Nothing beats Texas for a truly authentic Southern experience and Austin, the Lone Star state’s capital, shows off what it’s all about. A city of less than 900,000 people, it’s got that small town feeling – friendly people and a relaxed vibe – and despite its rapid growth and recognition as one of the USA’s hottest music and food destinations, it’s kept the unique and quirky style it’s become known for.
Eye-catching flashing neon signs inspired by the American roadhouse add a retro flair to the city’s shops while hipsters in vintage and cowboy hat-toting Texans mingle on street corners. There’s a reason the city’s slogan is ‘Keep Austin Weird’ – weird in a good way – and here’s what you shouldn’t miss.
#1 The food
Food in Austin almost always means food vans, as the streets of this quirky city are literally lined with them. You’ll find everything from vegetarian and Vietnamese to typically southern style heart attack-inducing treats. You’ll find fried chicken and biscuits, chocolate chip and pretzel pies, maple glazed bacon donuts (Gourdoughts on South 1st Street are insane) as well as Mexican-influenced Tex Mex restaurants – the best nachos, burritos, enchiladas and margaritas you’re likely to come across.
But the must-eat meal when it comes to Texas is, of course, barbecue. Think 12-hour slow cooked ribs seasoned to perfection, served with a side of smoky beans or mac and cheese and washed down with an iced tea or a prickly pear cactus beer. In Austin, head to Franklin BBQ if you can stand the line or else head slightly south to Texas’ barbecue capital, Lockhart, and hit up Kreuz Market.