What meals do I need to cover?
You’ll be on your own for dinner only one night, Friday, May 4th. Otherwise we have you pretty well covered with appetizers at the welcome reception on May 3rd (you may wish to grab a light bite afterward if you still have an empty spot), our banquet dinner on May 5th, and a BBQ Bash on May 6th. We will also feed you lunch on our tour days, May 4-6. So in total, you’ll be on your own for breakfasts, dinner on May 4, and maybe a quick dinner on May 3 after the welcome reception.
Some bloggers arrange a dinner with friends before they get to the Fling, making a reservation in advance for their party so that they don’t have to worry about figuring that out when they get here. That’s a great way to catch up with old friends — if you know anyone, of course. But if you’re a newbie or relatively new to the Fling, don’t worry. You need not eat alone, and you have lots of friends here — you just haven’t met them yet! We’re planning to organize a Friday dinner reservation for anyone who’s new and would like to meet other newbies, so stay tuned as we get closer to the event for more info about that.
Where to get good grub
Here are our suggestions for restaurants near the hotel. There are plenty of others, but this will get you started. And by the way, it doesn’t seem to matter how many restaurants Austin has: we love eating out, and there are often long waits. So put the Open Table app on your phone and make a reservation in mid- or late April. Or just wing it — lots of Austinites do — and be cool with relaxing on the patio with a drink while you wait for a table. We’re all about our patios here!
1886 Cafe & Bakery 604 Brazos Street .3 mile / 7-min. walk Classic American breakfast, with table service, in the iconic Driskill Hotel; also has a counter bakery Opens 6:30 AM Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden 709 E. 6th Street .4 mile / 8-min. walk Coffee, tea, and bakery breads/pastries in the AM; ultimate Austin-casual hangout with good bar food and sandwiches in the PM Opens 7 AM Floyd’s 301 Congress Avenue #105, in center of the building .2 mile / 5-min. walk Breakfast bowls, bagels, breakfast tacos M-F: opens 7 am CLOSED SAT/SUN Houndstooth Coffee 401 Congress Avenue .2 mile / 5-min. walk Coffee, tea, pastries M-F: opens 6:30 AM Sat/Sun: opens 8 AM Starbucks 300 E 4th Street – located in our hotel, Courtyard Marriott Bakery, breakfast sandwiches, granola Opens 6 AM Taco Shack 402 Brazos Street .2 mile / 3-min. walk Counter-service breakfast tacos M-F: opens 6:30 AM Sat: opens 7 AM Sun: opens 8 AM
1886 Cafe & Bakery 604 Brazos Street .3 mile / 7-min. walk Classic American fare in the iconic Driskill Hotel The Backspace 507 San Jacinto Boulevard .2 mile / 3-min. walk Neapolitan pizza, antipasti, and Italian wine in an intimate space. Reservations recommended. Chez Nous 510 Neches Street .2 mile / 5-min. walk Neighborhood French bistro and beloved Austin classic The Driskill Grill 604 Brazos Street .3 mile / 7-min. walk New American fare with a seasonal Texas twist in the cattle baron-era Driskill Hotel El Naranjo 85 Rainey Street .9 mile / 17-min. walk Interior Mexican food, Oaxacan-style (not Tex-Mex) Emmer & Rye 51 Rainey Street .8 mile / 15-min. walk Farm-to-table in the lively Rainey Street district
Geraldine’s 605 Davis Street .5 mile / 10-min. walk Modern Southern-inspired fare; located on 4th floor in Hotel Van Zandt
Holy Roller 509 Rio Grande Street .7 mile / 14-min. walk Diner fare with a punk-rock twist Italic 123 West 6th Street .5 mile / 10-min. walk Italian farm-to-table Le Politique 110 San Antonio Street .7 mile / 14-min. walk French brasserie Manuel’s 310 Congress Avenue .2 mile / 5-min. walk Regional Mexican dishes at this longtime Austin favorite
Moonshine Grill 303 Red River Street .2 mile / 5-min. walk Upscale Southern comfort food Parkside 301 East 6th Street .2 mile / 4-min. walk Gastropub with seasonal fare and raw bar Roaring Fork 701 Congress Avenue .4 mile / 8-min. walk American Western bistro Second Bar + Kitchen 200 Congress Avenue .3 mile / 6-min. walk Small plates for sharing plus salads, pizza, and other entrees Stubb’s BBQ 801 Red River Street .5 mile / 10-min. walk Austin classic BBQ joint, with a live-music venue out back Swift’s Attic 315 Congress Avenue .2 mile / 5-min. walk Eclectic small plates in a stylish space
A note about safety in downtown Austin
Downtown Austin is generally a safe place to walk around, especially during the day and at the dinner hour. But later at night, particularly on weekends, it can get rowdier thanks to bar-hopping crowds along 6th Street. Also, like many large cities, Austin has a large homeless population downtown, and panhandling is common. Don’t let any of that scare you; just be alert at night and walk with a friend. Also, we don’t recommend crossing under I-35 on foot (the big elevated highway located 4 blocks east of our hotel); instead, take a cab, pedicab, or ride-share if you want to explore up-and-coming hot spots in East Austin. If you’re driving and parking in a public spot, don’t leave anything valuable — or tempting, like a shopping bag — visible; hide it beforehand in the trunk, and always lock your car. Stay in well-lit areas with plenty of activity, and you’ll have a great time exploring our lively city! Also, with regard to Austin’s famous 6th Street, which is lined with bars and live-music venues, it’s both loved and hated by locals. Of course you must see it while you’re here, so go — after 10 pm for best people-watching and live shows — and check out this Guide to Dirty Sixth Street by austinot.com for their take on what to see and do.