Downtown Guide to Austin: Things to Do, See & Eat

Warehouse, Congress Avenue and Second Street 

Awesome music, fabulous boutiques, gorgeous trails and big, beautiful art — Downtown is home to some of the best and coolest things in the city. 


Emoji's Grilled Cheese Bar.
Emoji’s Grilled Cheese Bar.

Eat your way around the world Downtown, starting with Italian fare from La Traviata or Red Ash, known for its impressive wood-fired grill. Find modern gluten-free Mexican at ATX Cocina or Mexico City-style fare and margaritas at La Condesa. Embrace refined dining with a glass of Bordeaux and steak frites at Le Politique. Grab a quick melty sandwich from roaming food truck Emojis Grilled Cheese Bar or choose your own food adventure at Austin’s first food hall, Fareground. Have a quick, casual drink at Fareground’s walk-up bar, Ellis. Or sit on the patio at Cedar Street Courtyard. Fine cocktails can be found at The Roosevelt Room or on the see-and-be-seen rooftop at P6. Mort Subite has more Belgian beers than you could ever want, while the Texas Reds and Whites Tasting Room celebrates Lone Star State wines. Find live music in the form of tribute bands at Speakeasy or Austin legends gracing the stage at Antone’s


In need of a little retail therapy? Pick up a made-in-Austin gift at the city’s official gift shop, located in the Austin Visitor Center, before hitting the shops of the 2ND Street District. Stop in at Austin Rocks! for cool city merch; Toy Joy for funky toys, collectibles and candy; and Royal Blue Grocery for local Austin edibles. Liven up your after-hours wardrobe with something swanky from League of Rebels Menswear, a signature piece from Eliza Page or some sweet kicks from Sneaker Politics.


Mexic-Arte Museum.
Mexic-Arte Museum. Photo credit: Mexic-Arte Museum.

Grab tickets for a comedy show or a classic flick at The Paramount Theatre. Right down the street, The Hideout Theatre has both fantastic coffee and fun improv shows. If you can score a spot at an Austin City Limits taping, do it! If not, snap a selfie with the Willie Nelson statue out front before seeing a rad concert at ACL Live at The Moody Theater. For a more low-key activity, appreciate the exhibits at The Contemporary Austin, along with its rooftop art installation. Around the corner, snap a pic in front of the revolving street art on the wall of the Mexic-Arte Museum and duck inside for some colorful culture. 


Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.
Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. Photo credit: Visit Austin.

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is a 10-mile loop that circles Lady Bird Lake. After work and on the weekends, walkers, joggers, bikers and dog parents crowd the paths, getting their daily dose of vitamin D. You can also rent kayaks, paddleboards and canoes to get out on the water.

WHAT’S NEW: As part of the revitalization of Waterloo Park, the Moody Amphitheater will provide yet another fantastic stage for Austin’s live music when it opens in spring 2021.


Oilcan Harry's.
Oilcan Harry’s. Photo credit: LaGina Harris.

Follow the rainbow flags to the LGBTQ-identifying bars of the Warehouse District. Days at Rain and Oilcan Harry’s may be mellow, but at night the dance floors are usually packed with revelers until the wee hours. Sellers Underground is the ultimate spot for drag shows and drag-centered events. Neighboring Highland Lounge is known for its theme nights, fabulous shows and popular DJs. Find more fun at


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