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Things not to miss in Austin, TX?

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    Things not to miss in Austin, TX?



    I am heading to Austin for spring break to visit a friend. SXSW is going on at the time so I'm sure it will be plenty busy with a ton of things to do.


    Is anyone here really familiar with Austin that has any insight into what not to miss? We plan on drinking a lot of beer as there are many breweries. I know that much. They know their way around pretty well, but I want to make sure I don't miss something great.


    Thanks!

    "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano

    #2


    I'm a lifelong Texan, but I don't spend a lot of time in Austin. However, there are still some things I like to do in the surrounding area.


    If the Guadalupe or Comal rivers are warm enough and high enough (or even if they aren't but enough people are going), tubing is a favorite pass time. It's like a big floating party with lots of alcohol involved. These rivers are between Austin and San Antonio (not far). I'm sure your friend is familiar.


    The downtown bar scene is HUGE. 6th Street is popular with the college crowd, and 5th street is more popular with the late-20's/30's crowd. I'm not useful for individual suggestions, but it's just bar after bar down there. I'm sure your friend knows some spots. I'm not sure how up to date it is, but I found this guide to give you an idea of how many there are.


    Every famous country singer at some point or another has made their way through Gruene Hall in Gruene, TX. Like tubing, it's between Austin and San Antonio. In fact, the place is practically ON the river. You could hit up both in a single trip. It's a small unassuming place, but it's full of history, and when you're there, you really feel the heritage. They have a revolving schedule of mostly local acts, and it's a nice way to decompress. Next door is a restaurant called the Gristmill which is FANTASTIC!


    ... and this wouldn't be a proper Dappered post without mentioning the outlet malls! They have Tanger and Premium in San Marcos (south of Austin) and another Premium in Round Rock (north of Austin). I think Round Rock is newer, but the Premium in San Marcos is a monster. Both have high-end names (and they don't necessarily overlap) so you'll have to research where you want to go.

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      #3


      Also, take shoes you can walk in. Once you're on foot around downtown or the UT campus, there will be plenty of walking.

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        #4


        Yeah, Austin is awesome at night, especially on weekends... Since you're there for SXSW every day will be like a weekend


        They'll have the roads blocked off around the bars and there'll be a ton of people. Just go see shows. Austin is the best place for music and SXSW is always full of great bands.


        Also, go see the roller girls.. I loved that show when it was on A&E

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          #5


          Austin's a great town to visit. I'll give you some of my favorites.


          If you're downtown:


          Try the food trucks. They are the hipster rage, but can be super tasty. There are tons buts some of my favorites: East Side King, Kebabalicious, Chilantro.


          The main night scene forms an L on Red River and 6th. I like the Red River arm best.


          Great coffee at Medici on Congress and 2nd.


          Away from downtown.


          Two good Mexican food places for visitors: Chuy's on Barton Springs is seminal Tex-Mex. Guero's on South Congress is bustling and is a little more straight-from-Mexico. (Right across the street is Home Slice, a nice place for a late-night slice. Also, that whole South Congress area is "happening."


          Maybe I'll post more later. If there's something specific you're looking for, I'll try to help.

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            #6


            I lived in Austin for a year just for fun a few years ago, and what I can offer is a view of the food scene. If there is one thing not to miss, it is the moist brisket at Franklin's BBQ. Go on a weekday, get there early. Like at least 10am early, but maybe earlier with the SXSW crowd, and bring beer for the wait in line. Ask Franklin to give you whatever's best at that moment. Don't waste valuable stomach space on bread. Prepare for meat sweats.


            Or, if you have a car, drive to Lockhart, about 45mins SE of ATX, and visit Smitty's and Kreutz's. The history of their family feud and resultant restaurants can be found online.


            If you're rich, head to Uchi, which just got the Season 9 Texas Top Chef Paul Qui. If you're less rich, head to Barleyswine, which was just named to GQ's Top Ten Best New Restaurants list, and was started by Bryce Gilmore, who owned my favorite trailer, Odd Duck Farm to Table. He cooks like I cook, which makes me think I should have started the food truck business I planned there...


            For less expensive options: Taco Deli on Spyglass (Tuesday's they have scallop tacos), most trailers are pretty delicious, South Lamar being a good spot for a lot of them, and Counter Cafe (8a-4p).


