If staying near popular outdoor attractions like Barton Springs and Zilker Park is a priority, South Lamar is your best bet. The small but growing neighborhood is rife with fantastic restaurants, shops and bars, but also just a quick jaunt from the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. Want to explore a lively area at night? Head across the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge and you'll be smack dab in the middle of the bustling West 6th district.
Tyson Cole swears he didn’t set out to transform the Austin dining scene when he opened Uchi in a 1920s bungalow 12 years ago. But he did, becoming the first American itamae to receive a James Beard Award for Best Chef and opening a larger but no less warmly chic spinoff, Uchiko, along the way. Cole’s menus change often and range widely enough to appeal to novices as well as connoisseurs, and Uchi’s happy hour, the Sake Social, presents a generous menu with wallet-friendly hand rolls and tempura.
This cozy wine nook is perfect for connecting with friends over a glass or bottle. Aviary Wine & Kitchen has a funky vibe, residing in a former boutique decor shop, with artsy furnishings and vibrant color throughout. Study the impressive wine wall to find your perfect palate, then pair a glass with menu selections steeped in Mediterranean influence. Top the night off with their in-house ice cream.
South Austin Museum of Popular Culture
The South Austin Museum of Popular Culture specializes in collecting and displaying music posters dating from the 1960s to present. The gallery also regularly exhibits photography, painting, clips from publications, film/video and other ephemera chronicling the Live Music Capital of the World’s sonic history. Unlike aesthetically similar pieces at the Mondo Gallery, these works—which since 2004 have grown into an archive of more than 3,000 objects plus upwards of 10,000 images, photographs, sound and video files—aren’t for sale. But as a certified non-profit contributing to the local economy, you can always feel good about making a donation while satiating your music-related art fix.
The Guild South Lamar
Torn between booking a hotel or home rental? Go for The Guild, a chain of flats catering towards those who'd rather feel like they're living in an apartment as opposed to a hotel room. At the Guild South Lamar, each guestroom is uniquely decorated to reflect Austin’s arts and cultural scene. Guests also have access to a fitness center, spacious outdoor pool and on-site restaurants—not to mention, the Highball (a popular karaoke and trivia spot) is right nearby.
If you do just one thing…
Take in a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, arguably the best iteration of this popular chain where you can order food (and booze! and milkshakes!) from your seat while watching the movie.