Where to Eat, Stay and Play: Austin Insider Edition

by Gracie Watt on February 10, 2022 in Living Texas, Austin, Travels,

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. 

The Brushfire Taco is really like a brush with fire as it is pretty spicy. Ingredients include Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream and cilantro with Torchy’s spiciest diablo sauce on a flour tortilla. Courtesy photo

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. 

If you visit Torchy’s, the Green Chile Queso is a must, as it is topped with guacamole, cotija cheese, cilantro and diablo sauce, making for the perfect amount of spice. Courtesy photo

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. 

At Soho House Austin you can expect an elegant and unforgettable stay. Soho House regulars, Southern-inspired dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and creative plant-based options are served all day at the restaurant. And there’s a killer downtown view from the rooftop pool. Photo Cristina Fisher

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.

A Large room at Soho House Austin has an emperor bed and en-suite bathrooms as well as a terrace. Each room includes a sofa, a kitchenette with a dining table and a powder room. A flatscreen TV, a minibar and a Marshall Bluetooth speaker are also included in Large bedrooms. In the bathroom, you’ll find a range of full-sized Cowshed products and more. All bedrooms come with free wifi. Photo Chase Daniel

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! 

The club is the restaurant and bar at Soho House Austin, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner staples with a Texas twist, plus brunch on weekends with craft cocktails. Photo Cristina Fisher

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. 

Parker Jazz club started with a basement and a dream— and of course, award-winning jazz vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kris Kimura. Photo Kim Yarbrough

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. 

Kris Kimura is an Austin-based woodwind specialist, vocalist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and jazz club owner. He studied music at the University of North Texas and Texas State University, and now thrives on keeping Parker Jazz lively. The venue is named after his son, Parker. Photo Kim Yarbrough

Why not sign up now for our newsletter to get the best of Texas in your inbox?

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