Addictive tacos, vibrant street art, live music – Austin has it all.
Just because you’re visiting Austin for SXSW doesn’t mean your creative work gets put on hold. If you need to shoot content for your social media, schedule a meeting at a cool local spot, or simply show that you know how to do Austin like a local, this list is for you.
Headquartered in Austin, we figured we could give our PLANOLY fam a tour of our hometown. Here’s a round-up of the spots to take photos, shoot videos, or visit for fun.
SXSW Local’s List
A Palm Springs inspired patio pool bar with a 1970s design aesthetic. You’ll find it easy to put an eclectic spin on your content with the flamingo wallpaper and jams from local musicians.
Overlooking the lake, this hotel offers poolside burgers and tiki cocktails, an Alfred Coffee, quirky wallpaper, and three restaurants. Don’t forget to visit the restroom on your way out.
Speaking of restaurants at The Line Hotel Austin, the P6 lounge offers unbeatable sunset views to bask in lake and Austin skyline.
If your grid was needing some funk, this is your spot. Last Straw has you covered with vibrant walls, color blocking, greenery, beach vibes, and tiki drinks.
This is a classic spot where Austin likes to keep it weird. The gritty but snug dive bar is full of opportunities for dark and effervescent photographs. Don’t leave without a selfie with the gnome mascot.
The team behind the acclaimed Ramen Tatsuya created this Japan meets Texas Izakaya. Come for the thrifted decor, stay for the drool-worthy meats.
If you’re not into tighter spots, this light and bright cafe is sure to brighten all your content needs. No one is not photogenic at Hank’s! Enjoy a drink or two on the spacious patio, adorned with cacti.
The Goan and Portuguese menu inspires the rich, colorful artwork and furniture at Vixen’s Wedding. Here, you’ll find woven goods and pillows in every pattern as a backdrop to your portraits.
Stop by this kitschy Mexican restaurant to enjoy an expansive patio for content, cocktails, and cool murals.
Domo Alley Gato is another spot home to the local Tatsuya franchise. This Japanese patio bar, adorned with orange lanterns and beckoning cat talismans, is more reminiscent of the gardens in Kyoto than the metropolitan bustle of Tokyo.
To accompany the iconic pink backdrop wall, perk up your content and spirit with Grizzela’s pink margarita! Come for the ‘gram but leave with the trophy of having tried “Tex-Mex.”
Believe us when we say people just come here to hang out. In addition to it’s architectural feats, the Austin Central Library boasts a rooftop garden, mesmerizing stairwell, an assortment of retro chairs, art installations, and of course, books for pleasure.
A little out of the SXSW way, Justine’s is a great spot to go from content shooting to late-night glam. This luxe brasserie has dreamscape lighting and a cozy courtyard strewn with disco balls.
Before you think ‘oh great, another hotel,” know that this is the hotel. Austin Proper Hotel is an oasis for modern aesthetics and lush wallpapers, from the lobby to the exclusive sunken bar.
Le vibes at Le Politique vary from the patio, main dining room, bar, and patisserie. This high foot traffic spot will add life to your bubbles and escargot content.
The cousin to the iconic green “I Love You So Much” wall, our hot-take, is that the “I Hate You So Much” wall at Bungalow on Rainey Street is an ode to Austin’s growing traffic problem. If “Love” is off-brand for you, stop by for a photo here to begin the rest of your Rainey Street tour.
SXSW Classics & City Staples
Like most cities, Austin has its tourist destinations that you should certainly visit during your stay. They may be a bit “basic” to locals and a pass if you’ve spent time in Austin before, but if it’s your first time in the city or for SXSW, you be remiss to not swing by these classic spots.
The “I Love You So Much Wall” is a top spot for first-time visitors. If you left Austin without a photo here, did you even really come to Austin?
Mount Bonnell is a prominent point alongside Lake Austin and the Colorado River. If you need some literal fresh air from SXSW, Mount Bonnell delivers with a moderate hike upward and a vista for viewing the city of Austin.
Here’s a fact we learned while writing this: the Blanton Museum of Art is one of the largest university art museums in the nation! Everything is bigger in Texas, indeed.
A short walk from the University of Texas campus, Hotel Ella delivers both a historical and opulent aesthetic for your content. You’ll need at least an hour to explore the mansion full of creative content nooks.
Barton Springs Pool is filled with natural spring water, located a short walk from Zilker Park. Come here to channel your inner Slim Aarons aesthetic.
The Beverly-Hills-esque hotel is a secluded oasis from the SXSW path. The neon “SOUL” sign is a collectible for lifestyle influencers and photographers.
Austin Motel carries it’s weight to truly “keep Austin weird.” Start here to begin your journey through SoCo.
There’s a reason certain places are popular tourist spots – they guarantee good views and a good time. It doesn’t get more picturesque than nachos and margaritas during sunset here.
A short walk out of downtown, Auditorium Shores serves up the perfect view of the downtown skyline. Enjoy puppies during the day and live music during the SXSW nights.
This is a colorful mural on the side of a STAG men’s store, proposing the country singer for president. For more murals, head to Taste of Koko’s list here.
PLANOLY PRO TIP: It’s always a pro move to ask for permission to come by and shoot content, especially if you’re capturing more than a few photos. Email or call the business locations ahead to schedule a visit.