Off the Beaten Path

Our guide to the great spots where locals go in four of the country's best music destinations

Austin, TX

Renowned for decades as the "live music capital of the world" — and a place where cosmic cowboys like Willie Nelson and Doug Sahm could happily hang their hats — Austin, Texas, has gone through some heavy changes in the last 25 years, literally doubling in population thanks to a thriving economy and the vibrant arts, tech and culinary scenes.

But despite the city's rampant growth (and the widespread gentrification that's come with it), the spirited music and eccentric flavor that have long defined the Texas capital continue to thrive — especially east of Interstate 35, where the quirky charm, friendly people, great sounds and diverse and delicious cuisine that have made Austin legendary are thankfully still very much in evidence.

Mondo Gallery

Day

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Fine art and pop culture get equal billing at Austin's Mondo Gallery.

A must-visit for any pop culture junkie, Austin's Mondo Gallery is a permanent art space that features a smartly curated (and constantly shifting) mixture of original works by renowned fine artists and limited-edition movie posters designed by Mondo Tees — plus an ample assortment of vinyl movie soundtracks, VHS reissues, toys and custom apparel.

Toy Joy

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Austin's Toy Joy is a veritable treasure trove of delights for children of all ages.

Voted "The World's Best Toy Store" by Travel & Leisure magazine, Toy Joy has remained true to its mission of "keeping Austin fun" since 1987. You and your inner child can get lost for hours amid the store's dizzying selection of toys, games, puzzles, masks and nostalgic knick knacks.

Cenote

Lunch

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Amazing coffee and delicious dishes made with locally sourced ingredients keep Austinites coming back to Cenote.

Located in a historic house built in 1887, East Austin's popular Cenote café offers killer coffee and tasty eats in a quirky and casual setting. Cenote's extensive menu leans heavily on ingredients sourced from local farms, and features numerous vegan-friendly options. Nice variety of local beers on tap, too!

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

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Dinner, drinks and a movie? The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has got you covered!

Devoted cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike adore this Austin institution, and first-ever Alamo Draft House, which regularly programs interactive special events — Spice World dance party, anyone? — along with classic films and first-run features. The screens are big, the seats are comfy, and you can have cocktails, beer and pub grub delivered to your seat.

The White Horse

Night

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Live country music, a giant dance floor and a taco trailer make the White Horse an ideal place to round out your night.

There's rarely a cover charge at this East Austin honky-tonk, but the featured local country and roots acts are always top-shelf. Two-step up a sweat on the spacious dance floor, then cool off with a drink on the patio, where the aptly-named Bomb Tacos trailer will hook you up with a mouth-watering midnight snack.