  • Omni Austin Hotel Downtown & Suites, 700 San Jacinto Blvd, (512) 476-3700. Luxury downtown hotel with shops and offices on the ground floor. Close to the Capitol and 6th St.
  • Omni Austin Hotel Southpark, 4140 Governors Row, (512) 448-2222. At I-35 and Ben White is South Austin.
  • Lake Austin Spa Resort, 1705 South Quinlan Park Road, (800) 847-5637. Luxury wellness resort featuring extensive spa facilities, luxury accommodations, health & fitness programs, and cooking classes.


  • Free Austin area WiFi Hotspots

Stay safe

Austin is a generally safe city. As with most American cities, credit cards are accepted nearly universally, especially for nightlife. Therefore, for convenience and safety, it's inadvisable to carry large amounts of cash.

The number for police, fire, and medical services is 911.

There is generally a large, visible police presence (mounted, foot, and cruiser) at night in the 6th St. area. They are quite willing to let belligerent drunks dry out overnight in the city jail. They do, however, provide a safe and secure area to enjoy yourself and Austin's famous live music. Austin police have a reputation for being aggressive and "Taser-happy."

Because surrounding hills concentrate the water, some streets in Austin and the surrounding area are prone to flooding during periods of heavy rain. These areas are typically marked as 'low water crossings' but in any event **Do not drive or walk across moving water** Each year several people are killed as they are swept away by flooding. You will also see many flood control structures built into the landscape. Small, dry low places with bounding berms during the dry season, these are dangerous places to be in, but keep Austin safer when the rains come.

Get out

  • San Marcos (Texas)
  • New Braunfels
  • San Marcos River

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