The readers of Southern Living are really into Austin. For the second year, the magazine asked readers to rate places all over the region for its annual South’s Best issue. Over 32,000 people responded, giving the Texas capital high marks in several categories.
Austin landed near the top of the South’s Best Cities list with a No. 6 ranking. The electric restaurant scene also was lauded as the No. 3 Best Food City, behind perpetual dining hub New Orleans (No. 1) and red-hot Charleston, South Carolina (No. 2).
Rounding out the accolades for Austin were a nod for the luxurious Lake Austin Spa Resort, which ranked as the No. 3 Best Resort. Georgetown’s charming main square helped it earn a spot as the South’s No. 6 Prettiest City.
Elsewhere in Texas, San Antonio cleaned up with several mentions. Alamo City finished in seventh place among the South's Best Cities and was the only other Texas city to be named one of the Prettiest Cities, at No. 15. The burgeoning San Antonio culinary scene was also recognized as the ninth Best Food City in the South.
Andrew Weismann’s showpiece restaurant Signature — a nominee for the CultureMap Tastemaker Award for San Antonio Restaurant of the Year — is well worth a day trip. It continued its string of recent plaudits by being named the Best Restaurant in Texas by Southern Living. The La Cantera fine dining destination received praise for its desserts and cocktail program, earning a No. 1 spot in the magazine's Best Restaurant Bars category and a No. 5 spot for Best Desserts.
And it almost goes without saying that Texas favorite H-E-B would wind up being recognized on the Best Grocery Stores list at No. 4.
Conspicuously absent from the list was Franklin Barbecue, which was not only snubbed as the Best Barbecue Joint in the South in favor of North Carolina favorite Lexington Barbecue and Georgia peach Southern Soul Barbeque (they tied), but also didn’t make it to the top of the list of best joints per state. Instead, Driftwood’s Salt Lick BBQ took the honor.
If you are planning a weekend getaway, Southern Living also had a couple of recommendations. On the list of the South’s Friendliest Towns were Gruene, Wimberley, and Fredericksburg at Nos. 16, 17, and 19, respectively. Fredericksburg also ranked as the No. 9 Best Small Town.