During this spring break, I had the chance to go to Austin, Texas with a friend. There isn’t much to see in Austin despite the famous touristic places like The Capital, 6th Avenue, the bats under the bridge and some other things. However, what I and my friend got really interested in were some particular places we’ve found that made the trip amazing and shows a little deeper the spirit of Austin and what the city is really about. Here are five incredible places we’ve found in Austin that you should totally go once you’re in there.
If Amoeba is the record store to go in L.A and San Francisco, Waterloo is the record store you have to go in Austin. With the new Foster the People album out, I’ve wanted to go to a place that I could find not only the album but also the LP. Passing through an avenue in a way to a restaurant we were going, we’ve found Waterloo Record store, a huge store that does not only have any album you want, but also a huge session of LP players, music books and a special session of Blu Rays and DVDs, including all the Criterion Collection movies. I am personally the kind of person who can’t go to this kind of stores so I went crazy and bought not only the Foster the People album and LP, but also other LP’s from Arcade Fire, Lorde and an incredibly rare and out of print photography album by the band The Kills, Dream and Drive. I was going to buy two DVD’s from the Criterion Collection but I had to leave them otherwise I would’ve been bankrupt. So if you like stores like Amoeba, Waterloo Record store won’t let you down.
If there is one thing I’ve admired in Austin is how stylish and beautiful people are. Everybody has tattoos and they seemed to have come out from a Nylon Magazine page or a fashion Tumblr website. That actually sounds really superficial but what is fashion if not superficial? The Southwest Congress Avenue is a huge avenue full of independent stores that sell clothes, accessories, books, among other things like barber shops and tattoo parlors. In other words, it’s the alternative place of Austin where you can find anything you want. However, the most incredible shop is the Service Menswear or STAG, located at 1400 S Congress Avenue. Despite being a little bit expensive, Service Menswear is the perfect men’s clothes store for a perfect gentleman. You can find anything from underwear to bags, wallets, sunglasses, perfumes and of course, a huge selection of shirts, jeans and everything else you can imagine. The store is actually on the 25 Best Stores for Men’s Clothing in America by GQ Magazine, and the store actually seemed to come out from the magazine itself. I couldn’t afford anything at the moment but I’m excited to go back and spend some money there because it’s definitely worth it. Take a look at the website.
Usually, when I’m traveling I want to go to the movies. That happens because I’m a filmmaker cinephile and most of the places are screening some movies that are not screening where I live – or the movie just came out while I’m traveling. Fortunately, Austin has a place where you can go to the movies and also do tourism. Violet Crown Cinema is a movie theater that mix cinema with bar, lounge, and restaurant. Being in the top of a building with an incredible view of the 2nd Street, Violet Crown Cinema is some sort of lounge where you can have a drink from the huge selection at the bar or a snack at the restaurant just beside it. Nothing really fancy but elegant enough for you to make a visit. And all of that happens while you wait for the incredible selection of alternative movies they screen, like The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson and Nymphomaniac by Lars Von Trier – films that were being screened at the movies at the moment. And if you go at night, you can enjoy all of that with the pretty lights at the street from the huge porch they have on the outside. A definitely must go in Austin. The address is 434 W 2nd St.
If there is one thing you won’t know what to do in Austin is to pick a place to eat. They are not all interesting and good-looking but they are all really good and not that expensive. All the places I’ve been were amazing, but there is one that you definitely must go. Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse is a restaurant/brewery bar that the food is not only delicious but they also make their own beer which is amazing and also have a lot of awesome drinks. The space itself it’s huge and really beautiful and one thing I’ve noticed is that almost all the customers had their dogs, who were also served with a jar of water by the place itself. Looking like a western modern garden, Billy’s Brew and Que is probably the restaurant that I and my friend liked the most and you definitely have to go there. Not mentioning the waiters are super nice! The address is 1530 Barton Springs Rd.
Of course, there is a lot more to do in Austin that I’ve seen and not seen. The 6th Street, for example, is full of bars with all kinds of live music. The W 4th St is a place full of gay bars and clubs. There are a lot of parks in Austin where a lot of music festivals take place like the SXSW and Austin City Limits. But those were some places that I’ve been that I’ve really enjoyed. If you are going to Austin (and you should), take a look at them!