stay weird

by erin

Welcome to Austin!
uniquely Austin artwork on the UT campus

Austin, TX is one of my favorite cities.  Not just because my sisters live there, or because I get to visit in the winter when it's warm there and cold here, or even because there are cupcakes everywhere.  I love Austin because it's a vibrant city full of hip people, because there's always something fun to do, and, of course, because of the food.

One day I'll go to South By Southwest, Austin's annual film/music/everything festival, but it won't be this year.  So for all of you who are lucky enough to go and are looking for good places to eat/drink/shop, I'm going to play Austin Tour Guide and give you my recommendations.

Let's put it this way: I'm a pretty strict vegetarian, but I meat-cheat for Torchy's.  Their slogan is "damn good tacos", and they certainly are.  With four locations plus a trailer in the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery (a genius little group of street food trailers on S. 1st), there is always a Torchy's near you.  Get the Green Chili Pork Taco on a corn tortilla, chips and queso, and deep fried chocolate cookies, and thank me later.

Okay, so I meat-cheat on more than one thing in Austin.  But after standing in line at Rudy's (which has the distinct charm of being connected to a gas station) and smelling the amazing barbecue smells, you'll find it hard to resist too.  And don't fret about waiting in line: there are tubs of beer so you can grab a Dos Equis (I recommend avoiding Lone Star) and drink while you wait, and tv monitors showing the freshly barbecued meat being cut, so have a beer, watch your meat, and get ready to eat off wax paper on a long picnic table with 100 of your closest friends.
Picture this: you're spending an afternoon strolling down South Congress (see below) and suddenly you need a snack.  Not a meal, not a drink...maybe dessert?  Well, friend, you're in luck, because Hey Cupcake is just down the road.  Operating out of an airstream trailer, Hey Cupcake is adorably accessible.  And as a cupcake connoisseur, you can trust me when I say that the cupcakes are amazing.

BJ's Brewhouse
As BJ's is a chain, it's not as uniquely Austin as everything else I'm featuring.  But it made my list for one reason: avocado egg rolls.  I wish I could explain how amazing these are.  But I can't.  Go try them.  Have a Harvest Hefeweizen and a Pizookie while you're there.  You're welcome.

I'm slightly biased toward the One-2-One (my sister bartends there) but if you're downtown, it's worth a stop.  The bar is a block off 6th Street so it avoids all of that insanity, but it's still in a great location.  Go up to the rooftop bar - it gets pretty loud inside - and have an espresso shot.  Ask for Kate!

My only problem with this bar is that they don't allow dogs on their patio (as many places in Austin do).  However, if you're out sans-pooch, Doc's has a big patio right on South Congress that's perfect for people-watching.  I don't remember much of my time there due to the neon orange whatevers I was drinking, but I guess that in itself is a testament to the fun that is had there.

Cedar Door
 I'm a simple girl.  Give me a Blue Moon and a patio and I'm good.  The Cedar Door, located downtown, has a big patio which is perfect for a mid-afternoon beer on a sunny day, if that's what you're seeking.  They have a good night scene, too - on Thursday nights they have karaoke with a live band!

2nd Street District
If you're downtown and have some time to kill, wander down to 2nd Street (on either side of City Hall).  It's a cute couple of blocks with a great variety of local shops and restaurants so you can find something uniquely Austin.

South Congress
To me, South Congress is quintessential Austin in its variety.  From darling little vintage shops, to chic pricey designer attire, to the boot store, to any number of cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops, SoCo has basically everything.  Wandering up and down the street is a great way to spend an afternoon.

My first experience with the Alamo came when I attended the Jiggy Crunk Sing-along, which was two amazing hours of '90s and '00s rap songs, with subtitles so we could all sing (rap?) along, dancing in the aisles encouraged.  It was basically the best night of my life.  Along with first release movies, the Alamo also has several creative and insanely fun events, like sing-alongs, quote-alongs (with movies such as Pee-Wee), Master Pancake movies (in which you're encouraged to make fun of a movie), dance parties, and the like.  Personally, I will die and go to heaven if I make it back in April for the Glee-along (sing along to the songs of Glee!  I KNOW!!!).  Oh, and did I mention they serve beer and a full menu throughout the movies and events?

Whether you're going for SXSW or just for a visit, there is a lot of fun to be had in Austin.  If you've been and have any favorite places not listed here, leave them in the comments - the options are endless and I'm always looking for new places to try!


Alison May said...

I went to Baby A's again last night. Ahhhh purple margarita's you are my friend! Well not so much today, but definately last night!

Fashion Chalet said...

Love your blog!

Very creative :)


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