If you snagged tickets to Austin City Limits Music Festival 2019….CONGRATS! It’s the coolest festival of the year in Austin (not literally the coolest; you’re gonna sweat a lot) and always amounts to a super rad time with friends and music and food in ATX.
Wondering where you should eat while you’re in Austin for ACL Fest? I got you covered!
I’m going to assume you have a weekend pass to ACL, so you’ll be in Austin for 4 days (Thursday – Sunday.) In addition to eating all of the delicious grub that you’ll find at the festival (check out this post to see some of the delicious ACL Eats you’ll find at the festival), you’ll need some morning breakfast ideas, lunch spots, and late-night food/drinks.
If it’s your very first time to Austin, start here. This is a giant guide that provides info on where first-timers should definitely eat when they’re visiting Austin.
Where to Eat In Austin During ACL Festival 2019
Ok, you just checked into your airbnb and you want to fuel for the weekend of concert-going. Pick from one of these two options:
A. You want something CHEAP. You spent a ton of money on the flight and the wristband and the accommodations, so you want something inexpensive:
- Home Slice Pizza. |WEBSITE| Again, this place is open late (great for those of you who have late-night flights into Austin) and they have the best New York style pizza in Austin. After dinner, you can walk up and down iconic South Congress Ave. (Here’s a complete guide to SOCO.) Not into pizza? Their subs are served on homemade rolls and are truly some of the best sandwiches in town.
- Veracruz All-Natural. |WEBSITE| This award-winning taco truck now has multiple locations in Austin, but go to the food truck parked outside Radio Coffee & Beer. Grab a few tacos and some queso from the food truck, and head into Radio to get a pint craft beer from a local Austin brewery. Cheers!
- Tyson’s Tacos. |WEBSITE| It’s a little bit north of the festival, but Tyson’s Tacos has some of the best, most creative tacos in Austin. Bonus? It’s open 24 hours a day, so no matter what time your flight arrives, you can grab some grub.
B. You want to SPLURGE. You know tonight is probably the most energy you’ll have all weekend, so you want to dress up and go somewhere nice:
- Emmer & Rye. |WEBSITE| This is one of the award-winningest restaurants in town. They serve farm-to-table fare with a focus on heirloom grains, and the food WOWS me every time! Since this restaurant is on Rainey Street, after dinner you can wander up and down the street and hit up a few bars. Here’s a complete guide for where to eat and drink on Rainey.
- Suerte. |WEBSITE| Looking for some excellent modern Mexican food in Austin? Suerte is your best bet! They’ve been racking up national awards since they opened in 2018, and you’ll be hard-pressed to finder higher quality margaritas, corn tortillas, and service in Austin.
- Lenoir. |WEBSITE| If you want an awesome outdoor wine garden experience, head to Lenoir for their “hot weather” food. This teeny-tiny restaurant isn’t far from Zilker Park, so you probably won’t have to wander far to find it. The restaurant is small and reservations can be hard to get, but the entire menu is offered in the backyard wine garden where you can dine under twinkly lights and a massive live oak tree.
No better way to kick off the weekend than with an iconic Austin food: BREAKFAST TACOS! I’ve tried dozens and dozens of breakfast tacos around the city, and here are 3 of my favorites:
- Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ |WEBSITE| No joke, I truly believe these are the BEST breakfast tacos you can find in Austin! They’re a little bit south of the city, but completely worth the drive for the warm, soft, homemade flour tortillas filled with fresh eggs, salty brisket, and homemade salsa. Tip: get the MASSIVE “Real Deal Holyfield” taco for the ultimate ‘gram picture.
- Habanero Cafe |WEBSITE| This is a great little Mexican café that has been in Austin for 20 years! Go enjoy some delicious breakfast tacos and breakfast plates (the Migas plate is fantastic) available for dine-in or carry-out. Cash only.
- El Primo Taco Truck |WEBSITE| Looking for an option near ACL? Stop by this popular food truck to grab some hot, fresh breakfast tacos that are made to order. You can even order ahead on their website to save some time!
