It’s easy to understand why people come from all over the world to experience Austin. Considered the “Live Music Capital of the World;” Austin has everything from “honky-tonks” and nightclubs to boutiques and parks— and basically everything in between. With so many renowned places to see and things to do, Austin locals know the best ways to have a good time. If you truly want to tour Austin like a local, keep reading for our top picks on everything from food to hidden gems.
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Terry Black’s Barbecue
Nothing says classic Texas like good ol’ fashioned barbecue, and Terry Black’s is one of the best places for it. Located just off of South Lamar across from the Butler Metro Park, Terry Black’s offers some of the best bbq in town. Make sure you try their legendary jumbo beef ribs! Terry’s has a dog-friendly patio with a picturesque view of the city, so bring your furry best friend along for delicious bbq and equally great views!
Matt’s El Rancho
You can’t visit Texas without trying TexMex cuisine. One of the best TexMex restaurants in Austin is Matt’s El Rancho. Serving top-notch margaritas since 1952, Matt’s is absolutely a local favorite. We recommend starting with the Bob Armstrong Dip, followed by the Asadero Tacos with a fresh lime margarita. Matt’s is so good that visitors like President Lyndon Johnson and Matthew McConaughey have been spotted enjoying one of their dishes. If it’s good enough for Mr. McConaughey, then it’s more than alright for us!
Moonshine Grille is a restaurant converted from a historic building that offers southern comfort food. What once was the town mercantile now offers a unique and enticing atmosphere for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. We recommend the Creole Shrimp and Grits to feel and eat like a true local southerner.
For arguably the best view of Lake Austin, look no further than Mount Bonnell. Set alongside the famous Colorado River, it’s just a short hike up the mountain to a trail with a spectacular view of the water, hills, and of Austin itself. It’s a perfect outdoor activity with incredible views all the way to the summit!
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Become one with nature without venturing too far from the city at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. At the preserve, you’ll find woods, wildlife, and a peaceful waterfall‒ perfect for an avid hiker and nature lover! Soak up the Texas Hill Country sun right outside the city.
Zilker Park is the perfect place for outdoor activities, water sports, biking, and more. Rent a kayak or paddleboard along the trail, then paddle through the Colorado River where you’ll be met with a stunning view of downtown. Local tips: check out the Lou Neff Point for the best view of the city, and get to Zilker early before the crowds to make the most of your day!
Explore Austin’s Street Art
We put together a list of our favorite public art around the city. Visit each one to soak in the creativity along with the sun and take some selfies for Instagram.
Boot-scoot on over to the Broken Spoke, the oldest dancehall in Austin! Don’t know how to dance? Don’t worry‒ they offer two-step and swing lessons every Wednesday through Saturday. Known as one a “True Texas Dance Halls,” a night at the Broken Spoke will keep you dancing all night long! For the full Austin experience, make sure to wear a pair of cowboy boots!
Hamilton Pool Preserve
You’re in for one of the best hikes Austin has to offer at the Hamilton Pool Preserve. Hike alongside a 50-foot waterfall, stroll into collapsed grotto and canyon, and swim in the gorgeous natural pool. Visits to the preserve are by reservation only, so make sure to sign up to enjoy this incredible experience.
The Shiner Saloon is the perfect crowd pleaser! You’ll find incredible live music and plenty of sports to watch, and their rooftop patio offers a fantastic view of the Austin skyline. Oh, did we mention they have 32 beers on tap (yes, 32!) Check out this rustic downtown bar any day of the week to truly tour Austin like a local.
Established in 1975, Antone’s leads in the live music game and is nicknamed Austin’s “Home of the Blues.” Big names like B.B. King and Ray Charles have played at Antone’s and it continues to be a haven for up-and-coming musicians looking to catch their big break!
Head to this saloon for a beautiful summer night! Moontower has an enormous outdoor seating area and a large stage for live music, plus food trucks and a sand volleyball court. If you’re looking for a mellow vibe to enjoy a drink, live music, and good company, Moontower Saloon has it all!
In the heart of the Hill Country is the Texan Napa Valley. Fredericksburg is known for its beautiful vineyards and wineries, perfect for any honeymoon or couples getaway. Book a stay at a charming Bed & Breakfast and spend your weekend sipping wine, strolling through the picturesque town, and shopping for gorgeous antiques.
Just about an hour and a half north of Austin is the historic city of Waco *partially made famous by the HGTV series “Fixer Upper.” Explore Chip & Joanna Gaines’ empire at the Magnolia Silos, check out the charming shops around town, and take a tour of the famous Dr. Pepper museum. You’re in for a fantastic weekend with activities and sights for the whole family!
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Find Your Dream Austin Apartment
Now that you’re ready to tour Austin like a local, why not become one? Find your new home here and let AptAmigo do all the hard work for you. With innovative technology and the entire AptAmigo team behind you, finding an apartment is a breeze. Just reach out and let us know your preferences and we’ll take care of the rest!