In preparation for heading to Austin for SXSW I asked a buddy of mine who used to live in Austin for his recommendations on what to do, where to eat, etc. Here’s what he had to say…

Good restaurants
-gueros: it’s classic tex mex and in a cool part of town on south congress. Great for lunch.
-shady grove: it’s on riverside next to a trailor park and has great outdoor eating sometimes with a band. It’s classic austin.
-saltlick: best bbq in the austin area it is about 15 minutes south of town in driftwood. It is a dry county so bring a 12 pack with you. They have a cool patio where you can habg out and drink while you wait for a table

Fancier Restaurants
-z tejas over by 6th and lamar-sort of nuevo mexican
-mars which is in a funky old bungalow and serves american
Breakfast:
-kirby lane has great pancakes and is another austin classic

Bars
-a lot of the sxsw stuff will be around 6th st. That’s the college drag and kind of nasty. I’d stay more on 4th west of congress
-club deville is a great bar just by campus with a great outdoors
-gingerman is on 4th and lavaca I think. It has 30 or 40 beers on tap and an outdoor patio. They also have some kind of happy hour around 5 where beers start at a dollar and then go up every half hour. Good deal

Clubs
-i’m sure you’ll go to most based on the acts but continental club (across from gueros) and antones are the classics

Sites
-barton springs pool: it’s a natural spring that they turned into a public pool
-hamilton pool: also a good place to go swimming if it’s warm enough. It’s an old river bed that collapsed leaving a pool with half shell over it.
-lake travis: this is a little far but there are cool views of the lake from the oasis restaurant.