Austin is one of our favorite cities to visit. You could show up with no plan at all and still have an amazing time. But we wanted a local's guide to Austin with their perspective on this laid-back, craft-culture city. We teamed up with Austin local Paul Stadelman to highlight some of his personal favorites.
We all know Summer lasts longer in Texas. I'd never wish that heat on anyone, unless it meant more time in Barton Springs. An oasis to a heat-scorched town, this spring-fed swimming hole welcomes one and all, right in the heart of the city. Their free night swim is the best way to end a hot day. Often called the soul of the city by locals, Barton Springs embodies the communal epicenter of Austin.
MICKLETHWAIT CRAFT MEATS
Let those meat-sweats cool your brow at Micklethwait. Everyone in Austin knows that Franklin's is the gold standard for smoked brisket. The word is out, but the line is long. Locals realize that an equally high standard exists for most BBQ joints in Austin. Functioning out of a trailer since 2012, Micklethwait is top-tier texas bbq without the four hour line.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
UT is one of the highest ranked research institutions in the country. While it's often overlooked by locals, it offers a handful of top notch spaces to explore:
BATTLE HALL, UT SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
Built in the Spanish Renaissance style, Battle Hall was one of the first major constructions of the budding university. Originally the university's main library, it now acts as a reading room and library for the School of Architecture.
Skyspace is a "naked-eye" observatory in the heart of the main campus. Watching the Texas sunset while bathed in gradient color is truly an out of body experience. You'll need a reservation, but it's free.
The tower and the capitol are architectural icons of the city. Whether taking a stroll or driving down The Drag, the tower acts as a north star to the surrounding neighborhoods.
There are no shortage of record stores in Austin, but Breakaway is a gem. It's small enough to navigate easily, and you'll find it in the heart of the North Loop neighborhood where many local hold-outs embody the old Austin spirit.
This relative newcomer to the craft coffee scene in east Austin makes an impact with its perfect espresso drip and outdoor patio. You could throw a stone and hit an amazing coffee place in Austin, but this is one's a favorite. Make sure you say hi to Jake (the dog).
Take a walk down South Congress for an iconic view of the Capitol and to support the many local businesses that thrive there. Parts and Labor stands out for their large collection of Texas-made products, including prints by local folk artist Tim Doyle.
And wherever you're at, find a high point for that Texas sunset.
Paul Stadelman is a longtime Texas native and friend of Native Maps (since kindergarten). He recently moved from Austin back to his home town Dallas where he is a youth minister. He's also the singer / song writer behind Abraham Kills the Giant.