Narcos

Local Guide to Austin

Things to do in Austin

Here’s your key to the city. A definitive guide of the best local spots, as told by local Airbnb hosts


Experiences you might enjoy

Here are some activities hosted by locals that would help you explore the city.

KAYAKING
Downtown Sunset Kayak with 1.5M Bats!
$55 per person
230 reviews
PADDLEBOARDING
Group Paddleboarding at Sunset w/ Bats
$49 per person
17 reviews
INTIMATE CONCERT
Guided Walk & Concert in the Woods
$30 per person
5 reviews


Best of the best

779 local Airbnb hosts recommend

You. Must. Go. You can bike to the spring from the paths, have a day swimming and then head back on the other side of the Lady Bird Lake, perhaps heading up South Congress for shopping or food. Mor… read more

Note that NO FOOD is allowed in the park as it attracts bees. Within Zilker Park’s 358 acres lies one of the crown jewels of Austin – Barton Springs Pool. The pool itself measures three acres in si… read more

Within Zilker Park’s 358 acres lies one of the crown jewels of Austin – Barton Springs Pool. The pool itself measures three acres in size, and is fed from underground springs with an average temper… read more

366 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Seriously, it’s the best. Anthony Bourdain says so. President Obama says so. Texas Monthly says so. And I say so. Is it worth the wait? Only if you love BBQ and recognize love requires sacrif… read more

Voted the #1 BBQ in Texas (which is saying a lot). I haven’t personally been here but everyone who’s mentioned it has raved about it. There is always a long line and people usually start lining u… read more

Best barbecue in Texas. Expect very long lines – usually you need to show up around 7 AM or so and will eat around 12 or 1 PM, so make a fun day out of it – we usually bring a table, chairs, board … read more

319 local Airbnb hosts recommend

You really need to catch a show at The Continental Club. The granddaddy of all local music venues, Rockin South Austin Since 1955, the legendary Continental Club celebrates over 60 years as one th… read more

This place is the best! It is a historic landmark on the National Historic Register for its music (not the building). Great booking (mostly Americana) and fun, free matinee shows on the weekends. D… read more

The granddaddy of all local music venues, the Continental Club has enjoyed a reputation as the premier club for live music since 1957. The best of the Austin live music scene can be found any night.

#4

Home Slice Pizza

Food SceneRestaurants

$$·1415 S Congress Ave·Map·Hours·Website

292 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Home Slice Pizza is an independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic NY-style pizza—by the pie or by the slice—to nice people like you. We offer our homemade, hand tossed, bona fide pies f… read more

I’ve lived in NY and this is seriously NY style pizza. Another Austin staple with ping pong tables outside in the back. They have 2 locations right next door to each other so you can eat in or go… read more

Home Slice Pizza is an independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic NY-style pizza,by the pie or by the slice. Offering homemade, hand tossed, bona fide pies for either dine in or carry out.

646 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Zilker Park is known as the crown jewel of the Austin parks system. It is named for Andrew Jackson Zilker. Mr. Zilker came to Austin in 1876 to become a business man and a banker. He operated o… read more

Zilker is the *it* park in Austin. It’s big. It’s full of cute lil dogs. And, more often than not, it seems there’s some big festival of sorts going on out there. Whether it’s the Kite Festival, A… read more

Famous Austin City Lights public park with varied pay parking. Also famous for special events such as “Blues on the Green” “Christmas on the Green” etc. This is our New York City Central park. Yo… read more

342 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Cold beer, hot movies, and delicious snacks and meals; The Alamo Drafthouse is dinner, drinks, movies and events, all under one roof. Our attention to detail in film presentation and programming ha… read more

Eat, Drink and Watch a Movie. If you’ve lived in Austin for more than five minutes, odds are you’re aware of Alamo Drafthouse. With quote-alongs, sing-alongs, food-and-movie pairings (or just plai… read more

It’s raining, your hungry, and you want someone to serve you beer and food while you catch the latest release. This theater chain takes moving watching very seriously. It will be the quietest, mo… read more

272 local Airbnb hosts recommend

This all vegetarian (with lots of vegan options) is inside an old gas station in south Austin. Be prepared for a wait during busy weekend hours, or grab a seat at the bar. The tofu scramble can’t b… read more

Cute little spot with decent vegetarian/vegan food. I recommend the veggie royale, the vegan BLT, or the potato leek omelette. Cheap mimosas, good coffee, very ‘austin’ vibes. Elijah Wood lives in … read more

