Hip to Be East

This Austin neighborhood ranks among the coolest hipster havens in the U.S.

Austin neighborhood ranks among the coolest hipster havens in the U.S.

Licha's Cantina
Licha's Cantina is a recommended spot in this hip 'hood. Licha's Cantina/Facebook

Thanks to ever-rising home prices and ever-growing traffic, we’re fully aware that East Austin is trendy. But that’s our own biased opinion, right? It’s cooler and weightier when an outside critic supplies the praise.

On July 25, travel website TripAdvisor offered an outsider’s perspective in citing East Austin as one of the “14 Coolest Hipster Neighborhoods in the U.S.” Among the other hipster 'hoods that earned accolades are Montrose in Houston, Marigny in New Orleans, RiNo in Denver, Ballard in Seattle, and the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon.

In highlighting East Austin, TripAdvisor notes that the east-of-35 neighborhood straddles “the uneven line” between Austin’s old barrio culture and the SXSW crowd. The website encourages East Austin visitors to:

  • Explore the neighborhood on two wheels via the Austin Gem Bike Tour, “stopping off to quench your thirst at three local breweries.”
  • Savor an authentic take on Mexico City-style casual food at Licha’s Cantina on East Sixth Street.
  • Make some feline friends at the Blue Cat Café on Navasota Street.
  • Jam to some tunes at the White Horse honky-tonk on Comal Street, “one of the oldest and most authentically Austin joints in town.” (The White Horse opened in 2011.)

Of course, we wouldn’t be very hip if we didn’t add a few of our own East Austin recommendations:

  • Cisco’s, the storied Mexican breakfast spot on East Sixth Street.
  • Hillside Farmacy on East 11th Street, described as an “antique chic” eatery with eclectic offerings.
  • Franklin Barbecue (where the lines can be frustratingly long) or La Barbecue on East Cesar Chavez Street (where delicious fare also boasts shorter lines).
  • Stay Gold, a lounge-y bar and music venue on East Cesar Chavez.
  • Shangri-La, a combo dive bar and beer garden also on East Sixth.

Now, if only more of us could afford to live in East Austin and could better navigate the traffic.