Austin is already recognized as the epitome of cool cities, and its South Congress neighborhood is as trendy as it gets. South Congress, or SoCo, is brimming with an eclectic collection of shops and boutiques, organic markets, food trucks, restaurants and bars, coffee shops, and music and art venues. The following is a brief list of options for shopping in SoCo:
Support Local and International Artisans
SoCo is full of funky shops that sell all kinds of unique merchandise, like Parts and Labour, a craft store on South Congress that sells clothing, jewelry and accessories, artwork and home decor made by Texan crafters and artists. Uncommon Objects is an antique shop where 24 local antique aficionados showcase their finds. It might feel like a museum, but everything is for sale. Tesoros sells folk arts and crafts from artisans in more than 20 different countries from around the world, including Bangladesh, Morocco, Guatemala and Vietnam, to name a few.
Shop Until You Drop
If you’re looking for a new outfit or unique piece of jewelry, SoCo has you covered. Maya Star prides itself on representing independent artists and sells hand-selected, high quality clothing and jewelry that will suit your style and budget. You may also want to check out By George, an Austin favorite, for contemporary, yet classic pieces from popular international brands and lesser-known designers. Their boutique on South Congress Avenue sells only women’s clothing, but their Lamar Street flagship location sells both men’s and women’s pieces. Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (get it?) is a costume and vintage shop that sells adult and children’s costumes, wigs, masks, makeup and more.
You can’t call yourself a true Austin-ite until you own a pair of cowboy boots. Cowboy boots are a Texas tradition, so try some on for size at Allens Boots, a retailer that sells authentic Western wear and cowboy boots.
Austin is known for its music scene, and for those living in South Congress, there are tons of music venues and record shops at your fingertips. Friends of Sound specializes in selling vintage, hard-to-find vinyl LPs and carries albums in pretty much every genre you could imagine, from doo wop, to folk, to rock, to R&B. Turntable Records and End of an Ear also sell vinyl and CDs covering a wide range of genres, and if you’re looking for more record shops, visit the Vinyl Around Austin website.
Get Your Grub On
SoCo is a foodie’s heaven that has something to satisfy your appetite no matter what you’re in the mood for. South Congress Cafe offers brunch and dinner, and their menu puts an exotic spin on traditional dishes. Güero’s Taco Bar has been an Austin mainstay for 20 years, serving handmade corn tortillas, specialty dishes and hand-shaken margaritas made with fresh-squeezed lime juice. Austin is also known for its abundance of food trucks, like Ms. P’s Electric Cock, a food truck that serves up crispy fried chicken, truffle mac and cheese, sliders, and more delicious comfort food. For those with a sweet tooth, Hey Cupcake! serves strictly cupcakes. They have gluten-free options and they also deliver.
Check Out First Thursdays
This monthly event is basically one big block party along South Congress Avenue. The all-ages event is held on the first Thursday of each month and stores and restaurants stay open late, offering special sales and promotions.
Living in SoCo puts you in the heart of Austin’s trendiest neighborhood, and great shopping, no matter what you’re looking for, is within an arm’s reach.