Where to eat: Chuy's (www.chuys.com) is a local chain of wacky, affordable Tex-Mex fun houses with mammoth portions. Mi Madre's has the best breakfast tacos in the city (512-322-9721, www.mimadresrestaurant.com). In Lockhart, Kreuz Market is the authentic choice for barbecue.
Where to sleep: You won't find anything cheaper than the Austin Motel (512-441-1157), www.austinmotel.com). It's clean and well located, with a pleasant pool and a cheerful staff. You'll pay as little as $80 for a room with a full-size bed.
Other tips: The patio at Hotel San Jose (512-444-7322, www.sanjosehotel.com) has one of the city's best people watching happy hours; it's just down the street from the Austin Motel. Rock aficionados should check out Threadgill's (512-451-5440, www.threadgills.com), where Janis Joplin started. For line-dancing, head to the Broken Spoke honky-tonk dance hall (512-442-6189, www.brokenspokeaustintx.com).
— Kara Baskin