Austin Express Guide: why you should visit the liberal Texas oasis
In the middle of one of the most conservative states in the United States where the Republican vote seems to flood everything, a small oasis of hipsters appears where the 'live and let live' and the underground culture invade every inch, especially these days, which welcomes the massive South by Southwest festival. We tell you why the weirdest city (and proud to be) from the United States is worth a visit.
Cinema, music and interactivity are the three themes of the megafestival that, every year, fills Austin. And it fills it literally. These days, in the streets you can only see people with their accreditation hanging from the neck and only by their accessories will you know what section they are dedicated to: if they wear Google glasses, if they wear long beards and skinny pants, if they wear La Matanza's shirt from Texas or The Chronocrimes ... The city that alone oozes music, cinema, life, during these nine days, usually in March, becomes a place to go at least once in a lifetime. And here it goes a list of sites around the festival, but that you can also enjoy at any other time.
VIVA TÉXICO (AND THE TEXICAN FOOD)
This is what they call their Mexican and Mexican cuisine, tex-mex, for which the city is known and which has two fundamental legs: or tacos or barbecue. You find them in restaurants or in another of the classic Austin gastronomy figures: the trailers or truck foods, parked on the street or gathered in large esplanades.
Theirs is to start with a breakfast taco (breakfast taco), "the most important taco of the day", and if you want something even stronger: rancher eggs, gringos eggs, sausage eggs… Tamale House or El Primo are some of the best known. But here is a recommendation from a Texan, born and lived in Austin, who, with his hat and boots, salivated just thinking about the breakfast he eats every weekend with his wife in Habanero.
The Texas Capitol © Corbis
The same Texan said: “The best barbecue in the city: Franklin Barbecue. Despite its short life (two years as a food truck, less than four as a restaurant) it's an Austin institution, and specifically from East Austin, "the new Williamsburg," as my Texan friend says. You have to go well early in the morning if you get a rib at that time, because as soon as the meal runs out, close. And you can imagine the tail that forms. The Barbecue and Smitty's Market are other essentials.
The best barbecue in town: Franklin Barbecue © Franklin Barbecue
BARS AND MUSIC, TWO IN ONE
Here, the best thing is to go by zones:
The historic 6th Street between Congress and Highway 35 is one bar after another on both sidewalks. The majority are large, very American premises, which occupy old buildings, with a great selection of beers from the area and outside and almost always, and especially during the SXSW, with live music. The Jackalope, Buffalo Billiards (the puppies in the small front post are impressive, by the way), the modern Easy Tiger brewery / bakery yard, the tequilas of the Iron Cactus ... and the Midnight Cowboy, a speakeasy, former brothel that experts say in the city like Nacho Vigalondo who serves the best cocktails in Austin. Of course, reservation or invitation is required.
Drinks in the Midnight Cowboy © Midnight Cowboy
East Austin is the last neighborhood Item from the city. Where Austin's hipsters and hipsters are moving. It would be the continuation of 6th Street on the other side of the highway and to 12th Street in the north. Bars with performances like the Violet Crown Social Club, The White Horse; the Rita River (coffee by day, bare by night); La Perla, the courtyard of The Liberty ...
The terrace of the La Perla restaurant © La Perla
South Congress or its acronym SoCoIt was the most modern neighborhood before the most modern was East Austin, with bars like the Crow Bar or the Continental. And good truck food parkings, by the way.
Downtown, Warehouse District ... and surroundings of the Austin Convention Center, the nerve center of the SXSW festival. They are classics like The Ginger Man or Elephant Room. And new as the Container Bar, made from ship containers, which opened just in time for this year's SXSW, in Rainey Street, a street of old single-family houses converted today into garitos with patio.
Nightlife at The White Horse © The White Horse
AND YOU SHOULD NOT GO WITHOUT ...
Watch a movie and dine or have a local beer in one of Alamo Drafthouse's cinemas. If you go during the Fantastic Fest, better than better.
Visit the Mondo Gallery: t-shirts and posters with alternative Alamo designs, rare vinyl or VHS editions ... A freak and cinephile paradise.
Alternative cinema in the most alternative city in Texas © Alamo Drafthouse