Austin might be known for its live music, but it’s also home to more restaurants and bars per capita than anywhere else in the country (or so someone once told us, at some point). Here are a few of our favorites.
Franklin Barbecue 900 E. 11th
Said to be the best barbecue in Austin. But only for those who want brisket for breakfast. Doors open at 11 a.m., but you should be in line by 9 or so if you expect to get any before it sells out.
The Salt Lick Driftwood, TX
If you’re making a longer vacation out of your trip and fancy a drive in the hill country, this is a great excuse. About a half-hour outside Austin, and featuring killer brisket. Warning: it’s in a dry county, so BYO.
Stubbs 801 Red River
An Austin favorite since the ’70s right on “scenic” Red River. Pick up some sauce to bring home, then stop anywhere on the street to hear some of Austin’s best terrible metal bands.
Lambert's Downtown Barbecue 401 W 2nd
A unique and classic take on fancy barbecue. Also, a bit of a preview of our reception meal, since they will so kindly be catering at our big night, along with Perla's.
La Condesa/Malverde 400 West 2nd
La Condesa is a modern take on traditional Mexican and a treat for the adventurous eater. The attached lounge/bar Malverde has an amazing patio along with ultra-modern interior design and is a perfect spot for a pre/post dinner drink.
Fonda San Miguel 2330 North Loop
Said to have the best Mexican food ever, anywhere, including the food in Mexico. It has beautiful decor, an amazing atmosphere and unique and savory cooking.
El Naranjo (trailer) 85 Rainey
Our friends went to this restaurant once in Oaxaca, Mexico. Then they went again two days later. So imagine our amazement when a few years later they moved their entire family to Texas and opened up a trailer in Austin. Casual, authentic, and delicious. BYOB.
El Chile 1809 Manor
Solid, casual Tex-Mex in our neighborhood. Also, visit El Chilito (just a block east) for some great fast counter service and Dale's favorite pork tacos, their delicious cochinita pibil.
Torchy's Tacos (various locations)
We recommend the green chili pork and the fried avocado tacos, though everything is good. The specials tend to be a meal in themselves and their queso is the best in town.
Counter Cafe 626 North Lamar
A tiny old-timey lunch counter updated with organic, locally-sourced ingredients. A perfect spot breakfast or lunch, with a killer eggs benedict!
Kirby Lane Cafe 3704 Kirby Lane
A traditional diner serving everything from migas to oatmeal. Open 24 hours!
South Congress Café
Right in the heart of South Congress, this place serves a delicious brunch starting at 9am on weekends. Leave yourself plenty of time to get seated. Sometimes the wait is a little long but it's totally worth it.
Breakfast Tacos Everywhere
It’s always taco time in Austin.
Foodheads 616 W. 34th
Gourmet soups and sandwiches done just right, served out of a cute old house and made with love. Try the Gypsy Grove.
Perla’s 1400 South Congress
Seafood in Austin might seem weird, but this place has a great ambiance, delicious cocktails and delicious food. The brunch is amazing.
Uchi 801 South Lamar
The best restaurant in Austin, hands down. And probably some of the best sushi and Japanese fusion you’ll ever have. We’re totally serious.
Driskell Hotel 604 Brazos
A true landmark of the cattle baron days. It’s worth the trip just for the bizarre old-west decor like the six shooter lamps and cowhide everything. The food and drinks are great with an amazing happy hour deal from 5-7.
Haddingtons 601 W 6th
Great specials on food and drink until 7:30 pm. Everything is still good after that, too, it just costs more.
Hotel San Jose 1316 S Congress
For an evening spent in a great environment. No specials, but the place is special. Food is limited to cheese plates, so it makes an ideal spot for before (or after) dinner.
Some of our favorite happy hour places were listed above, like La Condesa and Perla's.
East Side King 1618 1/2 East 6th Behind Liberty Bar
Another of Austin’s amazing food trailers. Located behind the divey Liberty Bar, The East Side King serves fried-up, booze-friendly Asian fusion that’s so delicious it’s hard to believe. Try the Chicken Karage with a side of fried beets or Brussels sprout salad.
LIVE MUSIC AND DANCING
On any given night in Austin, there are probably 30 or 40 different places to see live music. Yeah, it’s overwhelming for us, too. Here are some standouts that might be worth checking out.
The Continental Club 1315 South Congress
A mainstay of Texas music for just about forever, the Continental features local and touring country, western swing and rockabilly acts nightly. Saturday doors open at 3 PM for a no cover matinee show if you need to sneak in a dance or two before the wedding.
The Broken Spoke 3201 South Lamar
The Spoke must be seen to be believed. It’s Austin’s finest and oldest honest-to-god Texas dancehall. Big bands play western swing and honkytonk almost every night with free two-step lessons before the show. Ladies, expect some real cowboy to ask for a dance. Don’t worry, they’re all very polite.
The Mohawk 901 Red River
Rock music for the young(er) folk.
Barton Springs 2201 Barton Springs Road
The worlds largest natural urban swimming hole. It's a beautiful spot and the water is a brisk 68° year round.
Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail Access from S 1st or S Congress Bridges
This trail is a great place to have a jog or just a walk to relax and take in all that the city has to offer. The best part is that it's a giant concentric loop, so if you keep walking, you're likely to get back to where you started.
Texas Capitol 11th at Congress
Everything is bigger here, especially the capitol. An amazing and beautiful building that’s free to tour.
LBJ Library and Museum 2313 Red River
A lot more interesting than it sounds, unless it sounds interesting to you. The 100% free LBJ Library Museum has a presidential limo, a full scale replica of the oval office, and a moon rock. But the real reason to go is the robot LBJ who leans on an old fence while he dispenses down-home wisdom and cracks a few jokes. Worth it.
Texas Memorial Natural History Museum 2400 Trinity
This free museum features the skeleton of the largest flying animal ever discovered, a Quetzalcoatalus northropi nearly 50 feet across.
South Congress Avenue right across the South Congress bridge from downtown
Lined with quirky shops and restaurants, it’s a great place to pick up some gifts or souvenirs, or just to waste a couple of hours. Austin at its best.
Alamo Drafthouse (Various)
Austin’s famous Alamo is the coolest movie theater in the world. Period. Where else do they do action movies with live explosions, guest appearances from movie stars, and special/unique screenings all over the world? All this with food and drinks served right in the theater. Fun and uniquely Austin.
The Highball 1142 South Lamar
Attached to the Alamo South is the Highball, a rat-pack style adult playground. Food, cocktails, vintage bowling alleys, skeeball, karaoke rooms, games and more in a very cool ’50s-style lounge.