Austin, Texas. This is a road trip I've always wanted to take. When the football home and home against Texas fell through I was extremely bummed. And as much as I'd like to go now, finances and my commitment to make sure the women's hockey team gets as much pub as possible prevents me now. But I know that's not true for all the folks who read TDG. So I asked our Texas based commenters if they might be willing to share their favorite spots in Austin and got back two fantastic responses. So without further delay, I give to you The Daily Gopher's "Minnesota Fan Guide to Austin, Texas!"
Where to Eat:
Where to Stay:
Where to Party:
Other Areas of Interest:
Food Trucks - Much of Austin's best food comes out of food trucks--which may be an odd concept to get used to at first, but trust me when I say it is high quality. Here are a few of my favorites:
G'raj Mahal - Indian
East Side Kings (locations at multiple bars) - Asian fusion
Crepes Mille - they have great savory crepes in addition to sweet crepes; they are open really weird hours, however
Kebobilicious - I first had this after arriving back in Austin after a trip to Istanbul-the kebabs here actually rival what I had in Turkey. One of my favorites.
Non-food truck restaurants:
Franklin Barbecue--you need to wait in line for a few hours, but they serve beer/soda and it is almost like tailgating when you are there waiting. Please trust me when I say this is the best BBQ in the world--which is why people wait in line for 90 minutes or so. Don't even bother with other barbecue places. Franklin is only open for lunch and they are open until they run out of meat--2:00 or so.
Hopdoddy - best burger in America; they grind their own meat, bake their own bread, cut their own potatoes, and everything is fresh, not frozen--try the Llano Poblano; they also make their own ice cream for shakes, the salted caramel is the best
Amy's Ice Cream
Sway - Asian fusion
Fonda San Miguel - great Mexican; not the crappy Tex-Mex stuff, but authentic Mexican, which is actually tough to find. It is a bit out of the way, but a great restaurant. Go with the chicken mole.
Peche - modern American; fantastic cocktails place
Vespaio - GREAT Italian restaurant, which is ironic for Texas, but rivals any I've had anywhere in the US.
Parkside - seafood/steak
Moonshine - southern food
Home Slice Pizza - NY style
Downtown E. 6th Street in Austin is what put the city on the map. It can be a frat party for sure, but there are bands playing in many of the bars and you can see some good ones. This is the best place for people watching as the entire street is one big party.
If you go on the other side of I-35 on E 6th Street there are some spectacular laid back, original Austin places such as Liberty Bar and Shangri La. They are still keeping Austin weird. Both have East Side Kings food there-you won't be disappointed.
W. 6th Street tends to be an older crowd than E 6th Street. And by older, I mean 30ish. All the bars over there tend to be more alike than different. Key Bar is nice and Dogwood has Deep Eddy's Sweet Tea Vodka on tap, which is great when mixed with lemonade. A nice little find that people tend to overlook is Dirty Bill's which as a small but decent beer list and more laid back, but very small.
The 4th/Colorado area is another spot downtown with a plurality of rooftop bars. They aren't hard to find once you are there. Six Lounge and Hanger Bar are rather similar. There is a very cool place called Peche-they make fantastic cocktails and have a good selection of liquor. My girlfriend was pleased to see they even had Templeton Rye there. They also have great food, but it is upscale for sure. Gingerman is a beer lover's heaven and is much more laid back than many other places downtown, but they don't have liquor.
Rainy Street: this is kind of a cool area where most of the bars were once houses, so it feels like a neighborhood. Like many other things in Austin, it has gotten crowded of late. It used to be pretty laid back but it gets to be pretty crowded now. The places over there are fun, however. My favorites are Lustre Pearl and Icenhauer's.
South Congress: If you stay the whole weekend in Austin, walking up and down South Congress is fun thing to do during the day. There are a bunch of food trucks (Hey Cupcake has the best cupcakes I have ever had) and funky shops. Hopdoddy, Vespaio, Home Slice, and Amy's Ice Cream are all located here. If you are out at night, The Continental Club is to Austin's music roots what First Avenue is to Minneapolis. It is a small club with good music and a laid back original Austin vibe. Since the games in Austin are on Friday/Sunday, Doc's is a good sports bar to watch the games on Saturday during the day.
Day of the game: The stadium is a bit isolated from anything. Between sessions on Friday I'm probably going to go to Scholz Garten which is a German beer garden. I recall the wings being pretty good there.
Thanks to both Marshmoose and Rencito for taking the time to write up their recommendations and sharing them with us! Have an Austin favorite to add? Share it in the comments!
You can follow rencito on Twitter (@rencito_4040). Feel free to tweet at him if you're in Austin.