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Large crowd with stage and downtown Austin in background
ACL Fest in 2014
Dana Gardner / Shutterstock.com

ACL Fest 2019: 10 Austin places to go while you’re here

Some of the city’s best sights to see, mapped

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ACL Fest in 2014
| Dana Gardner / Shutterstock.com

This weekend’s Austin City Limits Festival revs up Friday, which means we’re officially in the thick of fall festival season. If you're planning to attend, you're no doubt pumped, as well as up on tips for the best ways to experience the fest.

If you’re coming into town early, leaving late, or just need a place or two to decompress during the fest, here are 10 great places to check out while you’re in Austin.

For an even deeper dive into Austin culture, entertainment, and natural wonders, check out Curbed Austin’s City Map.

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1. Antone's Record Store

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2928 Guadalupe St #101
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 322-0660
Visit Website

Yes, there are two record stores on this list—and that’s without Waterloo Records, which is well-known worldwide, close to festival grounds, and sponsor of an autograph-signing event at the fest. Antone’s, meanwhile, has offered one of the largest selections of used vinyl in central Texas—heavy on blues and Texas artists—since 1987. It’s also purportedly one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorites.

2. Hi, How Are You? mural

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2100 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 482-8919
Visit Website

The now-iconic mural started as a drawing by late Austinite and 1990s indie rock poster boy/cautionary tale Daniel Johnston—it’s the cover of Johnston’s cassette album Hi, How Are You, though the drawing’s title is Jeremiah the Innocent. It helped make him a worldwide cult-famous musician and artist when when Kurt Cobain wore a T-shirt with the image on it to the 1992 MTV Music Awards. In 1993, Sound Exchange record store (also iconic, though defunct) commissioned Johnston to paint it on the side of the store. After several defacements and restorations, as well as negotiations with subsequent business owners in the building and countless reproductions on everything from coffee mugs to onesies, it has become a mainstay of the Austin tourism franchise, though it means something quite different to Austin old-timers.

3. Deep Eddy Municipal Pool

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401 Deep Eddy Ave
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 472-8546
Visit Website

Deep Eddy Pool is a little west of Barton Springs, just as historic, fed by the same spring, and generally much more peaceful.

Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy/Facebook

4. Texas Music Museum

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1009 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 472-8891
Visit Website

The Texas Music Museum collects and preserves artifacts, documents and reference material surrounding the diverse traditions of Texas music, and uses these collections in the presentation of exhibits, educational programs, and performances.

5. The Driskill Bar

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604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 439-1234
Visit Website

The Driskill Hotel was built for a cattle baron in 1886, and its vintage grandiosity is still largely intact. For many decades, it was the finest and best hotel in the city, the place where politicians, socialites, and other fancy or powerful people gathered. That includes its bar, which is lauded for its bar-ness as well as its historic atmosphere. (Tip: The lobby bathrooms are reliably a civilized, quiet place to go for a few moments of regrouping and reflection.)

6. Toy Joy

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403 W 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 320-0090
Visit Website

Formerly located just north of the UT campus, Toy Joy is a venerated (yet iconoclastic!) place where people have gotten their bacon-strip band-aids, boxing-nun puppets, Hello Kitty paraphernalia and other novelty/fun items for decades—as well as real toys for actual children.

A post shared by Toy Joy (@toyjoyaustin) on

7. Willie Nelson statue

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310 W 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701

The Stevie Ray Vaughan statue on Lady Bird Lake is, rightfully, a symbol of Austin. But Willie is one of the cosmic cowboys who started Austin down its strange and wonderful path. Stop by and give the dude his due; his statue is right there on Willie Nelson Boulevard.

8. Yard Dog

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1510 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 912-1613
Visit Website

Yard Dog has been exhibiting what it then called “folk and outsider art” from the South since 1995, when longtime local artist and musician Randy Franklin and his wife, graphic designer Jann Baskett, decided to open the gallery in the heart of South Congress. It specializes pieces by musicians who also work or worked in visual art, including Jon Langford, Tom Russell, Ian McLagan, and Jad Fair.

Yard Dog on South Congress
Yard Dog art gallery on South Congress
Yard Dog/Facebook

9. South Congress Books

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1608 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 916-8882
Visit Website

Owned and run by a rare-books expert and longtime Austinite, South Congress Books is a great, intimate place to find all kinds of (real) Texana, (real) Austin writing, and (real) Austin cultural artifacts, especially related to music. It's also a welcoming oasis when you're overwhelmed by SoCo crowds—even Patti Smith and Zoey Deschanel thought so, and spent some time there (not at the same time, though). If it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for us.

