SXSW: The Funky Charms of East Austin, Texas

The sign over a gayly painted convenience store in East Austin, Texas, reads, "Beer, Wine, Smokes, Peace." Photo by bf newhall

The sign over the driveway reads, “Beer, Wine, Smokes, Peace.” Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

East Austin has everything it takes to be a first-rate hipster neighborhood — street art, food trucks, farmers markets, coffee shops, affordable (so far) housing, parks, artists’ studios, walkability — and, most important, a carefree, offbeat vibe.

Brooklyn has its Williamsburg neighborhood. Los Angeles has Silver Lake. Portland, Oregon,

A graffiti mural painted on a building in East Austin TX shows a man with sombrero and Spanish lady and the words, "Viva el Este." Photo by bf newhall

Viva el Este! Photo by BF Newhall

has the Pearl District. San Francisco has its Mission District. And Texas has East Austin.

Even Forbes Magazine has taken notice of the funky charms of East Austin, rating it No. 7 of the top ten US hipster havens. That and it’s in Austin — the site of the annual SXSW festival.

You’ll find burrito food trucks in East Austin, a park with a pretty lake, and an artists’ studio tour. And, lucky for me and my trusty point-and-shoot, East Austin’s got lots of crazy-ingenious stuff to photograph. Here goes:

Airstream streamlined trailer in austin tx selling pizza. photo by bf newhall

Pizza! They deliver, but not in this Airstream. Photo by BF Newhall

A sign for the Bouldin Creek Cafe in East Austin, TX, reads, "Caffeine Dealer." Photo by BF Newhall

The Bouldin Creek Cafe proudly declares itself to be a “Caffeine Dealer” serving breakfast all day.

Sign for the Broken Spoke honky tonk dance hall in Austin, TX. Photo by BF Newhall

The Broken Spoke dance hall — famous for its honky tonk music and good times. Photos by BF Newhall

Roadhouse Antiques sign with an Indian chief with feathered bonnet, Austin, TX. Photo by BF Newhall

The sign at Roadhouse Antiques is antique, but its display window featured neon moderne.

Graffiti and murals cover the Casa de los Muertos tatoo and head shop blows glass pipes on site. Austin TX. Photo by BF Newhall

One-stop shopping: At the Casa de los Muertos pipe and head shop you can get a tattoo and a hand-blown glass pipe. Photo by BF Newhall

Leal's Tire Shop in Austin TX features yellow walls and murals of Montezuma. photo by bf newhall

Leal’s Tire Shop . . . and Montezuma? Photo by BF Newhall

The Plush Dance Club in Austin TX has a sleek black and metallic storefront with silver drips painted over a windown. Photo by BF Newhall

The Plush Club. Bar. Dance club. Professional services. Photo by BF Newhall

A light-coiored graffiti mural on a building in Austin TX with skull and a woman's face. Photo by BF Newhall

Cool graffiti. It’s the Day of the Dead all year round in Austin. Photo by BF Newhall

A blue and red graffiti mural on a wall in Austin TX shows a postcard reading "Greetings from Austin, capitol of Texas." Photo by BF Newhall

Greetings from the capitol of Texas. Photo by BF Newhall

This is the last of my posts about the oh-so-photogenic Austin, Texas. For more Austin stories go to “The Ghost of 300 Million Dead Trees Hovers Over a Lake in Texas” and “Quirky, Lovable Austin.”   Also, “Austin — A City With Its Soul on Its Sleeve.” For another travel story, see “Shanghai Chic — Where a Woman’s Style Starts With Her Shoes.”



  1. Will Philipp says:

    Barbara—Loved these pics—a reminder of a walk and noshing through this neighborhood when my son was living/working (Driskill Hotel) in Austin —-love that city!

  2. Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

    Oh, dear. It turns out that Broken Spoke and Roadhouse Relics are also in South Austin. Mea culpa!

  3. Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

    Lisa from the Bouldin Creek Cafe emailed me to say that the cafe is located in South Austin, “though we hope to open another location in East Austin soon!”

  4. Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

    Ginger and Ron — Many, many thanks for your patience with this enterprise. So many “Oh, stop! Can we take a picture of that?” Totally fun.

  5. You nailed it!


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