I recently returned from a trip to Austin, TX and while this visit wasn’t my first trip to the city, I made a point to seek out a neighborhood I had not yet explored. With the intention of checking out some of the shops and restaurants that best aligned with Austin’s notorious slogan “Keep Austin Weird” I, along with two of my best friends, decided to stroll the famous South Congress Street (or SoCo if you’re in the know). Walking along South Congress Street you get to experience all of Austin’s unique appeal – live music, incredible art (in soo many forms), savory food, quirky shops, and trendy boutique hotels – it’s no wonder it is so often photographed!
Here are some of my favorites spots that I most certainly will hit up again during my next visit:
- Hotel San Jose 1316 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
Nestled behind shrubbery and vines, the Hotel San Jose feels like a spa-like oasis amidst the nearby shops and restaurants. Not only is the hotel designed and decorated beautifully, its’ courtyard/outdoor lounge area offers a shady escape from the hot Texas sun! Lucky for me (and for you!) the courtyard/outdoor lounge area isn’t just for hotel guests and is open to the public. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a chilled drink and light bite to eat!
- Jo’s Coffee 1300 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704
While I had never heard of Jo’s Coffee prior to walking along South Congress Street, I WAS familiar with the famous “I love you so much” graffiti mural that is sprayed on the side of the coffee shop. Naturally, I had to snap a pic, but perhaps even more important than the graffiti on the coffee shop was the actual coffee that J0’s serves up. I chose to indulge and ordered the Iced Turbo coffee which is a delicious blend of coffee, espresso, hazelnut, chocolate and cream and is totally worth every calorie!
Want to know the untold story behind the “I love you so much” mural? Check out this YouTube video to learn what prompted the now-famous mural.
- By George 1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
On the hunt for handpicked home accessories or fragrances? By George will have plenty to offer! In addition to home accessories and fragrance, By George has an impressive curated selection of clothing, shoes, and handbags. While many of the brands they carry (Lanvin, Tracey Reese, Givenchy etc.) are out of my price range they did carry some more affordable brands as well, especially in the beauty and active wear department! Aside from the merchandise itself, the store is wonderfully light-filled and beautiful decorated.
- SoCo Artist Market Located on South Congress between Monroe and Milton Streets
If you are looking to take home something to remind you of your trip to Austin, look no further than the SoCo artist market that can be found along South Congress between Monroe and Milton Streets and is open on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 11:00 AM. It reminded me of a smaller scale version of the artist markets found in Chelsea Market in New York City, only all of the artwork and jewelry are hand-crafted in Austin and far less expensive than what you would find in NYC.
- Uncommon Objects 1512 South Congress Ave. Austin,Texas 78704
If there is any one spot that epitomizes the slogan “keep Austin weird” it is THIS store. Filled with antiques, quirky props and memorabilia, it is one of those shops where the sheer number of items has you wondering how it is even possible to inventory and price what they are selling! Considering the volume of items they have for sale it is safe to say that they likely have something for everyone, though, even if you just pop in to browse it is worth the visit!
Have you been to Austin? Any recommendations on spots I should hit up during my next visit?