Check out our hot list of what’s new and coming up on Austin’s ever-evolving dining, drinking, shopping, entertainment and arts scenes. Be sure to call ahead for hours and current safety protocols for individual establishments.

Bahn Mi sandwich from Smokin Beauty in Austin Texas
Courtesy of Smokin Beauty.

New Restaurants in Austin

Stop in at Gati, the new vegan ice cream shop from the owner of Thai Fresh, for a delish slice of gluten-free coffee cake or a scoop of vegan ice cream made with coconut milk (with rotating flavors that include lavender-caramel and Thai tea).

LE Meals dishes up homemade Gullah Geechee and New Orleans-inspired Creole fare like shrimp and grits made to order. Don’t miss the tart Key Lime East custard served in a jar.

Try vegan Tex-Mex dishes, including tacos and flautas, at the Lick It Up food truck, which has locations on Rainey Street and at Austin hot spot Spider House.

At Qi Austin, the new restaurant from Lin Asian Bar's Chef Ling Qi Wu, be sure to try the chef’s popular soup dumplings (like the Shanghai version) or make time for the weekend dim sum brunch.

Visit the new Salt & Time Cafe at Republic Square Park to order sandwiches with sustainable meats from Texas ranches, as well as natural wines and craft beer from the walk-up window.

Smokin Beauty is a unique Vietnamese barbecue joint serving brisket banh mi with traditional sides like potato salad, along with cocktails that include a boozy coconut boba.

See our list of Where to Dine in Austin Right Now for more hot eateries.

Outdoor Patio at Summer House On Music Lane restaurant in Austin Texas
Summer House On Music Lane. Credit Nick Simonite

New Hotel Dining in Austin

Acre 41, located in The Otis Hotel near the University of Texas at Austin campus, offers modern American comfort food with a twist, such as the Brush Creek Ranch wagyu burger and truffled spaghetti.

Opening in Spring 2021, the Austin Marriot Downtown will offer a variety of dining and drinking options, including contemporary regional dishes served at Corinne, or tiki cocktails and a taste of the islands at Zanzibar.

Stroll the grounds of the historic Commodore Perry Estate before dining at Lutie’s Garden Restaurant (opening in early 2021), featuring Texan and New American fare made with ingredients from the resort’s organic gardens.

The airy Summer House on Music Lane, located in Hotel Magdalena, showcases its live-fire cooking with dishes like wood-grilled whole striped bass and sizzling steaks. Summer House’s bar puts a special focus on sparkling wines.

Snag a courtyard seat and dig into the seasonal farm-to-table fare at Verbena, located on the ground level of the Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown hotel. The restaurant features an open kitchen and wood-burning hearth.

Exterior and rooftop patio of Easy Tiger South Lamar in austin texas
Easy Tiger South Lamar. Credit Sydney Gawlik.

New Spins on Old Favorites

Assembly Kitchen ships complete meal and cocktail kits so you can meet up virtually with some of Austin’s top professional chefs and bartenders to learn their tricks of the trade, or join in a pizza party or happy hour via Zoom.

Try a sandwich made with locally cured meats and artisan bread, or a fresh-baked pretzel paired with a craft beer, at Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden on South Lamar. The newest location is housed in a multi-story building that features a huge patio overlooking Barton Creek.

JewBoy Burgers opened a full-service restaurant on Airport Boulevard that serves the Tex-Mex dishes with a Jewish bent that its original food truck was known for, including burritos and the popular Yenta latke burger.

Kitchen United Mix, Austin’s first ghost kitchen, is a hub for a variety of restaurants that include the vegetarian Plant B, Korean dishes from Seoulju, Teji’s Indian Restaurant and Japanese fare from Ramen512. Order online for pick-up or delivery.

Olamaie's beloved flaky biscuits are the stars of the restaurant’s take-away biscuit shop, Little Ola’s Biscuits, helmed by James Beard Award-nominated chef Michael Fotjasek. Try the original biscuit served with house-made honey butter or a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit sandwich.

Randy Hester and Rae Wilson Behind Bar at CL Butaud and Wine For the People Tasting Room in Austin Texas
C.L. Butaud and Wine For the People Tasting Room. Credit Heather Gallagher Photography.

New Beer, Wine and Coffee in Austin

Austin Eastciders has opened a taproom and restaurant right next to Zilker Park. The new location offers Eastciders hard cider and cocktails, along with a casual menu that includes pizzas offered with dairy-free cheese and cauliflower crust options.

