Austin is a great place to live and an amazing place to visit. Just know that, when you’re here, it’s easy to look like a total fool who does fool things, foolishly. Fortunately, we’re here to help you avoid all that.
What a fool would do: Eat at Torchy’s.
Nothing says “TOURIST” like holding a map, wearing a camera around your neck, and scarfing down an overpriced Mr. Pink. Torchy’s is so safe, the President goes there when he visits Austin.
What you should do: Go to Taco-Mex.
Taco-Mex doesn’t rely on gimmicks like cute taco names… Or chairs or tables or even a visible sign. You place your order through a window the size of a priest’s confessional, and you walk away with a little bit of heaven.
What a fool would do: Go to Hole in the Wall.
Hole In The Wall, located on the U.T. campus, is a great place to eavesdrop on drunk students while they talk about something they learned in class earlier that day. Nietzsche never sounded so poignant.
What you should do: Drink at La Perla.
La Perla is where you drink when you want to hear tales about the good old days of Austin. You know, back when South Congress was a red-light district and not just an elaborate souvenir shop. So drink your Modelo, shut your mouth, and try not to get your gentrification on anything.
What a fool would do: Shop at Whole Foods.
You’ll wear out your Lululemon yoga pants wandering around this behemoth and leave with empty pockets and a single overpriced oat bar. Eat it in the parking lot, in the literal shadow of the corporate headquarters that tower over you.
What you should do: Shop at Fiesta.
You could take your children to a museum to learn about other cultures, or you take them to a Fiesta supermarket. This place is such a melting pot, you can find ingredients from countries that no longer exist.
What a fool would do: Have an “I love you so much” graffiti photo op.
Let’s face it, you probably don’t love the person you met while double-fisting Live Oaks on the Bat Bridge. Getting a photo with them here is just asking for Instagram pictures you’re going to regret later.
What you should do: Visit any mural on East Cesar Chavez St.
"You don't have to go to a gallery, you don't have to go across town to see your culture." -Robert Kane Herrera, Austin muralist East Cesar Chavez street's "La Lotería" mural was recently restored by Arte Texas, a new non-profit that focuses on East Austin art. The mural was originally painted in the 1980s, and stands for the culture of Mexican-Americans in Austin. #TVH #vibes
If you want to impress someone, take them to experience the art and culture found on nearly every block of historic Cesar Chavez. Can you fall in love there? Yes you can! Can you just be friends ? Yes you can! Can you drink before noon? That’s why you’re in Austin!
What a fool would do: Barton Springs Pool.
Once a respite from Austin’s notoriously long, hot summers, Barton Springs Pool is now an overcrowded mess of tourists and children that empty their bladders in the shallow end.
What you should do: Hippie Hollow.
You won’t find lines of tourists on this secluded Lake Travis beach. You won’t even find tan lines. Hippie Hollow is for nude enthusiasts who want to get some vitamin D on their beach balls. Let it all hang out. Or don’t. No judgment here.
What a fool would do: Common Interest Karaoke.
You’ve been singing along to the radio for 30 minutes when your Lyft driver finally begs you to get out of the car. What now? You could go to The Common Interest and watch patrons sing out their sexual and professional frustrations…
What you should do: Austin Mic Exchange.
…Or go here instead. Vomit on your sweater already? Mom’s espagueti? Take those rhymes to Spider House Ballroom’s hip-hop open mic. Throwing lyrical shade at all challengers is a healthy way to lose yourself in the music. And you’ll get more than one shot. This goes down every Tuesday.
What a fool would do: Take a Segway tour of Austin.
You’re a rude dude with a bad attitude, so why not join the worst gang in the world: the Segway Tour. Put on your rented helmet and glide around town at a blistering 12.5 miles per hour with all your cronies. Try not to blink, you might miss something important, like your dignity.
What you should do: Literally anything else.
Austin has it all: great food, great music, great entertainment, great scenery and great locals. Whatever you end up doing in Austin, you really can’t go wrong as long as you have a good time. And if you do happen to join a Segway Tour, just remember that you’re keeping Austin weird. And that’s what it’s all about.
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