Whether you’re a native Austinite trying to learn every last bit of trivia about your hometown or a recent transplant hoping to impress the locals, these 10 books will serve you well. We hope you’ve got a seriously gigantic coffee table.
Austin City Limits made our town a household name, so it’s only fair to put this photographic history of the longest-running music series in TV history at the center of your living room. You’ll find lush photos inside of performances ranging from Johnny Cash to Coldplay, and everything in between.
This city wasn’t always a game of spot-the-skyscraper. Trace Austin’s history with this photographic collection of the most iconic views in town, as they changed through the years.
Perhaps more than any book on this list, Every Town Needs a Trail seems ubiquitous. It’s almost strange to NOT see it on the coffee tables of our downtown Austin condo neighbors, despite the skyline photo on the cover becoming increasingly dated. Lady Bird Johnson’s vision for Austin’s Hike and Bike Trail is celebrated in this volume, with history, photos, and interviews regarding the jewel of Austin’s city park system.
In the blink of an eye, pitmaster Aaron Franklin became the city’s patron saint of all things barbecue. In this New York Times bestseller, he recounts the story of Franklin Barbecue’s sudden rise to greatness, then shares his secrets for crafting truly delicious smoked meat at home.
The Chronicle, Austin’s venerable alternative weekly, remains the paper of record for the local music scene since its first issue in 1981. This anthology covers 30 years of Austin music, as seen in print through photos, reviews, and artist profiles.
Folks from down south might contest Austin’s original claim to the legendary breakfast taco, but it’s fair to say our city is known for worshipping them.
It’s a good thing this collection of groovy concert poster art created for shows in Austin from 1967 to 1982 isn’t any bigger, or you’d start ripping out the pages and hanging them on the walls. Can the next edition glow under a blacklight?
The world’s most valuable college football program deserves some pretty good photos. Thankfully, this hardcover collection is up to snuff, covering the history of the Horns from the team’s beginnings in 1893 all the way to the 2006 Rose Bowl win — you know, the era you prefer to remember.
This beautifully-designed guide illustrates the University of Texas’ exhaustive collection of more than 170 million objects, which includes historical artifacts, rare books, and art in every medium imaginable. The book weighs 10 pounds and fills over 700 pages — your inner packrat trembles.
This collection of local historical columns from celebrated Austin-American Statesman journalist Michael Barnes provides a living record of our city’s diverse communities, politics, and culture. It’s an essential guide to knowing the whole story of Austin’s past.