Check out this hot list of what’s new and what’s coming up on Austin’s ever-changing dining, nightlife, shopping and culture scenes.

Dine

Seventh floor bar rendering of Fairmont Austin.
Rules & Regs rendering. Courtesy of the Fairmont Austin.

The soon-to-open Fairmont Austin, downtown’s largest hotel, will feature five inviting restaurants and bars. Dining options will include globally influenced food from Revue and steaks from Garrison, a modern American grill house. Rules & Regs, the seventh-floor terrace lounge, boasts sweeping city views. Fareground, Austin’s very first food hall, will feature new outposts of some of the city’s favorite eateries, including Emmer & Rye, Dai Due, Easy Tiger Antonelli's and more.

The LeRoy and Lewis food truck offers a creative take on barbecue, with meats sliced to order and sides like the yummy pumpkin gooey butter cake. While Loro is a hotly anticipated new Asian smokehouse coming to South Lamar. Headed up by famed Austin pitmaster Aaron Franklin and Chef Tyson Cole, Loro will turn out house-made sausage and smoked meats like pork ribs.

Woman holding Tumble 22 Southern Chicken Sandwich
Tumble 22, Southern Chicken Sandwich. Credit Ashlyn Allison.

Dine on farm-fresh American fare like fried chicken and Hudson Valley duck breast outdoors under the towering live oaks or in the welcoming dining room at Mattie’s at Green Pastures. Get a taste of five-alarm, Nashville-style chicken at Tumble 22 Hot Chicken, inspired by Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack that originated the recipe some 80 years ago.

The family-run Eldorado Cafe in Allandale serves three squares a day, with a menu that features homemade salsas, enchiladas and the restaurant’s signature shiny ribs, slathered with sweet arbol chile glaze. Or sink into a cozy booth and try the French fare at Bonhomie, serving comfort foods like rotisserie chicken and croque monsieur.

Feta Cheesecake at Launderette.
Feta Cheesecake. Courtesy of Launderette.

For a night of on-trend dining, make a reservation with one of Austin’s 2017 James Beard Award nominees. Barley Swine and Odd Duck are both owned by Chef Bryce Gilmore, nominated for Best Chef Southwest for five years in a row. Executive Pastry Chef Laura Sawicki, a partner at Launderette and the casual Fresa’s, earned a semifinalist nod for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Drink

The women-owned Central District Brewing will soon be bringing its IPAs and saisons to the garage of the Austin Convention Center. The culinary-focused Brewer’s Table in East Austin produces beer brewed in oak casks and food prepared on a wood-fired grill. Quaff Belgian-style ales at Celis Brewery, owned by a family with a rich beer brewing heritage.

Man making gin and tonic at el chipiron
El Chipiron, gin & tonic. Credit Ashlyn Allison.

Nickel City is known for its signature frozen Irish coffee, made with Tullamore Dew whiskey, along with Detroit-style Coney dogs. Indulge in authentic tapas paired with a Spanish gin & tonic, made with exotic ingredients like flower petals and cardamom, carefully crafted at El Chipiron.

The Yard is a hip new warehouse development in South Austin featuring sipping spots like St. Elmo Brewing Co., Still Austin Whiskey Co. and The Austin Winery, not to mention live music, food trucks and festivals. Or head to Texas Reds and Whites Tasting Room in downtown Austin to sample some of the Lone Star State’s finest wines, by the glass or flight. Stop by Whip In and grab a 12-pack of Big Swig, a new Austin-made sparkling water naturally flavored with fruits like Key lime and ruby red grapefruit.

Arts & Culture

Crowd gathering at opening of Ai Weiweis Forever Bicycles at Waller Creek Delta
Ai Weiwei's "Forever Bicycles" at Waller Creek. Credit David Brendan Hall, courtesy of Waller Creek Conservancy.

See the amazing outdoor installations by internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Waller Creek Delta and The Contemporary Austin’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. Drop by Volcom Garden to shop the boutique, browse the art gallery and catch a concert. November is officially Austin Art Month, celebrated for the first time ever in 2017. This year, expect even more art events held across the city.

The architecturally striking Austin Central Library has opened in the heart of downtown, featuring an art gallery, cafe, rooftop garden and reading porches overlooking Lady Bird Lake. The Blanton Museum of Art saw its collection expand dramatically with the transfer of more than 700 works from The Contemporary Austin, including pieces by Alexander Calder, Judy Chicago and Robert Rauschenberg.  At the newly renovated AFS Cinema, kick back with a craft cocktail in one of the two screening rooms and take in an art house film.

Shopping

Tents set up for SFC Farmers Market at Republic Square Park
SFC Farmers Market at Republic Square Park. Courtesy of Downtown Austin Alliance.

Find the perfect picnic cooler at the flagship YETI store, where you can also enjoy a cocktail at Barrr, reinforcing Yeti’s commitment to making its store a community space where you’ll want to hang. Make a stop at the revamped Republic Square Park, where you can shop the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown for locally made crafts and goodies, plus check out the new full-service cafe. The historic park hosts daily programming and special events throughout the year.

Look for the latest fashions and tech gadgets at Domain NORTHSIDE, where new stores include Limbo Jewelry and Apple. Toast your shopping finds with a giant margarita or bottomless brunch mimosas at the recently opened Cyclone Anaya’s Tex-Mex Cantina.

Music & Festivals

The Arcs at the Mohawk during Levitation
The Arcs at the Mohawk, Levitation. Credit Roger Ho, courtesy of Levitation.

Levitation returns to Austin April 26-29, 2018 with live music at multiple venues around town. The Hot Luck festival, held May 25-27, 2018, promises plenty of food and live music. The Whole Enchilada pass gives you VIP access to chefs and priority entry to concerts.

The Daybird Local Music Series, hosted by Visit Austin, is back this summer with live Saturday afternoon shows at venues throughout the city. La Zona Rosa, once one of Austin’s most popular downtown music spots, has been rebranded as LZR, a rentable warehouse venue that can host concerts and private events.