Book People is quite possibly the coolest bookstore I've ever been to. What's even better is that it's a local business, so you can support the local economy. It has quite an impressive selection of books, including many signed books. They also have masseuses and tarot card readers on hand. They also seem to have a lot of book readings and signings. This store makes books hip. You'll have to check it out for yourself.
If you'd like to shop for music, you have to stop by Waterloo Records on 6th and Lamar. You'll find your favorite indie and local musicians' CDs here. You'll find CDs by plenty of up-and-coming musicians who you've never heard of next to all the classics. There's also an impressive collection of global music and used music. If you're a music fan or are simply looking for the CD of a big, local musician who you recently saw in concert, be sure to stop by Waterloo for the CD.
The Domain is a new (as of 2007) shopping center in Northwest Austin. It's located in the Braker/Burnet/Mopac area. You'll find Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, as well as M.A.C., Borders, White House Black Market, J.Crew, Banana Republic, etc. It's a very nice, outdoor shopping center. You can also hit the Arboretum shops in the same trip, as these two shopping centers are very close together. However, if you'd like to shop local, then go elsewhere. These are the stores you'll be able to find in just about any large city.
The South Congress Ave. area is home to many eclectic shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, and hotels. It's also the best place to people watch. This area is home to many hippies, hipsters, and other people such as myself. I once saw an older man who goes by the name of Leslie ride his bicycle around the area. The catch is that he was wearing nothing but a tank top and a thong. However, the beauty of the area (and Austin in general) is that you get used to oddities like that. Anyway, back to shopping. There are plenty of interesting vintage stores in the area. There are unique gift shops that carry geriatric temporary tattoos, rainbow expresso cups, and of course, Keep Austin Weird t-shirts. There's Allen's Boots, where you can find the coolest authentic cowboy (or cowgirl) boots ever. There's Farm-to-Market Grocery, where you can buy local produce and other goods. There's Uncommon Objects, where you can find plenty of antique and vintage goods that you don't need. There's Lucy in the Sky, a very awesome costume shop. There are many other shops, as well. And when you get tired and hungry, stop by Magnolia Cafe, Guero's, or Enoteca Vespaio. Stop by on the first Thursday of any month to experience First Thursday. The shops will all be open late and many local artists have their goods displayed in tents. South Congress is definitely a fun area to explore.
What to buy: Uncommon Objects is one of my favorite stores. You'll find plenty of old, useless knick-knacks as well as vintage and antique furniture.
80,000 square feet of mega market that specializes in natural and organic food. Enen if you don't have the intention to grocery shop, it is a great place to browse and brainstorm on your future culinary masterpieces....
The eatery is diverse with choices from pizza to sushi. You name it, they have it. On nice days the second floor patio is a fine place to enjoy lunch. Perfect dining for those groups who can't decide what to eat.
"So-Co" stands for South Congress Avenue, which is the portion of the street that is located south of downtown, across the bridge. As you walk up the street you will find a selection of quirky little shops featuring everything from funky antiques to folk-artsy curiosities. You might even stumble upon some pretty unique events, such as Jo's Easter pet parade, featuring cats and dogs in their most original and outrageous costumes. Think you've seen everything? Think again!
What to buy: While you're in Austin, why not get something weird?!
"The Drag" is the portion of Guadalupe St. that runs along the UT campus. It's the perfect place to go to buy UT/Longhorns souvenirs and you'll also get to see the cute "Hi, how are you" frog!
What to buy: Get a Longhorns football t-shirt (winners of the 2005 & 2006 Rose Bowl)
THIS IS A HUGE TWO-STORY STORE with anything relating to the University of Texas.
(THREE PHOTOS FROM INSIDE THE STORE ARE ATTACHED HERE ALSO.)
What to buy: T-SHIRTS, SWEATSHIRTS, CAPS, COFFEE MUGS, BUMPER STICKERS, DECALS, LOGO GOLF BALLS, ETC. ETC. ETC.
What to pay: MAYBE JUST A BIT ABOVE USUAL PRICES.
At Tesoros you'll find folk arts and crafts, jewelry, handmade clothing and other traditional items from over 15 different countries including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Turkey, Vietnam, and USA. A great place to go if you want to bring back original souvenirs that don't necessarily have the Lone Star on them!
What to buy: Browse their online catalog to find out what's in the boutique
What to pay: Goes from really cheap to very expensive, depends what you're looking for
BookPeople is the biggest - and best - independent bookstore in Texas. With its 4 stories 40,000 square feet, BookPeople is a great place to go to browse through books, catch a special event (check out the Calendar of events on the store's Website) or buy your very own "Keep Austin Weird" t-shirt or mug.
What to buy: Why not pick a book from the local authors section
What to pay: Regular book prices
This tip is not one shop, it is a group of shops that are really fun and cool in Austin. These shops are all located on South Congress street, starting around the 1300 block of South Congress. There are so many cool little antique stores, clothing stores, restaurants and bars that you can easily spend an early afternoon and evening hanging around in this area. If you happen to come during the "First Thursday" of the month the shops stay open late and tons of people crowd the street for music, free beer and the coolness of hanging out on this hip little street.
If you are here for South by Southwest...then South by South Congress is not to be missed. This area of South Congress is filled with free street parties with beer and music at that time and no wrist bands required.
What to buy: If you don't want to buy anything, it's great for people watching on this street, but if you feel like buying stuff, you will have no trouble finding things to buy. There are lots of nice restaurants to try...I like El Sol Y Luna and Guerros for Mexican food and Zen for cheap Japanese. Also check out Amy's Ice Cream, The Continental Club for music and Jo's Coffee shop. Have fun!
What to pay: Varies
The Whole Foods in Austin is unbelievable...It is a one of a kind, world class store. You have to see it to believe it...it is a universe of it's own. There are aisles and aisles of healthy food, drinks and vitamins. Beyond that there is a sushi bar, wine bar, coffee bar, juice bar and more. With an ultra hip crowd that hangs out here. You can spend a week wandering around in this store.
What to buy: Food, drinks, flowers, coffee, vitamins, herbs and more.
What to pay: You pay a little more here, but it is truly an experience.
This is a great CD, Record and Video store with a local flair. The staff can help you find what you need and it's a hip spot to wander the aisles, listen to music and get the flavor of Austin. Watch for in-store performances and make sure to go to Waterloo during the South by Southwest Music conference...there are free concerts the whole week long.
What to buy: CD, Records, Videos and more.
What to pay: $10-$25
The shop is an independent book store, and I found it to be a wonderful experience. The staff were friendly and I found that they had practically every kind of book I may wish to read.
I bought a copy of "The Beat Hotel" - which went into some detail about many of the Beat poets and writers - Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs as well as the others who may have stayed at the hotel during the 1960s.
The coffee shop was wortha visit. I think i can safely say that most of the staff could be described as being "hot"!
Was introduced to Wholefoods whilst in Austin and at first thought it was overpriced
and nothing special - until i tasted the food from this place -Wow!.
you will not taste food or as fresh as they have a policy of only stocking fresh un-processed organic and free from additives and other chemicals that can affect the taste.
This place would go down a storm in England
we need to wake up and smell the coffee!!
What to buy: Try the deli at Wholefoods where they will make up an absolutely delicious sandwich
just the thing after a hard day shopping.
What to pay: Slighty more than a discount store but well worth it!