Austin has been buzzing as a must-visit city for the last few years. You hear a lot about the music, the tacos, and the generally weird vibe. It's a fantastic city for your long weekend getaway, your bachelorette party, or a romantic trip for two.
If you want to experience more than just surface level, you have to look beyond the Buzzfeed articles and past the Instagram photos of the bats. The popular hotspots are popular for a reason, but Austin has more going on than most of the listicles about it let on.
I've lived in Austin for half a decade, and I've had adventures all over this city. Enjoy this city like a local with my insider tips to finding the hidden gems in Austin.
1) Lala's- There's no doubt that Austin is a drinking kind of town. There is no shortage of fun and funky places to drink. Lala's is a particularly special place. It's Christmas all year round at this bar! Christmas decorations never come down here, the jukebox has more than a few holiday songs on it, and there's nothing quite like experiencing Christmas in July. Ps- it's cash only.
2) Cathedral of Junk- In Vince Hannemann's backyard, visitors will find the ultimate playhouse, and it's made entirely out of junk. Old tires, traffic cones, lamps, chairs, even toilets all help make up this fantastic building. Vince started building it in 1988 and almost 30 years later it still exists in all its glory. You can climb it or curl up in a window seat to take it all in. Call (512) 299-7413 before heading over. There's a $10* entry fee.
3) A beautiful museum that hides in plain sight away right in the heart of downtown. You can forget that Austin is so close to the Mexico border, but this museum will remind you of the Latino influence on Austin. The museum also hosts festivals and events, so check the calendar to see if there's something special happening during your visit.
4) North Loop-Just north of downtown is the North Loop area. On this short roadway you can find thrift stores and independent bookstores. This part of town is dedicated to keeping Austin local. With a bevy of independent, locally owned businesses, it's a great way to meet locals in Austin and to support small business. Plus, the area is home to one of the best cocktail bars in town, Drink.Well.
5) Museum Of the Weird- With a tagline of 'Unusual, bizarre & Freaky", how can you miss this stop? Dedicated to all things weird, you won't believe the things you can find here. This truly is the pinnacle of “Keep Austin Weird”. It's right on 6th street, so it's centrally located and you can stop by right before or after you have your night out on the famous 6th street. Open from 10am- midnight, adult tickets cost $12* and kids enter for $7*.
Austin is a wonderful place to visit. There's always something happening, and a lot of it is affordable and family friendly. With a newly expanded airport, Austin is also getting easier and cheaper to travel to.
Once you're here on the ground, seek out the parts of the city that really do make Austin special. There's nothing wrong with getting your breakfast taco fix, but do yourself a favor and dig a little deeper. There are hidden gems of fun, beauty, and yes, Austin's classic 'weird' vibe everywhere you look. I'm still discovering new ones after five years here.
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Kara Perez and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
*Prices may fluctuate over time. This article reflects price estimates at time of publication.