The Austin Chronicle is the alternative weekly.
Obviously most folks already know the South by Southwest music festival in mid March.
Regional Candy Store-
Lammes Candies-Lammes Candies-5330 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751 (512) 453-2899 famous for pralines, longhornes and peppermint kisses
Austin is famous for the music, with tons of clubs around. Sixth Street is the center of it, resembling New Orleans on weekend evenings with a pedestrian only passage. Fourth Street is more for the martini set. The Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe) is a decent campus-area club.
There is the Continental Club (1315 S. Congress) in South Austin with good very diverse shows.
When I visited Austin, we hung out at a multi level club on 6th street called Maggie Mays. Downstairs was a cover band playing radio favorites, while upstairs was an original band called Rosemarys Color Wheel. I was not crazy about the name, but the music was great. I wonder where they are now?
Austin bands I have seen recently and enjoyed: Kino eye and the Octopus Project.
Antone’s (213 W. 5th) Blues, the club features world-class blues, R&B and soul.
Spider House Cafe and Ballroom -quirky bar/cafe known for its poetry slams & live music. 2908 Fruth St, Austin, TX 78705 (512) 480-9562
HOTEL VEGAS -A venue decorated with gold wallpaper & taxidermy features DJs, live music & a patio. 1500 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
29th Street Ballroom at Spider House-2906 Fruth St., Austin, TX.
The Sidewinder-715 River Road, Austin
Stay Gold -1910 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Other than music
Cloak Room 1300 Colorado St., Austin, 512/472-9808 -dark basement bar near the state capitol . drinking, smoking , and low talking. Good makeout place.
The Dog & Duck (406 W. 17th at Guadalupe) is a campus/capitol area pub enormously popular with all ages, as is the downtown bar Lovejoy’s.
The nearby Velveeta Room (521 E. 6th) hosts comics. Johnny Hardwick (the voice of Dale on “King of the Hill”)polished his material here.
Big shows perform at the Frank Erwin Center, Bates Recital Hall and Bass Concert Hall (University of Texas campus) and at downtown’s Paramount Theatre (713 Congress) and the Austin Music Hall (208 Nueces). The Music Hall’s sister venue is the Backyard (1301 W. Hwy 71) outside of town, closes for the season, while Southpark Meadows (6800 S. Interstate 35) is the scene for festivals.
More Live Music
Barracuda-611 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
Beerland -old-school club for rock & punk shows & pool, plus Monday rock ‘n’ roll karaoke. Address: 711 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701(512) 479-7625
Carousel Lounge -Circus-themed lounge with live music, beer & wine, plus mixers for BYOL. 1110 E 52nd St, Austin, TX 78723
Empire Control Room & Garage-606 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701 Home of the annual Austin Instrumental music fest.
Hard Luck Lounge – 3526 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702-also has a “lowbrow art market”
The Parish -214 E Sixth St, Austin, TX 78701
Casino El Camino-517 E. 6th Street-Burger joint with colorful crowd.
Ritz Theatre Lounge-320 E. Sixth St. 512-474-2270-Old theater/hangout
La Zona Rosa 612 W. 4th Street Austin 512.263.4240
Emo’s (603 Red River) punk palace
Flamingo Cantina (515 E. 6th) Reggae Mon.
Stubbs (801 Red River) is two blocks past Emo’s; eat barbecue and stay for the music from George Clinton to George Jones.
Waterloo 600 A. North Lamar Blvd. 512-474-2500
End of An Ear – 4304 Clawson Rd, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 462-6008
Guadalupe Street in the West Campus area of UT is called The Drag and is jam-packed with stores and shops of every sort. Recommended stops include Toy Joy(2900 Guadalupe St), a time machine of toys. Oat Willie’s is the town’s original head shop. Wild About Music carries stuff from art to CDs, if it reflects music in Austin, you’ll find it there.
Just about 20 blocks south across the bridge is the shopping enclave of South Congress. Stores include New Bohemia clothing store, costumes and retro-wear at Electric Ladyland, but only across the street at Under the Sun for western wear. Lots of cool antique shops, too.
Readers check out BookPeople (603 North Lamar Blvd), South Congress Books and the many locations of Half-Price Books. BookPeople hosts many book signings.
Austin Books & Comics – 5002 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78751 (512) 454-4197
Turquoise Door – 1208 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 804-0618-Native inspired jewelery.
Blackmail- 1202 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (512) 804-5881-Gothy clothes and jewelery
Tesoros Trading Company -folk art, furniture, jewelry & curios from around the globe. 1500 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704: (512) 447-7500
Going bat crazy
The coolest, most unusual sight in Austin is totally free, though seasonal. When the Congress Bridge was rebuilt in the ’80s, its new design offered a flock of Mexican freetail bats a home in the under-structure.
Around sunset, hordes of bats going out on their nightly feed has grown into hundreds of thousands, Flying into the evening sky.
People line up just before sunset along the Congress bridge and A bat-watching area is set up below the southwest corner of the bridge with seating and information on the bats. Just go south of the river on the bridge and look for the large sculpture of a bat on a median to the right; the viewing area is across the street to the left. Beware though, if it rains, the show won’t happen.
