Discover Austin | AIChE

Discover Austin

We all know that Austin has a lot to offer - from world-famous barbecue, tex mex, to stunning lakes and landscapes, just to name a few. With the help of our volunteers and staff, we've pulled together a list of some of our top picks for you to explore while attending the spring meeting. We'll be updating this page often, so be sure to check back for updates.

Discover Austin from Downtown to Further Afield

Click on the pictures below for recommendations of activities and restaurants near the conference venue Downtown, in East Austin, South Austin, and Further Afield.


What to do:

  • Austin City Limits* live at The Moody Theater! The longest running music series in American television history. Here's your chance to see it live.
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema* when there's so much to do in Austin, why go to the movies? This movie theater is unlike any other - from almost 30 beers on tap, great food, comfortable seating, and fun pre-show entertainment. Reserve your tickets early for a leather loveseat recliner spot in the balcony!
  • Milk + Honey Spa* Austin's favorite spa offers luxurious treatments and healing therapies.
  • Esther's Follies* modern day vaudeville theater offering up a variety of entertainment from magic, singing and dancing, to sketches on pop culture.
  • Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum learn more about Texas history through exhibits, I-MAX films and educational experiences.
  • Texas State Capitol is the oldest surviving state structure and a great place to learn more about Texas history and legislature.
  • Baylor Street Art Wall is the largest graffiti wall in Austin, and truly captures the spirit of this quirky city.
  • The Blanton Museum of Art located at the University of Texas at Austin, this museum curates a varied collection from renaissance to 20th century American paintings, Latin American art, plus Greek & Roman sculpture.

What to eat:

  • Bacon if you love bacon (and who doesn't really) this place is a must.
  • The Texas Chili Parlor a favorite of students and Texas legislators alike. Be sure to try the Texas delicacy, Frito pie!
  • The Halal Bros. hands down the best halal food truck outside of New York. The Halal Bros. serves up classic mouthwatering Middle Eastern cuisine from their Downtown and West Campus locations.
  • Parkside* small plates with an extensive cocktail menu in an upscale setting. If it's nice out, be sure to ask for rooftop seating.
  • Swift's Attic* retro-chic hot spot in an historic space serving up inventive small plates, craft beer and cocktails.
  • G'Raj Mahal Cafe* former Indian food truck turned brick and mortar restaurant with a gorgeous tented outdoor space.
  • Easy Tiger* has it all - bakery/cafe/outdoor beer garden nestled along a creek crafting delicious baked goods and meats, all prepared in-house. Did we mention they have ping pong tables as well?
  • Arro housed inside a charming industrial space, Arro does a modern take on casual French food with craft cocktails, wooden walls, and a vintage-style bar.
  • Foreign & Domestic French/Spanish/American fusion in a fun open kitchen setting.

*Walking distance from hotel

East Austin

What to do:

  • grayDUCK Gallery privately owned gallery is a must-see stop in the revitalised South 1st Street arts and fine-dining district.
  • Farewell Books new and used bookshop and art gallery.

What to eat:

  • Franklin Barbecue will you wait in line a ridiculous amount of time? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Closed Mondays, hours are 11 AM to sold out. Plan accordingly.
  • Mi Madre's Restaurant Austin Chronicle named their breakfast tacos the best in Austin.
  • El Sapo Delicious burgers, ice cream shakes, cold beer and fresh lemonade.
  • Justine's Brasserie 1937 bungalow converted into a lovely French brasserie.

South Austin

What to do:

  • Zilker Park this 351 acre park is located in the heart of Austin offers tons of fun activities including hiking, kayaking and biking.
  • Barton Springs Pool is located on the grounds of Zilker Park and maintains a water temperature of 68 degrees year-round.
  • Congress Bridge Bats is the largest urban bat colony in North America. At dusk, go to Congress bridge and watch the bats begin their evening flight.
  • Yard Dog Art Gallery a quirky vibe showcasing contemporary American folk art.

What to eat:

  • Hopdoddy Burger Bar serving up some of the best burgers in Austin.
  • Bouldin Creek Cafe a haven for vegetarians in a meat-centric city, this cafe serves up hearty vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Elizabeth Street Cafe a charming French Vietnamese cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • The Picnic looking to check out Austin's food truck scene? The Picnic hosts eight of Austin's highest rated vendors in Austin.

Further Afield

What to do:

  • Grape Creek Vineyards get out of the city and go wine tasting at this scenic winery modeled after a Tuscan villa.
  • Milton Reimers Ranch Park this canyon and forest preserve is located along the Pedernales River. Activities include hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, swimming and bird watching.
  • Hamilton Pool Preserve is a scenic natural swimming pool in a canyon below a 50 foot waterfall, surrounded by a grotto. Truly not to be missed.

What to eat:

  • The County Line on the Lake sit out on the deck overlooking the lake, and enjoy a cocktail and delicious Texas barbecue.
  • The Salt Lick when you think of Texas barbecue, this iconic restaurant immediately comes to mind. Located just 30 minutes from the Spring Meeting.
  • Fonda San Miguel known for their mole, this hacienda style restaurant takes an upscale approach to traditional Mexican cuisine.

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