10. End of An Ear

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4304 Clawson Rd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 462-6008
Visit Website

The gem of a record store specializes in all kinds of fantastic, commercially problematic music, but its large selection of new and used vinyl spans all genres. It also has great in-store performances by mostly local bands and the kind of highly knowledgeable that used to be de rigueur at this kind of idiosyncratic, increasingly rare music store. It had to relocated from the now-closed "Slackerville" complex a few years ago, but it still keeps turning out the hits, or nonhits, at its new location.

End of an Ear
End of an Ear
End of an Ear/Facebook

1. Antone's Record Store

2928 Guadalupe St #101, Austin, TX 78705

Yes, there are two record stores on this list—and that’s without Waterloo Records, which is well-known worldwide, close to festival grounds, and sponsor of an autograph-signing event at the fest. Antone’s, meanwhile, has offered one of the largest selections of used vinyl in central Texas—heavy on blues and Texas artists—since 1987. It’s also purportedly one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorites.

2928 Guadalupe St #101
Austin, TX 78705

2. Hi, How Are You? mural

2100 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

The now-iconic mural started as a drawing by late Austinite and 1990s indie rock poster boy/cautionary tale Daniel Johnston—it’s the cover of Johnston’s cassette album Hi, How Are You, though the drawing’s title is Jeremiah the Innocent. It helped make him a worldwide cult-famous musician and artist when when Kurt Cobain wore a T-shirt with the image on it to the 1992 MTV Music Awards. In 1993, Sound Exchange record store (also iconic, though defunct) commissioned Johnston to paint it on the side of the store. After several defacements and restorations, as well as negotiations with subsequent business owners in the building and countless reproductions on everything from coffee mugs to onesies, it has become a mainstay of the Austin tourism franchise, though it means something quite different to Austin old-timers.

2100 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78705

3. Deep Eddy Municipal Pool

401 Deep Eddy Ave, Austin, TX 78703
Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy/Facebook

Deep Eddy Pool is a little west of Barton Springs, just as historic, fed by the same spring, and generally much more peaceful.

401 Deep Eddy Ave
Austin, TX 78703

4. Texas Music Museum

1009 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

The Texas Music Museum collects and preserves artifacts, documents and reference material surrounding the diverse traditions of Texas music, and uses these collections in the presentation of exhibits, educational programs, and performances.

1009 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78702

5. The Driskill Bar

604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701

The Driskill Hotel was built for a cattle baron in 1886, and its vintage grandiosity is still largely intact. For many decades, it was the finest and best hotel in the city, the place where politicians, socialites, and other fancy or powerful people gathered. That includes its bar, which is lauded for its bar-ness as well as its historic atmosphere. (Tip: The lobby bathrooms are reliably a civilized, quiet place to go for a few moments of regrouping and reflection.)

604 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

6. Toy Joy

403 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

Formerly located just north of the UT campus, Toy Joy is a venerated (yet iconoclastic!) place where people have gotten their bacon-strip band-aids, boxing-nun puppets, Hello Kitty paraphernalia and other novelty/fun items for decades—as well as real toys for actual children.

403 W 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701

7. Willie Nelson statue

310 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701

The Stevie Ray Vaughan statue on Lady Bird Lake is, rightfully, a symbol of Austin. But Willie is one of the cosmic cowboys who started Austin down its strange and wonderful path. Stop by and give the dude his due; his statue is right there on Willie Nelson Boulevard.

310 W 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701

8. Yard Dog

1510 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Yard Dog on South Congress
Yard Dog art gallery on South Congress
Yard Dog/Facebook

Yard Dog has been exhibiting what it then called “folk and outsider art” from the South since 1995, when longtime local artist and musician Randy Franklin and his wife, graphic designer Jann Baskett, decided to open the gallery in the heart of South Congress. It specializes pieces by musicians who also work or worked in visual art, including Jon Langford, Tom Russell, Ian McLagan, and Jad Fair.

1510 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

9. South Congress Books

1608 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Owned and run by a rare-books expert and longtime Austinite, South Congress Books is a great, intimate place to find all kinds of (real) Texana, (real) Austin writing, and (real) Austin cultural artifacts, especially related to music. It's also a welcoming oasis when you're overwhelmed by SoCo crowds—even Patti Smith and Zoey Deschanel thought so, and spent some time there (not at the same time, though). If it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for us.

1608 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

10. End of An Ear

4304 Clawson Rd, Austin, TX 78704
End of an Ear
End of an Ear
End of an Ear/Facebook

The gem of a record store specializes in all kinds of fantastic, commercially problematic music, but its large selection of new and used vinyl spans all genres. It also has great in-store performances by mostly local bands and the kind of highly knowledgeable that used to be de rigueur at this kind of idiosyncratic, increasingly rare music store. It had to relocated from the now-closed "Slackerville" complex a few years ago, but it still keeps turning out the hits, or nonhits, at its new location.

4304 Clawson Rd
Austin, TX 78704