Rather than do each shop individually, I thought I would just tell you about First Thursday as a whole, and then let you check out each individual shop!
First Thursday is an event that occurs once a month in Austin on South Congress Ave. (SoCo) in which all the vendors get together and have live music, beer, sodas, and other treats as a welcome to Austin and a reason for you to look through their trinkets!
Definitely worth an hour or two of your time on a Thursday afternoon!
What to buy: Lots of Texas Antiques, Lone Stars, Armadillos, and Blue Bonnets!
What to pay: Varies... from $1 to 1000 dollars.
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
If you are a thrift store junkie like I am, the Salvation Army at 1142 South Lamar (443-7565) is loaded with deals. Come in on Wednesdays when everything in the store is half price and you could walk out of there with a whole new wardrobe for under $20.00. I have found Old Navy Jeans and Levis over there for about $2.00 or $3.00 each.
This a cool, eclectic store in downtown Austin that has products from around the world. They specialize in Folk art, jewelry, textiles, clothing and lots of interesting trinkets, such as Buddha and Hindu items. This is a great place to come and wander around. Good place to get items from Mexico, Nepal and South America.
This store is also a special place for me, because they are carrying one of my own postcards that I made of "Sadhus of Nepal".
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!
There is lots of music related items at this downtown store, such as: t-shirts, magnets, artwork and trinkets from musicians like Bob Marley, Jim Hendrix, Elvis (a whole Elvis display area!) and more. They also have good music playing as you browse the aisles. Where else can you find a Bob Marley christmas ornament? I think they also take on-line orders.
Along Sixth Street you'll find several souvenir shops, but we chose to stop at SAINT X. This shop had all sorts of Longhorns souvenirs ranging from bumper stickers to t-shirts. We selected several cool t-shirts from adult to child size to take home with us.
The sales clerk was very helpful in showing us the different types of t-shirts available. Although his store was filling with souvenir seeking customers, he spent a nice amount of time helping us make a decision on which ones to purchase.
The store was crammed full of merchandise and it would be hard to imagine anyone having trouble finding a souvenir t-shirt to their liking. Hours are Mon.-Tue. 12Noon-12 am; Weds. 12Noon-2am; Thurs. 12Noon-2am; Fri. 12Noon-3am; Sat. 12Noon-3am and Sun. 12 Noon -12 am.
What to buy: University of Texas Longhorns souvenirs
What to pay: $14.99 for an adults size t-shirt
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
"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?!
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
"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)
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.
Toys, they are versatile and have many uses. Think about the endless possibilities of what you can do with them. Are they only good for kept in the unopened boxes and bubble wraps? OK, I hear you toys and comic collectors scoffing already. But hey, I'd say the Spawn figurines and Fantastic Four comics can be collaborated into your home decor. WHY NOT? That's timeless. Home decals, wall sconces are kinda over used by now, don't you think?
Wonko's is packed with toys, comics, trading cards and such. There's a spot at the back of the store for you cards buff to hang out and do your thing. The guy at the counter is not overly friendly, which is fine by me. One could easily spend a while just browsing at the items and check out the items to be traded in. The website allows you to check the current and upcoming stocks too if you wanna do that.
Sunday - Monday, 11am - 6pm
Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 8pm
Now, where should I place the AVP figures?
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.
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