SoCo may be a beverage of choice for some, but in Austin it is the go-to spot for anyone who appreciates the funky side of life. SoCo, short for South Congress, consists of crazy colored bungalows, a wide array of food options, and shops for anything you can dream of. With a beautiful view of the Capitol building downtown, SoCo screams fun and is Austin’s hippest place to call home.
Green space 5.3
Empty nesters 4.2
Hipster land!!!! skinny jeans, greasy hair, and mustaches unite! I can’t make fun too much, it’s a stop I make several times a week and bring out of town guests to every time, but the hipsters are out in full force here in SoCo.
All time favorites in SoCo-
Home Slice- omg, it’s a must. Home Slice has two locations, located directly next to each other. Skip the sit down and go to the window next door to order your slice of heaven. It makes the pizza better when you get it on a paper plate and sit on the curb to eat it. Get the margarita and thank me later.
Uncommon Objects- antique nerds..GO! thrifters..GO! interested in home decor..GO! Everyone should hit up this perfect antique mall. It is jam packed with goodness. I have my eye on so many items in this store that I almost don’t want to tell others about it in fear they will snatch up one of my wish listed goodies.
Mighty Cone- just do it. it is a must to eat at one of the food trailers in ATX and this is a perfect one to check out. Whatever it is that you order comes out in a paper cone. Convenient, cheap, classy. Okay, maybe not so classy.
Jo’s- coffee, beer, free wifi, attractive men, and next door to San Jose Hotel. enough said.
Katy G. lived here before
SoCo: Sunrise to Sunset
SoCo has so much, let’s start with breakfast. Explore your options among endless coffee shops, taco trailers and Mexican restaurants. You will discover that the taco places go from trendy little eateries to more authentic hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants as you travel farther south. There is El Sol y La Luna with a wonderful patio cafe environment next to the landmark Austin Motel, a location where Julia Roberts has been known to be spotted. Then there are the numerous coffee shops, such as Jo’s Coffee, Opal Divine’s, and Ruta Maya, all of which feature music for some genuinely Austin nightlife.
And speaking of nightlife, this nabe is one of the best places to live or visit for live music. Every First Thursday marks a neighborhood celebration including great local bands and artists markets. The landmark Continental Club has seen numerous blues, rock, country, bluegrass and Americana bands pass through on their way to fame. After happy hour with The Blues Specialists, head on upstairs through the unmarked door for free music and ping pong in the art gallery. This exclusive environment can make you feel the swank without having to pay the price.
For groceries, there is a farm-to-market on the avenue which sells local produce and there is an HEB on Oltorf/Congress for cheap and convenient shopping. As you head up the hill there are numerous boutiques and funky junky stores. Be sure to stop by Tesoros for Dia de los Muertos, Lucy in Disguise for Halloween, Uncommon Objects for antique Christmas gifts, and Allen Boots for the rodeo.
Further south is Ruta Maya, which has become more of a hippie cultural center than an explicit coffee shop. Purchase a drink for free yoga, Thai chi, and swing and salsa dance lessons during the day. Then experience the greatest variety of music Austin has to offer at night. From some good old drunken Russian foot-stompin’ music, to salsa, to jazz, to gypsy punk, to blues and bluegrass, and anything else you can think of.
The south side of SoCo characterizes Austin’s growing Hispanic influence, with Mexican restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores and even a couple discotecas.
Home prices this close to such a popular area can be ridiculous, but renting is surprisingly affordable. Older houses and duplexes are available in the surrounding neighborhoods, and trendy apartments and condos line Congress avenue with great downtown views. But beware, living in this neighborhood can be quite loud. Even those homes located away from the hustling and bustling Congress strip can get pretty rowdy, as many local bands and artists have saturated the homes in this area.
Finally, I must warn you of the traffic. Congress is one of Austin’s oldest and most traveled roads. The combination of happy hour and rush hour traffic makes it one of the most frustrating and dangerous places to be after five if you are trying to get somewhere without running over a shopper, bar hopper, or someone cruising through on a bicycle. So drive slow, watch where you turn, and try to keep your eyes on the road despite what your senses are telling about that awesome vagabond band you just passed, or that beautiful Austin hippie chick you want to check out, or any marching bands or parades that might be going on at the time… or just pull over and join the party.
Melanie Eddolls lives here now
A taste of the interesting and unconventional. Austin personified.
78704-South Manchaca, South Congress (SoCo) and South Lamar (SoLa) all make up this area in Austin that feeds into downtown, is close to campus and is the heart of all things Austin. Try the Cupcake Trailer, visit Allen Boots, Listen to a band at The Continental Club (SoLa), Take a spin on the dancefloor at The Broken Spoke (SoLa) shop on South Congress at some of the most innovative, eclectic and inviting shops including an old-fashioned candy store, art galleries, vintage clothing shops, etc. Soco is a walking tour and it’s a must for all visiting this great city.
Adam K. visits here regularly
The True Spirit of Austin
If you really want to feel what Austin is all about, this is the place to go. It’s full of great food, shopping, and offers an amazing view of the city. You can’t really describe the sense you get when there. You will just have to go there and experience it yourself.
The food, the shopping, the atmosphere.
What’s not so awesome
Parking and Traffic
David B. lived here before
Probably better than you expect.
South Congress is the most popular spot in Austin besides downtown. Why is that?
SoCo does food, bars and shops better than any other spot in Austin. Some must-try spots include: Uncommon Objects for shopping, Continental Club for drinks and music, and Homeslice Pizzeria for that late night (or early night) food fix. Just South of the Continental Club and Homeslice sit the trailer park eateries. Do yourself a favor and get a Mighty Cone. Yes, meat in cones is back and better than ever.
If you’re around on the first Thursday of the month SoCo hosts one of Austin biggest block parties, the party is called…you guessed it, First Thursday.
And, of course, don’t forget to enjoy best view of the city by simply looking due north up South Congress Ave. towards the Capitol.
Being there on a Friday or Saturday
What’s not so awesome
Loren Hall lives here now
SoCo At A Glance
The undisputed gem of South Austin proper, SoCo is bounded by Town Lake on the North and Oltorf to the South, with South First Street as the western boundary and the east edge edge of Congress Avenue at the eastern boundary. Tony residential neighborhood Travis Heights lies just to the east, and eclectic Boudin to the west, with Downtown just a stone’s throw to the north, across the famed Town Lake and Congress Avenue bridge. In fact, most popular shots of the Capitol are taken from Congress Avenue in SoCo.
Best known for the myriad unique retail shops and dining and entertainment venues that pepper this unconventional stretch of Congress Avenue, this neighborhood is lively with hip city dwellers of all ages nearly anytime of the day or week. SoCo offers a more relaxed and eclectic alternative to urban living in Austin.