The University of Texas and the Drag form a district of Austin.
The University of Texas (UT) has one of the top five largest campuses in the US, and offers many attractions for students and non-students alike, with aesthetically pleasing grounds and many museums and cultural centers open to the public. A long section of Guadalupe Street (pronounced GWAHD-uh-loop by the locals), known as "the drag", runs alongside the western boundary of the UT campus, providing the area with unique shopping and culinary attractions. Some of the side streets to the west of the drag have some hidden gems as well.
UT is one of the largest universities in the country. With a history going back into the 1800s when 40 acres was set aside for a university, UT has grown into a world class institution. A walk around the campus will reveal everything from Ivy League architecture to modern sculpture. Places to visit are the Harry Ransom Center, the home of one of the original Gutenberg Bibles, the West Mall, UT's answer to London's Hyde Park, where students solve the world's problems, the UT tower, which does, on occasion, let visitors go to the top for a view and the Littlefield fountain, designed by Italian artist Pompeo Coppini in 1933.
If you're up for a walk (the campus is not small), don't forget to visit the LBJ Presidential library on the East side. If you're a football fan, Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium, home of the 2005 National Champion Texas Longhorns, is a must see. If you're around in the summer, a baseball ticket can be had for Texas baseball (a regular contentder for NCAA champion The stadium is across I-35, though. For a rest, and if you can find it, discover the secret peaceful oasis of the lily pond near the biology building. Finally, there is the Cactus Cafe. A cool club on campus in the Austin tradition, the Cactus is known for great live acoustic music. A visit to the University would not be complete without stopping at the Cactus.
The Drag is also worth a visit. It's an urban oasis with a line of interesting stores, joints, restaurants and the usual mix of national chains. The UT Co-op has everything a Texas Longhorn fan could ever desire. Don't forget to visit the Renaissance Market, a small open space across from the university where one can purchase tye-dye shirts, home made jewelry and original art.
At one point, Austin would have been little else than UT. Today, UT stands as one of Austin's best monuments. If you're older, a visit will remind you what it feels like to be young again. If you're younger, it will excite you about what you can be.
- Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, ☎ (512) 471-7324, . M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. The permanent collection comprises an impressive range of European art by important artists such as Rubens, Lorrain, and Guercino, as well as a selection of American and Latin American artworks. There is also a roster of changing exhibitions ranging from the medieval to the modern. Adults $7, children $3. Admission is free every Thursday. edit
- Harry Ransom Center, 300 W 21st St (21st at Guadalupe), ☎ (512) 471-8944, . Tu W F 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-7PM, Sa Su 12PM-5PM. Houses an extensive collection of restored cultural artifacts including rare books, manuscripts, photography, film, and art. The center also hosts frequent cultural symposia which are open to the public. Free. edit
- Neil Cochran House, 2310 San Gabriel, ☎ (512) 478-2335, . Tues.-Sat. 2PM-5PM. This 1855 Greek Revival-style estate house is one of the most important historic residences in the city. Guided tours provide a lot of background information on area history and on the loads of beautiful period furniture throughout the building. $5. edit
- Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, 2313 Red River St., ☎ (512) 721-0200, . Mon.-Fri. 9AM-5PM. One of twelve presidential libraries, this facility holds over 45 million pages of historical documents, plus a museum which has an ever-changing array of exhibits related to American history and the American presidency. edit
- Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity Street, . Mon.-Fri. 9AM-5PM; Sun. 1PM-5PM.. This natural history museum, housed in the exhibit hall of the Texas Natural Science Center, hosts a variety of interesting exhibits, including a paleontology laboratory where visitors are allowed to interact with and ask questions of paleontologists as they go about their work of cleaning, cataloging, and studying fossils. Free. edit
- University of Texas Tower, ☎ (512) 475-6633, . This 307-foot tower, built in 1937, is interesting in its architectural detail, and is one of the defining landmarks of the city. The observation deck is open to the public and offers a great view of the campus and surrounding city. edit
- Many notable pieces of street art: El Federico's Bob Dylan on the Hole in the Wall at 26th; the huge 'Movie History' mural on the side of the old Varsity Theater/Tower Records at 24th, and (front and back!) El Federico's rock icons; the psychedelic Austin landscape on the north-facing wall of the Renaissance Market; and of course the famous "Hi How Are You" alien starting frog painted by local legend Daniel Johnston.
