Guest article by Jayla Andrulonis
Since its 1993 debut, “Dazed and Confused” has been a cornerstone of the coming-of-age film genre, full of 1970s nostalgia, incredible music, and Matthew McConaughey in salmon-colored bell-bottoms.
The film follows the intertwining lives of a group of teenagers here in Austin, Texas, as they experience their last day of school in 1976 and kick off summer break. Austin was the perfect location for the film’s laid-back mood, effortlessly transporting viewers back in time.
Luckily for you, there are still many recognizable “Dazed and Confused” filming locations around Austin. To take full advantage of this tour guide, be sure to listen to this playlist of songs from the film’s incredible score, roll those windows down, and wear something with polyester if authenticity is your thing.
1/ Top Notch
Top Notch is probably the most recognizable location from “Dazed and Confused,” and the one that has maintained its look the most. A trip to this old school Austin drive-in is literally like stepping back in time. As an added bonus, the charcoal-grilled burgers and fried chicken are both fantastic.
7525 Burnet Road
2/ Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park
While your burger and fries are settling, you can head over to Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park to see the baseball field where Mitch pitched a game, as the seniors waited on the horizon for the hazing to commence.
7000 Ardath St.
3/ Americana Theater
Although it’s now a public library, the recognizable marquee sign of the Americana Theater is still standing. This is the filming location where, aside from running them through a car wash, the senior girls hazing of incoming freshmen took place. You can almost smell the ketchup and flour in the air.
2200 Hancock Dr.
4/ The Aristocrat Lounge
The interior shots of the The Emporium pool hall were filmed at what is now The Aristocrat Lounge on Burnet Road. At the time of filming, the location was a bar called The Poodle Dog Lounge. Be sure to stop in for a drink and game of pool, and soak in the nostalgia.
6507 Burnet Road
5/ Bedichek Middle School
Next on the agenda is a look at the exterior of Bedichek Middle School, which should look a lot like Robert E. Lee High School. This is where the exterior shots of the high school were filmed. While there may be a lack of Camaros in the parking lot now, the building’s architecture remains the same.
6800 Bill Hughes Road
6/ Toney Burger Activity Center
You’ll recognize this field as the location where the party at the moon tower spilled over to sunrise ramblings on the 50-yard line, resulting in some of the movie’s most quotable lines.
3200 Jones Road
Final Highlights and Insider Notes
Some other tour bonuses include checking out the “Alright Alright Alright” mural by Mez Data at 1603 South 1st Street, or heading to Pinthouse Pizza to enjoy a Hazed & Confused IPA, recently created to celebrate the film’s anniversary.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a comprehensive “Dazed and Confused” tour if I didn’t talk about the moon tower. It’s commonly believed the party scene was filmed in Zilker Park, but it actually took place in various parks around Austin with a small-scale moon tower replica.
While Austin may look a little different these days, the laid-back, charismatic energy that helped bring this landmark film to life is still around. In the words of the film’s beloved Wooderson, it is “L-I-V-I-N.”
@theAustinot wants to know:
Anywhere else you would include on a “Dazed and Confused” tour of Austin?
Jayla is a Pennsylvania native, exploring Austin one coffee shop at a time, and writing along the way. You can contact her here.