The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is quickly approaching, and we just can’t contain our excitement any longer. With visitors from all over the world flocking to Austin during this massive event, you might want a few recommendations on where to grab a bite to eat, drink, stay, and have some extra Texas fun! Here are all the best local bars, restaurants, and hotels to explore while you’re in Austin for SXSW.
Where to Eat & Drink
310 East 5th Street, Austin, TX 78701
From Instagrammable views to lounging at a private cabana, Azul Rooftop Bar at the Westin is the perfect escape. Enjoy a refreshing watermelon margarita (Teremana Reposado, Grand Marnier, Watermelon, Hibiscus Agave, Lime) by the pool as the weather heats up, or sip a hot toddy (Wild Turkey 101, Allspice Dram, Lemon, ginger, served hot) by the fire pits as the sun goes down.
110 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
Located on the fifth floor of the JW Marriott, Edge Rooftop features specially curated cocktails in a laid-back atmosphere embedded in scenery spanning the length of downtown. Stop by for a So Co Marg (Altos Plata, combier, salted watermelon, lime, agave, black lava salt) or a Texas Sipper (Tito’s, elderflower, blood orange, topo chico) to unwind from the busy Austin streets.
621 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Head to Aloft to check out Upstairs at Caroline for the ultimate urban backyard party, complete with giant Jenga, Foosball, and corn hole. Let the drinks flow with the craft cocktails on tap, like Cool as a Cuke (Tanteo jalapeno, Solerno blood orange, cucumber, lime) and an Apricot Spritz (zephyr gin, Aperol, Giffard apricot, strawberry, bubbles), or if you visit on Saturday, a bucket of beer.
307 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701
Co-owned and operated by award-winning mixologists Justin Lavenue, Dennis Gobis and Matthew Korzelius, The Roosevelt Room in Austin, Texas specializes in craft cocktails as the extensive, 80-drink beverage program consists of a historic chalkboard menu covering the essential periods in cocktail history (including Prohibition, Tiki and Modern Classics) in addition to innovative House Creations. Since opening in 2015, the bar has racked up numerous accolades including nominations for Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar and American Best Bar Team at the 2019 and 2020 Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards.
1400 S Congress Ave Suite B160, Austin, TX 78704
Nestled away just off the sidewalk on Austin’s iconic South Congress Avenue, Gelato Paradiso is a hidden gem offering traditional, handcrafted Italian gelato. All made in-house, gelato flavors at Gelato Paradiso range from classics like Stracciatella and Pistacchio to monthly flavors featuring seasonal and Texas-inspired ingredients as well as vegan Sorbettos. All flavors are available in a cup or on a housemade cone. Gelato Paradiso also offers a variety of handcrafted gelato cakes (available for preorder 36 hours in advance), Affogatos and more.
2201 College Ave, Austin, TX 78704
An upscale salad bistro featuring fresh, farm-to-table fare, Vinaigrette is the perfect destination for a nourishing lunch or dinner. The restaurant’s large, serene oak tree-shaded patio is ideal for al fresco dining. Vinaigrette also features craft cocktails, curated wine as well as tinctures and tonics that nourish both mind and body. Vinaigrette also serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m.
304 E Cesar Chavez St Unit 100, Austin, TX 78701
Featuring one of the largest outdoor patios on West Cesar Chavez Street, Corinne is an honest and fresh neighborhood dining and cocktail spot serving classic, authentic regional classics and American comfort food. Corinne’s classic cocktails are an Austin staple, featuring authentic, regional flavors with choices including the signature Old Fashioned (Brush Creek Bourbon, Vanilla Demerara Sugar, Walnut Bitters) or a San Jacinto Spritz (Sandman Fino Sherry, Raspberry, Mint, Lemon Juice, Sparkling Wine).
