Austin Bucket List Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

A Texas summer just isn’t complete without floating the river. And if you’re going to embark on this age-old journey of aquatic debauchery, you might as well do it right! This year, we’ve partnered with Austin Tour Company to offer public floats with added features that make it a floating party unlike any other.

We’re offering the ultimate floating experience—we provide transportation along with your tube, ice chests, and more! You can meet new friends and live it up on the river without worrying about getting home safe. We also partner with BBG’s on 6th St. to provide drink specials and great food-for-purchase before your float.  

Duration: 6 hours (roughly)

Cost: $45.00-$55.00

Here’s what you can expect:

The best season of the year is here and that’s FLOATING SEASON! Public Floats will always run Friday, Saturday & Sunday. We will be offering Public Floats seven days a week May 4th – September based on availability. For last minute Monday – Thursday floats please call 512-282-8687 to confirm whether or not a Public Float will be running.

Details for Public Floats are below, click here to arrange a Private Float. 

*For day-of ticket purchases, please call 512-ATC-TOUR for availability*

Your ticket includes:

– Round trip transportation from downtown Austin to and from the San Marcos River to float with our partners at Texas State Tubes. 

– One tube for you and one for your group to put your cooler in. 

We provide the coolers complimentary for your convenience on the bus. 

– After leaving downtown Austin, we will stop on the way to the river for you to pick up alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and ice for you to take on the river. In order to protect the San Marcos River, styrofoam and glass are not allowed.

– Check In for Floats is at BBG’s on 6th St. from 10:30-10:55 AM.

– BBG’s will have drink specials for our guests, and can also make food-to-go for your trip! 

  • Specials: 
  • $3 Mimosa 
  • $5 Bloody Marys 
  • $3 Domestic Beers 
  • $2 Off all Appetizers and Salads 

– The bus departs at 11:00 AM sharp – Please don’t be late or you’ll have to find your own ride to the river! 

-Floats normally last 3.5-4 hours, depending on the speed of the river which is altered by the amount of rain we have in the area annually. 

– Will will return to downtown Austin at approximately 5PM – 5:30PM

– The bus and float are BYOB

Need to know:

– New regulations are being enforced by the city of San Marcos on the river – stopping for long periods of time not will be allowed on the float during prime season dates, July-August. 

– Please grab a reusable trash bag from Texas State tubes before hopping on the river to collect your trash for the duration of the float. If you do not grab a trash bag, put empty cans back in your cooler. Please do not throw your trash in the river. 

– The bus will leave from Texas State Tubes no later than 4:00PM. You are responsible for arriving by this time in order get a ride with ATC back to Austin. The bus cannot wait longer than this time. If you are later than this time, your valuables will be left on site and you will be responsible for getting your ride back to Austin. There is plenty of time to float and arrive back before this time – just be mindful!

– Full trip details and information will be sent out VIA EMAIL the week of your float. Please check your email for those trip details as they are subject to change. 

*Weekday tickets are subject to availability (excluding Friday). Please email info@austintourcompany.com for more information*

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25 Best Things To Do in Austin for Locals and Visitors

Austin has been named ‘The Best City in America’ by dozens of publications in recent years. An influx in population has changed the city in many ways, but this list strives to feature activities that both visitors and locals alike should include on their bucket lists for THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN AUSTIN.

25. Visit the Austin Oasis That Is Hamilton Pool

This swimming hole sits in a natural grotto carved out of limestone and is complete with a small beach area and a 50-foot waterfall! They now require reservations during the busy summer months so be sure to make reservations before heading to the pool.

24. Start Your Own Bike Gang

There’s no feeling “tourist-y” while cruising around town on a Fat Tire Electric Minibike.  Create your own bike gang and experience the city like you never have before.

Tours run daily, and passengers ride for free!  Kids are welcome.  7yrs+ to ride and 16+ to drive. It’s an incredible bonding experience for couples, families, friends, or co-workers.