This wonderful, vegetarian cafe has “Austin” written all over it. Very artsy, relaxed and yummy food. Great beer selection. Very popular for weekend breakfast, so expect a wait then. Great coff… read more

261 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Best “upscale” burgers in town. Texas company, focusing on locally sourced ingredients. They have chicken, turkey, tuna and veggie options for those not seeking red meat. Fantastic burgers, a to… read more

Best “upscale” burgers in town. Locally owned, focusing on locally sourced ingredients. They offer chicken, turkey, tuna and vegetarian options aside from red meat. Fantastic burgers, a top notch b… read more

Awesome Burger spot. They bake their own buns in house and have really fantastic quality. Amazing truffle fries and interesting burgers like the Ahi Tuna burger. So good! But make sure to get there… read more

#9

Uchi

Food SceneRestaurants

$$$·801 S Lamar Blvd·Map·Hours·Website

251 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Amazing Japanese Food! There’s no disputing the fact that Uchi is one of the most famous restaurants in Austin. The executive chef and owner, Tyson Cole, received a James Beard Foundation Award fo… read more

Sushi. The country knows James Beard award–winning chef Tyson Cole as the indomitable force behind Asian fusion restaurants Uchi. Bring your wallet! Reservations recommended. 801 S. Lamar

#1 Sushi restaurant in America in 2015, Time Out Magazine. “10 Best Foodie Spots in Austin” -USA Toda. Uchi named one of the “25 Best Restaurants in America” -Business Insider. Sushi in Texas?!?!? … read more

224 local Airbnb hosts recommend

TORCHYS. This place has gone to the moon and back with some off-the-grid taco combinations. The Brushfire is jerk chicken, mangoes, jalapenos, sour cream and cilantro. The Independent is deep-fried… read more

There are two locations on South 1st. One is a brick and mortar, the other is a food truck. An Austin original that will satisfy your taco needs. Mr. Pink and Mr. Orange are outstanding. President … read more

Unique fusion tacos. Not authentic mexican but very delicious. Queso is bomb. Pro tip: you can order half orders of queso. 4 locations in town, but only 3 have indoor seating. The one on South Cong… read more

246 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Where hipsters and cowboy culture collide. Live music every night. Every Saturday at 7pm they offer free Texas Two-Step lessons. (Geared towards timid beginners like myself, and friendly, fun, non-… read more

If I had to describe the White Horse I would call it a hipster honky tonk. There’s live music every night of the week and you’ll usually find people two-stepping and waltzing to country music on an… read more

Super fun bar and venue to catch local country bands. Great for two-stepping. Everybody welcome- it’s a good mix of young folks, some older folks, straight, gay, whatever. Nobody’s gonna give yo… read more

194 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Love, love this place! Elizabeth Street Cafe is the brainchild of Thomas Moorman and Larry McGuire. This quaint cafe, restaurant and bar offers Vietnamese and French delights. Reminiscent of Frenc… read more

Delicious, innovative Vietnamese dishes, Great pastries and ambience. Bunch get the omelette, sticky rice, or breakfast banh mi. Lunch/dinner: banh cuon, banh xeo. Must get the macarons!

French/Vietnamese. Tasty and fun. Vegetarian and gluten-free options. Good croissants and other pastries. To be honest, their pho and bun are a bit boring, so go for the bahn mi and their crepe and… read more

#13

Justine’s

Food SceneRestaurants

$$$·4710 E 5th St·Map·Hours·Website

208 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Justine’s Brasserie serves up some of the best food in Austin. Specializing the French cuisine, Justine’s is located in a very stylish small house in East Austin. No reservations are accepted, so b… read more

A 15 min car ride East, transports you to Justine’s, a hidden late-night, local favorite. The tintype photo booth makes for a great souvenir. The mirrored room in the backyard “keeps Austin weird”… read more

This is a bit of a hike from my place but worth the drive for some fabulous French cuisine. It’s in an old house and the ambiance is shabby chic. You’ll wait for a table but worth it for the escargot!

195 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Organic, locally sourced, fresh food. The tartines (French style open faced sandwiches) are yum! Olive oil & balsamic vinegar on every table complete the European flavor of this lovely little bistro.

Super cute brunch spot, great ambience, artful presentation, creative flavor and impeccable service! Enjoy European inspired light bites, tartines, and salads made with local and organic ingredients.

Great salads, open faced sandwiches, homemade soups, and breakfast is served all day including my favorite item that I always order for dessert: blueberry blintzes! Their back garden seating area… read more

182 local Airbnb hosts recommend

A former pharmacy transformed in a restaurant by Mickie Spencer & Sonya Coté that serves sharable plate. Check out the old-timey soda counter and enjoy an alcohol- and ice cream-optional elixirs.

