Austin, Texas is home to many different attractions with great food, shopping, and entertainment venues. Many think of Sixth Street as Austin’s premiere hotspot, but there are several other interesting yet relatively overlooked areas in town. One of the most popular and diverse places in Austin for great food and entertainment is a strip along Guadalupe Street affectionately referred to as the Drag. From around 34th Street at the northern edge to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, great food and shopping abound, along with a few curiosities.
Austin is renowned for its live music scene, but the clubs aren’t all downtown. The Hole in the Wall is one of the most renowned and stored venues in the history of Austin, with 25 years of experience bringing in both great local talent and road shows in many styles ranging from old-school country to rock and pop. With its dim lighting and homey atmosphere, the Showdown is a great bar in which you can kick back and observe the tides of burnt orange flocking to and from class. Spider House is one of Austin’s most eclectic places to share a pitcher of Lone Star, the National Beer of Texas with friends, with regular influxes of live music and DJs. The decor is based most obviously from vintage gliders, chairs and tables with dozens of Christmas lights to provide illumination and the odd sculpture of a naked child urinating in a bathtub. Such expression is much more commonplace in Austin in part because of its long connection with the University of Texas.
Since the University of Texas at Austin is located directly off Guadalupe, many businesses have taken advantage of the huge influx of students. As a result, there are many great stores to check out. As far as apparel, American Apparel has recently opened a store directly across from the West Mall of the University. Other stores include Whole Earth Provision Company and Tyler’s, the source for “Keep Austin Weird” shirts and assorted UT-related garb. Toy Joy on 29th and Guadalupe offers a plethora of creative gifts and eccentric toys for all types.
As far as food goes, the Drag offers more choices than many other areas in town, partially because of the diverse student body that frequents the area. Madam Mam’s makes great Thai and Chinese food, while just down the road lie several venerable Austin establishments such as Burger Tex, Dirty Martin’s (Home of the Kum-Bak Burger), and Veggie Heaven, a favorite for vegans and health-conscious people. Kerbey Lane Cafe is the place to go if you’re looking for late-night food ranging from enchiladas to classic American fare. Don’t forget to try the famous pancakes, which come is several delicious and fruity flavors. Tom’s Tabooleh offers great falafel and other various Middle Eastern fare, using locally grown and organic ingredients. They also have a wide selection of fresh hummus and Greek dolmas available every day. Wheatsville Co-op is a local grocery which sells local and organic produce as well as a variety of health foods and a great deli to boot. For those in search of a tasty ice cream treat, options abound: The famous Amy’s Ice Cream has many different and unusual types of creamy delights, including Guinness or Shiner Bock ice cream. So if Austin’s where you want to be, don’t forget to check out the Drag (it’s kind of hard to miss).
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