23. Drink Margaritas

Our city offers some of the best tequila and mezcal variations in the country. Visitors and locals alike should be sure to try some (or all) of our favorites.

22. Explore Local Museums

An excellent indoor activity when you’re looking to beat the heat. This list includes some of our favorites.

21. Test Your Skills At The Escape Game Austin

If you’re looking for an escape room in Austin, this one is our favorite by a landslide. They have multiple experiences to choose from, and we’ve loved them all, but ‘Gold Rush’  (pictured above) is our number one recommendation.

20. Exploring East, West, And Dirty 6th Street

Each section of the world-famous street has its own unique character, and reasons for visiting. Which face of Sixth Street is right for you?

20. Tour Haunted Austin In A Hearse Limo

One of Austin’s most unique tour experiences, Haunted ATX offers Austin’s only mobile Haunted tour. Travel in an authentic Cadillac hearse that has been converted into a spooky limousine and explore downtown Austin’s landmarks as you learn the real history of the destinations and the murder mysteries behind Austin’s ghost stories. Gain inside access to various stops including the Driskill hotel, the Tavern, the Clay Pit, UT campus, and more.

Tours are BYOB and VIP (private tours) are available. Haunted ATX also features some of Austin’s hippest tour guides to entertain you and your guests for a fun night out, special date night, or family bonding adventure. If you enjoy history, spooky stories, fantastic photo opportunities, and a possible glimpse into the paranormal, don’t miss this tour! Learn more about Haunted ATX here.

18. Rent A Boat On Lake Austin Or Lake Travis

Hitting the lake is definitely one of our favorite summertime activities, and our friends at Float On Boat Rentals offer the best access to both lakes, boat captain optional. 

17. Eat All The Breakfast Tacos

Where you’re from they may call them breakfast burritos, but in Austin, we’re all about that taco life. Check out some of our favorites of the breakfast variety listed here.

16. Seek Thrills With Lake Travis Zipline Adventures

This thrilling adventure over Lake Travis will get your blood pumping. The views over the lake while ziplining are absolutely incredible, and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. Be prepared to reach speeds of 60 mph.

15. Take A Selfie In Front Of The ‘I Love You So Much’ Mural

Because did your trip to Austin really happen if there aren’t pictures? You can find the location of this mural and some of our other favorites here.

14. Relax Outdoors At Zilker Park

Zilker Park is a 351-acre, dog-friendly park situated in the heart of Austin. It serves as a hub for many special events such as ACL, SWSW, The Zilker Kite Festival, and many more. It’s also a great location to setup a blanket and do some people watching.

13. Take A Yoga Class

Austin is a city that loves to be active! We’ve teamed up with Wanderlust Yoga to offer FREE Yoga in the Park every Wednesday this summer! Each class will be accompanied by live music or a DJ. 

12. Explore Rainey Street

The most well known party-street in Austin is still 6th Street, but in recent years Rainey Street has given it a run for its money. There are a plethora of older homes that have been turned into bars, and most of them have great outdoor patios. There are also several really great dining options in the neighborhood as well.

11. Visit Local Breweries 

Looking for a departure from the 6th Street bars? Austin is regularly ranked as one of the top cities in the nation for craft brewing. Take a tasting tour of the local microbreweries such as Jester King, Hops & Grain, and Austin Beerworks. Drink yummy craft beer, meet awesome people.

10. Celebrate Fall at Wurstfest

Wurstfest was voted the number two Oktoberfest in the country by USA Today! This “10-Day Salute To Sausage” in New Braunfels is one of our favorite festivals of the year. With sausage, beer, polka and potato pancakes as far as the eye can see, it’s a Bavarian wonderland that’s not to be missed.

9. Visit The Texas State Capitol

The Texas State Capitol is the oldest surviving state office structure, and a great place to learn about Texas history.

8. Cruise Around On Lady Bird Lake

One of the best ways to check out Downtown Austin is from the water. Lady Bird Lake (or Town Lake as some locals still call it) runs from the Westside of the city, all the way past Highway 35 into East Austin. The water is calm enough for a peaceful day trip or a sunset paddle. Be sure to bring your beverage of choice and a waterproof camera or ziplock bag for your phone; you’re going to want to take pictures!

