GOT AUSTIN: Live Like a Local

GOT AUSTIN: Live Like a Local

Whether you’re an Austinite that knows how to keep a secret and already loves these spots or you’re a newbie in search of new adventures, these local gems are scattered across the city just waiting to be found! We’re sharing some of Austin’s best-kept secrets below!


First things first, here are a few tips for understanding the locals.

Austinite – Austin natives are not Austonians or Austiners. Always, and only, use the term Austinite.

Guadalupe – The street is pronounced GWA-da-LOOP the “e” is silent.

Keep Austin Weird – Austin’s theme and motto, celebrating Austin’s creative spirit and small-town roots.

Mopac – The Mopac Expressway is usually identified on street signs and road maps as LOOP 1. It is nicknamed for the Missouri Pacific Railroad that runs alongside it.

SoCo – The area along South Congress Avenue between the river and Ben White, with a thriving community of restaurants, shops, and boutique hotels.

The Drag – The strip of Guadalupe Street directly west of The University of Texas campus is commonly called “The Drag”.

Town Lake – This body of water located in downtown Austin has been renamed Lady Bird Lake, but Austinites will still refer to it as Town Lake.


Below are the can’t-miss dishes that everyone talks about. Each one is worth a visit on their own!

Avocado Margarita at Curra’s Grill – Known for their authentic and traditional Mexican cuisine, Curra’s has gained a following from its delicious yet odd-sounding margarita. It has been described as one part milkshake, one part guacamole, and one part tequila goodness.

Biscuits at Olamie – After years of being a secret item, the famous fluffy biscuits at Olamaie, which come with honey butter, have earned their rightful place on the menu.

Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt’s El Rancho – Named after local politician, Bob Armstrong, this dip is a delicious combination of queso, guacamole, and taco meat.

Brisket from Franklin Barbecue – Austin’s most talked-about and craved dish, Aaron Franklin’s magically delicious brisket has come to define the city across the country and world. Insider Tip: Avoid the line by placing an advanced pickup order online.

Cinnamon Roll from Nate’s Baked Goods – The gluten-free cinnamon roll with cinnamon glaze, at this cozy central Austin coffee shop, makes waking up in the morning just a little bit sweeter. Insider Tip: Order ahead for a full batch of their frozen take-and-bake cinnamon rolls.

Chocolate Chip Cookies at Tiny Boxwoods – These crisp-edged and gooey-centered cookies at this Bryker Woods eatery are best served warm with a glass of milk and will never disappoint! Insider Tip: You can also buy some frozen cookie dough to bake their cookies in your own oven!

Migas Tacos at Cisco’s – An Austin institution made from a recipe that hasn’t changed since the 1950s: eggs, cheese, and vegetables served with refried beans and your choice of tortillas or biscuits. Insider Tip: Get the biscuits!

Omakase at Toshokan – Hidden in plain sight, within the popular eastside venue Native Hostel and Bar, this 14-course omakase sushi speakeasy serves only six diners at a time. Insider Tip: Reservations to Toshokan are released on the first of the month, usually at midnight. Be ready, they go fast!


Keeping Austin Weird is a way of life. Here are some activities to experience the city’s unique culture.

Alamo Drafthouse – By movie lovers, for movie lovers! From quoting along with your favorite movies to dressing up in costumes, enjoy these very Austin movie screenings. Insider Tip: Make sure to visit one of their Master Pancake Theater screenings where they pair questionable movies with live comedy.

Blue Starlite Mini Drive-In – What’s better than watching a movie under the stars? This boutique drive-in theater is for the next generation of movie lovers with programming all year long.

Broken Spoke – If you want to do the Texas two-step, this is the place to go. This dance hall is internationally known as an authentic honky-tonk with live music and boot-scootin’. Insider Tip: Head to the dance hall early for dance lessons with Terri White on Wednesday – Saturday from 8-9 PM.

Chicken Sh** Bingo – It is exactly what it sounds like. Join in on this Sunday tradition at Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon with drinking and country music.

Pinballz Arcade – Play your heart out at Pinballz Arcade which offers a huge assortment of classic and new arcade gameplay. Insider Tip: Pinballz Arcade is also BYOB!


In Austin, we love embracing our local businesses. Check out these shops for some unique finds.

ATX Rugs – Offering a curated selection of one-of-a-kind Turkish rugs. Insider Tip: Be sure to follow their social media for their rug show announcements.

Austin Flower Co. – This wholesale plant and flower store offers diverse blooms and always has plenty to choose from in their cooler.

BookPeople – The leading independent bookstore in Texas whose goal is to build a community bound together by books. Insider Tip: They offer many book clubs that cover a variety of genres, from kids’ books to classic fiction to mystery – and just about everything in between!

Hearth & Soul – A carefully selected collection of simple, modern, and classic items perfect for yourself, your home, or someone important in your life. Insider Tip: From live music to shop-and-sips, join this Tarrytown shop for a variety of virtual and in-person events.

Howler Brothers – From buttons to patches to patterns to pockets, Howler Brothers designs everything they make in Austin – a place that provides daily inspiration with its vibrant and diverse creative culture.