Arcade UFO, 3101 Speedway, ☎ (512) 380-1725, . Su-Th 3PM-1AM, F Sa 1PM-3AM. Arcade UFO is a little slice of Shinjuku in Austin. It's filled exclusively with modern Japanese imported games. It's a great alternative to spending an evening at the bars. edit
- Texas Round-Up & Street Festival APRIL The Texas Round-Up 10K, 5K and Family Mile is held annually in Austin, Texas on the last Saturday in April. Race weekend begins with a health and fitness expo showcasing vendors and sponsors. The race is followed by a fitness festival where families can enjoy live music, food, fitness demonstrations and family friendly activities. Many participants spend months training for Texas Round-Up, and for several participants, the Texas Round-Up is their first race, making the events a very special accomplishment and a true celebration of healthy living.
- Eeyore's Birthday Party APRIL. Pease Park. Held on the last Saturday of every April to ring in spring, there are few things that seem so "Austin" as Eeyore's Birthday Party. It is a unique event: a free-form hang-out of several thousand people... sitting, walking, playing music, beating drums, eating, drinking beer, playing games. Be yourself... there are families, dogs, tattoos, costumes, hotties, hippies, gay, straight, black, white, brown, red, tan.... and a statue of Eeyore dressed like the Statue of Liberty. The drum circle is massive and the beat vibrates throughout the central city. It ends when the sun goes down and everyone leaves peacefully.
In addition to bookstores and other shops which cater to the needs of masses of UT students, the Drag has traditionally been filled with quirky eclectic shops, from bead shops to used records to tattoo parlors. There are still many of these shops around, though in recent years a number of more upscale shops have appeared as well, with unique fashion clothing and home decor items.
- Antone's Record Shop, 2928 Guadalupe St, ☎ (512) 322-0660, . M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 11AM-8PM. edit
- University Co-op, 2246 Guadalupe St, ☎ (512) 476-7211, . M-F 8:30AM-7:30PM, Sa 9:30AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. A giant giftshop carrying virtually any Longhorn-themed item you can imagine. School supplies and textbooks are located downstairs. edit
- Amy's Ice Creams, 3500 Guadalupe St, ☎ +1 512 458-6895, . Su-Th 11:30AM-12AM, F Sa 11:30AM-1AM. edit
- Aster’s Ethopian Restaurant, 2804 N I-35 (NW corner of I-35 access & Dean Keeton), ☎ +1 512 469-5966, . Su, Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, Fr-Sa 11AM-10PM, closed Monday. Aster has been delighting Austin with her Ethopian food for over a decade. The menu includes many vegan choices, both hot and mild: eggplant, two varieties of lentils, potatoes, greens, cabbage, and wonderful injera. edit
- Burger Tex, 2912 Guadalupe St, ☎ +1 512 477-8403, . Closed Sunday. Korean burger joint with a condiment bar. Try the bulgogi burger. edit
- The Carillon Restaurant 1900 University Ave. (in the AT& T Executive Education Center), Hours: Mon 6:30am-10am, Tue-Fri: 6:30am-10am, 5:30pm-10pm, Sat 7am-11am, 5:30pm-10pm, Sun 7am-11am, Phone: 512.404.3655 A New American Grill featuring familiar food with a sophisticated twist. Nice wine list.
- Dirty Martin's Kum-Bak Place, 2808 Guadalupe St (near 29th St), ☎ +1 512 477-3173, . Daily 11AM-11PM. Known for the tasty old-time greasy burger, Dirty Martin's is a staple for hungry football fans after UT home games and has been in the same building since the 1920's. Still has a simple old-time feel, and you can watch the burgers grilled right in front of you at the bar. edit
- Freedman's Bar 2402 San Gabriel St., Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-Midnight Closed Mondays, Phone: 512-220-0953 A historic building in West Campus has been converted into a laid-back cocktail lounge and beer garden with a reputation for great food. Dogs are welcome in the beer garden and on the patio.
- Kerbey Lane Cafe, 2606 Guadalupe St (between 26th and 27th Streets), ☎ +1 512 477-5717, . 24 hours. edit
- Madam Mam's Thai 2514 Guadalupe st., Hours: 11am–10pm daily, Phone: 512-472-8306 This university area favorite features an extensive menu of well prepared Thai dishes.
