Visit South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas
Austin is known to be weird, and South Congress Avenue certainly holds true to that reputation. With quirky eats, old-fashioned sweets, and shopping treats, it’s easy to spend a few hours or the better part of a day wandering up and down this eclectic street. While you can window shop and stop in any number of stores, here are a few of my favorites.
South Congress Avenue Shopping
Lucy In Disguise with Diamonds
This costume shop is a fun stop whether you are looking for dress-up digs or just getting ideas for next Halloween. One of the largest costume shops anywhere, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds has items available for sale or rent, or you can just browse for free.
Monkey See Monkey Do!
The kids will love this novelty and toy shop, and they will probably spend a good amount of time making their selection if they have a few dollars in their pocket to burn. It is also a good place to pick up gifts like fun socks or some quirky books. Be advised that there are some “adult humor” items in the store, so you might want to keep your kids in sight and steer them away from things you deem inappropriate.
Big Top Candy Shop
Another place that the kids are sure to want to burn a few dollars is the old-fashioned candy store and soda fountain Big Top Candy Shop. Let’s be honest though, the adults do, too! Candy selections from your grandparent’s day to today’s sweet treats are piled high and far. Order a unique handmade float specially prepared by one of the soda jerks to wash down the fudge, chocolates, cookies, and lollipops. Sugar coma guaranteed.
Restaurants on South Congress Avenue
Home Slice Pizza
Check the wait before you get too hungry, but don’t shy away if it seems a little long. Home Slice Pizza will text you when your table is ready, and you are welcome to check out the nearby shops while you wait. Any wait will be well worth it for this New York style pizza. My favorite is the classic Margherita with its chunky tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. The garlic knots are a nice appetizer, too. If you don’t have time to sit down, you can get pizza by the slice at More Home Slice Pizza, the walk-up stand next door.
Amy’s Ice Creams
What’s better on a hot Texas day – or any day, really – than ice cream? Amy’s Ice Creams has handcrafted ice cream flavors. Choose a Crush’n of your own to mix with your ice cream or go with the creative suggestions listed on the board each day. A movie quote is listed on the board, also, and if you know what movie it is from, you will get a free Crush’n! If you’re not sure what to get, go with a sure favorite: Mexican Vanilla with cinnamon and strawberries.
Fun Things to See & Do
As you make your way from shop to shop, be on the lookout for some of the murals painted on the sides of buildings. Get a picture in front of the “I love you so much” or “Willie for President” murals for an Austin-iconic Instagram moment.
Finally, if you’re in Austin from March to November, you have a good chance of seeing the famous South Congress Bridge bats. They fly out every evening around dusk. You can reserve a boat or kayak tour for some of the best viewing, but watching from above or below the South Congress Bridge will also provide good views. Get there early as it can get crowded in peak times.
Parking on South Congress Avenue in Austin
Parking on South Congress Avenue can be tricky. The limited spaces are angled, back-in parking. You are more likely to find a space on some of the side streets, but pay careful attention to towing signs so you won’t come back to find your car has disappeared. Once you do find a spot nearby, though, the street is easily walkable. In addition, Hilton Austin is only four blocks from South Congress Avenue.
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Robyn fell in love with travel before kids and has found it even more wonderful since her kids have joined the family. She is married to an amazing…