Austin City Limits is the longest-running live music performance television show in history. In fact, it dates back to 1974 when not-yet-famous musicians like Willie Nelson were just getting their start and the series only spotlighted original Texas music. Today, however, the show has expanded its boundaries to showcase a broad range of styles and artists who attract over 450,000 attendees each year.
As the home of this legendary music festival, Austin offers much more than just good grooves and tantalizing tunes. From world famous restaurants and heart-pumping nightlife, to endless activities and attractions, it’s easy to make the most of your time in The Live Music Capital of the World.
Where To Eat
The following spots are hot on Austin’s restaurants scene right now:
- General Tso’boy is arguably the best American Chinese sandwich shop in the area. Originally opened in New York City, the fast casual restaurant moved to Austin to thrive off of the fun environment. With locally sourced ingredients, every dish at General Tso’boy is packed full of traditional, unexpected flavors.
- L’Oca D’Oro, or “golden goose” in Italian, brings classic Italian flavors to life in the heart of Texas with carefully sourced and seasonal ingredient. The restaurant’s house-made pasta graces the palate with fresh-milled grains, bread, cheese, vinegars, and liqueurs. And with monthly events that highlight music and film, L’Oca d’Oro is a must for Austin City Limits visitors.
- Irene’s is the go-to spot for classic American bar and restaurant food for both breakfast lovers and late-night snackers alike. Outside, huge pecan trees grace the creek-side patio while the inside welcomes guests with a stylish yet unpretentious dive-bar feel. Whether you’re craving a warm cinnamon roll or a fresh seasonal salad, a meatball sub or a massive skillet steak, Irene’s cooks up continuous crowd favorites.
- Forthright is the epitome of what breakfast, brunch, and lunch should be. Enjoy a simple egg and toast breakfast on the leafy patio, refresh with a kale caesar salad, or be hardy-happy with a juicy grass-fed burger. Whether you’re in need of strong coffee or a strong cocktail, Forthright’s considerable menu is packed with unique thirst quenchers.
- Boiler Nine Bar & Grill is located in the city’s repurposed, historical Seaholm Power Plant. With original flavors that match the unforgettable decor, Boiler Nine gives guests a true dining experience. From creative twists on traditional bar food, to robust, mouthwatering main dishes, and an entire menu of fresh-made sweets, Boiler Nine is just the place to go when you’re in need of a mid-festival pick-me-up.
Where To Drink
Ask any partier at an ACL festival where the best nightlife in Austin is and chances you’ll hear “6th Street!” And while this notorious street is known for stiff drinks and live music, Austin’s nightlife scene is vast and vivacious.
- Backbeat, a retro cocktail bar, invites visitors to sip throwback cocktails in the belly of mid-century design. With an extensive rum collection to unique champagnes and wines, Backbeat has the vibe and vigor to get your night started right.
- Milonga Room specializes in amaro. From unique cocktails to rare bottles, guests can relax is this Argentinian-style speakeasy filled with soft candle light, antiques and live music.
- Basecamp is a brightly lit, upscale sports bar located in the downtown Warehouse District that offers cold craft beer, a thoughtful selection of wines, and popular signature cocktails. If you’re on an ACL budget, check out the bar’s Facebook page for current drink specials.
- Parlor and Yard is the place to stop if you’re on 6th Street. New to the area, Parlor and Yard features fun yard games, various lounging options, and live DJs. The bar donates every $1 of The Hometown Mule to Emancipet, a non-profit that provides affordable veterinary care. Other signature cocktails, wines, cans, and tall-boys are sure to quench your thirst.
- Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar pours more than 20 types of mezcal-agave based cocktails and invites guests to viva a Austin on their candlelit, rooftop bar with a classic speakeasy vibe. Margaritas blended with fresh seasonal ingredients are always a reliable drink choice.
What To Do
Now that you know where to get the best eats and drinks in the city, it’s time to look at the top 5 things to do between ACL shows or during your downtime.
- Segway to Scareville: As dusk falls, the Haunted Austin and Bat Bridge Segway Tour takes you to historically spooky sites like the Driskill Hotel and the Austin Moonlight Towers where guides give you detailed stories of ghost sightings and scary events. You’ll also zoom past Congress Avenue Bridge just in time to see the notorious sight of thousands of bats flying out to feed.
- Bathe At Barton: Take a break from the suffocating Texas heat with a trip to Barton Springs Pool. The year-round 70-degree spring-fed pool is located in the heart of the city and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon before rocking out to some serious tunes.
- Fancy Yourself In Flowers: The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center transports you from urban chaos to natural serenity in just seconds. Named after former first lady and fierce conservationist Lady Bird Johnson, the Wildflower Center preserves, restores, and demonstrates the value of thousands of North America’s most beautiful native plants.
- Hear Some History: Texas’ iconic State Capitol building is one of the most distinguished state capitols. Take a free Capitol Tour to learn everything you want to know about Texas history, Texas legislature, and even information about the building’s outstanding architecture.
- Throwback Your Two-Step: If you’re not getting enough dancing at ACL, head 10 minutes out of town to the Broken Spoke and prepare yourself for western dancing at it’s finest. At this traditional Texas dancehall you can sip cold beer at the classic bar, line dance through the dusty air, and watch as old-timers show off their true-blue moves.
Help Is Here
Hours of dancing, eating, drinking, and exploring in the hot Austin heat can be harsh on your rockstar lifestyle. If you or someone you know is in need of medical assistance, call or visit one of the following medical facilities:
- Cornerstone Hospital
- 4207 Burnet Road, Austin TX (512)706-1900
- Austin State Hospital
- 4110 Guadalupe St., Austin TX (512)452-0381
- Fastmed Urgent Care
- 1920 E. Riverside Dr., A110, Austin TX (512)326-1600
Sometimes the party-rock scene and care-free attitude of ACL can cause people make mistakes that leave them in a tough legal bind. At Harron Law, expereinced lawyers have the care and consideration you or your friends need to help out in these tricky situations. Call (512) 963-8855 for a free consultation or check out the website for more information.