The Rowing Dock is located on the Southern shore of the lake just West of MoPac (Loop 1), and they offer a wide selection of kayaks, canoes, and Stand Up Paddle-boards for rental.

7. Take A Stroll Down South Congress

Eclectic, hip, fashionable, and funky all combined. Surrounded by numerous restaurants, shops, and music venues. Also a cool view of the Capitol and downtown skyline from the top of the hill. 

8. Go For A Hike

Central Texas is often referred to as the gateway to the Hill Country, and with the hills come beautiful trails, streams, and greenbelts that are absolutely perfect for outdoor adventures. 

5. Climb Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is the highest point in Austin at 775 feet. It’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals to view the city of Austin, Lake Austin, and the surrounding hills.

4.  Watch The Congress Avenue Bats at Sunset

The Congress Bridge plays home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. About 1.5 million Mexican free tail bats call the Congress Bridge home from Spring to early Fall as they migrate north.

 Each night around dusk the bats start their evening flight. It normally starts with a single bat leaving the bridge and quickly turns into a steady flow of countless bats in search of food. It’s one of those things that is truly unexplainable until you see it first hand.

Many people choose to watch from the Congress Bridge but the real treat is seeing it from the water.  Capital Cruises offers great bat watching tours. You can also rent them privately which make for great birthdays or corporate events. Here’s an insider secret, if you don’t have a big group look into Duffy Boat rentals. I do them every time I have company in town and they’re always a hit.

3. Sink Your Teeth Into Local BBQ 

Central Texas has long been famous for its brisket and other smoked meats, but now some of the most highly praised joints in Austin reside within the city limits. We highly recommend la Barbecue, Valentina’s Tex Mex, Micklethwait Craft Meats, and of course, Franklin BBQ. 

2. Listen To Live Music

Alt-J courtesy of Charles Reagan Hackleman

You can’t come to the “Live Music Capital of The World” and not listen to live music, how un-Austin of you. Don’t know where to start? A few of our favorite venues are Emo’sStubb’sACL Live, and the Mohawk

1. Take A Dip At Barton Springs

Barton Springs Pool is situated at the grounds of Zilker Park. It is a must-go-to place in the summer to cool off, with a 68 degree temperature all year round.

 

Like it or not, most of us are creatures of habit—which is exactly why you need to start taking advantage of all the good stuff Austin has to offer from the moment you arrive. I recently talked to a neighborhood friend who has lived here for 19 years, but never set foot on the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. Don’t let that be you. Rather, set the tone for a very good life in Austin by establishing some very good habits right from the get-go.

1. Take a Hike

Natural beauty is one of the many things that sets Austin apart from other large Texas cities. Whether you want to stay urban on Lady Bird Lake, get a little taste of the wild on the Barton Creek Greenbelt or head north to St. Edwards Park, there are miles and miles and miles of trails worth exploring within Austin’s city limits.
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2. Get Acquainted with the University of Texas

From the Blanton Museum and Informal Classes to educational speakers, sports and world-class performances, UT is overflowing with cool stuff to do. It’s remarkably easy to forget it’s there, however, so put it on your radar early.
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View from the UT Tower Tour

View from the UT Tower Tour

3. Tune into KUTX (98.9)

Everything a local radio station should be, the musical ‘arm’ of our NPR station is a great place to school yourself on Austin music and culture.

