Austin has long been famous for its amazing music scene and seriously good food (you’ll experience both the moment you land at the airport, which is well programmed with live performances and surprisingly good barbecue spots), and it’s this unique personality that’s attracted and enlivened cultural events like SXSW and ACL. And while Stubb’s and Rainey St. are as classic and fun as ever, like many mid-sized cities, Austin has benefited from a boost of creativity downtown, filling it up with inventive restaurant concepts from young chefs, and more than a few cool hotels, all without losing its quirky, Texas-bred soul. Meanwhile, any stereotypes about the hot, humid weather are quickly dispelled by the presence of the cooling Colorado River, which makes its way from Lake Austin—a widened river perpetually crowded with party boats and water-skiers—down and around the edge of downtown, where the mild current makes for excellent SUP and kayaking. At the same time, some gorgeous boutiques (plus the only permanent brick-and-mortar of goop favorite Outdoor Voices) offer a nice balance to old-school vintage and music shops, making this a second-to-none shopping destination. Suffice to say, the first-ever goop guide to Austin was long overdue.
500 W. 5th Ste., Downtown
Austin has its fair share of high-end Chinese restaurants but Wu Chow has made a something of a name for itself thanks to the mix of solid regional dishes, tiki décor touches, and hip-hop soundtrack. Classic dishes are reinterpreted with local ingredients. For example: traditional Hong Kong honey prawns with pecans shows up on the Wu Chow menu as gulf shrimp with Texas pecans; there’s also Shanghai soup dumplings and Cantonese lobster with ginger and scallions. Don’t miss the dim sum, served on Sundays from 11am to 3pm.