South Austin is what locals like to call a "taste of old Austin." Quaint houses, old-school boutiques, iconic restaurants and new eateries by some of the city's top up-and-coming chefs populate this lively nook. Head here to get away from the crowds and decompress in Austin's largest city park.
Radio Coffee & Beer. Courtesy of Visit Austin.
Start your day with an iced turbo coffee from Jo’s Coffee and a selfie snapped in front of the famous I love you so much mural on South Congress Avenue. Or, head to Radio Coffee & Beer to sip on craft coffee (or a vacation breakfast beer!) and nosh on an award-winning taco from Veracruz All Natural on the expansive patio, or grab a snack from beloved food truck Dee Dee Thai.
Carpenters Hall: Located inside a converted union building, this restaurant offers fresh takes on Texas fare.
Evangeline Cafe: Take in the relaxed atmosphere, musicians, patio seating and generous portions of Cajun food at the iconic Evangeline Cafe.
Lick Honest Ice Creams: Looking for a sweet treat? Lick brings sustainable scoops to Austin, with milk from local dairies.
Loro. Courtesy of Visit Austin.
Loro: This Asian smokehouse balances Texas barbecue with fresh Eastern flavors.
Mattie's: Indulge in upscale Southern fare inside a historic Victorian mansion. Insider tip: search around the grounds for the majestic all-white peacock that calls Mattie's home.
Matt's El Rancho: Matt's has been serving Tex-Mex since 1952. Try signature menu items like the Bob Armstrong queso and El Rancho Rita.
Plaza Colombian Coffee: Head to Plaza Colombian's colorful patio for coffee and tiki drinks, plus tasty Colombian snacks.
Taste of Ethiopia: Sample authentic Ethiopian food (with your hands) at Taste of Ethiopia.
Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ: Two Austin staples in one, Valentina’s offers a simple but unique menu that does not disappoint, with your choice of Tex barbecue and tasty Mex fare.
Courtesy of Meanwhile Brewing Co.
LIVE MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
The live music scene is thriving in South Austin. At Saxon Pub, enjoy nightly music in this longtime Austin Venue. Armadillo Den brings bands to a three-acre beer garden and event space, while Moontower Saloon next door hosts bands and league volleyball on their sand courts. The huge backyards at The Far Out Lounge and Stage and Sagebrush welcome live music nearly every night, with plenty of space to spread out.
The Austin Beer Garden Brewery Co.: Come see what's on tap at this Austin beer-lover's haven. Cheese boards, salads, pizza and gourmet sammies - think avocado, blueberries and goat brie on sourdough with coleslaw keep munchies at bay.
Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden: Grab a brew or beer at this coffee shop/beer garden combo, which features multiple food trucks and lots of greenery.
The Little Darlin': Looking for a spot that really embodies South Austin? The Little Darlin' is relaxed, low-key and welcoming to all.
Meanwhile Brewing Co.: Sample ales at Meanwhile Brewing Co. or try one of their hard seltzer cocktails. Grab a bite from one of the four food trucks onsite.
Still Austin Whiskey Co.: Sip bourbon and gin at Still Austin, made with sustainable local grains.
Greetings From Austin Mural. Credit Monet Hambrick.
Discover the local fashion inside shops and boutiques lining the streets of South Austin. Find some of the best vintage in town on South First Street, where you can shop authentic women's clothing, jewelry and accessories from the 1920 through the 1980s at Bloomers and Frocks. Or, get a pair of fair trade bohemian boots that are handmade in Peru but based in Austin from Fortress of Inca.
Austin Art Garage: If you’re on the hunt for an Austin piece, this gallery is all local.
Roadhouse Relics and Greetings Mural: This vintage-style neon gallery and home of the “Greetings from Austin” mural is a two-for-one tourist stop.
Uncommon Objects: Visit the new home for this quirky shop which sells antiques, vintage items and obscure objects galore.
Zilker Park. Courtesy of Visit Austin.
ENTERTAINMENT & OUTDOORS
Just south of Lady Bird Lake, you'll find cultural institutions alongside some of the city's best outdoor offerings. Rent a kayak and spend an afternoon on the water, or enjoy Zilker Park, home to natural spring-fed Barton Springs Pool, UMLAUF Sculpture Garden, Zilker Botanical Garden and more.
Bouldin Acres: This neighborhood hang serves up cold drinks and tasty food in an indoor/outdoor setting. Bring your dogs to the dog friendly-patio or let them run free in the off-leash corral. Challenge your friends to a round of pickleball on one of their many courts.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Stroll the beautiful gardens and trails lined by wildflowers and native Texas plants. Get lost in the family garden, bird watch and explore stunning architecture.
Peter Pan Mini Golf: Pick up a putter and go a few rounds at this quirky BYOB putt-putt course.
ZACH Theatre & Long Center for the Performing Arts: Check the calendars for these thriving theaters for concerts, musicals, original works and dance, especially the Ballet Austin and summer Austin Symphony Orchestra picnics.
Austin is home to so many vibrant neighborhoods and entertainment districts. Check out our other neighborhood guides on the Austin Insider Blog.