Rainey Street is an adorable local as well as tourist attraction where you can find bars, restaurants, food trucks, and live music. In fact, if you try explaining Rainey Street to someone who’s never been, they might have a difficult time believing it’s real. I’m here to tell you that it’s not a fairy-tale! Some call it “frat-row without all the a$$holes”. The best part of all is that it is open on any day ending in “Y”.
What everyone knows
Most tourists know of Rainey Street prior to visiting Austin and make certain to pencil it in on their to-do agenda. It is definitely one of Austin’s popular places that support the city’s “Keep Austin Weird” slogan.
What they don't tell you
The creator of the Texas-themed TV series King of the Hill, Mike Judge, is an Austin resident himself and has the show’s main characters living on Rainey Street in fictitious Arlen, Texas.
The last house the infamous blues artist Stevie Ray Vaughan lived in was The Parlor, one of the bars on Rainey Street.
The Container Bar was a confederate general’s house he built for himself single handedly and his horse carriage house still remains across the street - it’s the Mescal Bar at Clive Bar.
Do it like a local
Go check-out the scene on Rainey Street after 5pm when things start to liven up and all the food trucks are open. See how many bars/houses you can hit up in one night. Enjoy the festive atmosphere as you partake in people-watching. However, although there is a paid parking lot available, it is best to get dropped off or venture there via the numerous electric scooters available in the downtown area.
For the History Buffs
The Rainey Street Historic District is currently a popular nightlife destination located in the southeast corner of downtown that amasses roughly 120 acres. It was first developed by cattle barron Jesse Driskill in 1884 (the same year he purchased the land at 6th and Brazos Streets for $7,500 and announced his plans to build the lavish Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin).
Since 2010, this former residential street has turned into a very popular nightlife district. Much of the historic homes have been renovated into bars and restaurants featuring large porches and outdoor yards for patrons.
Many of the original homes in the neighborhood were lost in a flood in 1935, and the construction of Interstate Highway 35 rendered the Rainey Street neighborhood "isolated" from the remainder of Austin's residential neighborhoods. Due to fears of nearby commercial and residential redevelopment, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
In 2004, the Rainey Street neighborhood’s proximity to the Austin Convention Center facilitated its rezoning as part of Austin's “Central Business District” which furthermore encouraged the development of bars and eateries. Thus, the old bungalow-style houses were transformed into ecclectic bars and cocktail lounges.more deets here
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