Austin Gay Guide – 2019 Austin Gay Pride
Austin Gay Guide
Famously progressive and fast-fast-growing Austin offers urbane, hipster-approved restaurants, bars, and boutiques and proximity to the picturesque Hill Country. It’s the optimal getaway for fans of indie music clubs, single-origin coffee roasters, and painstakingly curated lifestyle boutiques, but at its historic and still thriving heart, this youthful burg remains fun-loving and easy-going, with endless diversions, from kayaking on downtown’s Lady Bird Lake to food-truck-hopping in East Austin.
Austin Gay Pride 2019
The hugely popular Austin Gay Pride celebration takes place over 10 days in early to mid-August, with the biggest events taking place over the event’s final weekend (August 9–11, 2019), including the 29th Annual Austin Gay Pride Festival and March on Saturday, August 10, at Fiesta Gardens (also known as Town Lake Metropolitan Park). Details will be provided here as they become available, but to give you an idea, last year’s events included the L&B Womxn’s Party (at 4th & Congress) and Pride Men’s Party (4th Street) on Friday night; the Austin Pride Festival (from 11 am to 6 pm) and night-time Austin Pride Parade (from 8 pm to 10 pm) on Saturday; and a drag brunch at the chic and stylish Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt from noon until 3 pm on Sunday. You can read the official Austin Gay Pride Guide here.
Planning to attend some of the other great Pride events in Texas and nearby states, such as Houston, Dallas, Galveston, and New Orleans Gay Pride? Check out our 2019–2020 Texas and Beyond Gay Pride Calendar.
Where to Stay in Austin
Austin swells with distinctive accommodations, including the local music–themed Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, a chichi, contemporary roost on the edge of downtown and the bustling Rainey Street neighborhood. Also consider the three intimate properties in South Congress designed and operated by the LGBTQ-owned Bunkhouse Group: the Austin Motel, Hotel San José, and Hotel Saint Cecilia. The latter offers the swankiest suites and bungalows—plus a stunning garden-shrouded terrace and lap pool. Downtown has lately witnessed an explosion of sleek hotels, such as the tony W Austin—with its fabulous spa, but the city’s beloved 1886 Driskill Hotel—with its storied history and art-filled individually designed rooms—remains the Austin address for an romantic getaway or even a fairytale LGBTQ wedding.
Anchoring the swanky Domain retail-residential village on the north side of the city, Archer Austin boasts a nifty pool terrace and a scene-y restaurant, Second Bar + Kitchen (which also has locations in downtown Austin and at the airport), serving eclectic contemporary regional cuisine (don’t pass up the addictive avocado fundido with asadero cheese and chorizo).
Top Austin Experiences
Experiencing the best of Austin is less about touring formal attractions than exploring the wealth of vibrant retail and entertainment districts around town, with South Congress/South First, East Austin, Rainey Street, and the Warehouse District (home to several hoppin’ queer bars) leading the way. That said, the excellent LBJ Presidential Library is a must for history buffs, and several beautiful parks—including Mount Bonnell for its views of the countryside,Barton Springs Pool for swimming, and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for garden tours—beckon outdoor enthusiasts.
Finding the Gay Section at Hippie Hollow
On weekends, LGTBQ revelers flock to Hippie Hollow Park, about a 30-minute drive northwest of downtown Austin, where nude sunbathing is permitted on the limestone-terraced shores of 30-square-mile Lake Travis. It’s a lively, flirty spot for sunning and swimming. Once you park and pay the $15/vehicle day-use fee, to reach the queer section, walk left from the restroom onto the paved pathway and continue along this pleasant, winding promenade until it ends at a series of large rocks. By now, on most days, you’ll likely have seen some lesbians and gay folks with blankets or beach chairs, soaking up the Texas sun and admiring views of the lake—and each other. As you venture farther along the rocks from the paved trail, and you’ll tend to see more people. Note that the rocks can be steep and slippery, so watch your footing. Especially in summer and on weekends, you may also see boats, many with rainbow flags, docked just offshore and blasting music. A party and cruising vibe definitely prevails during busier periods.
Finish the afternoon by sipping margaritas and noshing on guac and chips on the Starlight Terrace of the nearby Oasis on Lake Travis, which offers some of the best sunset-viewing in Texas.
All photography at AndrewsTraveling.com is by Andrew Collins, unless otherwise noted.