For barbecue its Ruby’s. They use organic meats and the restaurant smokes ’em ’til they fall apart. Make a stop before you fly out and get a sandwich to go, then eat it on the plane. Address: 512 W. 29th, 512-477-1651
Franklins is the famous one of the moment with huge lines and they run out so forget that and do the others
Also on the BBQ Front-Kreuz Market-619 N. Colorado St. , Lockhart, TX 512-398-2361. Lockhart is actually 30 minutes from Austin. Its a town that hasnt changed in decades and is known as the BBQ capitol of the world. Other BBQ places in Lockhart are Blacks and Smittys.
Iron Works -100 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 478-4855
Lambert’s Downtown Barbeque -401 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 494-1500
Sam’s BBQ – 2000 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 478-0378-Classic non hipster bbq joint open a little later than the others.
Micklethwait Craft Meats – BBQ Trailer with outdoor picnic tables famous for different sausages and its beef rib. 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702 Monday Closed, dailty 11AM–6PM Sunday 11AM–3PM (512) 791-5961
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ -11500 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78748 (512) 221-4248-Legit bbq but also can get the meats in taco form. Served out of a truck with picnic tables.
Casino El Camino 517 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 , bar on the busy sixth st with green chili cheeseburgers, fried hot dogs and their chili cheese fries are made with a green tomatillo sauce instead
P. Terrys is a local burger chain with most locations having a retro diner flair.
24 Diner – 600 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703 (512) 472-5400 24 hour diner with great chicken and waffles
El Azteca Restaurant -old-school Tex-Mex,enchiladas , margaritas. Since 1963 2600 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702(512) 477-4701
Freedmen’s-Saloonlike cocktail lounge & beer garden in circa-1869 landmark building with vintage decor.2402 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705(512) 220-0953 bar with great bbq wo the wait and a brisket burger!
Launderette -in a converted gas station/Laundromat. 2115 Holly St, Austin, TX 78702
(512) 382-1599 home of the famous Plancha burger-American cheese, special sauce, and pickles. also great dessert.
Marias Taco Xpress-Mexican joint run by an argentinian woman where you can get tacos and top them with Chimichura sauce. 2529 S. Lamar, 444-0261 www.tacoxpress.com
Jovita’s is Tex-Mex all the way with a bonus: it has a stage that features some of the best music in town. 1619 South First 512-447-7825 $4.95 and up
Salt Lick BBQ -BYOB at this venerable cash-only, BBQ spot with a rustic setting & live music outdoors. 18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619
The Texicalli Grille offers no-frills Southern-style cooking like chicken-fried steak. 534 E. Olto, Phone: 512-442-2799 $3.95 and up
Texas Chili Parlor-1409 Lavaca Street Austin, TX 78701, (512) 472-2828
The two locations of Threadgill’s are named for musician Kenneth Threadgill, spiritual father of Austin’s folk music scene. The north location features a shrine to Janis Joplin, who performed in the renovated gas station in the ’60s. The south location pays homage to Austin’s legendary music hall, the Armadillo World Headquarters. Diner food extraordinaire.
Address: 301 W. Riverside; 6416 N. Lamar, 512-472-9304 (south); 512-451-5440 (north)
Hoover’s Home Cooking is the home of the best chicken-fried steak in town- 2002 Manor Rd, Phone: 512-479-5006 $4.95 and up
La Barbecue -1906 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702(512) 605-9696 Good brisket and chipolte slaw. Only open WED to Sunday
Texas French Bread also has locations all over town. The breakfast-and-lunch crew crowd in every morning for coffee, freshly baked croissants, bagels and other goods to warm the tummy. Grab some of the Texas-shaped butter cookies for a treat later.
Address: 1722 S. Congress; 2900 Rio Grande
Phone: 512-440-1122; 512-499-0544
Price: $1 and up
Fran’s Hamburgers (1822 S. Congress), a cool, locally owned burger stand. You’ll see them around town as Fran’s or Dan’s; they’re all good and they’re all cheap.
Green Pastures (811 West Live Oak)-Southern Cuisine on an old plantation. Very Pretty.
Star Seeds (3101 North I-35) 24 hour vintage diner with art and a funky waitstaff.
For the Vegans-
Koriente -621 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 275-0852-Pan asian vegan
Alamo Drafthouse Theater (409 Colorado Street) Why cant we have one of these? Art and Cult film house with bar and food service.
Barton Springs Pool (2201 Barton Springs Rd) 68 degree natural freshwater swimming pool.
THIS PLACE IS COOL AND REASONABLE!
Austin Motel-1220 South Congress Avenue. 2 story red brick motel loaded with 40s Kitsch and themed rooms.
San Jose Hotel-Shared or private baths-1316 South Congress-Hipster gathering place. Bar Action.
Denton County Burger Company-113 West Hickory-940-383-1022 They make their burgers with shredded cheese on top.
Mazalan Restaurant-1928 N. Ruddell-940-566-1718-Mexican
El Matador-720 W. University-940-387-1137-more Mexican
Mr. Chopsticks-1120 W. Hickory-940-382-5437-unfortunately named chinese with cheap food.