It’s spelled this way as an indicator to their dedication to local farms. Happy hour offers discounted small plates, including cheese, salami, and oysters, paired with a bowl of their house punch.

Antique-chic eatery in a historic building with thoughtfully sourced eclectic fare, nice breakfast and brunch. (15 minute drive)

181 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Casa Willow is conveniently close to the Austin Convention Center East off IH-35 on Cesar Chavez St., and if you need to head to the airport, Cesar Chavez East will get you to the Austin Airport.

The facility’s expansion has allowed events to expand their conventions, trade shows and expos. It has also brought new conventions and visitors to Austin and its convention center.

The Neal Kocurek Memorial Austin Convention Center is a multi-purpose convention center located in Austin, Texas.

183 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Real Deal Older than dirt honky tonk. Come eat a great Chicken Fried Steak or some BBQ and enjoy a free show every night Tues-Sat 6-8pm! Don’t forget to tip the band. Two step dance lessons. Fre… read more

The Spoke has been in Austin for many years and is still holding out amidst the insane development all around it. It is a country-western dance hall with a lot of history and charm. There are dan… read more

Come to an iconic spot in Texas. Some of the best square dancing you will ever see. Willie Nelsons plays surprise shows here from time to time, but more importantly, the Broken Spoke is true Austin… read more

#18

Sway

Food SceneRestaurants

$$$·1417 S 1st St·Map·Hours·Website

171 local Airbnb hosts recommend

James Beard awarded chef just opened this new hot shop, Thai, Asian Fusion… crispy lotus root, snow peas, banana blossom, coconut-chili dressing

$$$ Modern Thai – make sure to try the Son in Law – crispy farm egg, braised pork shoulder, thick soy, nahm prik pla

Curries, seafood & creative desserts draw fans to this hip Thai eatery with an open kitchen.

182 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The people watching is almost as great as the coffee! They have good snacks and frequently have live music, but it is always a scene. Every Sunday they host live music, and you’ll probably want you… read more

Fantastic coffee, lots of great dogs, yummy treats, wi-fi. Some of the best people watching on South Congress. And take your picture in front of the I Love You So Much mural.

Need a smashing cup of coffee? There is sometimes a line but it is always worth it for the coffee (and breakfast tacos if you’re there early enough). Take advantage of the SoCo seating to people watch

#20

Contigo

Food SceneRestaurants

$$·2027 Anchor Ln·Map·Hours·Website

168 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Fantastic appetizers, food and drink menu. Fire pits in winter, shade in summer. Constantly receiving glowing write ups in food and drink blogs and great atmosphere.

Unique, reasonably priced drinks (less than $10); consistently delicious food that transcends typical bar fare (charcuterie plate, anyone?); a welcoming, open-air space that always feels like a party.

Great hangout spot, for drinks or dinner. Farm-fresh Texas fare meets seasonal cocktails and beer, with a fantastic outdoor patio space.

#21

Perla’s

Food SceneRestaurants

$$$·1400 S Congress Ave·Map·Hours·Website

167 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Perla’s was founded in the Spring of 2009 by chefs Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman Jr. with the goal of establishing a great oyster bar & seafood joint on beloved South Congress Avenue. Perla’s offer… read more

Best seafood you’ll find in the city, with much of it caught and brought up directly from the gulf. Located on iconic South Congress, this restaurant features beautiful outdoor seating under 100 y… read more

Perla’s has Austin’s prettiest oak-shaded patio! Fresh fish and oysters flown in daily from both coasts (emphasis on sourcing from the Gulf of Mexico). Bar makes delicious coastal cocktails.

173 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Technically, it’s a restaurant. But it has a fantastic speak-easy vibe going and some of the best cocktails in town. Open the door, brush the heavy velvet curtain aside and behold the amazing pro… read more

Very trendy (new) spot serving both food and drinks located at spot of my favorite restaurant that’s now closed (East Side Showroom). But this place is cool too. Located in the trendy East Austin a… read more

Locally sourced eats & cocktails in an art-filled space that also hosts live music. The East Side Show Room is a mother and daughter owned Bar and Restaurant inspired by the Cafes and Delicatessens… read more

#23

Cenote

Food SceneCafes or Coffee Shops

$·1010 E Cesar Chavez St·Map·Hours·Website

180 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Cenote not only serves amazing coffee, they also have a full food menu of fresh offerings made with the best ingredients, including local veggies from many Texas farms, pasture raised eggs from Vit… read more

Trendy spot in circa-1887 house for French pressed coffee, farm-fresh eats & local Rockstar Bagels

A great spot in an old house right on Cesar Chavez, this cozy neighborhood coffee shop serves bagels, sandwiches, coffee, and beer and wine. Picnic tables with umbrellas on the front lawn.

