There’s no place like Austin. We’re home to so many delicious restaurants, one-of-a-kind activities, and beautiful outdoor spaces that it’s hard to visit them all. We’ve whittled down our “things to do” list to just a handful of our favorite, iconic Austin picks.
SPEAK LIKE A LOCAL
Austinite – Austin natives are not Austonians or Austiners. Always, and only, use the term Austinite.
Guadalupe – The street is pronounced GWA-da-LOOP the “e” is silent.
Keep Austin Weird – Austin’s theme and motto, celebrating Austin’s creative spirit and small town roots.
Mopac – The Mopac Expressway is usually identified on street signs and road maps as LOOP 1. It is nicknamed for the Missouri Pacific Railroad that runs alongside it.
SoCo – The area along South Congress Avenue between the river and Ben White, with a thriving community of restaurants, shops, and food trailers.
The Drag – The strip of Guadalupe Street directly west of The University of Texas campus is commonly called “The Drag”.
Town Lake – This body of water located in downtown Austin has been renamed Lady Bird Lake, but Austinites will still refer to it as Town Lake.
ONLY IN AUSTIN
Bat Watching Cruise – It’s a spectacular sight to see the Congress Bridge bats emerge from the bridge at sunset, even better view from the lake!
Blue Starlite Mini Drive-In – Authentic drive-in slots with window speaker set ups and great movie programming all year long!
Broken Spoke – If you want to do the Texas two-step, this is the place to go. This dance hall is internationally known as an authentic honky-tonk with live music & boot-scootin’.
Chicken Sh** Bingo – It is exactly what it sounds like. Join in on this Sunday tradition at Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon with drinking and country music.
The Highball – Music. Karaoke. Drinks. It’s like nothing else in Austin with its dance floor, patio, and themed karaoke rooms.
Pinballz Arcade – A family-friendly arcade experience with an assortment of classic and new arcade gameplay. Don’t forget it’s also BYOB!
PubCrawler of Austin – Austin’s party on wheels! Theses pedal-powered bar bikes are a perfect backdrop for any celebration.
Quote-A-Long at Alamo Drafthouse – Shout out your favorite lines and even sing along with the songs to movies – all in a theater packed with fellow fans.
MUST TRY DISHES
Avocado Margarita – The frozen avocado margarita at Curra’s Grill is the perfect combination of refreshing, boozy, and cold.
Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt’s El Rancho – Named after local politician, Bob Armstrong, this dip is a delicious combination of queso, guacamole, and taco meat.
Brisket at Franklin Barbecue – You better get up early if you want some of this delicious brisket. The line starts forming at 10am for this tender meat and when it runs out, they’re closed.
Brussel Sprouts at Uchi and Uchiko – The perfect combination of salty, sweet, and savory – these will make you forget there is any other way to prepare brussel sprouts.
Carrot Cake French Toast at South Congress Cafe – An Austin twist on the classic breakfast item, made with carrot cake, cinnamon vanilla egg batter, and cream cheese-pecan syrup.
Gingerbread Pancakes at Kerbey Lane – Enough to warm a soul on even the coldest of mornings, these plate-sized pancakes are an Austin tradition.
Martian Landscape at The Magnolia Cafe – The perfect end to a night on the town, this dish is a pile of grilled potatoes, melted jack and cheddar cheeses, jalapeños, and green onions.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Barton Creek Greenbelt – Located in south-central Austin, The Greenbelt contains 12.68 miles of gorgeous trails.
Barton Springs Pool – Socialize, swim, relax, and cool off from the hot Texas sun at Barton Springs Pool where the water stays a cool 68 degrees all year long.
Hamilton Pool Preserve – Take a day trip to cool off under the waterfall at Hamilton Pool. Don’t forget to make a reservation.
Lady Bird Lake – With more than 228 days of sunshine in Austin each year, there’s no better place to go than Lady Bird Lake for jogging, walking, and outdoor fun.
Mount Bonnell – Enjoy the sweeping views at what is generally considered the highest point in Austin at 775 feet.
South Congress – One of Austin’s hippest streets where you can shop, eat, and drink! Be sure to check out Uncommon Objects, Lucy in Disguise, and Allens Boots.
Texas Rowing Center – Rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard on Lady Bird Lake. No reservations necessary, just show up!
Zilker Botanical Gardens – Themed gardens such as rose, herb, and Japanese gardens that are all interconnected with streams, waterfalls, and Koi-filled ponds.