Other Stuff to Do in Austin During SXSW
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Originally published February 2012
If you’re heading to Austin, TX this week for anything SXSW, and you really can’t deal with another day full of everyone asking “Where should we eat?” and “What else should we do?”, here is a short list of “Other Stuff to Do in Austin” to make your life easier.
These are non-music recommendations, including eating and drinking spots to consider when you’re over tracking down another wristband or sneaking into another party.
For all music-related suggestions, the professionals at Oh My Rockness have created a site specifically for SXSW, so visit sxsw.ohmyrockness.com and go crazy planning your schedule.
3825 Lake Austin Blvd
This giant Polynesian themed, Mexican restaurant is located right on the lake and serves a mix of “Tiki-Mexican” food alongside oddball tropical drinks. Try to get a table outside so you can watch all the turtles swim underneath the dock and check out the weird floating art.
1920 South Congress Ave
This 24 hour cafe has been featured on numerous cooking and travel shows and serves breakfast all day long and a mix of Tex-Mex, soups, salads, burgers and really good house specials. It’s pretty large and good for groups.
Texas Chili Parlor
1409 Lavaca Street
This no nonsense spot serves other things, but you should just order the chili (or anything with chili on it). Levels of spiciness X through XXX!
1624 Barton Springs Road
A quirky, casual restaurant with tons of outdoor seating with lots of vintage furniture, old signs and a rustic feel. They are known for their burger and specials, so that’s a good place to start on the menu.
400A West 2nd St
Upscale, Mexican street food and tequila bar. Great mix of appetizers, ceviches, taquitos and sides. A good place for groups and shared plates.
1816 South 1st Street
Super casual, Mexican family style restaurant. This place gives you free chips and salsa when you sit down, gigantic bottomless iced tea, and extra large portions. Great, cheap lunch specials too.
For late night drunk cravings or to get your fast food drive-thru fix, this is the place. Cheap tacos, fajitas and quesadillas with a killer salsa bar. It’s open 24 hours a day and it’s cheap as hell and good in the middle of the night. Stick with the basics and you’ll be fine. They also serve beer!
Last year, I put together a list of food carts in Austin. This year I’m defaulting to the locals and suggest you check out the fine folks over at Austin Food Carts and Food Trailers Austin. Austin Food Carts also has a great iPhone app for locating the carts by map and food type. It’s free and available over at iTunes.
Here are a few of my favorite food carts:
Pig Vicious - All bacon everything.
Torchy’s - All taco everything.
Chi'lantro - All Mexican and Korean everything.
Yellow Jacket Social Club
1704 E 5th St
Great outdoor drinking spot with a nice beer list and cocktail menu. They also serve a good selection of food like meats and cheeses, sandwiches, salads and brunch options.
Dog and Duck
406 W 17th St
A proper British neighborhood pub in downtown Austin. Good pints, decent pub food.
Cheers Shot Bar
416 E 6th St
The best place on 6th Street for Jagaerbombs, Jello shots, Mind Erasers, Flaming Doctor Peppers and anything in a test tube. Go here with a big group.
Hotel San Jose
1316 South Congress Ave
The enclosed, well manicured courtyard garden area is a great place to have cocktails and chill out when you need a dive bar break.
Mansion at Judges Hill
1900 Rio Grande
The original building was built in 1900 and turned into a grand mansion in the late 1920s. This historic restaurant and bar serves a mix of upscale American and bar food and is a good place to check out if you feel like classin’ up your SXSW week.
If you have time and it’s really hot outside, you really need to visit Barton Springs. It’s a natural spring pool located in Zilker Park and it’s only minutes from downtown. It’s cheap to get in and you can swim and sunbathe all day! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!