The Renner Project – Get ready to be inspired at this 5,000-square-foot store and studio offering high-style twentieth-century modern, vintage, and antique pieces curated and presented in a series of constantly changing roomscapes.

Take Heart – East Austin boutique that values the energy and craftsmanship put into items created by small businesses and artists.

Tecovas – With each pair of boots crafted in over 200 handmade steps, these high-quality boots are timeless in their design making them never go out of style.


Even the youngest among us (and the young at heart) can enjoy Austin. Here are some great activities geared toward kids.

Pease Park – Offering the quintessential “urban park” experience with a new interactive water feature, a Treehouse Observation Pod, a nature play area, a new playground, and a brand new basketball court. Insider Tip: From Squirrel Fest to toddler yoga, Pease Park hosts various free events.

Peter Pan Mini Golf – Operating since 1948, this family attraction features a variety of characters, obstacles, and surprises on two 18-hole courses. Insider Tip: Feel free to bring a cooler, just no glass containers!

Pioneer Farms – An authentic living-history experience aimed to preserve and interpret the Lone Star State’s storied history and diverse culture. Insider Tip: For an adrenaline rush, book one of their guided ghost tours that happens every third Saturday of the month.

Thinkery: Children’s Museum – An evolution of the Austin Children’s Museum, Thinkery is Austin’s home for “why” and “how.” It’s a place where science and families play side by side.

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center – Tucked away just 30 miles from downtown Austin, this 76-acre non-profit nature preserve features guided hikes, an enchanting fern-lined dripping spring, a waterfall, and more. Insider Tip: Discover what goes on during the night at Westcave Preserve by booking a night tour!

Wonderspaces – Featuring 12 immersive, interactive, and conversation-provoking installations created by artists from all over the world. Wonderspaces is appropriate for everyone and all ages are encouraged to attend!

ZACH Theatre – The home for creativity in Austin, ZACH Theatre creates exceptional theatre experiences that inspire and engage the Austin community. Insider Tip: Come experience everyone’s favorite cat in their current production of Cat in the Hat until April 23rd.


There is lots to do in Austin no matter the time of day. Check out just a few of the great night spots around town.

Donn’s Depot – It’s a dance hall. It’s a honky tonk. It’s a piano bar… even a wedding chapel. Generations of people have twirled to live music six days a week ranging from country to funk to rock and roll. Insider Tip: Mark your calendars for Thursday nights to see Donn Adelaman, the owner, play with his band.

Elephant Room – In the heart of old downtown Austin, sidle down a few steps into this underground bar and breathe in jazz. Insider Tip: Go Sunday through Thursday, when the bar is less crowded.

The Garage – An unassuming bar crafting inventive cocktails located in, you guessed it – a parking garage. Insider Tip: Once in the parking garage, keep following the path upwards until you stumble upon the entrance of the bar. Reservations are encouraged!

Justine’s Brasserie – Whether you dining inside the rich, velvet-draped interior or on the darkly lit patio, be sure to indulge in all of their offerings such as steaks, snails, and classic creme brûlée. Insider Tip: This is the place to go to late at night as they are open until 2 AM on weekends.

Kerby Lane Cafe – Austin’s favorite 24/7 diner known for its expansive diner menu full of pancakes, breakfast dishes, sandwiches, queso, and late-night dining. Insider tip: Get the gingerbread pancakes!

The Roosevelt Room – Located in the heart of downtown Austin’s Warehouse District, The Roosevelt Room has an expansive craft cocktails list and a satisfying food menu. Insider Tip: Sit at the bar to watch the bartenders work their magic. Also, if you’re hungry, get the grilled cheese!


With an average of 228 sunny days per year, Austin offers a multitude of ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Circuit of the Americas – Do you have a need for speed?  Set in the rolling hills outside of Austin, COTA hosts some of the biggest names in racing and action sports. Insider Tip: Join cyclers of all levels for Bike Night, a fun-filled biking adventure on their Formula 1 track. After dark, the fun continues with a tailgate.

Community Cinema & Amphitheater – Where film, family, and fun come together! Located in the Community First! Village countryside, this outdoor cinema, and the amphitheater has become a Friday night favorite.

LBJ Wildflower Center – Stop and smell the flowers! Explore the native plants of Texas while birdwatching on miles of wildflower-rimmed trails. Insider Tip: Try their Date Night Package for their current Field of Light exhibit which includes two tickets, a charcuterie board from The Austin Epicure, drink tickets, and more.

SUP ATX: Paddleboarding – Whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, it doesn’t matter! Depart from the Texas Rowing Center and begin your journey down the Colorado River. Insider Tip: No reservations are needed, just show up!

UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum – Celebrating the work of Charles Umlauf, this museum displays over 50 sculptures across a tranquil 6-acre garden near Barton Springs. Insider Tip: They offer “family days” each month that are filled with sculpture searches, a craft, and free admission for visitors of all ages!

Waterloo Park – Eleven acres of lush green space in the heart of downtown featuring hike-and-bike trails, stunning Hill Country Gardens, welcoming gathering spaces, and of course, the 5,000-capacity Moody Amphitheater. Insider Tip: From self-care Sundays to kid’s storytime, the park offers various free events and classes throughout each month.

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