If streets could talk, this central Austin neighborhood would have some tales to tell. For the full-on live music experience, look no further.
A rival of the hipster hangouts on South Congress Avenue, Sixth Street is Downtown Austin’s music center. It’s one of the reasons Austin calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World. The nine-block strip is one of the most historic places in Austin; it was a trading street even in the 1800s (the Driskill Hotel dates back to 1886). The bars and guitars moved here in the 1970s, bringing with them the creative characters that would give this area its reputation for the “weird” and wonderful.
Sixth is split into three parts, one of which the locals call Dirty Sixth. This is the part between Congress Avenue and Interstate 35, where you’ll find rowdy pubs as well as live music venues and speakeasies. There’s even the odd rooftop bar where you can take in the friendly chaos of the streets below.
Food’s a big part of the Sixth Street experience and this area of Austin has embraced the idea of comfort food made with the best ingredients. Tex-Mex joints, 24-hour donut stores, Asian fast food restaurants and cafés offering Philly cheesesteak all sit side by side. Wash down your meal with a craft beer from one of the city’s fantastic craft breweries.
Sixth Street isn’t just about after-dark decadence. This area is also known for its wide variety of festivals. South by Southwest, for example, has grown from an indie music showcase to a global phenomenon that attracts the A-listers of Silicon Valley and Hollywood alike. It takes over the city in March. You could also plan your visit to coincide with other great festivals, including the Pecan Street Festival in September. One of the country’s longest running arts and crafts festivals, it showcases local artists, makers, and producers whose booths pack out Sixth Street.