Cruel and Not Unusual Conference: Local Guide


Getting around Austin:

  • Bus: Capital Metro Transit provides bus routes that cover the city, as well as a MetroRapid bus that serves the downtown area. Visit Capital Metro’s website to view schedules, maps, or to use their trip planner to find out which buses get you where you need to go.
  • Uber/Lyft
  • Bike Share: Download the Austin B-cycle app to rent a bike using 24 hour/day, on demand bicycle stations in the urban core.
  • Car Share: View car2go and zipcar services for short-term car rental options around Austin.

Food and Drink:

Where to grab a bite:

Walking distance from hotel (between downtown and UT):

Clay Pit for Indian cuisine

Fareground for a food hall with lots of choices and outdoor tables; good for a group

Lambert’s for upscale barbeque

Velvet Taco for casual, eclectic variations on tacos


Near UT

Aster's for Ethiopian cuisine

Curra’s Hyde Park Grill for interior Mexican food and avocado margaritas

The Carillon for fine dining in a comfortable yet elegant setting, in the AT&T hotel

El Chile Cafe for a relaxed Mexican café with margaritas, tacos and queso

Salty Sow for a gastropub with an amazing happy hour

“The Drag”: you can find lots of fast casual restaurants on this strip next to UT campus including Mediterranean, Pizza, Poke, and Tacos


Farther Afield

(NOTE:  Reservations strongly recommended everywhere)

Fonda San Miguel for interior Mexican food and one of Austin’s most beautiful restaurants

Terry Black’s BBQ for classic Texas BBQ (expect a line)

El Alma for interior Mexican food

Aba for Mediterranean food and a fabulous outdoor space, if you can get in

Loro for an Asian smokehouse and bar that combines the talents of two famed Austin chefs, with large outdoor tables

Licha’s Cantina for Mexico City Soul Food

Nixta Taqueria for incredible tacos made from scratch (expect a line)

Launderette for gourmet New American fare

Bouldin Creek Café for vegetarian/vegan food

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya for a mashup of Japanese and Texan food

Barlata for tapas and Spanish food

Canje for amazing and award-winning West African food (if you can get a reservation)

Hula Hut for kitschy Polynesian-Tex-Mex food with great large, outdoor tables over the lake

Uchi/ Uchiko for high-end sushi and Japanese food

Llama Kid for good Peruvian food with outdoor tables

Kome for good variety of Japanese comfort food and sushi

Olive and June for high-end Italian food with a nice outdoor space

Bar Peached/ Peached Tortilla for modern comfort Asian food with a Texas flare (good outdoor space at Bar Peached)

Fresa’s Chicken for TexMex with great outdoor dining

True Food Kitchen for delicious, healthy cooking with outdoor dining option


Breakfast tacos, Mexican breakfast, and baked goods

Veracruz All Natural  for great breakfast tacos

Cisco’s for sit-down Mexican breakfast and incredible migas in a storied political environment

Sour Duck Market for fresh baked goods, sandwiches, and snacks made from locally sourced ingredients, sustainable coffee, craft cocktails, beer and wine

Bird Bird Biscuit for yummy biscuit sandwiches

TacoDeli for lots of breakfast taco options



Things to do on UT Campus:

LBJ Presidential Library
Check out the LBJ Presidential Library to see a unique look at American history during the Johnson presidency. Experience the 1960s through a variety of interactive and engaging exhibits like a replica of LBJ's Oval Office, numerous telephone recordings of the 36th President and artifacts from Lady Bird Johnson’s environmental efforts. The Library is situated on the University of Texas at Austin campus, right next to the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The museum exhibits are open seven days a week: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission tickets may be purchased inside the library or bought in advance.

Texas Memorial Stadium Tour
The Stadium Tour takes visitors through the trophy room (which houses the National Championship and Heisman trophies), the Red McCombs Red Zone, and other UT football hot spots.

Tower Tour
Visit the UT Tower in the center of campus.

Robert Lee Moore Hall Star Parties
The UT astronomy department sponsors free weekly public star parties on the roof of RLM using a 16-inch telescope. According to the website, “a typical night will include a planet or two, binary stars, star clusters, and maybe one of the brighter nebulae.”

Harry Ransom Center Tour
HRC is home to extensive collections of rare books, manuscripts, photography, film, art, and performing arts. The center offers regular tours of current exhibits and events such as poetry readings and film screenings.

The Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton is UT Austin’s on-campus art museum (located at Brazos and MLK). Check their website for a list of rotating exhibits, film events, and public tours.

Outdoor activities in Austin:

Barton Springs Pool
Fed by four bubbling springs, this natural wonder maintains a brisk 68-70° year ‘round. Surrounded by grassy embankments, visitors to the pool can lounge in the shade of mature pecans, or find a sunny spot to sunbathe.

Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy Pool is an historic, man-made swimming pool and is the oldest swimming pool in Texas. The pool gets its name from an eddy formed by a large boulder in a popular swimming area on the river. Cold springs rose from the river banks next to this popular swimming area and the water from these springs continue to fill the pool today.

