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Insider Guide: Austin

Touching down in Texas’s artsy capital for greasy good tacos, vintage shopping, and more.

Austin, Texas has one of the fastest growing social, food and culture scenes in the country. The Lone Star state’s capital is, after all, the chosen location for the famed South by Southwest festival each March, plus a brand new Food & Wine festival debuting this April. We enlisted Lauren Kelleher, marketing manager for Dripping Springs Vodka, the local drink of choice, to tell us her favorite hot spots.

The Best Thing About Austin…

The people—they’re really nice, and Austin has a friendly small town vibe that, given its size, is incredibly welcoming. There’s a real sense of community that is usually only found in smaller places.

In A Nutshell

The entrepreneurialism of Texas, plus the unconventional joie de vivre of the city’s music scene, along with University of Texas’ social consciousness and intellectualism combined make it a unique and magical place.

Hottest Local Beauty Trend

It’s 90 degrees or hotter nine months of the year, which means eye makeup melts off your face instantly. One thing that’s really big here, and that I’m addicted to, is eyelash extensions. They’re especially useful in the summer time.

If I Moved Away, I'd Book Trips Back Just For…

The Queso at Torchy’s Tacos; cocktails at Bar Congress; seeing a movie while having a drink and meal at the Alamo Draft house; walking around Lady Bird lake in the spring; vinyasa yoga at Black Swan; vintage shopping on South Congress at spots like New Bohemia.

Juice You Can't Miss…

The best juice bar I’ve ever seen in the world is Juiceland. They have incredible exotic ingredients, like Himalayan pink salt and several types of algae-based ingredients, and they’re knowledgeable about what everything does.

Other Haute Spots

The food is exquisite at Barley Swine. The chef just got nominated for a James Beard award. The food is fascinating and so beautifully put together, but the restaurant is unpretentious and totally relaxed. It just feels like you’re sitting in someone’s living room.

SXSW Survival Tips…

Have the number of a petty cab driver in your phone. Know where to get breakfast tacos every morning. Make sure that you’re staying nourished and that you have a way to get home every night. And, of course: pace yourself.

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