The Lone Star State’s capital city is home to some of the best food, drink, and music in the country. Don’t believe us? Ask the incoming flock of new residents eager to embrace Austin, Texas’ weirdness. Like Portland, OR or Seattle, WA, this foodie destination is a haven for artists, independents, and creatives. As such, you’ll find a bevy of live music events, film festivals, and art exhibitions throughout the year. So it should come as no surprise when locals are die-hard for the motto: “Keep Austin Weird.”
We’ve asked the team at Howler Brothers to help us put together an in-depth travel guide to Austin, Texas replete with places to stay, the best restaurants and bars, and how to spend your time. Plus, if you’re heading into town for a music festival (or any three-day weekend, really), we’ve put together a packing list perfect for Austin. So enjoy your time in Austin and tell Howler Brothers we said hey!
Where to Stay
This is less an Austin, Texas-specific rule but a general travel guideline. Book your lodging relatively close to where you’ll be hanging, eating, and drinking. It’s much better to take a short Uber drive or, better yet, stumble home from that amazing wine bar rather than wake up to the realization that you spent $50 on a taxi ride. So, in Austin’s case, will you be spending time downtown? Bopping around Zilker? Are you in town for SXSW or ACL? Plan out your trip accordingly.
East Austin Hotel – Book Now
Central East Austin
The Carpenter Hotel – Book Now
Hotel San Jose – Book Now
Where to Eat and Drink
Austin is well known for its Tex-Mex and BBQ. And while we wouldn’t necessarily suggest you avoid those (in fact we’ll recommend some favorites shortly), the culinary scene in Austin is vast and delicious. So, let’s kick off your day with some coffee. If you’d prefer a safe bet that everyone knows, check out spots like Houndstooth or Barrett’s. If you need an under-the-radar spot, check out Terrible Love, a coffee trailer parked outside Oddwood Brewing. Or grab coffee and brunch at Patika.
Looking for Tex-Mex and BBQ? We got you. Check out Valentina’s and Franklin. Want to venture outside that comfort zone? Excellent. We’d recommend hitting up Contigo for some “ranch-to-table” fare, June’s All Day for a great lunch and glass of wine, and Kemuri Tatsu-Ya for some dope Japanese food.
Need some booze? Austin happens to have some of the best craft breweries in the country. Swing by Jester King for unbelievable farmhouse ales (and great pizza), Live Oak for lagers, and Pinthouse Pizza for a little of everything. We asked the team at Howler Brothers for their favorite spot and they suggested Hold Out Brewing, a favorite among local craft aficionados. “In addition to cranking out some great beers, this spot also has some of the best grub around,” shared Rick Wittenbraker, Howler Brothers’ CMO. “Don’t miss out on the $5 fried chicken sandwich.”
The perfect late-night spot? Deep Eddy Cabaret. “One of our go-to local watering holes,” Wittenbraker says. “Cheap beer. Amazing jukebox. Awesome vibes. And given that it is just a stone’s throw from Austin City Limits, it is perfect for pre-festival warm up or post-festival revelry.”
What to Do
In addition to great food and drink destinations, Austin is home to the aforementioned South By South West Festival, Austin City Limits music festival, and a bevy of great entertainment options. Catch a film at the Alamo Drafthouse, which was founded here in Austin, Texas. Or, check out an Austin FC match – Austin locals have a ton of pride in their Major League Soccer squad.
There are also some excellent shops around town. Get some serious cookware at Kettle & Brine, pick up some vinyl at Waterloo Records, or grab some natty wine to go at LoLo. Need to pick some fresh threads? Well, you’ve gotta hit up Howler Brothers. “This is our shameless plug for our own killer shop stocked full of everything you will need to tackle the festival weekend and beyond,” shares Wittenbraker “Forget to pack a rain jacket or festival shirt? We have you covered.”
What to Pack
So, whether you’re heading into town to catch Austin City Limits or just planning a long weekend, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve packed the essentials. We teamed up with Howler Brothers so you’ve got everything you need for your next visit to Austin.
Mansfield Shirt $69
Nomadix x Howler Towel $55
Tranquilo Chillshorts $69
New Balance 574 Rugged – $85
Mophie PowerStation – $13
Persol 714SM – $480
Loggerhead Hoodie – $69
Apple AirPods Pro – $180
Aguacero Rain Jacket – $199