4. Spend Some Time (and Money) at Waterloo Records

Around since 1982, Waterloo is a champion of local musicians and the kind of authentic place we need more of in the world. Plan to spend at least an hour browsing, then choose something new, as well as something with deeper roots, like Jerry Jeff Walker or W.C. Clark.
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5. Pick a Festival, any Festival

Austin quite possibly hosts more festivals per year than anywhere else on the planet, and there is truly something for everyone. Depending on your preferences, hit up a biggie like ACL or SXSW, something spicy like the Hot Sauce Festival, something trippy like Eyeore’s Birthday Party or something whimsical like the Kite Festival. Whatever you choose, it’s pretty darn affirming to be among masses of people enjoying the same good time you are.
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The Annual Zilker Kite Festival

6. Spend a Day in East Austin

Maybe more than anywhere else in town, East Austin is a blend of the ‘old’ ATX some are nostalgic for, and the ‘new’ hip iteration. To get some understanding of that juxtaposition, spend a day enjoying both sides of the argument. Eat breakfast somewhere classic like Cisco’s (while you still can!), hit up some art galleries and shops like Friends & Neighbors, grab a locally-brewed beer from Hops & Grain and either catch a show at the Historic Scoot Inn or eat at fancy James Beard award winner Launderette.

7. Put Live Music on Your Monthly Calendar

Sure, you talk big now about going out nightly to see shows.  Unfortunately, life and finances can get in the way, so plug in at least one night per month on your calendar. You can fill in the details later.

8. Get wet

No Austin to-do list would be complete without mentioning Barton Springs. It really is all that it’s cracked up to be. But, there are plenty of other fun places to cool off, including the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Deep Eddy, and one of the many small neighborhood pools in parks around town. They all have their perks, and they all contribute to Austin being Austin.
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9. Pay Homage at a Classic Music Venue

There’s some hallowed musical ground in this town. Make it a priority to visit at least one classic venue soon after arrival, because they probably have had more influence on the Austin vibe than anything else. To name a few noteworthy places… The Continental Club, Saxon Pub, White Horse, Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, Broken Spoke and Hole in the Wall.
The dance floor at The Broken Spoke

The dance floor at The Broken Spoke

10. Start a Favorite Taco List

Don’t get into a taco routine just because there’s a good joint nearby. Pledge to visit a different one every week, and then decide which is your favorite. What will it be? Valentina’s, Tacodeli, Veracruz, Papalote, Torchy’s, or somewhere else? You won’t know if you don’t try.
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About the author: Jill Coody Smits is the author of Expedition Austin: A Kid’s Guide to the Weirdest Town in Texas. A freelance writer of many things, she lives south of the river with her husband, daughter and two four-footed sons. After nearly 20 years in Austin, she is still in love with this little big town.

Join us at St. Elmo Brewing on Thursday, February 16th for our second annual celebration of sausage. The “Kings” of the Austin sausage scene will be onsite providing off-menu sausage creations in a friendly competitive format. Tickets are limited and will go quickly.

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Included in the $26 ticket price:

  • Samples From ALL of the Sausage Purveyors (Micklethwait, Salt & Time, Soursop, Frank, Easy Tiger, Banger’s, Even Leroy, and more!)
  • Two Draft from St. Elmo Brewing
  • The smooth sounds of The Urban Achievers Brass Band
  • One voting card to nominate your favorite sausage offering (winner chosen by those in attendance!)
    GET TICKETS BUTTON YELLOW

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Photos Courtesy of BBQ Bryan and Texas BBQ Treasure Hunt. See his review of last year’s event HERE.

If you’ve been putting off filing your taxes until the last possible minute, then Monday, April 18 will probably be a stressful day. And when you finally do hit send, you’re going to need an escape from all that adulting.

Luckily, The Escape Game, Austin’s best interactive game, is offering a special Tax Day promotion. Instead of taking all of your money like the IRS, they want you to keep it! Enter the promo code “TAXDAY18” when you book and you can play on April 18th for only $18 (usually $31.99).

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The Escape Game Austin provides sophisticated, high-level games that will challenge even the most hardcore gamers. Solve million dollar heists, decode secret service missions, and navigate through prison passageways You have one hour. For more about the adventure, click here

Opened in May 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library is a repository and exhibition of documents, photographs, audio recordings, and personal artifacts from one of the most interesting presidencies in our nation’s history. Located on the University of Texas campus, the LBJ Library is a fascinating destination for locals and visitors alike—more than 100,000 people pass through its doors each year.

