Known as “the world’s largest gathering of creative professionals,” South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual festival, conference and networking event that takes place every March in Austin, Texas. SXSW hosts a number of events throughout its ten days, from music to film to health. If you plan on heading to the festival this year, experience these trending spots and Today’s Best Western during your trip to Texas.
Enjoy an afternoon treat at Gourdough’s
You can’t visit Austin without stopping by Gourdough’s donut shop for a midday snack – located inside of a vintage Airstream. This funky stop is proud of their big, fat donuts that come in flavors like “Fat Elvis,” “Razzle Dazzle” and “Funky Monkey.”
Visit this pizza pioneer for dinner
In crust we trust. Head over to Home Slice to fuel up and enjoy homemade, hand tossed, NY-style pizza by the pie or slice. This hometown favorite is located on South Congress Ave. and has been serving up slices for nearly 20 years.
Take a bite at Forthright
To brunch or not to brunch – is that ever a question? Head to Forthright, a new American café on the banks of the Colorado River and enjoy “honest food, straightforward ingredients and no fuss cocktails.”
Image by @karalynhoover
Don’t miss this iconic mural at Jo’s Coffee South Congress
While tacos are generally not on the menus of most coffee shops, Jo’s makes an exception. Since 1999, this Austin staple has been serving up coffee, sandwiches and, yes, tacos to travelers and locals alike. While their taco-tastic menu definitely sets Jo’s apart, you really can’t miss the iconic piece of street art, the “I Love You So Much” mural, that was created on the side of the shop’s mint green façade.
Like avocado toast? Try an avocado margarita at Curra’s Grill
Home of Austin’s “original avocado margarita,” stop by Curra’s Grill after dinner for a quick cocktail, chips and salsa. If you’re not brave enough to try out an avocado marg, the restaurant also offers a variety of Tex-Mex dishes to sample.
Image by @ashley_schutze
Here to get weird? Head to Handlebar’s quirky rooftop spot
Celebrate your sense of adventure with a handcrafted cocktail at Handlebar. This old school bar offers an all-day Sunday happy hour and an extensive drink menu, with craft cocktails going by names like “Salvador Dali,” “Charlie Chaplin” and “Frida Kahlo.” The bar also offers a see-saw for any brave guest to enjoy.
SUP board across Lady Bird Lake
Beginners and pros are all welcome to stand up paddle board (SUP board) across Austin’s seven reservoirs known as the Highland Lakes. This aquatic sport is easier than it looks and Lady Bird Lake’s calm water makes it the perfect environment to glide across the water. You can burn up to 430 calories leisurely paddle boarding for an hour.
Take a pic for the ‘gram on Baylor Street
Located on the corner of 11th & Baylor in downtown, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is the only paint park in America of its kind. The space was created to provide street artists and muralists a space to display large scale art pieces. If you still haven’t found the perfect photo op after leaving this spot, be sure to check out the “You’re My Butter Half” mural on the corner of MLK & Alamo.
Image by @styleageless
Uncover the magic of the Longhorn Caverns
Drive to Burnet, Texas and experience ‘’the cave of legends” at the Longhorn Caverns. Millions of years ago, an underground river ran through the area and created what is now a vast series of caves – perfect for any modern explorer. Be sure to book your visit ahead of time as cave access is only accessible via walking or wild cave tour.
Image by @alisonmarlborough
Get your hands dirty at the Cathedral of Junk
Thirty years ago, Austin artist Vince Hannemann started building his eclectic Cathedral of Junk. This fabulous castle of, well, trash contains an impressive 60+ tons of junk. There’s always something new to discover in the nooks and crannies of this roadside gem and, in very Austin fashion, you can also find a number of engagement and wedding pictures taken here.
Check out the largest pinball collection in Texas
Get your game on at Austin’s Original Pinballz Arcade. Eat, drink, party and play while enjoying Texas’ largest selection of classic pinball, video games and attractions at this family-friendly spot. Travel tip: Head to their original location on Research Blvd. to enjoy a BYOB policy.
Image by @thebubblelife
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