- Ruby's BBQ, 512 W 29th St, ☎ +1 512 477-1651, . Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-12AM. Close to campus, this older establishment serves natural meats slapped onto a piece of butcher paper and served on a plastic tray. The dog-friendly patio is a good place to eat (though you may want to avoid it in the summertime). The food is one of the better casual BBQ joints in town. It shares an alley with the Spider House, so you can go get some good coffee after your meal. edit
- Sao Paulo's Restaurante 2809 San Jacinto, Hours: Mon-Thu 11am- 10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10:30pm, Closed Sundays, Phone: 512-473-9988 Regional flavors of Brazil.
- Star Seeds Cafe, 3101 N I-35 (located on I-35 access road just before Days Inn), ☎ +1 512 478-7107, . 24 hours. No-frills diner with a delicious Cuban sandwich. edit
- Torchy's Tacos, 2801 Guadalupe St, ☎ 512 494-8226, . Austin-born chain with taco options from fried chicken to ahi tuna. The queso is good too. edit
- Trudy's, 409 W 30th St, ☎ +1 512 477-2935, . M-Th 4PM-2AM (Bar: 2PM-2AM), F 11AM-2AM, Sa 9AM-2AM, Su 9AM-2AM (Bar: 10AM-2AM). edit
- Wheatsville Co-op Deli, 3101 Guadalupe St, ☎ +1 512 478-2667, . Daily 7:30AM-11PM. A well-known Austin health food store with deli that offers vegan and vegetarian items such as sandwiches, soups and desserts. edit
- Verts Kebap, 2021 Guadalupe St, ☎ +1 512 800-7437, . A fast casual restaurant chain specializing in Berlin style Doner Kebabs. edit
- Spider House, 2908 Fruth St (just north of the UT Campus), ☎ +1 512-480-9562, . Daily 7AM-2AM. A lovely place to spend a night out on the patio by yourself or with friends. Table service available. The Chai Milkshake is a dream; the Sangria pitcher is pricey but a fun way to unwind. Decent food as well. Hosts a poetry slam every Tuesday night at 8pm in an annex. edit
- Cactus Cafe 2247 Guadalupe St. inside Texas Union building at the corner of 24th and Guadalupe, Hours: M-F 11am-7pm Sa 8pm-12am, closed Sunday. Phone: 512-475-6515 Live music venue with full bar. Tickets sold on first-come, first-served basis.
- Crown & Anchor Pub 2911 San Jacinto Blvd., Hours: 11am-2am, Phone: 512-322-9168 Large selection of draft beer by the pint or the pitcher. They also serve a great burger.
- The Hole in the Wall 2538 Guadalupe St., Hours: Daily 3pm-2am Austin institution dive bar with live music, outside patio, and Japanese street food pop up.
- Kasbah Moroccan Lounge 2714 Guadalupe St., Hours: Sun-Wed 2pm-2am, Thu-Sat 2pm-3am, Phone: 512-289-4752 BYOB hookah lounge. Limited parking behind the building.
- The Posse East 2900 Duval St., Hours: Mon-Wed 10am-1am Thu-Fri 10am-2am, Sat 11am-2am, Sun 11am-1am Phone: 512-477-2111 Grab your draft beer by the pint or the pitcher and sit at one of the many picnic tables. Very popular with University faculty and grad students.
- Spider House Cafe 2908 Fruth St., Hours: Daily 7am-2am, Phone: 512 -480-9562 Popular large outdoor seating area to hang out and drink coffee, beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Occasional live music and film showings. Vegan cake and peanut buttercups are available as well as chili and burritos which can be made vegan.
- Trudy's, 409 W 30th Street, ☎ 512-477-5720, . Original location of local chain known for its 'Mexican Martini'. Adequate Tex-Mex and good frozen margaritas. Close to campus, so watch out for the frat crowd on weekends. Relaxing patio overlooks a park. edit
- Drifter Jack's Hostel 2602 Guadalupe St., Phone: 512-243-8410 Located on "the drag" across the street from UT, the entire hostel has been painted with murals from 16 local artists making every room unique. Drifter Jack's offers guests free wi-fi, a movie/hangout room, laundry facilities and an outdoor patio. 4-6 bed mixed dorms, female only dorms and one private, all with ensuite bathrooms.
- Days Inn 3105 N I-35 (I-35 and 32nd St.) Phone: 512-478-1631
- Rodeway Inn 2900 N. I-35, Phone: 512-477-6395
- AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center 1900 University Av., Phone: 512-404-1900 Located on the south edge of campus, the hotel offers inspiring views of the university's Main Building Tower and the State Capitol
- Hampton Inn @ The University/Capitol 1701 Lavaca St., Phone: 512-499-8881 Two blocks south of UT, 4 blocks from the State Capitol.