            And if you hate your balls, go swimming at Barton Springs...


            The outlet malls Alan mentioned are worth a look, btw, though I wouldn't want to sacrifice time in ATX to do that.

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              #7


              i second East Side King!

              My cocktail videos >

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                #8


                Matthew got me thinking.


                BBQ is definitely worth hitting. During SXSW, I'd avoid Franklin's, as good as it is. The lines are stupid normally, and that week they'll be insane.


                A still-good BBQ experience can be had at the Salt Lick, either the original in Driftwood, or the new one in the suburb of Round Rock. Lockhart is top shelf, as is Louie Mueller's in Taylor, but those are good drives.


                As far as menswear, I don't have much to offer, but the outlets are possibly worth it. High end shopping areas are the 2nd St. district downtown and The Domain, and outdoor mall up north.


                One interesting place if Service Menswear on South Congress, near Guero's. It's super small, but has high-quality stuff. By George is another, and there are a handful or hipster shops around.


                Also, there is super good Asian food in far north Austin. Let me know if you care.

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                  #9


                  +1 on Salt Lick


                  ... and I'd be lying if I said I didn't love Chuy's, but it's become rather commercial (for the people taht care about that sort of thing). Doesn't stop me from going, though. :-)

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                    #10


                    Given my name, you can probably guess I have a few yrs of Austin under my belt. With the caveat of my having moved away 2+ yrs ago now...


                    BBQ - get some. and by some I mean a lot, if you're into that sort of thing. Depends on if you have a car / want to drive, but Lockhart (many options here for legit BBQ) or Saltlick. If you don't have a car, downtown options are Ironwerks and ... a place near City Hall whose name escapes me. The 2nd place is more expensive, but good. Ironwerks is fine, but not as good as the true options.


                    TexMex - I recommend going to the Maudies on town lake or Trudy's on campus. Both will give you a good Austin feel (different Austin feels -- Trudy's is typically younger and filled with sorority girls; Maudies filled with graduated sorority girls). Oh, and both have pretty good food. The stuffed avocado at Trudy's is amazing.


                    Bars - you'll have tons of people around 6th street. Rainey (sp?) street is the new go-to area, but I imagine will be overflowing with people due to SXSW. West 6th is generally an older crowd (post-grad thru 30s), "dirty"/east 6th generally the college crowd, although won't have as many kids due to it being spring break.


                    South Congress is 'the' area these days. Definitely go up to Guadalupe st up near campus, if for no other reason to see what campus is like. It's between the actual campus (which is beautiful, btw) and west campus, where a majority of the students live. Cain & Abels is the college bar up in west campus, not bad for some cheap beers or a Texas tea (think long island, but better). Abel's on the Lake is also pretty fun and has a good lakeside (duh) view of the hills of Westlake (aka where the rich grownups live).


                    ... and... go see the bats near dusk on Congress Ave's bridge or something, if you're feeling touristy.

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                      #11


                      +1 on Trudy's. I was having trouble thinking of the name of the place, but it's a winner. Try the mexican martinis.

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                        #12


                        The BBQ place near city hall is Lambert's. It's more of a high-end restaurant, but it does BBQ, too. If you have a car, get to a Rudy's: local chain that's as good as you're going to get without going to Salt Lick, Lockhart, Taylor.


                        Oh, and if you haven't, get breakfast tacos somewhere. Taco Deli, Torchy's, Taco Shack (there's one downtown) even fast food Taco Cabana.

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                          #13


                          @Alan -- yes, forgot to add Mexi Marts in my writeup.


                          @Rodney -- Lamberts, for the life of me couldn't think of the name. I agree with Rudy's being the next-best-thing. Maybe countyline, but that requires a car / longer drive possibly. And second the breakfast tacos. I miss those being away from TX.

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                            #14


                            Wow. Thanks guys. That was a lot of response in no time.


                            On the note of Dappered-approved places, any good thrift stores known there? I've all but given up in MN, so maybe TX is where it's at.

                            "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano

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                              #15


                              Hippie Hollow, Lake Travis - you can dispense with all your concerns about wearing the appropriate clothing!

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