Between the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and the counterculture movement of the 1960s, the library gives both a snapshot of Johnson’s presidency and the context necessary to understand its importance.

Of the more than 45,000 personal objects donated by the Johnson family, visitors can view clothing worn by the president and first lady at the 1964 inauguration, antiques and visual art masterworks owned by the family and their friends, and the desk where LBJ was sitting when he signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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Several permanent exhibits opened on what would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday in December 2012, including a 7/8 scale recreation of Johnson’s Oval Office, the Johnson Presidential Limousine, and an entire exhibit dedicated to the assassination of JFK on November 22, 2963.

Current temporary exhibits include Hats Off to LBJ!, an in-depth look at the headware worn and given to the First Family and the public museum debut of the letter of condolence LBJ wrote to Martin Luther King’s widow Coretta Scott King in April of 1968 after the Civil Rights leader was assassinated.

The LBJ Library also serves as an events space for symposiums , lectures, and interviews featuring guests like MLB Hall of Famer Hank Aaron and Bob Woodward, who helped uncover the Watergate scandal as an investigative journalist at the Washington Post.

Above, from top: LBJ Library photo by Charles Bogel; LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton

The Escape Game is the newest (and possibly best in our opinion) interactive game in Austin. Participants work their way through complex puzzles and multiple challenges in hopes of “escaping” the room in under an hour.

Here’s the basic rundown and some tips for first time ‘escapees’:

You and the rest of your team will be led into a room and given some brief instructions (there are 4 different game rooms each with their own theme and mission). After receiving your mission objectives, the clock starts counting down from 60 minutes…time to start looking for clues and solving puzzles to ultimately complete your goal and escape! These games are not easy, so get ready for a challenge! You’ll need to practice exceptional communication, critical problem solving skills, and a dose of creativity if you want to escape in time.

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Our group was lucky enough to play the recently opened “Gold Rush,” which is set in a cabin in the mountains. The objective of the game is to find the hidden treasure of an old, greedy gold prospector that has gone missing. Word on the street was that he gambled with the mob too much and has disappeared. Our team had to work fast and find his lost gold in under an hour. Through hidden clues and mind challenging puzzles, we worked our way through the game and escaped successfully. Sorry, we don’t want to give too much away…the mystery is half the fun! (watch game video here)

The Escape Game is perfect for friends, family, coworkers, and visitors to Austin. You can book a game for as few as one person but we suggest playing with at least one more friend to share in the experience with you. The Escape Game should absolutely be added to your list of “best things to do in Austin,” it’s definitely on ours.

Looking for something different to do this July? Sign up now and get 10% off with code ‘Summer10’ Monday-Thursday this month!


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The Paramount Theatre turned 100 this year, making it one of the longest continually operating theaters in the country! That being said, if you’ve never visited this Austin institution, it should definitely be on your bucket list.

This Sunday, they’re featuring ‘Room on the Broom

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The witch and her cat are flying happily on their broomstick – until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow, and wand. A helpful dog, bird, and frog find the witch’s lost things and they all hop on the broom for a ride. But this broomstick is not meant for five and – CRACK – the broom snaps in two! When a hungry dragon appears, who will save the poor witch? And will there ever be room on the broom for everyone? Join us on this wild adventure! This musical adaptation will celebrate friendship, the fall season, and the wonderful world that author Julia Donaldson has created. Wear your Halloween costumes one more time!

Based on the book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Produced by Tall Stories Theatre Co. London, England

This is the perfect Sunday event for the whole family, and a great opportunity to take in the Paramount in all its glory. Tickets are available via the button below:

GET TICKETS BUTTON YELLOW

If you’re dying to celebrate the harvest season at the number two Oktoberfest in the country as voted by US Today, you’ve probably already made plans to attend Wurstfest this year. From November 6th through the 15th, people from around the state will gather in New Braunfels to celebrate German culture, and to party like crazy.

