If you haven’t been hearing it from everyone who’s ever visited yet, Austin is a wonderful city full of great food, music, entertainment and unique places to stay.
However, with so many eye-catching options, it can be difficult to navigate which ones to choose. Here are our picks for some local places that are sure to surprise and delight.
Eat: Torchy’s Tacos
One of my favorite things about Austin is the variety of local food that occupies every street you turn onto.
No exception to this is the now famous Torchy’s Tacos, which originated in Austin 15 years ago, and has been serving “damn good” tacos and addictive Green Chile Queso ever since. What started with just one man, founder Mike Rypka, and just one location, has now grown to so much more. In fact, Torchy’s recently celebrated a pretty big milestone — opening their 100th store location, off Slaughter Lane in southwest Austin.
While they are obviously known for their delicious and unique tacos, such as the fried avocado taco, brushfire taco and much more, Torchy’s also has other delicious menu options such as a burrito, salad, chips as well as the award-winning queso. And of course, no meal at Torchy’s is complete without their signature margaritas and cocktails.
Stay: Soho House
There are a lot of wonderful options when it comes to lodging in Austin. So, why should you stay at Soho House? For one, the location is hard to beat as it is tucked away in a unique new corner off of South Congress called Music Lane. This little section on the famous street is full of luxury boutiques, delicious restaurants such as the Mediterranean-inspired dining at Aba, walking paths and endearing coffee shops such as Two Hands.
If the convenient location is not enough to convince you, take a walk inside the doors of Soho House and you will never want to leave. Soho House Austin not only has wonderful amenities like a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, a restaurant and even a screening room, but it also has a rich history that connects it to many other cities across the globe.
The first Soho House opened in 1995 on London’s Greek Street, inspired by the local artists and creatives in the area. Since then, Soho House now has 27 houses across 10 countries, and they are ever-expanding.
Soho House Austin clearly had big shoes to fill, as the houses have built a reputation for high quality across the world, and Austin did an impressive job as rooms range from cosy to extra large– each with unique features and designs.
Bedrooms at Soho House Austin are only bookable by members and Soho Friends. The newest membership option from Soho House, Soho Friends ($130/annually) gives access to room bookings, studio spaces and some events. Make sure to get your membership today if you are planning to visit any of the Soho House locations soon!
Play: Parker Jazz
When it’s time to kick back and relax, Austin has some lesser-known options that you can explore to make you feel like a local if you’re coming from out of town.
Parker Jazz has quickly become one of my favorite spots in Austin. Located conveniently on West 4th Street, the jazz club opened its doors in 2018, and has been moving audiences through music ever since. Stepping into the basement venue is like stepping back in time, into an underground space in Harlem, New Orleans or Chicago, celebrating the spirit and origins of the music.
Founder Kris Kimura never fails to impress with his extensive brass-instrument collection, which he jokes his wife, vocalist Jennifer Johnson, allows him to have under the conditions that he plays each instrument every night, which he always does with grace and ease.
Alongside the talented Parker Jazz house band, Kimura is sure to give you music-filled memories, as this venue is the perfect spot for a night out on the town. They often have special events highlighting old legends of jazz or even have performers come from out of town. The venue has a full bar with delicious and unique drink options as well.
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Cover story courtesy Parker Jazz
Gracie Watt is an Editorial Assistant and contributing writer at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a senior at St. Edward’s University in Austin, studying Journalism. When she’s not writing, Watt enjoys singing, playing the guitar and doing volunteer work. @graciethatgirl