There are so many incredible things about our city that sometimes it’s hard to keep track. We’ve made it easy for you. Here’s an essential list of authentic Austin favorites from A-Z.
A/ Alamo Drafthouse Sing-alongs
Once you’ve gone to Alamo Drafthouse, there’s no going back. Who wants to go to a run of the mill cinema when you can order full meals, milkshakes and cocktails from the comfort of your theater chair? And if the food isn’t enough, our favorite local film chain also hosts the best sing-alongs and special events money can buy. Be it Bowie, Beyonce, 80s hits or a running commentary from Master Pancake, there’s a show for everyone. Props included!
From March to November, fans of the city’s unofficial mascot grab their bug spray and camp out on or near the Congress Avenue bridge to watch winged creatures make their debut across the night sky. Here in Austin, we are serious about our football and our bat shows.
C/ Cathedral of Junk
Rubber ducks, old car tires, stained glass and Barbie dolls. Who knew old junk could be transformed into a soaring sculpture, ready to be explored in someone’s backyard? Cathedral of Junk is a “junk yard” in the form of a cathedral that’s worthy of praise!
D/ Deep Eddy
E/ Eeyore’s Birthday
In weird Austin fashion, Pease Park becomes the location of a birthday party for Pooh’s most woebegone friend every April. Drum circles, body paint, costumes, plus general (and not so general) merriment all take place at the annual celebration, which draws locals from all walks of life.
Do you enjoy music, motocross, European race cars, food, comedy, tech, ice cream, beer, kites or books? In Austin, there’s a festival for all of the above! It’s not uncommon for the entire city (okay, well that’s what it feels like) to migrate to a park or theater on a special weekend, to celebrate their favorite things in giant festival format.
G/ Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon
Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon is known for two things: honky tonk and Chicken Sh*t Bingo. You can’t say you know Austin until you’ve stood in this little chapel of a saloon, watching with anticipation as a chicken struts its stuff over a giant bingo board, waiting for just the right moment to pick a winner. 5434 Burnet Road – Website
H/ HOPE Outdoor Gallery
HOPE Outdoor Gallery is an ever-changing canvas. The voices of the city are sprayed and scrawled across its walls by anyone who wants to pick up a paint can. Here in Austin, we believe anyone can be an artist! 1100 Baylor St.
I/ Ice Cream
No matter what time of year it is, it’s always ice cream weather in Austin and there’s a local brand for everyone. From vegan to farm fresh, or covered in toppings, our ice cream scene is sure to please!
J/ Jester King
Austin is the place to discover your passion for craft brews, and Jester King is a great place to start. Their unique and tantalizing flavors celebrate local craftsmanship and ingredients. Plus, the brewery is tucked away in Texas Hill Country, which makes for a delicious day trip. 13187 Fitzhugh Rd – Website
K/ Kerbey Lane Cafe
A favorite of college night owls and brunching locals alike, Kerbey Lane Cafe is open 24/7 and offers a rotating selection of specialty pancakes, like cinnamon roll and banana pecan, plus an eggs Benedict smothered in queso. Need I say more? Website
L/ Live a Great Story
Live a Great Story started as an Instagram movement. Today, this motto has swept the nation and world by encouraging people to live what they love and share it with pride. Yep, that was started here. I guess Austin is pretty inspirational! Website
In the Live Music Capital of the World, we love our music anywhere and anytime: at concerts, on street corners, for free in the park or in our own homes. Don’t be fooled by our honky tonk Texas neighbors. Austin has much more than country music. We have EVERYTHING!
N/ Nude Beaches
Hippie Hollow, our infamous nude beach, keeps Austin with one foot in the good ole’ days by offering up a clothing-optional paradise for anyone who wants to sunbathe or socialize by the river, free from fear of tan lines. Website
Not far from Hippie Hollow, we have our very own Oasis. Enjoy spectacular views of Lake Travis while sipping on Austin’s other favorite beverage, the margarita, and shop at co-located boutiques. 6550 Comanche Trail – Website
Here in Austin, we love our pets. Especially if they’ve been rescued or adopted from shelters like Austin Pets Alive. Our bars and restaurants love them, too. So there’s no need to stuff a pooch into a purse. Your best friend on four legs can accompany you almost anywhere and be showered with love.
Your Tex-Mex dinner is not complete without a hot bowl of queso, full of whatever toppings your tastebuds desire. Grab those chips and dig in.
R/ Rainey Street
Picture a street lined with house parties, all of which you’re invited to. That’s Rainey Street.
S/ Street Art
Some street art just has to stick. Little did these artists know that their murals would become selfie destinations, plastered across post cards and cutting boards for all to enjoy. You never know when you’ll come across an amazing mural while walking down an Austin street.
Tacos aren’t just for lunch anymore. Practically every restaurant in the city feature its own fusion of ingredients tucked away in a tortilla. Of course, here in Austin, we like breakfast tacos best of all!
U/ Umlauf Sculpture Garden
When you need to escape the weird or the crowds, the bronze beauties at Umlauf Sculpture Garden keep quiet as you walk the beautiful green grounds of this magical outdoor museum. 605 Robert E Lee Road
V/ Violet Crown
Famed American author O. Henry referred to Austin as the “City of the Violet Crown.” Some of our favorite establishments have taken this nickname for their own. Grab a drink at Violet Crown Social Club on East Sixth; check out an indie movie at Violet Crown Cinema; and get your fitness going along the Violet Crown Trail.
W/ Waterloo Records
A city brimming with film and music knows that a digital download isn’t as good as the real thing. Waterloo Records offers up records, DVDs, posters and a vast collection of t-shirts, including commemorative ACL designs from years past. There’s nothing like holding your favorite music and art in your own two hands. 600A N. Lamar Blvd. – Website
X/ X-treme Water Sports
Austinites spend a fair amount of time on the water. If your city is divided by a river, then the best thing to do is jump in, kayak, canoe, paddle board or even flyboard on it.
We’re fitness fanatics that like to get down…on yoga mats. Classes full of downward dogs and warriors of all types run through the veins of this city, as well as on the rooftop of Whole Foods HQ.
Z/ Zilker Park
It may not be as big as Central Park, but Zilker Park is the heart of Austin. It beats with music from ACL and Blues on the Green, flashes brightly during Trail of Lights, and its fields and trails serve as a favorite destination for any type of Austinite on our many sunny days.
@Austinot wants to know:
What is your favorite aspect of authentic Austin?
We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It’s where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!