Guide to Austin | South Congress

Austin is a fun, diverse, and oh so interesting city to visit. Sometimes, though, the biggest challenge our guests have is deciding where to go and what to do – especially if they only have a limited time to stay with us. In this, one of several Guide to Austin posts, we focus on South Congress.

Going Places Within Walking Distance

South Congress Avenue (sometimes called SoCo but only by tourists who aren’t really in the know – unlike you, right?) is the easiest destination for guests of The Fairview. It is literally a 10 minute walk from our front door (as measured by google maps). We usually tell guests to go left at the street, take the first left and then walk four blocks to the light at South Congress.

There you will find 8 blocks of shops, restaurants, places to listen to live music, and definitely some “Keep Austin Weird” things to see. It is a great place for people watching. If you time things right you might sight someone riding a horse down the middle of South Congress Ave, one of our many local celebrities, your favorite musician, or even our our neighborhood “naked man riding a bicycle” (I told you Austin was Weird).

The Guide to Austin South Congress List

Here’s a list of spots we think you will find interesting. Notice that we’ve left off restaurants as we review and recommend those more extensively in our Fairview Recommends Restaurants series of posts.

  • Heritage Boot Co.: So many of our guests from outside of Texas want to know where to buy cowboy (or cowgirl) boots. This shop is an Austin local featuring handmade, bespoke-styled boots.
  • Jo’s Coffee: The place to see and be seen on South Congress. In addition to some fine coffee, you’ll often find live music (don’t forget to tip the band!) and special events like the Easter Pet Parade. Be sure to take a selfie with someone you love at the I Love You So Much mural.
  • Amy’s Ice Creams: One reason people love Amy’s is for their creative servers. Their job application is a plain, white, paper bag with instructions to take it home and bring back something creative! Oh, and great ice cream too. (Hint, try the Mexican Vanilla.)
  • The Continental Club: This is the oldest and most iconic of Austin’s live music venues. With great local musicians that you’ve never heard of and sometimes big names that everyone’s heard of, you’re bound to find something to enjoy. 
  • Güero’s Taco Bar: Yes, it’s a restaurant and I said I wouldn’t cover restaurants here, but Güero’s is also a great place to catch some live music in their huge outdoor patio. Plus on weekends local vendors set up shop outside. 
  • Stag Provisions for Men: Some guys like to shop! Some people like to shop for their guys! (You know, so they look nice when you’re walking next to them.) Clothes, gifts, accessories – a general store for the modern gentleman. Plus they get extra cool points for hosting the next item on this list.
  • Willie For President Mural: Everybody loves Willie but Austin loves him more. Step around the corner from Stag Men’s Wear for a photo op.
  • Tesoro’s Trading Company: Not everyone you know is lucky enough to visit Austin. Take home a unique gift for your friends so they don’t feel so bad. Tesoro’s has folk arts and crafts and traditional items from over 20 different countries.
  • Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds: Costumes and vintage clothing like you’ve never seen. This is wearable Austin weird at it’s finest. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s worth stepping inside to experience.
  • Yard Dog Art Gallery: Featuring fine art, pop art, & folky art from all over the world. In true Austin style, Yard Dog shows the work of a number of artists who are also rather well-known musicians.
  • Allens Boots: Didn’t find what you were looking for at Heritage Boots? With over 4,000 boots on display they’re sure to have your size. Cowboy hats too!
  • South Congress Books: One of a dying breed, South Congress Books is our very own locally owned and run independent used book store. Looking for something arty, vintage, or quirky? They have more than just books.
  • Parts and Labour: Jewelry, t-shirts, handmade cards and other gifts. This local craft store supports Texas based designers and artists. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Big Top Candy Shop: You’ll love this place – an old fashioned candy store with all of your childhood favorites. Check out the fully-functioning old-fashioned soda fountain. Where else can you get a New York Egg Cream Soda in Austin?
  • Farm to Market Grocery: Looking for a snack, or maybe a nice bottle of wine to enjoy back at The Fairview? Our neighborhood grocer is the place to go for fresh food, flowers, cheese and wine.
  • C-Boy’s Heart & Soul: A little further South but still less than a mile from The Fairview, C-Boy’s is a sister club to the Continental. Some of the best local R&B, soul, and blues in town.
I Love You So Much mural on S. Austin

Step out to see what you can find, then let us know what you think of our South Congress favorites.

Make sure you check out the other Guide to Austin posts (coming soon) for more suggestions when you have time to go a little farther afield. We’ve tried to group our suggestions by time and distance, starting with short visits you can walk to and moving on to some fun day trips. Mix and match them all during your stay here and please, ask us for customized suggestions.

We love to help our guests have a good time.