Plan on Friday lunch/dinner at ACL fest. The ACLEats portion of the festival offers some of the best food in Austin, so you’re getting to experience authentic Austin restaurants while you’re hanging at the festival!
Your first day of ACL fest is over…ready to bar hop? There are SO many fun places in Austin to go out for drinks!
- Head to Rainey Street to do some bar hopping. Good god, there are SO many bars on Rainey Street…it can be hard to navigate your way through the madness! Here are the ones that I absolutely recommend. Or, just stumble into any little bungalow that’s calling your name!
- Hang out at an Austin craft brewery. Austin Texas is overflowing with incredible craft beer. Here are the 14 best craft breweries in Austin.
- Relax at a cocktail bar. In the mood for something a little swankier? Check out these 8 gorgeous cocktail bars in Austin. Several are near Zilker Park so you won’t have to wander too far after the festival ends.
Ooof….nursing a hangover from last night? Here are the three best options for Saturday morning breakfast with hangover-friendly food:
- Holy Roller |WEBSITE| I swear, a few bites into your brisket fries, migas kolache, or fried chicken on a hot honey-buttered brisket, and your hangover will be a thing of the past. They’ve also got some of the best boozy (and spirit-free) breakfast cocktails in town.
- Better Half Bar |WEBSITE| Coffee? Check. Booze? Check. Incredible breakfast options? Check. Better Half Bar is an all-day coffee shop, bar, and eatery with something on the menu to make everyone happy.
- Counter Cafe |WEBSITE| Get all your favorite carb-forward breakfast favorites like massive pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and hearty breakfast tacos in a diner that focuses on sourcing food locally. Two location: the original downtown location is quaint and small, and the Eastside location offers more seating options in a bigger space.
Need something healthier? Here are my favorite juice bars in Austin.
Your second day of ACL fest is over, and you’re probably feeling a little tired. Great news: Barton Springs Rd (the long road you have to walk down to catch an Uber after ACL Fest) has lots of options where you can stop and grab a bite:
- Shady Grove |WEBSITE| This casual eatery has been an Austin favorite for decades. Get burgers, Tex-Mex, and drinks, and enjoy your meal outside on the lovely shady patio. Psst: Shady Grove also offers a 3-day parking pass for ACL go-ers! Check out their website for info.
- Uncle Billy’s Brewery |WEBSITE| BBQ, beer, good vibes…what more do you want after a long day after a music festival?
- Chuys |WEBSITE| Ok, listen…this isn’t a normal recommendation for me to give. Chuy’s is a massive Tex-Mex chain restaurant that started in Austin, and while I don’t necessarily think it’s the best Tex-Mex you can get in Austin, it is RIGHT by the ACL entrance and an easy Saturday night option for margaritas and chips and queso.
It’s brunch time! By Sunday morning, you’re probably exhausted and hungover and in need of sleep and food. Make a late reservation (noon, maybe?) so you don’t have to set the alarm too early. Here are my three top picks for a totally splurge-worthy brunch in Austin:
- Odd Duck |WEBSITE| If you haven’t been here, yet, FIX THAT! Odd Duck was one at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement in Austin, and chef Bryce Gilmore has racked up loads of James Beard Award nominations for his creative food ideas. The menu is rotating, so you’ll get something different every time, but be sure to try some of the incredible pastries.
- Fixe |WEBSITE| Such a delicious Downtown Austin brunch spot! They serve upscale southern fare, so expect a lot of stuff like brioche French toast, fried chicken sandwich, and their delectable biscuits with whipped butter. (Don’t skip those!)
- Jacoby’s |WEBSITE| Texas ranch-to-table fare at its finest! Jacoby’s sources meat from their own farm, so you know it’s raised sustainable and it’s local! This one is in east Austin, so it’s a little bit out of the way from. the festival. The good news? It will probably be less crowded than the restaurants that are right by Zilker Park.
Looking for more Austin food recommendation? Head to my Austin Index where you can personalize your restaurant search by type of food, part of town, and more!