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Things To Do in Austin, TX at #ARNOVA18
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Things To Do

in Austin, Texas

during #ARNOVA18!

compiled by the 2018 Local Arrangements Committee






RideAustin (apps available in Mac and Android) is a local nonprofit carshare option; for public transportation try the Capital Metro trip planner (MetroBus 20 runs between airport and downtown stop at 4th and Lavaca, 4 blocks west of the Hilton).




Eater Austin has  downtown recommendations and guides to a variety of culinary desires (e.g. vegetarian, coffee, essential and spicy)




South Congress Avenue: Short carshare ride from the Hilton. Features local eateries like Guero’s Taco Bar, Lucky Robot Japanese Cuisine and Homeslice Pizza.  Also has quirky Austin shopping destinations like Kendra Scott, Allen’s Boots, Uncommon Objects, Big Top Candy Store and Tesoros Trading Company. Check out the Continental Club for music or head further south for tunes at C-Boys Heart and Soul, 24-hour dining at Magnolia Café, Prima Dora for unique Austin souvenirs or Lucy’s Fried Chicken for an outdoor eating experience.


2nd Street District: Upscale shopping and eateries located within walking distance of the Hilton. Check out the bar at the JW Marriott for a unique cocktail, grab some deliciously modern interior Mexican bites at nearby La Condesa, do some light shopping at Luxe Apothetique or Toy Joy.  See who’s playing at Austin City Limits or explore the new award-winning Austin Central Library space.


Sixth Street: Known for its multitude of bars, this walkable street features every kind of Austin nightlife like Buffalo Billiards (great for music and a game of pool), Casino El Camino (popular punk rock bar with excellent burgers), Esther’s Follies (a classic comedy show) and Easy Tiger (great seating on the creek with the best handmade pretzels you’ll ever taste). 


The University of Texas at Austin: Take a tour of Texas’s largest public university.  Catch an intimate music experience at the Cactus Café, swing by the LBJ Presidential Library or get your art fix at the Blanton Museum of Art. Just south of the university is the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum for an insider’s look at rodeos or visit the Texas State Capitol Building for stunning interior architecture and a stroll of the historic grounds.


Rainey Street: Located just south of the Hilton, this walkable neighborhood houses some of the best food trucks in Austin and pairs them with unique dining and drinking experiences. Brunch at Bangers for great outdoor seating, locally-made sausages and microbrews. Tommy Want Wingy, a popular food truck serving some of the best wings in Austin, is located in the courtyard of Lustre Pearl, another awesome local spot inside one of the original houses built on Rainey. Walk a little further south and you’ll run right into the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail.


East Austin Studio Tour (EAST): An annual, free, self-guided art event where Austinites and visitors alike get to meet the newest and greatest artists in the Austin area. It runs 11a-6p Nov. 17 & 18 and showcases 277 artist studios, 67 galleries, 185 exhibitions and 42 happenings. This is your chance to take home a truly unique Austin souvenir and to support a local artist!


David Springer's Favorite Austin Speakeasy Bars!


Milonga Room, 1201 East 6th Street

At the Buenos Aires Café, an Argentinian eatery, you can enjoy tapas, wine, and cocktails while enjoying a flamenco performance in the secret basement bar, Milonga.

How to get in: Walk around the back of Buenos Aires Café, and knock on the blue door. Reservations are recommended. For reservations, text 512-593-1920 (text only, they do not take phone calls on this line).


Techo Mezcaleria and Agave Bar, 2201 Manor Road, 512-480-8441

This speakeasy specializes in smoky spirits. Sip on copitas of single village mezcal in this very private, candlelit niche, or opt for the popular mezcal margarita.

How to get in: Find the staircase accessible from the patio of Schoolhouse Pub. Enter Techo (Spanish for roof) and be transported to a place where the mezcal runs like water.


Midnight Cowboy, 313 East 6th Street

At Midnight Cowboy, if you follow their process (make a reservation and wait for the staff to give you the correct buzzer number), you can get a fine cocktail poured and enjoy it in a lush, slick atmosphere, hidden in plain sight in the middle of Dirty Sixth Street. This luxury cocktail speakeasy was formerly a brothel by the same name and accommodates no more than eight people in a party at once.

How to get in: Head to the speakeasy’s website to make a reservation, or if the red light bulb is illuminated, walk-ins are welcome. Then ring the buzzer marked “Harry Craddock” for entry, and get ready to enjoy a great spirit in plush black leather booths.


Firehouse Lounge, 605 Brazos Street, 512-201-2522

This secret bar is accessible only through a sliding bookshelf in the lobby of a hostel (think Harry Potter). Inside, you’ll find well-crafted cocktails and live performances in a warm atmosphere.

How to get in: Head to the bookshelf in the hostel’s reception area, and slide it open. Bonus: When you’re done, walk across the street to the bar at the Driskell Hotel ( to enjoy a craft cocktail in this historical and cozy setting.


Continental Club Gallery, 1313 South Congress Avenue

The Continental Club is a legendary Austin club that opened its doors in 1955. The Continental Club has a less well-known companion, the CC Gallery, which offers music, art, and mixed drinks in a far cozier setting than the main institution.

How to get in: When you’re facing the Continental Club doors (hard to miss their iconic neon sign), head north a couple of doors to the nearest corner and up the stairs. You may as well catch some great music at the Continental Club, too, while you’re at it! The phone number for the main Continental Club is 512-441-2444. I do not know if the CC Gallery has a phone.


The Secret Bar in the W, 200 Lavaca Street, The W Hotel, 512-542-3600

The Secret Bar in the W is open from 4:30pm until late in the evening every day. The lounge has its own bar, along with a vintage McIntosh sound system, gorgeous both to look at and listen to.

How to get in: Enter through the Records Room in the W’s Living Room Bar, and go down the rabbit hole.


Elephant Room, 315 Congress Avenue, 512-473-2279

The Elephant Room is the coolest underground jazz club in Austin. Head down the stairs and enjoy live jazz in this dark basement with exposed brick.


Skylark Lounge, 2039 Airport Blvd, 512-730-0759

Skylark Lounge is a classic dive bar with a cool vibe and consistently great jazz and blues. This dimly lit hideaway is tucked into a ramshackle old building in a row of body shops.


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