Mr. Gattis Pizza on the Square-118 West Oak-940-383-0944-Pizza with live bands in a tiny basement.
San Antonio, TX
The Local alternative paper is the San Antonio Current.
Finally I remember the Alamo. If you are in San Antonio, you will go there so just give in. I went there when I was little, but I didn’t remember it. Seriously.
First of all, a half hour north of San Antonio is the town of New Braunfels, TX. It is home to two wonderful things. One is the most amazing waterpark ANYWHERE, ANYPLACE! Its called Schlitterbahn and its actually 3 waterparks, 2 of them share one parking lot while the other is a mile away. Schlitterbahn invented what is called a “watercoaster” which is a slide which shoots you uphill using water. They have these featured all over the two newer parks. The third park is most unusual. Its built on the side of a hill and takes advantage of the terrain and its location on a river. They have numerous “tube chutes” where you ride inner tubes through troughs of water which are sometimes gentle, sometimes rapids, all of them fun and relaxing and never boring. One of them runs an hour!! You must go here! MUST!!
Also in New Braunfels, is the New Braunfels Smokehouse, what else? A bbq place-New Braunfels Smokehouse (The Original), Corner of Hwy 46 & I-35 Phone (830) 625-2416
Back to San Antonio, they have a pretty decent amusement park Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It has a great tower drop ride and log flume and is built inside an old rock quarry. They have a wave pool in the shape of texas, but there is no way to see that to confirm it since its so far from anything with height.
Tip: Buy a six flags seasons pass, and you can visit 3 parks in texas for the price of one in the triangle of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
They also have a SEA WORLD with a couple of good rollercoasters.
I happened to be on a meat quest when I was on my Texas trip, so I had mucho BBQ but no mexican. So I ate at Rudy’s Country Store (various locations-one at 24152 W Ih 10 at: IH-10 and Boerne Stage Road-tel: (210) 698-2141. You order meat by the pound and put sauce on it yourself. The Pork Loin was bland and dry when I went but it was pretty good. Caution: Beware of overordering. Try things in quarter pound increments, for we wound up with two much food. No Frills here either.
I also hit a real sit down chain called the County Line BBQ-many locations in San Antonio. There was too much to choose from, but they have cheap good peel and eat shrimp, smoked prime rib yum and lots more in a less authentic but good atmosphere. Great baby backs. They had good looking desserts, but what-are you kidding me? I can only eat so much.
And for steak, I went to the Texas Land & Cattle Steakhouse, 60 NE Loop 410 at: McCullough Ave-tel: (210) 342-4477 and many other locations statewide. Yummy Mesquite grilled steaks, served with amazing garlic mashed potatoes swimming in butter and texas toast points, which you are to dip in the butter atop the potatoes. Then they have the JACK DANIELS PIE which is not a pie at all but a caserole mess of chocolate chips and brownie, topped with jack daniels covered with chocolate chip cookie dough which is then baked then SMOTHERED in ice cream. Best when shared so you don’t pass out from the sugar rush.
Walk around Market Square (W. Commerce at Santa Rosa) for galleries, restaurants, bars and a Mexican market, where you can tacky souveniers.
The River Walk is a very touristy area, basically a canal with little cruise boats and tons of bars and restaurants. Its right across the street from the Alamo, so you can’t really miss it.
The best restaurant on the River Walk is said to be Boudro’s (421 E. Commerce, 210-224-8484)- a hybrid of New Orleans and Texas cooking, and always packed. Reasonably priced.
Rosario’s-910 S Alamo St-San Antonio, (210) 223-1806-said to have the best margarita, as well as the best mexican food in all of San Antonio.
Schilo’s Delicatessen -a historical landmark, and the best place for soup or homemade root beer. 424 E Commerce St. San Antonio, TX (210) 223-6692
Acapulco Drive-inn & Catering 609 S. Alamo St. San Antonio (210)224-2452-Cheap, outside beer joint with picnic tables and great chips and refried bean dip.
Liberty Bar-328 E. Josephine St. San Antonio (210)227-1187-Tasty, decor free southwestern food. CHEAP!! Local favorite.
Nightlife centers around the River Walk. Lots of Bars, and it’s safe most hours of the night.
Dick’s Last Resort (406 Navarro, 210-224-0026) the River Walk is big with young tourists and conventioneers. They have live music on most nights.
Market Square is also full of bars and “cantinas” and you can find great margaritas everywhere.
Also, St. Mary’s Strip (2400 North St, Mary’s near Hwy. 281) has a big selection of bars, nightclubs and restaurants and a ton of live music.
Blue Star Arts Complex-1420 S Alamo -San Antonio-Old warehouses converted to Galleries. Said to be the best in SA.
Adams House Bed & Breakfast Inn-231 Adams St, San Antonio (210) 224-4791-Highly recommened hotel with rooms about 100 dollars. You may be able to get a AAA discount.
Painted Lady -620 Broadway St. San Antonio (210)220-1092-another B&B with charm and a Liberace room. Hmmm