If you want to know how to do Austin, Texas, right, follow this Austin gluten free travel guide. Crafted by celiac-positive Karen Morgan, owner of the town’s bygone gluten-free Blackbird Bakery, it’s also the way to go if you want to follow ATX’s motto to “keep it weird”—and tasty.
Photography Shay Harrington
Graffiti at Graffiti Park at Castle Hill
Also known as HOPE Outdoor Gallery or Baylor Street Art Wall, here you can “tag” as you will as long as you BYO spray paint. Or just come to gawk at all the fascinating photo ops. Both are worth the trip. At Baylor and 11th streets.
Hike the Greenbelt in Barton Hills
With miles of trails traversing the city, you can always find one pretty much wherever you are.
Farm Stand Shopping
Glenn and Paula Foore of Springdale Farm have cultivated an organic oasis in the heart of East Austin where chickens roam the grounds and fresh produce and body care products are offered at their indoor market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. springdalefarmaustin.com
Shopping on South Congress Avenue
The trendy stretch between Academy Drive and West Annie Street includes iconic shops Sunroom (a metaphor for the modern Austin woman) and Uncommon Objects (an eclectic collection of fascinating items), which is conveniently right across the street.
Chicken Shit Bingo
Held most Sunday afternoons seventeen miles outside of downtown Austin within the hole-in-the-wall bar The Little Longhorn Saloon, this unorthodox iteration of the classic parlor game is a novelty worth experiencing. thelittlelonghornsaloon.com
Night Swim at Barton Springs Pool
Arrive just as the sun begins to set. The water’s steady 68-degree temperature will drain the heat from your day and reflect the magnificent sky. austintexas.gov/page/barton-springs-pool-schedule
Live Music at Antone’s
After a few painful location changes and a new owner, the current incarnation of this legendary rock and blues music venue has finally resurrected the original touch and feel that made the flagship location so iconic. antonesnightclub.com
Hotel San José
Located in the most hopping part of Austin (trendy South Congress District) and boasting mod rooms with Malin + Goetz amenities and incredible room service, this is the hipster hotel. sanjosehotel.com
Right beneath Judges Hill just west of the University of Texas campus in the Central Business District, this 1846 former judge’s house promises a stately, refined stay. hotelella.com
Down-home and quirky in the ever-popular South Congress District, some of Austin’s most quintessential digs come with access to the outdoor pool and the “keep it weird” vibe. austinmotel.com
Hotel Granduca Austin
Nestled in rural Hill Country, the area’s newest luxury hotel combines traditional Italian palazzo ambiance and rustic Texas charm. granducaaustin.com
Hotel Saint Cecilia
If you want to run into your favorite celebrity, it’s more likely to happen at this super-boutique Rolls Royce– chic hotel in the South Congress District than anywhere else in town. hotelsaintcecilia.com
Hotel Van Zandt
Right in the uber-hip Rainey Street Historic District, this contemporary, new 319-room home-away-from-home is walking distance from much of Austin’s best nightlife. hotelvanzandt.com
DRINK IT IN
You can’t get in without a reservation, but get one and you’ll step back in time as the bartender comes to your table with a mobile bar to mix your favorite cocktail. midnightcowboymodeling.com
The absinthe bar of this Warehouse District restaurant (page 91) is formidable, with house-made tinctures and extracts and pre-Prohibition-style cocktails. pecheaustin.com
The Roosevelt Room
Huge with tables, banquettes, and bar seats, this sexy downtown watering hole serves up potent cocktails and people-watching. therooseveltroomatx.com
While none of the following is 100 percent gluten-free, these Austin restaurants are well versed in catering to GF and other special diets.
Note: Restaurants change their menus and recipes all the time,
so be sure to confirm with your server that all the dishes
you order are in fact, gluten-free.
Its low-key Holly neighborhood location, upscale-diner looks, and walk-ins-only policy belie this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant’s destination-worthy rep. Must-tries: Pei mussels with Serrano ham, green chile butter, and Castelvetrano olives (ask the staff to hold the sourdough); sorbet of the day. launderetteaustin.com
This casual, counter-service boutique taco chain is the spot for Austin’s famous, ultra-fresh tacos. Must-tries: breakfast taco (steak, egg, and cheese or bacon, egg, and cheese); al pastor taco; Mojo Fish taco—all with corn tortillas and to-die-for Doña salsa. tacodeli.com
Stella San Jac
The menu at Downtown’s newish contemporary American restaurant has lots of gluten-free guidance and options, and brunch is awesome. Must tries: fresh pressed juices; deviled eggs with Andouille sausage; garden-spiced gimlet. stellasanjac.com
With the best Mexican-restaurant interior in town and amazing house-made corn tortillas, this very GF-friendly spot is well worth the drive out to Lakeway. Must tries: queso fundido; camarones poblanos. santacatarinarestaurant.comB
Slick environs set the scene for the spectacular nearly-all-GF menu at Bouldin Creek’s modern Thai restaurant. Must-tries: pad Thai; Tiger Cry (one of the biggest flavor bombs in all of Austin); po-pea jay; satay. swayaustin.com
All Star Burger
Hill Country Galleria’s top burger spot features Premium Gold Pure Country Angus Beef topped with gourmet goodies. GF buns and lettuce wraps are available. Must-tries: burger of choice with bacon cheesy fries (a meal in itself). allstarburger.com
You’ll find exceptional French bistro fare, pre-Prohibition-style cocktails, and a curated wine list at this Warehouse District dining room where executive chef John Lichtenberger crafts dishes using the freshest ingredients. Must-tries: steak frites; any of the GF farm-fresh salads. pecheaustin.com
Airy and relaxed environs and gorgeously composed farm-to-table American fare make Downtown’s local-ingredients-driven restaurant one of the region’s gems. Must tries: skate wing with wild mushrooms; lemon meringue pot. winkrestaurant.com