South Congress district (or “SoCo” as the locals call it) is one of the most popular areas in Austin, Texas.
Located just south of downtown Austin, SoCo is known for its eclectic mix of funky vintage shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and bars.
The main attraction, of course, is the iconic Austin Street of South Congress Ave but nearby streets such as South 1st and Congress Ave bridge are also equally popular.
There’s something for everyone in this vibrant neighborhood, which is why it’s a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Here’s your ultimate guide to all the best that South Congress has to offer.
Also Read: Weekend in Austin Itinerary
Where is South Congress located?
South Congress Avenue is located in South Austin, Texas.
It runs from Interstate 35 south to Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) and is about 1.5 miles long.
Best Things to Do in South Congress, Austin
Visitors will find many fun and unique things to do in South Congress from costumes and murals to vintage finds.
Foodies will be in heaven with the plethora of restaurants, cafes, and food trucks offering everything from tacos to BBQ to vegan fare.
Plus, there’s always something going on at one of the many live music venues in the area.
If you’re looking for something more low-key, just take a stroll down South Congress Avenue and people-watch.
Here are our favorite things to do in the area.
Take a stroll down South Congress Avenue
South Congress Avenue is the main drag in the neighborhood and is lined with colorful murals, eclectic shops, and lively restaurants.
It’s a great place to people-watch or just window-shop.
If you’re looking for some souvenirs to take home, this is also the place to find them.
You will also be treated to views of the Texas State Capitol from the street.
Eat the pancakes at Magnolia Cafe
Magnolia Cafe is one of the most popular breakfast spots in Austin, and for good reason.
They serve up delicious pancakes and always have long wait lines!
You can’t go wrong with any of the flavors but the gingerbread pancakes are a standout.
Grab your next read at South Congress Books
South Congress Books is an independent bookstore that specializes in new, used, and collectible books.
With a wide range of genres to choose from, there’s something for everyone at this cozy little bookstore.
Head to Allens Boots for the perfect pair of cowboy boots
Allens Boots is one of the most famous stores on South Congress Ave.
They are known for their wide selection of cowboy boots, western wear, and Texas-themed gifts.
Enjoy a cup of coffee at Jo’s
Jo’s Coffee Shop is a local favorite and an Austin institution.
With its iconic “I love you so much” mural, delicious coffee, and friendly staff, it’s the perfect place to take a break from exploring South Congress.
Shop for vintage finds at Feathers Boutique
Feathers is a popular vintage clothing store on South Congress Ave.
They carry a wide range of vintage and antique clothing, furniture, and home decor.
Treat yourself to a scoop (or two!) of ice cream at Amys Ice Cream
Amy’s Ice Cream is a local ice cream chain with several locations in Austin.
Their South Congress Ave shop is especially popular, thanks to its fun atmosphere and delicious ice cream flavors.
Their Mexican Vanilla is quite popular while their dark chocolate is silky smooth!
You will always find a long line outside their walk-up window, so be sure to try your luck outside of peak times.
Try the seafood at Trudy’s Del Mar
South Congress Café, one of SoCo’s famous establishments is now Trudy’s Del Mar.
Trudy’s is known for their Tex-Mex food, but seafood lovers will enjoy their shrimp tacos and fish & chips.
The new owners have kept the same menu but updated the interior to give it a more modern feel.
Enjoy shopping on South Congress Avenue
Shop til you drop at one of the many unique stores as well as famous brands in the area.
Some of the famous brands such as Madewell, Nike, Yeti, Kendra Scott, and more are located on this street.
However, South Congress also has such gems as Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (a costume shop) and Parts and Labour which is famous for its Texas-themed souvenirs.
Monkey See Monkey Do is another great spot for those seeking quirky gifts.
Catch a show at one of the live music venues in the area
Austin is known as the “live music capital of the world,” and South Congress is one of the best places to catch a show.
Popular venues include The Continental Club, Ego’s, Sagebrush, and C-Boys Heart and Soul.
Guero’s Oak Garden is also one of Austin’s most popular music venues.
You can listen to a wide range of live music, from country to rock to blues at these venues.
Also Read: 14 Best Things to do in Austin at night
Find your new favorite band at Stubb’s BBQ
Stubb’s BBQ is one of the most popular live music venues in Austin.
They host a wide range of musical acts, from up-and-coming bands to world-famous artists.
Their outdoor stage is especially popular in the summertime.
Enjoy a date at Perla’s
Perla’s is one of the best restaurants in the area and our personal favorite.
They offer a wide range of seafood, from oysters to crab legs to shrimp.
Their lobster roll is delicious!
Also Read: 23 Romantic Date Ideas in Austin, Texas
Home Slice Pizza is a must-try
Home Slice Pizza is one of the most popular pizza places in Austin.
They offer both whole pizzas and slices, so you can try a little bit of everything.
Their New York-style pizza is especially popular.
Try the food trucks
If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of the many food trucks parked along South Congress Ave.
There are food trucks offering everything from tacos to BBQ to vegan fare.
Some of our favorites include The Mighty Cone, IL Saporis, and Little Thai food truck.
Go on a treasure hunt for murals
South Congress is home to many street murals.
Some of our favorites include the “I Love You So Much” mural and the “Greetings from Austin” mural.
These murals are fun to find and make for great photo opportunities.
Also Read: 25 Best Austin Quotes for the ‘gram!
Where to stay on South Congress
Planning to stay close to SoCo while you visit Austin?
The street has 3 great hotels which are perfect for your stay.
Stay at the South Congress Hotel
The South Congress Hotel is a popular hotel on the street.
It’s centrally located and close to all the best shops and restaurants.
Their rooms are modern and comfortable, and their staff is friendly and helpful.
Or step back in time at the Austin Motel
The Austin Motel is an iconic Austin establishment.
It’s a historic motel that has been transformed into a modern boutique hotel.
Their rooms are cozy and their prices are unbeatable.
Relax with a cocktail on the patio at Hotel San Jose
The fabulous Hotel San Jose is good for everything from a luxurious stay to a charming dinner.
We love their charming exterior; their rooms are comfortable and their staff is attentive.
There’s no doubt about it: South Congress is one of the best neighborhoods in Austin.
From people-watching and street markets to delicious drinks and great restaurants, you can have the time of your life in SoCo.
So what are you waiting for? Come see what all the fuss is about in South Congress!
What is your favorite thing to do on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas? Let us know in the comments.