Over the next few weeks I'm going to be writing/maintaining a travel guide for RTX-ers. When I attended PAX East earlier this year, the few guides I read saved my ass. I'm hoping to do the same for those of you planning to come to Austin for RTX. You can either find a link in my journal or go straight to it here.
I'm going to be adding to it quite a bit, but let me know if there is anything that I should add immediately.
Haha I was for sure going to add the bat watching to the list! I remember visiting Austin with my family as a kid and that is something we did EVERY time without fail. I'll hopefully have new things to the guide added sometime later today (Sunday)
There's three cab companies in Austin and there's really no difference between them. It all depends on the driver you get (they're independent contractors). The city regulates the hell out of them, and having taken hundreds of cabs over the years, I've only had two of them do something fishy (and that was just taking routes to increase the fare by a couple of bucks).
The ghost tours are good from what I've heard (I've never been on one, but I know some of the guys that do them and they're cool), but they can get pricey and it's a bit out of season for them.
If you can make it to the pre-party on Thursday night, definitely go since it's at the Highball on South Lamar. It's a really cool bar with a rat pack vibe that makes amazing martinis. They also make the second best fried chicken I've ever had (the first being that of my late grandmother).
The Johnson Presidential Library is in town, as is the Capitol Building (only state capitol that is taller than the one in Washington) if you're into that sort of thing.
Barhopping up and down Sixth Street is a time-honored pastime amongst Austinites and tourists. Just walk up and down 6th street from Congress to Red River and back again until you hear a song you like, then go into that bar.
I always tell everyone to check out the Alamo Drafthouse, but that appears as though it's going to be on the itinerary already. Actual exchange between me and two of my friends from out of town when they went to the Drafthouse for Butt-Numb-a-Thon a few years back:
Friend 1: *kneels down inside the lobby and places his forehead on the ground* Friend 2: You sure you're facing the right direction? Me: Does it matter which way you face when you're INSIDE Mecca?
There's also several improv and comedy shows around downtown depending on your tastes. Casino el Camino is a great place to relax and get the single greatest burger you will ever wait an hour for. You should definitely walk through the Driskill lobby if you can (any ghost tour you take will hit that spot...there's three ghosts in the hotel including a little girl). Troubleshooter Films studio is in town, but I don't know if they do tours or where they are. And this is all just off the top of my head...there's a ton to do in this town.
But if you stay on 6th only between Congress and Red River you exclude West 6th, which I find to be a bit more tolerable. Not as frat-tastic as much of "main" 6th tends to be. West draws a slightly older crowd. More graduate students than undergrad. But all of that is somewhat moot for RTX, since spring classes will be finished and summer won't have started yet.
And just curious of your opinion, Casino el Camino burger > Hut's?
East 6th is dudebro. West 6th is rich dudebro/clubgirls. Warehouse is clubgirls/douches. Red River (between 6th and 9th and the side streets) is hipster. There aren't a lot of cool places if you judge them solely by the crowds.
And I'm not sure about Hut's. Don't know if I've ever had any there (the name's not ringing a bell, but it might be called something else by people I know), but Casinoburgers are 1/2 lb of fresh-ground beef cooked PERFECTLY on a grill. They are hands down the juiciest burgers I've ever had in my life. Don't wear a shirt you like there or wear a bib, especially since the burgers on the menu all have some sort of amazing sauce on them in addition to the burger juices.
And note, I said burger JUICE, not grease. There is a very important difference.
Hut's is in the west 6th area. Its been around a long time and is by far the best burger I've ever had. Even over a Casinoburger. Then again, I've eaten at Hut's more than I have Casino, so it could just be a frequency thing.
Yeah, I've never been there. I'm almost never that far west unless I'm going to Book People or Whole Foods, which only happens once or twice a year. And usually I've already eaten or are planning on eating at either Casino if I'm going downtown after or Highball if I'm going back home :p
I plan to make a map for all of the Sidequest events and for some other things. Said map will include bus route information, for those people who are relying on public transportation and not renting a car. I hope to have that up sometime this weekend
For the people who like books, there's an awesome indie bookstore in Austin called BookPeople. It's one of THE places to go if you're an author (especially YA) and the staff go out of their way to find something you'll like. It's also right across the street from the downtown Whole Foods, which has a great indoor and outdoor seating area for their restaurant.
Meh...there's far more awesome bookstores than that around here. Book People is basically a giant Barnes and Noble that just happens to not have a corporate owner. It's cool that it exists, but not much for a tourist stop.
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