Food, Art and Cultural Tours in Austin, Texas

One must-do when in Austin is visiting its food trucks
One must-do when in Austin is visiting its food trucks | © Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo

Texas’s capital is a larger-than-life city. The food is full-on, the art is exaggerated, and the history is diverse. Culture Trip rounds up the best ways of experiencing Austin.

Make a food truck stop

Food Truck, American
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If there’s one thing the Deep South is known for, it’s its deep-fried, calorie-intensive and spicy cuisine. The best place to get a taste for true Austin grub? A food truck. On Barton Springs Road, The Picnic is the city’s premier food trailer park, with highlights being The Mighty Cone for spicy fried meats and Cannone Gelato Italiano for something sweet.

Visit the Cathedral of Junk

Museum
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Austin's Cathedral of Junk
© Dennis Cox / Alamy Stock Photo
The Cathedral of Junk is, on face value, a mound of second-hand junk. On closer inspection, this part-foliage multi-level installation is a cunningly crafted artwork featuring 60 tons of unusual items such as car parts, building materials, baskets and tires. Call ahead to see this unique structure up close by walking through it and keep an open mind – art is subjective.

Discover Austin’s street-art scene

Art Gallery
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All around town in Austin, you’ll come across great big murals. Tipster offers walking tours – with no set fees – that allow you to learn the context behind these works. Wonder how these art pieces came to be? What techniques did they use? This is your chance to find out. Led by an Austin resident, it’s about as authentic as it gets.

Go on a self-guided historical tour

Theater, Theatre
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The Paramount Theater, Austin, Texas
© Martin Leitch / Alamy Stock Photo

Austin has a storied past, with the city’s first documented settlers recorded from Germany, Sweden and Mexico in the 1830s. Today, its history lives on in its architecture and monuments, all of which can be discovered on a self-guided walking tour of the city. The free Otocast app offers historical tours, covering African-American Austin, Congress Avenue, East Sixth Street, famous music venues, Old West Austin and the Tejano Walking Trail. Plan to spread out your tours over a few days to enjoy the sites at leisure.

These recommendations were updated on June 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.