The Texas capital is a hotbed of diverse scenes, thriving subcultures and hip happenings — from experimental art to speedways to unbelievable barbecue. Whatever your taste, Austin is a town where you can be sure you'll find something good to sink your teeth into. Here's where to start.

Grilling

Valentina’s

Masters of Tex Mex

via Facebook


There’s tasty, there’s mouthwatering and then there’s whatever unbelievable BBQ level that Valentina's is on. One taste of the brisket tacos or the ribs and you’ll understand why this family business is a local favorite. Focusing on quality over quantity, this restaurant opens at 8 a.m. and closes whenever the food runs out, which it always does. 

7612 Brodie Ln., Austin, TX. +1 512-221-4248; valentinastexmexbbq.com

 

Smokey Denmark

Traditionally delicious
 

This family-run joint, named for founder Albert "Smokey" Denmark, has been open since 1964. This is where you'll find some of the best smoked sausage and brisket in all of Texas. Beer brats, kielbasa, hot links, British-style bangers, Mexican chorizo, pit-smoked brisket, thick-sliced bacon and ready-to-grill burgers are just some of the meats on the menu.

3505 E. 5th St., Austin, TX. +1 512-385-0718; smokeydenmark.com

 

La Barbecue

A succulent selection 

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Seving up ribs, sausage, brisket, pulled pork and even turkey, La Barbecue covers every Texas meat lover’s tastes and then some. Although it's a relative newcomer to the city's BBQ scene, having opened in 2012, La Barbecue has already established itself as one of the finest purveyors of Texas classics in the capital.

Aztec Food Park, 1906 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin. +1
 512-605-9696; labarbecue.com

 

BBQ Revolution

A plant-based revelation

Vegans in Texas love their barbecue, too. This food truck serves up animal-free versions of BBQ staples, such as tempeh ribs and No Bull Brisket, plus savory sides like mac 'n' cheese, coleslaw and baked beans. The locally owned business is open seven nights a week till midnight or, in BBQ tradition, till sold out.

2421 Webberville Rd., Austin, TX. +1 512-584-7659; thebbqrevolution.com

 

Creating

The Museum of Human Achievement

Studios with style

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The people of Austin are as adept at experimental art as they are with smoking brisket. Embodying this is the Museum of Human Achievement, an Austin arts warehouse that brings together creative minds for collaborative projects. With its immersive installations, performances, artists' spaces and affordable memberships, this organizaton keeps proving it's one of the most dynamic multidisciplinary art games in the city/state/country/world.

+1 262-880-6982; themuseumofhumanachievement.com

 

Blanton Museum

Fostering intellect
 

The Blanton Museum makes it easy to connect with the arts on every level, whether your approach is academic, social or hands on, offering workshops, screenings and public tours. The University of Texas museum has the biggest and most comprehensive art collection in central Texas. It also has a knack for focusing on overlooked aspects of artists' oeuvres, such as Andy Warhol’s work as a commercial illustrator.

200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Austin, TX. +1 512-471-5482;
 blantonmuseum.org

 

Topology

Breaking down barriers

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Few cultural institutions in Austin are as eclectic and open to fresh concepts as Topology. Fostering exhibition and coworking experiences, it's a highly current and growing experimental space where everything from jazz to projection mapping gets played with.

1805 E. 6th St., Austin, TX. +1 512-417-5589; t.opolo.gy

 

Racing

Driveway Austin

A glimpse into the world of racing
 

Whether you’re a seasoned driver or just seeking a new kind of thrill, the professional raceways at Driveway Austin are where you can learn foundational racing techniques. Wait for the endorphin rush as you put the pedal to the metal in the heart of Austin, with dazzling Colorado River views.

8400 Delwau Ln., Austin, TX. +1 512-971-9100; drivewayaustin.com

 

Harris Hill Raceway

For the right type of challenge

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Harris Hill Raceway, right outside of town in the San Marcos hills, is a technical race track that lets you put your road-racing skills to the test. Track tours are available, as is instruction in the introductory school — but this 1.82-mile, 11-turn track is deliberately one that challenges even a skilled driver.

2840 Harris Hill Rd., San Marcos, TX. +1 512-667-6250; harrishillroad.com

 

Circuit of the Americas

A little bit of everything
 

A serious hotspot for motorsports, Circuit of the Americas is where you'll find the big fans of racing. This is also a major spectator space — it holds 120,000 people for everything from Formula 1 races to the X Games and even Drake concerts. The diverse lineup of events along with the track rentals make this one of the most exciting racing facilities anywhere. 

9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin, TX. +1 
512-301-6600; circuitoftheamericas.com


By Jesse Van Mouwerik

Berlin-based illustrator and columnist Jesse Van Mouwerik is an avid fan of art, whisky sours and being alive. When the aliens land, he will draw them a picture.