The epicenter of Austin is its downtown area. It’s where the stately Capitol building resides, marking the city’s political hub (it is the capital of Texas, after all), where office buildings, high-rise buildings, and hotels continue to open, where tourists flock and locals frequent their go-to spots, where office workers congregate during daytime hours, where locals let loose in the evenings, where tourists hang around to see the Congress Avenue bats swarm around for food (wait for hot weather).
Downtown Austin contains multitudes within itself: the entertainment districts of Sixth and West Sixth, the residential areas of the West End and North Side, the concert venue-filled Red River, and the lovely trails along the Colorado River. The neighborhood even connects to other nearby locales: (South Congress, East Side, Clarksville).
Eater presents this guide to the essential restaurants and bars of downtown Austin. This means drinks and snacks at Small Victory, soup dumplings from Wu Chow, casual pan-Asian dishes from Koriente, and tacos from Veracruz All Natural and Asador.
Looking for more downtown eats? Here are Eater’s picks for the best restaurants and bars along Rainey Street and the best downtown lunches.
In the search of other vital Austin drinks and eats? Turn your attention to the Eater 38, restaurant heatmap, and essential bars.
For the purposes of this guide, the map covers the area bordered by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, I-35, and North Lamar Boulevard, and excludes Rainey Street (which is covered elsewhere). Check out Eater Austin’s other neighborhood dining guides too.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.Read More