South Austin is a trendy mecca, including everything South of the river and downtown, and east of Interstate 35. By day, residents can enjoy hanging out on South Congress shopping, cooling off in one of the many swimming holes around, or eating at any of the delicious restaurants and food trailers. The vibe in South Austin is hip and relaxed. Traditionally, South Austin is known for its counterculture movement, although these days it’s become more gentrified. While there really isn’t any place in South Austin that requires a suit and tie, there are world-class dining options scattered throughout.
There are many places to shop in South Austin, and most of them are one of a kind. Throughout South Austin (mainly on South 1st Street and South Congress Street) you can find vintage stores, thrift stores, unique antique shops, and specialty stores. If you’d like to see some of our favorites, you can HERE. ((Link to blog article about best shops in South Austin)).
If you would rather shop in a more conventional way, there are still shopping centers, malls, and outlets nearby. The Sunset Valley shopping center has options like Nordstrom Rack, Barnes and Noble, and World Market. The Brodie Oaks shopping center offers a wide range of casual restaurants, department stores & offices. Even farther south on Slaughter Lane, the massive South Park Meadows shopping center has over 90 stores, services, restaurants, and entertainment options.
Throughout South Austin, there are several movie theaters, Alamo Drafthouse being one of the more popular of these with a few different locations in the South. Here patrons can watch movies while eating and drinking, or attend special movie events such as quote alongs and movie festivals. Another favorite South Austin hangout is The Highball, where guests can sip cocktails and eat, bowl, rent a private karaoke room, or participate in one of their nightly events.
There are tons of dining options in South Austin, which encompass everything from fancy foodie establishments to down-home Tex-Mex, to vegan restaurants and food trailer parks. Some of the South Austin must tries are:
• Magnolia Café, Home Slice Pizza, HopDoddy Burger Bar, Perla’s Seafood, and Lucy’s Fried Chicken on South Congress.
• Gourdoughs Pub, Matt’s El Rancho, and Uchi Sushi, and Barley Swine on South Lamar.
• Elizabeth Street Café, Bouldin Creek Café, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, and The South Austin Food Trailer Park on South First.
• Curra’s interior Mexican, Habana Cuban and Caribbean food, Whip In, and Hills Café are scattered throughout the south.
South Austin is known for its abundance of outdoor recreational activities. A lush green belt runs through much of the city, with several access points in the south. Some of the best access points to the Barton Creek Greenbelt are the Zilker Park access, the Gus Fruh access (at 2642 Barton Hills Drive), and the Twin Falls access (located right off or Mopac). When it rains, these spots fill with water and are a great place to hang out with your friends, kids, or dog. Many of these places require a little hike to get to the water, but it’s well worth it.
If you aren’t up for a hike, Barton Springs Pool is easily accessible and boasts lush green grass and shady trees to sit under. The pool is a little chilly at a constant 68 degrees, but it feels fantastic on a hot summer day. There is a diving board and shallow end in this natural pool, and it’s truly an Austin staple. Other pools include Deep Eddy and Big Stacy Pool, which are also spring fed and a fantastic place to take kids (although no pets are allowed, unfortunately). All three are excellent places to tan, swim laps, or socialize.
In the cooler months, it’s fun to hang out in non-water related spots like Zilker Park, Butler Park, and the many dog parks located throughout town!
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