South Congress epitomizes the hip, trendy ambiance of south Austin. It's possibly the best-known neighborhood in Austin for its unique, local shops and boutiques, diners, coffee shops, and lounges that line Congress Ave. The California-style food trucks that are now ubiquitous around town appeared here first and have been spreading out to other parts of town. Crowded with pedestrians at almost all hours, the neighborhood is a city hub and landmark, and a walkable exhibition of Austin's one-of-a-kind, slightly offbeat local character.
South Congress, or SoCo as it's known, rivals Downtown as a major hub of the city and is a mecca for shopping, casual dining, live music, socializing, exploring, people-watching, and just hanging out.
SoCo is bounded on two sides by S. Congress Ave. and S. First Street, two of the major thoroughfares of south Austin. Traveling north on Congress Ave. presents you with a panoramic view of the Austin city skyline, punctuated by the State Capitol directly in front. The proximity to downtown is one of the attractions of living in SoCo.
But the neighborhood has so many options there's actually little need to go elsewhere. The area is stuffed with many different types of restaurants and stores. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack, you can choose from trailer eateries, patio cafes, coffee shops, and formal restaurants serving a wide range of cuisine. Many are open 24 hours a day. There are local clothing stores, including one where Bob Dylan reportedly shopped for retro outfits. There's a Farm-to-Market stocked with local produce, and a local chain supermarket.
The entertainment options are many as well. Austin is known for live music, and the Continental Club has been the launching point of many musical careers since the 1950s. Two other businesses that trace their origins way back and have become local landmarks are the Hotel San Jose and Jo's Coffee.
First Thursday is a monthly neighborhood party in SoCo and an Austin tradition that is suitable for all ages. Held the first Thursday of each month, many of the stores on South Congress Ave. stay open late (most until 10 pm, some later), and have special sales. Many restaurants and lounges have drink specials.
SoCo has a national reputation as one of the must-see places in Austin, and celebrities have been known to visit on occasion. Actress Julia Roberts has been sighted in one of the local patio cafes. One of the dishes in a local Mexican restaurant is named for former president Bill Clinton, who ate there in the mid-1990s and put the restaurant on the map.
The many shopping, dining, and entertainment attractions make SoCo one of the more desirable places to live for many people. In case these attractions are not enough, the Downtown Hike and Bike Trail is within walking distance, and the Barton Creek Greenbelt is just to the west.The Continental Club
Views From the Street
|Newton St.||Crockett St.||Wilson St. and Fletcher St.|
|Annie St. W. and Newton St.||S. Congress Ave. and Annie St.||S. Congress Ave. and W. Johanna St.|
Facts and Figures