Zilker Park
Zilker Metropolitan Park is considered "Austin's most-loved park." This 351-acre metropolitan park is home to a variety of recreation opportunities, facilities and special events

Walk or Run Lady Bird Lake Trail
The Hike and Bike Trail is a low-grade trail, most of which is wide enough to accommodate both cyclists and pedestrian traffic, making it a leisurely, enjoyable ride for cyclists, runners and families alike. Because the trail winds through downtown, there are access points and parking all along the route, making it easy to choose your distance, detours, and side trips, all in view of the Austin skyline.

Hike the Greenbelt
The Barton Creek Greenbelt, which travels through South Austin, is the go-to destination for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes in the city. You can enjoy hiking, biking, rock-climbing, bouldering, swimming and even lazily passing a day perched in a hammock or sunbathing on a boulder along Barton Creek. Enjoy 12 miles of trails via several access points throughout Austin.

Waterloo Greenway

Right near the Capitol, Waterloo Greenway is a recently re-developed 35-acre urban park with lovely trails, gardens, and entertainment space. It connects to the Waller Creek Trail.

Austin Bike Tours

Fantastic bike tours (can personally recommend the Art and Architecture tour) of downtown Austin or you can rent your own bike.

Indoor activities in Austin:

Texas Capitol
The Texas Capitol is widely recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished state capitols. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Free guided and self-guided tours of the grounds and building are offered daily.

The Contemporary Austin
Located on Congress Avenue, the Jones Center location of The Contemporary Austin offers informative and informal art experiences oriented towards the interests of a broad general audience. The welcoming and centrally located galleries serve as the Museum’s primary exhibition site and present continually changing exhibitions and education programs that showcase an array of twentieth-century and contemporary art.

Mexic-Arte Museum
Also on Congress Avenue (perfect for museum hopping!), Mexic-Arte Museum is dedicated to enriching the community through education programs and exhibitions focusing on traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. Since its founding in 1984, Mexic-Arte Museum has been designated as the Official Mexican and Mexican American Fine Art Museum of Texas by the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas.

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

Explore the Live Music Capitol of the World:

Broken Spoke
Do some Texas two-stepping at Broken Spoke, an old-fashioned honky-tonk that’s been around since 1964 and hosted country legends like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. Dance lessons are offered Wednesday through Saturday nights.

Carousel Lounge
The circus is in town all year round at the Carousel Lounge, a colorful carnival-themed watering hole that’s been a hit with the locals and visitors since it opened in 1963. Elephant and lion tamer murals, plus an actual carousel behind the bar, form a bizarre backdrop for live performances.

Continental Club & Gallery
Opened in 1955 as a swank supper club, the retro Continental Club and its intimate upstairs Continental Gallery present nightly live rockabilly, country, rock, jazz and soul music. Look for the classic neon sign.

ACL Live at The Moody Theater
Artists of all stripes loving playing ACL Live at The Moody Theater, home to live tapings of "Austin City Limits" (America’s longest-running television music series). Be sure to snap a selfie with the statue of hometown music hero Willie Nelson out front.

Speakeasy keeps things rockin’ with three levels of entertainment, including the music lounge, mezzanine overlooking the stage, and the rooftop Terrace59 lounge with spectacular downtown Austin views. Be sure to play a game on the vintage bowling lanes.

Elephant Room
Slip downstairs to the Elephant Room, an intimate basement venue featuring live music every night of the week. Groove to cool jazz jams and veteran trios (tip: weeknight performances are usually free).

Victory Grill
In the 1940s, East Austin's Victory Grill was the place to hear blues and R&B performers like B.B. King and Bobby Bland. Today the venue still presents live music (call ahead for schedule), along with bowls of its famous chili.

The Little Longhorn Saloon
The Little Longhorn Saloon has served as the center of Austin’s honky-tonk country music scene for more than four decades. At least 10 bands perform each week, and there’s never a cover charge.

Historic Scoot Inn
Opened in 1871, the Historic Scoot Inn is the oldest bar in central Texas. Today this cozy spot feels like visiting someone’s home, but with live music and vegan eats from Arlo’s Curbside Kitchen food truck.

The White Horse
The White Horse is the place to catch live bluegrass, country-western and Americana bands. Grab a two-step (shot of whiskey and a Lone Star beer) and get to dancing.

Donn's Depot
This iconic dancehall is an old Missouri-Pacific train depot that was transported to Austin (the women's restroom is a real caboose!). Twirl around the wooden dance floor to free live music six nights a week, spanning country to swing.

Stubb’s Bar-B-Q
Stubb's is a music institution that serves up lip-smacking barbecue along with some of the best live bands around. Sit down for the Sunday Gospel Brunch and enjoy live music with a buffet of Southern comfort food.

C-Boy’s Heart & Soul

Modern-day juke joint with neon lights and glittery stage backdrop showcasing great live music.

The Skylark Lounge

East Austin blues club with back patio.

Sahara Lounge

The Sahara Lounge is a spacious and inviting East side spot with a relaxed, eclectic atmosphere. We offer live music nightly, from Indie, to African, to Blues, and everything in between. Formerly the historic TC's Lounge, the building and decor haven’t changed much, and offer a rich and timeless feel: that of a Texas juke joint with a twist.


This massive modern-day honkytonk was opened by the owners of the White Horse on South Congress Avenue. It has an indoor stage with plenty of seating, a larger outdoor stage, pool tables, and a giant lot with food trucks selling barbecue and burgers. You’ll find live music at all through the week—often with several shows a night—along with two-step and Western swing dance lessons.