City Guide: Austin, TX

Where Tacos and Barbecue Reign Supreme


I (Allison) was born and raised in Houston, so my Texas pride runs deep. I love that Austin draws people in with its food, music and nightlife. As part of my city guides series, I've reached out to a handful of friends and asked them to write up a brief guide to their favorite city, complete with restaurants, bars and activities. My hope is that it becomes a big, recurring thing that assists you all in your travels!

The curator of this particular guide is Emily, a Houston transplant who's lucky to call Austin her home of the past 8 (!) years.

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By day, she is the Senior Content Writer at Kendra Scott, and by night you can find her taking in the hill country sunsets or dancing the night away to a live band (glass of rose in hand, most likely.) She's gonna take it away from here:

To Eat

Mattie’s

Gorgeous colonial estate turned hip dinner spot, with a side of peacocks running around for some flair. My favorite? The milk punch. Sounds questionable, tastes like heaven (that’s spiked with bourbon).

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Gueros

Classic south Austin taco spot. Pro tip? Go a little early and spend some time in the oak garden, where they often have a live band, outdoor bar and bottomless chips & salsa.

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Texas French Bread

Best underrated brunch spot! I frequented this place in college since it’s so close to campus, but recently they’ve expanded their outdoor patio and seriously dressed up their brunch menu. I recommend the breakfast tostadas!

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Hanks Austin

THE new spot to eat. Although it's still technically in its "soft opening" phase, this place is buzzing no matter what hour you go. Plus it's already becoming insta-famous for its impeccable design. If you’re looking for a photo-worthy date night, look no further! I recommend their mint cold brew, or anything from their happy hour cocktail list.

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Moonshine

My husband’s favorite, and he’d kill me if I didn’t include it on this list. Your go-to for a dank (albeit unhealthy) southern meal and it will never leave you dissatisfied. Pro tip: they have the BEST bottomless brunch! And everyone knows it, so get there early.

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To Drink

Backspace

Quaint south Austin cocktail bar with a great upstairs patio and gorgeous view of downtown! They’re serious about their mixed drinks here, so don’t be afraid to try something new.

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Donn’s Depot

Hands down my favorite place in Austin. But if cheap drinks, live music, and friendly locals showing off their two-stepping skills aren’t your thing, you probably won’t agree. Pro tip: go on Friday to hear THE Donn himself lead the band!!

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Midnight Cowboy

Don’t kill me for sending you to 6th Street - I promise this place is worth it. It’s a reservation-only cocktail bar with a hidden entrance...Caught your attention? Wait til you try their “Punches Between Friends”.

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The Elephant Room

Award winning jazz band that plays every night, and a no-fuss cocktail menu that nails it every time. Plus, it has prime real estate on Congress so you can take a night stroll around the capital if that strikes your fancy!

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To Do

South Congress

Dozens of vintage shops and record stores to choose from, with plenty of food stops in between! My personal favorites are Tom’s for coffee, By George for a treat yo’self shopping spree, Feather’s for the best vintage finds and Hotel San Jose for a glass of frosé.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden

If you’re visiting Austin in the spring or summer, this is a must-do outdoor activity. The grounds are beautifully kept and a natural magnet for wildflowers, so be sure you have your camera handy.

Check out their website before you go to see the latest activities or workshops they have planned!

2nd Street

A great walkable street for shopping, snacking, and exploring the heart of Austin’s downtown. If you want to make a night of it, stop by Second Bar + Kitchen for dinner, and the Violet Crown theater for a quality selection of movies.

Lady Bird Lake, formerly Town Lake

If running is your thing, take a scenic lap around the lakeside trail. If more leisurely activities sound more attractive to you, rent a paddle board or kayak and hit the water for some of the best views this city has to offer.


Thanks, Emily!!

Cover photo by Charlie Aguirrie // Elephant Room photo on Instagram // Umlauf Sculpture