304 E Cesar Chavez St Unit 700, Austin, TX 78701
Seven stories up and a world away. Zanzibar, is a lush tropical rooftop terrace and pool oasis with stunning views of downtown. It quickly became a popular spot among Austin locals and travelers alike, known as a socially distant outdoor rooftop where guests can escape the everyday with modern tiki cocktails. It features its own street-level elevator access on San Jacinto Boulevard to transport you seven stories up and a world away. Explore Zanzibar’s modern tiki cocktails, like the frozen Zanzibar Swizzle (rum, hibiscus, ginger, allspice, and lime) and The Devil & the Deep Blue Sea (bourbon, pineapple, orgeat, orange, lemon) next to picture-perfect views of downtown.
304 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701
Austin Marriot Downtown’s two-story bar and lounge, The Lobbyist is a stylish meeting spot or a place to pause and reset during the SXSW hustle and bustle while enjoying classic cocktails and fresh bites.
9001 Cameron Rd Ste 101, Austin, TX 78754
Located in North Austin, Buddy’s Burger is a locally owned spot known for its 100% Angus beef patties that are hand-formed daily. Opened in 2021, Buddy’s Burgers has a short and sweet menu that uses all-natural top-of-the-line ingredients. In addition to their fresh-made burgers, they offer regular or seasoned homemade fries, handspun milkshakes, hand-squeezed lemonade and even draft beer! Their location and simple yet delicious menu make Buddy’s Burger the perfect location to escape the SXSW chaos.
6700 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
Yard Bar is an outdoor bar and dog park located in the heart of North Austin, away from downtown. Yard Bar serves up great drinks including a selection of handcrafted cocktails and mocktails, local beers and wines. There is an off-leash dog park area that includes tables and chairs for folks to lounge while their pups enjoy a fun, safe space that also has agility and play equipment.
Connected to Yard Bar, Fat City is a concept from Austin, Texas’ beloved culinary classic, The Peached Tortilla. Featuring a family-friendly menu of sliders, chicken tenders, crinkle fries and more, Fat City elevates nostalgic guilty pleasures to wholesome, scratch-made classics done right. Kid and pup-friendly!
Where to Stay
Austin Marriott Downtown features 31-stories with 613 guest rooms and 25 luxurious suites, in addition to 60,000-square-feet of meeting space. Austin Marriott Downtown also features four F&B concepts, including the rooftop terrace Zanzibar, the signature restaurant Corinne, two-story cocktail bar The Lobbyist, and modern urban grocer Loaf + Vine. The new Austin Marriott Downtown is steps away from the most popular downtown tourist attractions, bars, and restaurants. The hotel’s design is inspired by its home city, with limestone and Texas Cedar native to central Texas used throughout the hotel. Guest rooms start on level seven to maximize views of Lady Bird Lake, the University of Texas campus, the city skyline, and in the distance, Texas Hill Country. The reimagined rooms offer a spacious and elevated look complete with tailored solutions that are as inventive as its guests and features deluxe walk-in showers and spa-like lighting complete the relaxed experience throughout the room. Guests will feel a sense of place the moment they walk in the door, whether they’re in town for a staycation, weekend getaway, business trip, meeting or convention.
One of Austin’s most iconic hotspots, The South Congress Shopping District is the ultimate destination for a taste of both old and new Austin. Filled with historic venues such as the famous Continental Club, chic hotels including the South Congress Hotel, Austin Motel and Hotel San Jose and fabulous shopping. A wide variety of restaurants line the strip including longtime classics and newer additions such as Lucky Robot, Amy’s Ice Creams, Güero’s Taco Bar, Jo’s Coffee, Perla’s, Gelato Paradiso, Hopdoddy Burger Bar and Enoteca Vespaio, Neighborhood Sushi, June’s All Day, Joann’s Fine Foods, Central Standard, Home Slice Pizza and more.
When in doubt on where to stay during SXSW, there’s nothing like spending a few nights at a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of Austin. Explore Austin’s southern hospitality at its finest when you book these relaxing hotels.