#24

Salty Sow

Food SceneRestaurants

$$·1917 Manor Rd·Map·Hours·Website

165 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Yummy, yum, yum! The pastrami salmon and brussel sprouts are ridiculous as is everything else on the menu. Fun and tasty cocktails make this eastside dining spot a MUST GO! Make a reservation.

Excellent happy hour as well as a full dinner menu of braised, poached & stewed dishes, plus cocktails & craft brews.

Homey ambiance with modern farmhouse cooking with a heavy emphasis on pork. Known for candied pork belly, duck-fat frites and crispy Brussels sprouts.

#25

Güero’s

Food SceneRestaurants

$$·1412 S Congress Ave·Map·Hours·Website

168 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Great place to go for Happy Hour. Especially Wed-Sunday when they have live music right outside the restaurant. This is my favorite place to go for Happy Hour for some Al Pastor tacos and a Tito Ri… read more

Live Music at Güero’s! Great Music, Great Times! Their live music on their outside Garden stage is always free, free! A great place to stop and rest a bit! Güero’s is Great!

Incredible tacos and outstanding hand-shaken margaritas in a funky former seed store. Live music under the giant Live Oaks where on Wednesday evenings KDRP Radio broadcasts live.

#26

The ABGB

Drinks & NightlifeBars

$$·1305 W Oltorf St·Map·Hours·Website

168 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Spacious and friendly brewpub, with plenty of acreage inside, and twice as much outside. We love it on Sunday afternoon, when there’s a danceable band playing. Be ready to dance, or get out of the … read more

This isn’t just a brewery. Again, so many places in Austin just don’t fit an Airbnb category. This place makes awesome beer and amazing food. Great music. It gets super busy on the weekends. I grew… read more

Our philosophy: Beer Makes It Better. We believe our beer has the power to make everything better. A fresh, hot pizza. A nice big Muffaletta sandwich. A great band on Saturday night. And hanging ou… read more

238 local Airbnb hosts recommend

“10 miles of trails border Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin and serve as a social hub for runners, walkers and cyclists. A Memorial at Auditorium Shores honors the late bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan… read more

Lady Bird lake runs along most of downtown, go for a picnic or a jog, you can rent a bike from Austin’s B-Cycle stations (per hour or $12 for a day pass) and bike along the river. There’s also Kaya… read more

There are many ways to enter Town Lake and just as many activities. You can lay in the park and take a nap or jog 5 miles around the lake trails. Dont’ feel like running or walking, You can even bi… read more

#28

Magnolia Cafe

Food SceneRestaurants

$·1920 S Congress Ave·Map·Hours·Website

155 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Sorry, they’re open: 24/7. Scrumptious breakfasts served all day with huge omelets, pancakes as big as your face (try the gingerbread) and a variety of fresh food in a friendly, Austin setting.

No matter the hour, Magnolia Cafe has a crowd. Twenty-four hours a day, they serve sandwiches, great tacos, French toast, and omelets along with fresh-squeezed orange juice, and strong joe.

Magnolia’s motto: “We’re sorry, we’re open.” This place is legendary, open 24/7/365, and one of our favorites. No place like it for real, Austin-style food. Watch out for the Sunday morning lineups.

164 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Top notch craft cocktails in an iconic old building that used to be my dad’s hang-out when he used to run the east side streets as a young man. You can still see the old “Rabbits” sign on the wall … read more

Incredible cocktails, a fun mezcal bar hidden upstairs, and home to East Side King Thai Kun food truck! (Amazing spicy thai food!)

If you’ve ever been to the alamo and wished you could take a piece of it with you to make into your own personal bar, then you are in luck because Whislers captures the feel of being in an ancient … read more

160 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Laid back bar with tasty bar food (burgers, wings, etc). Great sweet potato fries & beer selection, darts and several TVs for the sports lovers out there. Pool tables too. Walk from my place.

This sports bar, known for its burgers, offers daily drink specials & bar games. Good place to go watch a sports game, grab a beer and bite.

Laid back bar with tasty bar food (burgers, wings, etc). Great beer selection, darts and several TVs for the sports lovers out there. Walk from my place.