Your Complete Instagram Guide to Austin, Texas

You probably know Austin as the capital of Texas, live-music scene extraordinaire, and uber-popular destination for weddings, bachelor(ette) parties, and bridal showers. The eclectic city is a magnet for foodies, artists, and musicians, making it an unlikely cultural oasis in the middle of the vast Southern state.

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When you book a much-needed visit to Austin, these are the 10 things to do, see, eat, and share with your (soon-to-be envious) IG followers.

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Hit up a BBQ joint.

For carnivores, one of the first stops on your hit list should be Salt Lick BBQ, a BYOB cash-only spot with live outdoor music in a rustic setting. It’s hard to play favorites with this mouthwatering menu, since you can’t go wrong with the beef brisket, sausage, or pork ribs. If you can’t decide which part of your awesome meal to ‘gram, get a shot of the smoky firepit.

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Pay a visit to a rock-n-roll-inspired hotel.

At the super-chic, 14-room Hotel Saint Cecilia, you’ll find yourself surrounded by edgy, rock-n-roll-inspired décor. Hang by the 24-hour heated pool or lounge in the guest rooms, all of which have their own turntables. Rates from $300.

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Go boating or skiing on Lake Travis.

Located 20 miles north of Austin, this picturesque 30-mile reservoir is situated on the Colorado River, and is a hotspot for all kinds of water sports and activities, from swimming, boating, and waterskiing, to zip-lining. Rent a speedboat or jetski and spend a sunny day exploring the lake’s coves and inlets (Devil’s Cove is a favorite for day-drinking partiers).

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Devour excellent Tex-Mex.

Z’Tejas is a casual and affordable restaurant that serves up top-notch, homemade Americanized versions of Mexican favorites. Don’t skip the fresh, crispy chips and various dips—guac, queso, and salsa, are all great—or their bomb-dot-com enchiladas.

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…And real Mexican, of course.

At Rosie’s Tamale House, expect authentic Mexican classics delivered in this retro, no-fuss family-run restaurant. You won’t want to leave without trying some of the best tamales, tortilla soup, and tacos in Texas (one Yelp reviewer writes that “wars have been started over the breakfast tacos”).

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Do some shopping.

Stroll down the iconic South Congress Avenue—a.k.a. SoCo shopping district—in downtown Austin. You can take in the area’s boho vibes (it’s a perfect manifestation of the city’s “Keep Austin Weird” tagline) and pick up some sceney ‘grams—and maybe even score some cool finds, like an authentic pair of vintage cowboy boots.

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Bar-hop on Sixth Street.

Considered the city’s entertainment district, the historic Sixth Street—which was built in 1839—is the “urban core” of downtown Austin, kind of like New Orleans’s legendarily debaucherous Bourbon Street. Though you can’t walk from bar to bar, drink in hand, like you can in NOLA, the scene is still raucous good fun. Midnight Cowboy, a reservation-required speakeasy, and Casino El Camino, a punk rock dive, are good places to start.

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Get a great burger.

Nurse your post-Sixth Street hangover at Huts Hamburgers, which has been serving fresh, griddled six-ounce patties of longhorn beef, buffalo, or chicken since 1939. Pair it with a side of mind blowingly good—and grammable—onion rings and a malt milkshake.

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Do a waterpark, grown-up style.

One of the most massive water parks in the U.S., Schlitterbahn, located a short drive outside of Austin, features a white-water canyon, wet roller coaster rides, a wave pool, and other unusual thrill rides. Theme parks aren’t always worth the tourists, but this one is really fun—just be sure to keep your phone safe from waves and splashing while you’re taking your Instas.

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Catch some live music.

Many travelers plan their trips to Austin around its most famous annual music festivals—Austin City Limits and South by Southwest. If you don’t happen to be in town during one of those, there’s still plenty of opportunities to jam out, though: Parish, located on Sixth Street, is one of the more popular bars that regularly features live acts, and you can check out a full calendar of other venues that do the same right here.

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