In Austin for SXSW? Howdy! Welcome to The State Capitol of Texas and The Live Music Capital of the World. Whether this is your first time visiting or you’re a regular, I’m sure you can agree that this city is absolutely incredible and has so much to offer.

If you play your cards right, you can experience an entire SXSW without paying for food or drink. However, you’ll be tired of small plates by Sunday. Take some time out of your day and experience our favorite authentic Austin Recommendations.

List compiled by Intern and University of Texas Senior, Brittany Fietsam.


Kerbey Lane

Magnolia Cafe

Austin Java

Jo’s Coffee

Juan In A Million


  • Serves crazy donut creations out of a vintage airstream. 
  • Menu | Directions

VooDoo Doughnut

  • Keeps donuts weird in a colorful, quirky environment.
  • Menu | Directions




  • Uses a whole bottle of champagne in $10 Manmosas on Sundays. Also has live music. 
  • Menu | Directions


  • Tip: Photo opportunity in front of their hedge wall. 
  • Menu | Directions

Easy Tiger

Snooze an A.M. Eatery 


Texas Chili Parlor

  • Tip: Great chili and Adam’s favorite hole in the wall restaurant in Austin! Located near the UT AT&T Conference Center.  
  • Menu | Directions

Lucy’s Fried Chicken

  • Tip: Will have live music on the patio during SXSW. 
  • Menu | Directions

Home Slice

Shoal Creek Saloon

Scholz Garten 

  • Was established in 1866 after the Civil War and is one of the oldest operating businesses in Texas. 
  • Menu | Directions

East Side King

P. Terry’s 

  • Tip: Arguably better than In-N-Out Burgers. They also have really tasty shakes. 
  • Menu | Directions

Whole Foods

Toss Pizzeria & Pub

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Cabo Bob’s 

  • Tip: Best burritos around and they won’t leave you hungry. 
  • Menu | Directions


Perry’s Steakhouse 

  • Tip: Amazing pork chop special on Friday afternoon and on Sundays. 
  • Menu | Directions

Ranch 616

El Alma


  • Tip: Must try the Stuffed Avocado and Mexican Martinis. Also, sit at the bar for 20% off your entire ticket. 
  • Trifecta Challenge: Drink the 2 martini max at all 3 central Austin locations. 
  • Menu | Directions

El Arroyo 

  • Tip: Happy hour margaritas are $2.00 (M-F, 2-6pm). Known for their witty sign out front. 
  • Menu | Directions

Hula Hut

Shady Grove

  • Austin inspired home cooking under a relaxing pecan grove. 
  • Menu | Directions

Abel’s On the Lake

  • Good food and great view of Lake Austin, but sometimes the service is slow. 
  • Menu | Directions


  • Tip: Located within walking distance of 6th Street. Karaoke and Sake bombs are always a great way to start the night. 
  • Menu | Directions


Best BBQ & Steak 

Coopers BBQ

  • Tip: It’s very easy to size up couple of pounds worth of BBQ and end up with a $40 bill. Ask for 1/4 to 1/2 pound portions.
  • Menu | Directions

Franklin Barbecue

  • Tip: Opens at 11am but line starts around 9am and they always sell out. While this is “world class,” the line may deter from the overall experience. 
  • Menu | Directions


La Barbecue

Bob’s Steak & Chop House

Steiner Ranch Steakhouse

Salt Lick 



Best Queso

Kerbey Lane

Torchy’s Tacos


Best Coffee Shops

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters

Dominican Joe

Monkey Nest


Breweries & Distilleries

Deep Eddy’s Distillery 

  • Tip: Schedule a tour before you go. Has a fun hangout area outside with cornhole and other games available. 
  • Website | Directions

Hops & Grains

Uncle Billy’s

Zilker Brewing Company 

Austin Beerworks



Driskill Hotel Bar 


  • Tip: On Sundays they have the best, most upbeat live music on Rainey. For a Sunday Funday, brunch at Banger’s then walk down the street to Icenhauer’s. 
  • Menu | Directions

Mean Eyed Cat 

  • Bar dedicated to Johnny Cash and Stubbs BBQ available. 
  • Menu | Directions

Star Bar

  • Known for their over-the-top “Hail Mary” bloody Mary. Only offered on Sundays. 
  • Menu | Directions


The Outdoors

Paddle Boarding

Hamilton Pool Preserve

  • Tip: Bring your camera. Natural pool created by an underground river that collapsed thousands of years ago. Requires a reservation. 
  • Website | Directions

The Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake

Mount Bonnell 

The State Capitol 

Barton Springs Pool 

Before you leave 6th Street… 

  • Roppolo’s Pizza: the best late night pizza of your life. Well worth the $5 slice after a night downtown. 
  • Directions


Get Around Without Uber & Lyft

Tip: Usually easy to find promotion codes for the apps, especially for first time users. 

*Visit Do512 to find more about local events around town.