By Grace Cassidy
With South by Southwest (SXSW) officially underway in Austin, Tex., drawing people from around the world to its annual celebration of cutting-edge tech, film, music, education, and culture, here’s a handy guide to making the most of your visit to the Lone Star capital.
Fresa’s (multiple locations, including 9th & Lamar and South First)
With delicious Mexican-inspired dishes and great outdoor dining options, Fresa’s is a popular spot to sit and enjoy great food with friends and family. And the owner just so happens to be the husband of Austin-based Elliman agent Emily Waldmann!
Salt Lick, 18300 Farm to Market Road, Unit 1826
Texas is known for its barbecue – so if you’re in Austin for SXSW, stop by Salt Lick for a delicious and renowned meal. They offer family-style dining, or everyone can get their own plates and sides.
Hula Hut, 3825 Lake Austin Boulevard
Enjoy great Tex-Mex-style cuisine with a unique Hawaiian twist at the Hula Hut. This popular spot is located right along Lake Austin, so you can take in the incredible views while dining out.
Chuy’s, 1728 Barton Springs Road
The original Chuy’s location, which opened in 1982, is known for its incredible Tex-Mex cuisine and quirky decor.
Amy’s Ice Cream, multiple locations
This Austin mainstay features a Texas-sized 350-flavor selection of ice cream, ice cream cakes and chocolate-covered strawberries. With 13 locations in Austin alone, you’ll never be too far from some of the best ice cream in town.
Aba, 1011 S. Congress Avenue, Building 2, Suite 180
Aba serves Mediterranean classics, pulling inspiration from Israeli, Lebanon, Turkey and Greek cuisines and featuring great outdoor seating.
Homeslice, multiple locations, including 1415 S. Congress Avenue
Homeslice offers New York-style pizza in full pies or by the slice.
Clark’s Oyster Bar, 1200 W 6th Street
This West Austin neighborhood spot is a favorite for its raw bar, lobster rolls and fresh fish. Pus, they offer great patio seating and an expansive wine, beer and cocktail list.
Matt’s El Rancho, 2613 S. Lamar Boulevard
Matt’s El Rancho had humble beginnings in 1952 as a small Tex-Mex restaurant in downtown Austin. Now a local favorite, with a South Lamar location that can seat 500, it still makes everything from scratch..
Perla’s, 1400 S. Congress Avenue
This seafood-centric spot with patio seating is a favorite for its oyster bar, fish sandwiches and more.
Mattie’s, 901 West Live Oak Street
Located in a beautifully restored Victorian home on the Green Pastures ground, Mattie’s combines historic beauty with farm-fresh Southern fare. Be sure to look out for peacocks roaming the grounds!
Allens Boots, 1522 S. Congress Avenue
Whether you forgot to pack your cowboy boots or you’re looking to get a brand-new pair, this Western-wear store offers a wide selection of boots, belts, hats and clothing.
Estilo, 2727 Exposition Boulevard, Suite 121
Estilo is a local favorite for its curated selection of clothes and accessories from both national and international designers.
MOSS, 705 S. Lamar Boulevard
For unique and designer finds, this luxury consignment store offers clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories.
Congress Avenue Bridge, Congress Avenue & W. Cesar Chavez Steet
A must-see for anyone from out of town, this famous spot offers a perfect perch for peeping the droves of Mexican free-tailed bats that appear at sunset.
Shopping on South Congress
South Congress is a vibrant stretch offering trendy boutiques, local eateries, and cultural experiences that get to the heart of Austin.
Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Avenue
This local favorite museum offers a unique peak into Texas’s past with historical items on display throughout the year, limited exhibitions and cultural events.
Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road
Zilker Park is located on the famed Barton Springs Road, offering great views of downtown and green space ideal for picnicking on a sunny afternoon.
Violet Crown Cinema, 434 W. 2nd Street
An official venue for SXSW programming, this locally owned cinema shows historic films throughout the year and hosts cultural events.
Barton Springs, 2131 William Barton Drive
A set of four natural water springs that run an average 68-70 degrees, making them perfect for year-round swimming, Barton Springs is also home to an eponymous endangered salamander.
Lady Bird Lake, 1820 S. Lakeshore Boulevard
This local favorite for paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing features a boardwalk and stunning views of the Austin skyline.