Our Guide to Austin, TX

We’re so excited to be hosting ONA18 in Texas!

We’ll be filling this page with some great resources about our host city as we get closer to the conference. Additionally, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau has done a great job assembling a detailed city guide with filters for food, entertainment, arts and more.

See all Austin has to offer


Food

Austin has long been famous for its barbecue and tacos, but that’s just scratching the surface. The city now boasts a globally influenced dining scene, strong craft beer community, outstanding local coffee shops and just about anything else you could want. Great barbecue can be found nearby at Lambert’s, less than a 10-minute walk from our host hotel. The famous Torchy’s Tacos food truck is about a mile and a half away; walkable in excellent weather (just make sure you have good walking shoes on) and otherwise easily accessible by rideshare or bus.

For specialty coffee, Caffe Medici, across Congress Avenue from the host hotel, is a fantastic local chain, and is equally good for grabbing a cup to go or having a networking meeting. If you’re up for venturing a little further, Seventh Flag Coffee excels both at having a warm vibe and helpful staff (no barista condescension here!). For those who need their Starbucks fix, there’s one inside the hotel!

Great craft beer is easy to find (even the host hotel bar has a well-curated selection). For getting out and about, we recommend The Ginger Man, long a favorite meeting place for digital journalists during SXSW and very friendly to the ONA crowd. It’s a short walk from the hotel, and has both indoor seating and an outdoor patio, sometimes with music. For a change of pace, try the Austin Ale House, about a 10-minute walk. Both venues have helpful staff if you want to get the lay of the land for Texas craft brewing. For venturing to breweries around the city, local alt-weekly The Austin Chronicle provides a great curated list.

If wine and cocktails are more your speed – or for amazing people watching in general – nothing beats the lounge at the historic Driskill Hotel, about a 10-minute walk. It’s a see-and-be-seen type of place, so you never know who you might spot; we’ve had our fair share of celebrity sightings during SXSW, and those can happen year round.

We’re working with locals to provide a more robust dining, coffee and craft beer guide, so stay tuned.

Music

Austin is world renowned for its music scene; those of you flying to ONA18 will likely see a local band greeting you with tunes when you exit your flights. The city even has it’s own Spotify channel, so you can get oriented to the local vibe.

One of the most famous spots is Austin City Limit’s Moody Theater, a huge music venue designed with collaborative input from Austin’s own Willie Nelson. It’s right down the street from the host hotel.

Red River street also has a variety of small venues that often showcase both local and national acts.

To catch up-to-the-minute details, we’d recommend checking out local blog Do512 to see a comprehensive list of music offerings during your time in Austin.

Neighborhoods

There are so many fun neighborhoods in Austin, it’s hard to recommend one, so we’ve tried to break this down by the types of experiences you may want.

For shopping, walking south from the hotel across the river on Congress takes you past dozens of boutique shops and stores specializing in unique Austin art. There are also plenty of food and coffee shops along here, so it makes for a great afternoon stroll and gives you a feel for a different part of the city besides downtown. For high-end chain stores, you can also head west along 2nd Street from the hotel for a good selection.

If you want to a relaxing afternoon exploring modern Austin’s eclectic and creative mix of food and drink, check out Rainey Street, east of the host hotel. It’s a newly revitalized area with vast array of cafes, restaurants and craft beer and cocktail spots.

For a true night on the town, head to Austin’s famous 6th Street. It’s a similar vibe to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, though the music leans more toward country and rock than zydeco and jazz.

Outdoors

If you love the outdoors, Austin is a perfect blend of urban living and outdoor offerings, as both parks and challenging hikes abound. Near the hotel, on both sides of the Colorado River, is a hike-and-bike trail, great for running, cycling or even a pleasant stroll. We recommend the side south of the bridge, which gives you a beautiful view of the Austin skyline and wider trails.

Not far from the hotel, though you may want a carshare unless you’re a determined runner or cyclist, is the Zilker Metropolitan Park and Zilker Botanical Garden. The whole area is sprawling and encompasses walking trails, play areas, a nature center, a pool and more. The Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail is a great, moderately-challenging trail for those who want to get off the pavement and get a bit of nature.