Texas Hill Country small-batch wineries C.L. Butaud and Wine for the People have joined forces to open a tasting room in Dripping Springs. Reservations are required for wine tastings with flights from both wineries, as well as food and wine pairings.

Last Stand Brewing Company has opened a new location on South Congress Avenue, offering many of its popular beers, including the Texas Forever lager. Neighboring Southside Flying Pizza has created a beer-friendly menu for the brewery that features burgers and nachos.

A team of veteran baristas have opened Try Hard Coffee Roasters, offering a range of blends and several experimental varieties. Sip a cup on the patio or grab a bag of coffee to go.

Vacancy Brewing joins a growing collection of microbreweries along St. Elmo Road. Head brewer Brent Watson promises a variety of beers, including three year-round brews.

The Beauty of Liberty and Equality mural at The LINE Austin hotel
The Beauty of Liberty and Equality Mural. Courtesy of The LINE Austin.

Arts News

The Austin Film Society (AFS) has launched Lone Star Slate, a new virtual screening library of Texas films by AFS-supported filmmakers. The screenings are a part of AFS’ Virtual Cinema, an initiative developed to connect audiences with important films during AFS Cinema’s temporary closure.

Catch some of Austin’s major museum exhibits, including Deborah Roberts: I’m from Jan. 23 – Aug. 15 at The Contemporary Austin-Jones Center;  After Michelangelo, Past Picasso: Leo Steinberg’s Library of Prints from Feb. 7 – May 9 at the Blanton Museum of ArtGUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World from May 8 – Aug. 1 at the Bullock Museum; and Mexico, the Border and Beyond: Selections from the Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. Collection Exhibition at Mexic-Arte Museum from December 19, 2020 – May 30, 2021.

Get interactive with virtual Austin festivals that include the hybrid OUTsider Festival in February and the online SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals in March.

While several museums remain temporarily closed, institutions like the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center are hosting plenty of digital programming, exhibitions and events. Find performances, presentations, online art galleries, instructional videos, and more for both the Carver Museum and the MACC.

Explore the Waterloo Greenway along Waller Creek in downtown Austin, featuring art installations and concerts at the newly renovated Symphony Square, an open-air amphitheater.

Don’t miss Writing on the Walls, an annual series of collaborative public art events hosted by the Downtown Austin Alliance that includes artists painting murals around the city, workshops, panel discussions and movie screenings.

Discover even more ways to experience art in Austin.

Altatudes boutique in Austin Texas

Credit Altatudes.

New Shopping in Austin

Altatudes, Austin’s first upscale, African-American owned boutique, is expected to reopen in 2021 after experiencing a devastating fire in 2020. The luxury women’s clothing and accessories shop recently celebrated its third year in business and is also available for shopping online.

At Domain NORTHSIDE, explore new Austin-based stores Tecovas, Barkin' Creek Dog Kitchen & Bath, Showroom 808 and more. Just down the road, check out the new shops at The Domain, including jewelry and gifts at Attic Salt, timeless denim by Levi’s and luxury Land Rovers from Twisted Automotive.

The Mueller H-E-B supermarket has opened Main Streat food hall, boasting five restaurants and a bar serving Texas craft beer and wines. Eateries include Roots Chicken Shak (run by Dallas Top Chef alum Tiffany Derry), True Texas BBQ and Yumai Japanese Grill.

South Congress Avenue adds to its cool factor with Music Lane, featuring trendy places to eat, shop and stay. Big-name spots like Neighborhood Goods, Aba, Le Labo, Reformation, Nak Armstrong and Soho House make Music Lane a must-visit destination.

Discover even more places to shop in Austin.

Austin FC Stadium progress as of November 2020
Austin FC Stadium. Courtesy of Austin FC.

Music & Entertainment

Catch Major League Soccer action at the new 20,500-seat Austin FC Stadium, where the Austin FC will start play in 2021. Expect to see co-owner and Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey cheering the team on in the stands.

Voted Best New Venue at the 2020 Austin Music Awards, The Far Out Lounge & Stage features live music, cold drinks and good food. As a nod to Austin history, the venue retained the 1908 bar that was original to the building.

An integral part of the revitalization of Waterloo Park is the 2021 debut of the architecturally stunning Moody Amphitheater, which will present regular concerts and cultural events.

Sagebrush Austin is a new South Congress Avenue music venue that features live shows nightly on both indoor and outdoor stages (on Friday and Saturday nights). Dogs are welcome at this friendly honky-tonk.