Pack your bags; the Dr. Martens SXSW party is only a few days away (see the lineup and RSVP here). Before we return to sunny Austin, TX, we asked a local to share some of her favorite out-of-the-way spots that make Austin so unique. Our travel guide is none other than Jane Hervey; an entrepreneur, activist, writer, and the Founder of Boss Babes ATX. As a fixture in the Austin community, Jane is well-versed in the hidden gems of Austin; so we asked her to share all of her favorite local hangs. Scroll down to see her top picks – we suggest bookmarking this page for future reference.
Meet me at The Mall! This art-deco trailer sits on the lot in front of the Museum of Human Achievement, which is adjacent to Canopy, a pseudo arts district in East Austin. Run by my friends Lindsay Eyth of eythink and Zac Traeger, this little shop features a myriad of local and internationally known artists. It’s pretty much its own art installation, too.
Cheer Up’s is a signature bar in the Red River Cultural Arts District downtown and will likely be stacked and packed with SXSW shows, but you MUST VISIT. My friends Tamara and Maggie keep this bar loud, proud, Texan and queer. The spot itself is decked out in murals by local artists and the menu features boozy drinks from another Austin staple, Juiceland.
Located in what many call “Deep East,” Papa Joe’s serves up the best Tex-Mex in Austin. (COME AT ME.) Family-run, they know everybody by name and the menu is affordable. They close every day at 2 PM, so get there for breakfast. I also suggest ordering the queso, if you’re into cheese like that.
I take my cheese seriously, so I love the Antonelli’s. This family-run joint just opened a second location at Fareground, which is a food-court-style culinary experience at the intersection of Congress and 2nd St. downtown. On top of the best cheese around, their staff is awesome and the owners are just as sweet.
As a DIY exhibition and studio space, Nepantla’s the new home to a collective of artists on Cesar Chavez. My buddies Francisco and Claudia have poured their heart and soul into the manifestation of Nepantla and it’s jam-packed with creative programming every weekend. Shoot them a line to set up an appointment or drop in for a public event while you’re in town!
As Austin’s best-kept museum secret, the Elisabet Ney is a historic two-story preserved studio in Hyde Park, which is a neighborhood a little north from downtown, featuring a collection of work by the late sculptor Elisabet Ney. If you want a little Texan women’s history (and a glimpse of Austin’s segregated past), you’ve got to check it out for some cultural context.
This independent clothing store boasts a unique collection of wares from artisans all over the country. Curated and owned by the creative Laura Uhlir, Olive’s selections can’t be beat. Plus, if Solange is in town for SXSW, she’s definitely touching down here; it’s one of her routine stops.
Adjacent to Wright Bros. Brew and Brew on E. 5th (which also has a good cup of coffee and a solid wine and beer selection), REVELRY is a collaborative events space. During SXSW, pop in to meet locals.
If you’re running around during SXSW and need a quick bite, stop by Pueblo Viejo Tacos, which has a little pop-up within performance arts venue The North Door (also on E. 5th St.). Open from 7:30 AM to 11 PM (sometimes midnight), you can always grab a real-ass taco here before running off to another event. They’ve also got some food trucks around town, in case you miss them at this location.
Need some coffee? Or are you hungover, hungry and over french fries? Rachel Musquiz’s Curcuma is the place to go. The small food trailer on Cesar Chavez has Golden Mylk (some sort of turmeric concoction—totally magical), a potent menu of caffeinated beverages, and a non-kitschy assortment of quinoa dishes if you’re into that.
The 12th Street corridor is an important part of Austin’s history, as an area dedicated specifically to the preservation of local African-American culture. There’s a lot to do and check out on this street, from Austin’s Six Square center to Victory Grill, but I suggest popping into the George Washington Carver Museum. One of my favorite Austin-based painters, Dawn Okoro, will have a selection of works titled “Punk Noir” on display throughout the entirety of SXSW.