Y ou've heard the slogan -- Keep Austin Weird. The blue college bubble deep in the red-meat heart of Texas (clap! clap!) built its counterculture rep on the backs of patron saints like cross-dressing homeless hero Leslie (RIP) and green-lunged country legend Willie Nelson, who is thankfully immortal. Ask yourself: How fantastically bizarre must a Texas city be to earn a rep as the weird one?
But the times they are a-scaling. Austin's one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, which means the price of a taco on Airport Blvd has inflated 900% (from 39 cents!) and it's nearly impossible to find authentic Madonna pap smears for sale outside music venues anymore, dismaying fans of Richard Linklater's 1991 proto-Austin city guide Slacker.

Much of the population has the outline of Texas tattooed somewhere on their body.

F irst off, congratulations on making it out of the airport without getting barbecue sauce on your shirt. We understand you couldn't wait for a slab of fatty brisket. Brace yourself now for even better beef in your future.
Austin may be the barbecue capital of the universe, but these days you'd have to be smoking something other than post oak to think that's all there is to eat. Proximity to Mexico means we feast on tons of tacos, breakfast, noon, and night, plus muchos moles, tortas, and chilaquiles. Oh, and we rep two of the best sushi restaurants in the world. And Detroit-style pizza whose crust is somehow both crispy with caramelized cheese yet soft as down on the inside. And a buffet of James Beard-worthy New American restaurants making noodles out of pig face. And craft breweries spewing sours, stouts, and Pearl Snaps, an Austin Beerworks Pils that has become the city's official beer of record.
So bottom line, bring your appetite. And maybe a cooler to take home some of that brisket.
smokey denmark's | Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Amid a profusion of old-school salt-and-pepper rubs, not every stack of post oak-smoked brisket is worth waiting in line for. To separate the moist from the lean, we've compiled a list of the best barbecue you can find in Austin (i.e., the best anywhere). Click here for full article...

Odd Duck | Richard Casteel

Austin offers an infinite number of spots for barbecue, burgers, Tex-Mex, and an embarrassment of other riches. Don't get overwhelmed: We have the best of the best, updated on the regular. Click here for full article...

Tamale House East | Thomas Allison/Thrillist

Narrowing down the essentials in one of the country's most dynamic food cities ain't easy. But we've got your essential cuisines that Austin does as well as anywhere, and the 28 restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops that do them best of all. Click here for full article...

the violet crown social club | thomas allison/thrillist

The rowdy, dumpy charms of Sixth St and the upscale cocktail joints offer an exceptionally well-rounded drinking city. Here are the hottest, newest, and best. Click here for full article...

Hole in the Wall | Thomas Allison/Thrillist

Nowhere in Texas takes kicking back with a Lone Star more seriously than its capital. The drinking scene is popping, whether you dig dives, like to dance with an LGBTQ crowd, or want to sip craft cocktails like a cattle baron. Click here for full article...

By Thrillist Video

Legendary for its exotic-meat hot dogs, Frank also rocks a monstrous side of fries dressed with melted Swiss, sauerkraut, corned beef, and Thousand Island. Click here for full article...

By Thrillist Video

Three types of chili (ancho! Chipotle! Cascabella!) mix with crisped ground beef and a handful of secret spices. Then the whole mess is poured into a bag of Fritos. Click here for full article...

By Thrillist Video

This most formidable of breakfast tacos delivers fried eggs, refried beans, a slice of bacon, potatoes, and a decadent slice of mesquite-smoked brisket. Click here for full article...

Y ou're going to need to fall into a food coma somewhere, and thankfully Austin's booming festival economy means our hotel and Airbnb capacity far exceeds most other mid-sized cities. Expect to pay significantly more during South by Southwest or Austin City Limits, especially at Airbnbs. But a new crop of Downtown hotels means plenty of options if you're into fresh towels and pillow chocolates.

Every neighborhood here has its own distinct charm -- and more often than not, its own struggle in the face of this city's lightning-fast growth. Austinites explain their parts of town: how they used to be, how they've changed, and why they endure. Click here for full article...

O K, let's be honest, you're traveling here for SXSW/ACL/F1/some conference on microchip dog trackers, right? Despite our "Don't Move Here" T-shirts, we welcome visitors with open arms (and spare bedrooms on Airbnb). Now that you're in the 512, the easiest path to going local is to pretend you're as friendly as the average Texan. Expect a neighborly wave from the men who regularly ride their horses down Cesar Chavez Str and a personal two-step lesson from an 80-year-old cowboy at the Broken Spoke.

U of T is a central choice for lodging if your visit is academic or footballic in nature


South by Southwest is a blowout of secret-show rumors, hashtags, RSVPs, booze, brands, tacos, speakers, tech, barbecue, beer, and free stuff. So don't fall into one of these 10 pitfalls that'll make SXSW terrible. Click here for full article...

Body Rock ATX | Flickr/nomi joy

Underneath the progressive vibes of SXSW and the musical options of Austin City Limits, Austin struggles to live up to its own hype. There's a reason one of the first things visitors ask is, "Where are all the black people?" Click here for full article...

Gina Chavez at Austin City Limits | Gary Miller/Getty Images

Says the Austin Musician of the Year winner: "Austin has a long way to go in terms of diversity. Most of the people moving here have the same backgrounds. The same amount of money in their pockets." Click here for full article...

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A ustin's in the middle of Hill Country, which has inspired hardcore cyclists like Lance Armstrong, and discouraged casual bike riders like... you. But despite the hills, our B-cycle bike-sharing program is a great way to see the city. Just expect to glisten with sweat when you arrive at your destination.
Otherwise, you'll probably find Austin's transportation options lacking. Locals try not to rely on the bus system and light rail, and a regulatory showdown with ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft led those companies to shut down service. New ones popped up overnight, with Fasten and Ride Austin being the most popular. It's definitely possible to make due without a car, but if you want to make it to dinner at Barley Swine after dipping in Barton Springs without spending $50 on the ride, it's best to rent a vehicle.
S o you've eaten your weight in brisket, seen a band that's 10 minutes from blowing up, and slammed a Lone Star in every neighborhood in town. What now?
Make like an out-of-date stereotype from Slacker and just wander around, that's what. Be it in Downtown, South Congress, East Austin, or just around Lady Bird Lake, you're bound to run into something that catches your eye. Maybe it's Waterloo Records, one of the nation's best places to buy a record, CD, or Willie Nelson biography. Or Birds Barbershop on the east side for a quick trim (and free beer!). On South Congress, Uncommon Objects is the ultimate browser's antique shop, and there are at least two places to be fitted for a pair of cowboy boots. If you prefer scanning listings to merely stumbling around, consult Do512 for the most comprehensive all-purpose encyclopedia of fun.

We all bleed barbecue sauce here.

The Mohawk | Flickr/Bill Oriani

In typical Texan understatement, Austin likes everyone to know it's the Live Music Capital of the World. With a claim like that, a city has to have the goods to back it up. Wouldn't you know, these 11 places actually do. Click here for full article...

Barton Creek Greenbelt | Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

Austinites tend to be guarded about revealing their favorite local nature spots. But what the hey, I'll let you in. Here are some choice cuts that other locals might not tell you about right away. Click here for full article...


In the past generation, "Keep Austin Weird" has become an unofficial slogan and battle cry. The weirdness is under threat, but these small businesses, oddball landmarks, and standout quirks still give this city its character. Click here for full article...

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