Since I’ve been living in Austin, I’ve had some people ask me what the best places to visit are. I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while, but I’m still exploring Austin myself so it’s taken quite some time. Anyway, this is my list of favorite places in Austin to date, but I fall more in love with this city every day. If there’s somewhere else I should check out, let me know.
1. Spider House: Spider House has become my favorite place in town to visit lately. Normally I’m not a huge fan of patio bars, but Spider House has a phenomenal atmosphere, both inside and out. It’s covered in Christmas lights, a charming patio with a fire pit for cold nights, and there’s always a good (and apparently lesbian-friendly) crowd there. Not to mention, it has it’s own parking, which is a huge deal in Austin.
2. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar: What makes the South Lamar location the best of the drafthouses, you ask? Everything. But seriously, if you find yourself around any Alamo Drafthouse, I highly recommend that you break-up with your regular theater and start attending the Drafthouse instead. Not only do they shoot their own hilarious pre-film commercials, but you can enjoy a nice glass of wine while you watch classic movies or independent films. They also have special events, like AFS screenings on Tuesdays and such. Thanks to an AFS connection and a good friend with 50 free raincheck tickets, this place is slowly becoming my second home. And, a new location is also opening up on my street, which I am really stoked about.
3. Mother’s Cafe and Garden: Mother’s is hands down the best place for Austin vegan/vegetarian food. It’s also located in my favorite neighborhood in North Austin, and has complementary chips and salsa, so you know it’s good. It’s been rebuilt since the incident of being burnt to the ground a few years ago, and from what I hear is in better shape than ever.
4. 24 Diner: One of Austin’s best 24 hour restaurants, with vegetarian friendly breakfast items. It’s definitely over-priced, which is a huge downside but the food is worth it.
5. Kerbey Lane: I used to think that Kerbey Lane wasn’t entirely deserving of the hype they receive, but I’ve rediscovered my love for it as of lately. The new South Lamar location (which just opened a few days ago) is by far the best of them, but Guadalupe has always been pretty good. If you’ve heard of Kerbey Lane, it was probably from customers raving about their queso, but the real gem is their green chili cheese fries—if you haven’t tried them, get out and do so as soon as possible.
6. Once Over Coffee Bar: After trying my fair share of coffee bars in Austin, Once Over has definitely proved itself to be the best of the area. Their outdoor patio is an amazing place to sit and talk over coffee (or alcohol, if that’s more your thing) on any night of the week, and their music selection is better than any other place’s.
7. Book People: Austin’s favorite independent bookstore that has special events and even live music on certain nights. It’s two stories and jam packed with books that you’ll never find anywhere else, and definitely follows the whole “keep Austin weird” mantra. You can sit and read a book in vintage hairdresser chairs, or in their cozy coffee cafe.
8. Veggie Heaven: Bubble tea and vegetarian cuisine all under one roof. What more could an Austin resident ask for?
9. Uncommon Objects: South Congress has such a broad selection of vintage and antique shops, but Uncommon Objects is my favorite among them. You can find all kinds of cameras, classic books, typewriters, and other weird knick knacks all at reasonable prices.
10. Austin Studios: I haven’t really checked out Austin Studios extensively, but luckily I know quite a talented apprentice of the Austin Film Society who works on the grounds and was able to drive through the other day. As if their film studios weren’t enough, they also have a building where Fender manufactures guitars. Oh, and did I mention that Austin Studios is also responsible for the filming of Spike Jonze’s “The Suburbs”?
11. Violet Crown Cinema: I know that I was previously talking up Alamo Drafthouse in this entry, but Violet Crown Cinema is also a theater worth checking out. It has a full bar and a modern feel that is relaxing to any customer. Also, you can reserve your seats before actually getting into the theater, which saves you from the sometimes awkward process of trying to find a seat in the dark before the film starts. It also plays independent films that are hard to come by anywhere else.
12. Waterloo Records: Waterloo Records easily has the best selection of records in all of Austin, and their in-store events are usually worthy of checking out as well. If there’s a record that you want that is difficult to come by, chances are these people will have it.
13. World Spirit Books: I checked this place out for the first time the other day, and they have quite possibly the strangest and most intriguing selection of books ranging from the genres of metaphysics, to UFO’s, and other oddities.
14. Trudy’s: The first time I tried this place, I wasn’t entirely about it. But after visiting it more frequently as of lately, I’ve grown pretty fond of it and the fact that I can hear Edward Sharpe, The XX, and Mumford and Sons over a quality Mexican dinner.