So you made it to Austin—congratulations!
Now what are you going to do?
Eat? Grab a beer? Go looking for all the weird stuff that has given Austin its nickname? (Yes, keeping Austin weird is a thing. Their city slogan says so!)
The famous 6th Street in Austin has everything you’re looking for—both the weird and perfectly normal. The area once known as Pecan Street has become the go-to place for visitors and residents, and it houses all kinds of restaurants, pubs, and stores in a series of distinguished-looking old buildings. Here are the things I’d suggest checking out while you’re cruising through town:
Things to Eat
You can find just about anything you want on 6th Street. Want sushi? Hit up Maiko Sushi Lounge. Have you been entertaining the oddly specific fantasy of indulging in tasty treats in a room straight out of “Downton Abbey”? Visit 1886 Café & Bakery a couple blocks east for lunch and snacks—you don’t even need to bring a monocle. It’s technically on 6th Street and Brazos, but I’m letting 6th Street have this one. Just want meat? The Original Hoffbrau is the spot for you, just six short blocks to the northwest. Get the sirloin.
Things to Drink
You can’t scarf down all this food and not chase it with some adult beverages. Head to Friends Bar. Joey, Rachel, and Monica won’t be there, but there will be live music and plenty to drink. Prefer some sweets with your booze? Just four and a half blocks southeast is Easy Tiger, the answer to all sugar buzz cravings. It’s a bakery and a beer garden. In the words of the immortal Jack Sparrow, “Drink up, me hearties, yum-yum!”
Things to Do in Austin
If you really want to freak out your mother, go ahead and get a tattoo at one of the many parlors lining the street. If you’d rather stay in her good graces (or if you, like me, have a severe needle phobia), play it safe and visit Museum of the Weird. What kind of weird things are you interested in? The Fiji Mermaid? She (it?) is here, along with (possible) aliens, shrunken heads, sideshow participants, and what might be a two-headed sheep. Is it real? I don’t know. I didn’t get close enough to find out.
If you’re visiting during the spring or fall, make some time for the Pecan Street Festival. This weekend festival is a celebration of art, music, and food on 6th Street; listen to live bands play, purchase the perfect sculpture for your garden (or your desk, if you don’t have a garden), and wolf down as much food as you can manage.
I can’t natter on about Austin without bringing up SXSW, Austin’s premiere entertainment festival/conference. You’ve probably heard lots about its musical component, but it also has focuses on film and technology. It doesn’t take place on 6th Street, but you’ll probably end up meandering that way if you’re in town for SXSW.
No matter what you’re doing in Austin, a visit to Sixth Street is a must. Bring me back a souvenir, will ya? Make sure it’s something weird.
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