A Modern Austin City Guide (Updated!)


Last year we, if we may admit, rocked your socks off with a 2Modern (Modern) Austin City Guide that was filled to the brim with our suggestions of where to eat, where to shop and where to sleep if you were looking to experience some of Austin’s sleekest and most modern designs. Well, SXSW 2012 starts in 9 DAYS, and if you’re on your way here, we’ve got some more, updated suggestions of where to go in Austin for that modern experience when you do!

The best part, of course, is that you don’t just have to be in Austin for SXSW to visit these great places! This updated list (and last year’s still very relevant and very modern list) is perfect for a visit any time of the year in Austin and even awesome if you live here and just haven’t checked out some of the new spots. Of course, this is just a few of my (5-year Austin resident Adrienne) favorite newish modern Austin picks; don’t be afraid to suggest yours in the comments! Without further adieu:

Eat Modern
We have delicious food in Austin. I mean, just scrumptious. And plenty of new additions hit the streets of the capital city, with some that look really good. Lavaca Teppan was designed by the talented Jamie Chioco, and you’ll love the sleek lines, the modern color palettes and the beautiful wood accents. Elizabeth Street Cafe was also hit by Chioco’s golden touch, and you’ll love the bold colors that contrast and meld with one another (and the French/Asian fusion food). We mentioned La Boite on South Lamar last year, and this year has a downtown addition that will be easier to walk to during SXSW. Another Asian food restaurant, Kome, is a small, new addition in an odd neighborhood located Central North, with yummy sushi and a hip, affordable vibe.

Shop Modern
We’re in love with a few new places to shop quite modernly. Get ready for loveliness and adorableness at Take Heart, located in a cute corridor of East Austin. JM Drygoods brings a bit of the look and feel of Marfa to Austin (without the long drive). If you’re downtown, check out Prize in the modern architecture-looking Amli building of downtown. Busy Being is a pop-up shop in the back of the awesome Domy books on the East Side.

Stay Modern
The 7-room, modern Heywood Hotel is located on a busy street on the East Side and is filled with a warm, comfortable modernism. Tons of inspiration. Even if you don’t sleep here, make sure you at least stop by to enjoy its style.

Drink Modern
Love Wes Anderson movies? You’ll love the look–and the delicious bread, sausage and beer–at Easy Tiger, a bridge between East Austin and Downtown. Hillside Farmacy isn’t open yet, but it’s down the road from Take Heart and from the same brain as the chef at popular East Side Show Room, and with the yummy treats planned to be in there and the great look of the interior, we hope it’s either open for SXSW or open real soon. Rattle Inn over on the West 6th side was designed by famed Austin designer Joel Mozersky and has snake-skin seats, lots of taxidermy and plenty of style.

Food Truck Modern
(Spoiler alert) Congrats to Paul Qui, executive chef of Uchiko (another lovely modern place) for winning this year’s season of Top Chef! You can go ahead and try to grab a reservation at Uchiko this year, or you could taste his version of street food at his three East Side King trailers, located in the back of East Side bars like Shangri La, The Grackle and Liberty.

Okay give it up! What are your favorite “modern” places to visit in Austin? Where will you be going during SXSW? We want to know about the modern design in Austin you love! Let us know in the comments below.

Images: Adrienne Breaux, courtesy of Lavaca Teppan, Casey Dunn (Heywood Hotel and Elizabeth Street Cafe shots, first published in CultureMap Austin), courtesy of Take Home’s website
By |


  1. RAREculture

    Mar 2, 2012 at 8:00 am

    You choose to represent some very beautiful places. This place are awesome by their design and their strange structure… The modern art in home decoration can be sleek sometimes, we love it!

  2. Curtis Wiseman

    Mar 2, 2012 at 8:28 am

    For Modern place to stay in Austin, you really *must* include the Kimber Modern, just off South Congress, on Circle, right behind The Continental Club. Find it at http://www.kimbermodern.com. You’ll be really glad you did.

    • Adrienne Breaux

      Mar 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Agree completely! We included it on last year’s list!!

  3. Dave | Japanese Trash

    Mar 3, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Great selections, Adrienne! One of my new favorites on South Lamar (same site as Barley Swine) is Lick for amazing home made ice cream. Check it out if you haven’t already. See you at SXSW?

    • Adrienne Breaux

      Mar 4, 2012 at 8:48 am

      Oh I hadn’t heard of Lick yet. Yeah yeah! Where yah gonna be?

  4. Dave | Japanese Trash

    Mar 13, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Adrienne, it’s the start of day 5 and I’m just now getting back to you. So sorry! I’ll bet we were both at the Sheraton on Friday for the panel with Grace Bonney, but since then I’ve been mainly doing the Future of Work track at the Courtyard Marriott. It’s been a great SXSWi for me; how has it been for you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *