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East Austin is a neighborhood located one mile from downtown. It was historically a working-class neighborhood heavily populated by African-Americans, forced to live there due to early segregationist laws, and later inhabited by Mexican-Americans. More recently, the neighborhood has gentrified to become a trendy arts district populated by studios, galleries, locally-owned stores, restaurants, bars, and food trucks. It is now a go-to spot locale for locals and visitors alike.

Here are some of the best places and things to see and do:

White Horse – This venue is one of the oldest in town that hosts live music shows. Admission is typically free, except for charity events for more popular acts. Kids are welcome, if accompanied by an adult. Dogs are allowed on the outdoor patio.

Victory Grill – Named after the victory over Japan in World War II, this nightclub and restaurant was host to musical acts like James Brown, B.B. King, and Billie Holiday. Opened in 1945, it was a rare establishment where black soldiers could buy beer. The restaurant is still open today for private events.

Tejano Walking Trails – Lori Renteria, a City Council member’s wife, wanted to preserve some of the benchmarks of Latino culture found in East Austin. She established historical preservation rights for these landmarks and created the trails to guide visitors around the houses, churches, and parks important to the Latin culture once prevalent in the neighborhood.

Blue Cat Cafe – Austin’s very first cat cafe was opened this past year by Rebecca Gray through funding on Kickstarter., Food and drink is ordered at an outdoor stand. All of the cats are brought in from the Austin Humane Society, with most available for adoption. The cafe also sells supplies and offers courses on proper cat ownership.

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