Attendees will sample German-style fare, dance to the live bands, and take in the various Alpine and Bavarian style shows that celebrate the fall. The Wurstfest grounds are in New Braunfel’s Landa Park, but there are various other events and activities going on throughout the town and Comal County.

The best week in sausage brings some of the best German fare right to Austin’s backyard and chances are you’re going to want to wash it all down with a beer… or four. Needless to say, a designated driver is a must.

Photo by Reddit user: svartorn

Photo by Reddit user: svartorn

We’re partnering up with Austin Tour Company this year to make sure you make it to the fest and back in one piece. We’re offering round-trip transportation on our sweet party busses for only $40 per person. Parking for Wurstfest is actually offsite, so you still end up taking a bus from the parking area to the grounds if you decide to drive yourself. Our busses pick up in Austin and deliver and pick up to/from the front gates of the fest. Your first beer on the bus is on us, byob for the rest.

Additionally, the $40 doesn’t just cover the ride; it gets you into the festival! We get the party started early with fun music and the hilarious movie Beerfest to entertain you on the ride home. We also provide a little education (we promise, it’s not boring!) on the history of the festival and why it’s so significant in Central Texas.

Once we’re at the Wurstfest Grounds, you have three hours to enjoy the festival to your heart’s desire. Then we’ll be waiting for your group at the entrance ready to safely bring you back to Austin. It’s as easy as that.

Wanna learn more? Check out the Wurstfest official site for more information about the sausage party and book your spot on one of our Austin Tour Company party buses here. It’s a small price to pay for a time you won’t soon forget… if only you could remember.

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Cover photo courtesy of Do512 Family.

Only two short years ago, one could count pizza delivery options in Austin on two hands. The choices were those inedible national chains, or Gatti’s/Austin’s Pizza, and a few others (we still love you Conan’s).

Oh, how the times have changed. With Favor Delivery, pizza is a few clicks away from anywhere that offers take-out. In fact, a large pie from my favorite shop for thin-crust, East Side Pies, was the first Favor order I completed.

I included a few newcomers on the list, so hopefully there are a few places you haven’t tried. Take into consideration that your favorite spot might not be on the list purely because it’s not in the Favor delivery zone. Or it could be that we haven’t tried it! Feel free to hit us up on Facebook with your recommendations.

In no particular order:

9. Bufalina

When it first opened, one could expect to wait hours to get a table. They’ve recently (and quietly) begun to allow takeout orders. Take advantage. It’s the best neapolitan pie in the city.

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8. Spartan Pizza

The trailer-turned-brick and-mortar on East 6th is open until 3am on weekends. Skip that Whataburger line and order from the safety of your own living room.

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7. Lucky’s Puccias & Pizzeria

Known for his puccias (authentic wood fired Italian sandwiches), Lucky recently opened a brick and mortar on West 5th. The pizzas are as crave-able as his signature sandwiches.

6. The Backspace

Parkside’s sister restaurant serves up really great wood-fired pies. Pro-tip: Whatever you order, be sure to “put an egg on it.”

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5. 40 North

This South First Street newcomer has quickly climbed into our top ten. Try the Hot Honey if you’re into eating things that taste good.

4. East Side Pies

As mentioned above, if you’re a fan of thin-crust, look no further. ESP sources local ingredients whenever possible, and that extra level of care is reflected in the quality of their cracker-thin pies. (Why is this pizza on rocks? I don’t know either)

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3. Little Deli & Pizza

This Crestview neighborhood gem gets very little press considering it makes one of the best New York style pies in the city.

2. Homeslice Pizza

Loved by tourists and locals alike, no list would be complete without a nod to Homeslice. They also take the cake (pie?) for the most often Favor-ed pizza joint in Austin.

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1. Via 313

Before you say, “but I don’t like deep-dish pizza,” let me comment that I didn’t either until I tried Via 313. Furthermore, I haven’t met a person who has tried it that hasn’t fallen in love.

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Want to find out if you’re in Favor’s delivery zone? Check out the map.