With Austin’s constantly evolving and shifting atmosphere, it’s easy to overlook some of the city’s most spectacular hidden gems. If you’ve traipsed down SoCo more times than you can count and you’ve already waited six hours in line at Franklin Barbecue, get out of your routine and try something new! These are 10 underrated Austin places that even natives have never heard of.
1. Goat Cave Preserve
This easy little hike is full of surprises. At Goat Cave Preserve, you'll come across mysterious sinkholes, fascinating caves, and adorable wildlife! This little adventure sits just off of Brodie at 3900 Deer Ln.
2. Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
When you combine Tex Mex and brisket, you get one happy Austinite. Valentina's knows the recipe for success, and this hidden gem will put a smile on your face. From smoked carnitas tacos to pulled pollo sandwiches, the meals at Valentina's always satisfy. Visit this food truck at 11500 Manchaca Road.
3. Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden
Head over to Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden for good vibes and local brews. This new coffee shop is tucked away at 121 Pickle Rd just off of South Congress Avenue. Cosmic's tranquil garden is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Listen to the chickens cluck and watch the sun set over South Austin. You'll fall in love with this quirky local business.
4. Reale's Pizza and Cafe
Warm, buttery breadsticks are calling your name. At Reale's Pizza and Cafe, the meals are fresh, scrumptious, and authentic. Go ahead -- dip that tasty bread into the rich marinara sauce! There should never be guilt about indulging in this fine food. Visit Reale's Pizza and Cafe at 13450 US-183.
5. Stephenson Preserve Trail
Stephenson Preserve Trail is the perfect place to escape to if you need some luxurious peace and quiet. The trails loop through untouched nature, making you feel like you've escaped into a private oasis. This lovely hideaway can be found at 7501 Longview Rd in South Austin.
6. El Caribe
This unassuming restaurant at 5610 N Lamar Blvd is worth going out of your way for. Their salsa bar is fully stocked with irresistible dips, their house made margaritas are tangy and strong, and their enchiladas will warm your soul. With affordable prices and a casual atmosphere, El Caribe will soon become your new favorite place for Mexican food.
7. The Little Darlin'
Even on your first visit, The Little Darlin' will make you feel like you're a regular customer. The bartenders learn your name, and the patrons want to become your new best friend. You'll feel like you're hanging out at a communal barbecue party when you sit on their massive twinkle-lit patio. Be sure to taste their scrumptious burgers and brunch fare. The Little Darlin' is located at 6507 Circle S Rd.
8. Sparky Park
In true Austin fashion, the city turned an eye-sore of an electrical substation into a work of art! Sparky Park, located at 3701 Grooms St, is a whimsical pocket park full of mosaic tiles and creative murals. This place is the perfect backdrop for pictures or a picnic!
9. La Orxateria
If you've never tried orxata (pronounced horchata), then get yourself over to La Orxateria at 5460 Guadalupe ASAP! Their delicious drinks will soon become your new favorite thing. Try orxata with coffee or cinnamon, or taste a refreshing agua fresca! After your first sip, you'll want to come back again and again.
10. Confituras Little Kitchen
Austin's favorite local jam company now has a brick and mortar, and it's time you check it out. Confituras Little Kitchen specializes in fresh made pastries and small-batch fruit preserves. Taste the magnificence at 2129 Goodrich Ave.