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LAST UPDATE / September 1, 2016

Austin rocks and it's not only because of a wealth of music venues, festivals and musicians that call this city home. The city has a character all its own. From the tacos and barbecue to the natural spring swimming holes and cowboy culture ... I enjoyed every last bit. And yes, it can get weird here. But you know you want that. So giddy up, get weird, rock out and dig in.

South Congress Hotel pool | Austin, Texas1
Queso at Torchy's | Austin, Texas2
Barton Springs Pool | Austin, Texas3
Chicken Fat Rice from East Side King Thai KunThai Food from East Side King Thai KunThai Food from East Side King Thai Kun | Austin, Texas4
Morning Lap Swim at Deep Eddy Pool | Austin, Texas5
Murals at Hope Outdoor Gallery | Austin, Texas6
Brisket taco from Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ | Austin, Texas7
Pinball and video games at Pinballz Arcade | Austin, Texas8
Texas barbecue | Austin, Texas9
Monkies Vintage thrift shop | Austin, Texas10

Vintage Gaming
Pinballz Arcade
This place feels like my childhood. It has all of the classic pinball and arcade video games to choose from. I spent most of my time on Frogger and the first Super Mario Bros.

Thrift Clothes Shopping
This place reminds of how clothing thrift shops used to be before they started to be more like stylish boutiques and contain less actual vintage threads. You should be able to find a cool T or maybe that perfectly worn leather biker jacket here.


The rooms are handsome and minimalist. The bedding is Matteo. The bathroom is bright and stocked with Aesop products. The rooftop pool is perfection. Dining and drinking options are plenty and excellent.

South Congress Hotel pool | Austin, Texas11
South Congress Hotel bathroom | Austin, Texas12
South Congress Hotel bedroom | Austin, Texas13

11 - 13
Cool Soco Stay
South Congress Hotel
In numerical order: (11) rooftop pool, (12) the minimalist and modern bathroom and (13) handsome sleeping quarters.

Negroni from Central Standard | Austin, Texas14

American Fare
Central Standard Kitchen & Bar
While Central Standard is a stand alone restaurant it is on the hotel property. It's worth swinging through and you should consider ordering an Old Fashioned with the green chickpea salad.


Take a walk on what used to be the wild side. I should say that South Congress Avenue is still wild but it's seeing a renaissance after a rough period when the area was overrun with prostitution and drug use. Boutique hotels, locally run shops and eateries are making this a destination neighborhood once again.

Finds at Uncommon Objects | Austin, Texas15

Quirky Shop
Uncommon Objects
Cool spot on South Congress Avenue that has everything from antiques and taxidermy to toys.

Allens Boots | Austin, Texas16

Cowboy Gear
Allens Boots
Ready to go full country western? Since 1977 Allens Boots has been THE destination for cowboy looks.

Soco Books | Austin, Texas17

South Congress Books
Any bibliophile would be remiss to not visit this shop featuring used, collectible, vintage and unique books.

The Continental Club | Austin, Texas18

Live Music Club
The Continental Club
Since 1955 The Continental Club has been serving up rock, country, jazz and blues acts.

Torchy's Tacos | Austin, Texas19

Mexican Style Taqueria
Torchy's Tacos
Come for that miracle green chile queso and stay for a couple of tacos.

Big Top Candy Shop | Austin, Texas20

Candy Shop
Big Top Candy Shop
Calling all sweet tooths and soda jerks. Big Top has just about any kind of candy you might be craving and a soda fountain serving up all of the classics.


Roller derby is alive, mean and pretty in Austin! A happy coincidence had my visit to the city at the same time as a bout between the Holy Rollers and Cherry Bombs. Keep your eyes peeled for the next match if you come through town.


I ate many tacos on my visit to Austin. These are six of my favorite tacos from trucks around the city.


Baby back, brisket, jalapeno link, mac an potato salad at Black's | Lockhart, Texas28

Texas Barbecue
Black's Barbecue
A half hour outside of Austin by car you can eat some of the best barbecue of your life. Black's Barbecue offers a no frills, charm filled dining room and a treasure trove of meats and sides (since 1932). My plate included snappy jalapeño sausage, tender brisket, juicy baby backs, creamy mac and potato salad. I threw in some dills too. They have opened a location in Austin but I had to go to the original source in Lockhart.


If you like a little character or a running theme with your boozy beverage these spots should more than satisfy.

All the goods in one neat map. Dig in.
Nice Digs
1, 11-13 · South Congress Hotel
Green Chile Queso
2 & 19 · Torchy's Tacos
Swimming Hole
3 · Barton Springs Pool
Thai Fried Chicken and Rice
4 · East Side King Thai Kun
Swimming Pool
5 · Lap Swim at Eddy Pool
Public Art Space
6 · Hope Outdoor Gallery
Breakfast Taco
7 · Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
Vintage Gaming
8 · Pinballz Arcade
Texas Barbecue
9 · Franklin Barbecue
Thrift Clothes Shopping
10 · Monkies
American Fare
14 · Central Standard Kitchen & Bar
Quirky Shop
15 · Uncommon Objects
Cowboy Gear
16 · Allens Boots
17 · South Congress Books
Live Music Club
18 · The Continental Club
Candy Shop
20 · Big Top Candy Shop
Migas Taco
22 · Veracruz All Natural Food Truck
Carne Asada Taco
23 · Las Trancas
Breakfast Tacos
24 · Con Madre Kitchen
25 · Rosita's Al Pastor
Chicken Taco
26 · Tacodeli
Breakfast Taco
27 · Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
Texas Barbecue
28 · Black's Barbecue
Music Club
29 · C-Boy's Heart & Soul
Dive Bar
30 · The Carousel Lounge
Dive Bar
31 · Lala's Little Nugget


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