South Congress: Fulfilling Your Souvenir and Gift Needs

Uncommon Objects specializes in antiques

South Congress is an excellent spot to buy souvenirs and gifts, especially if you’re looking to avoid the generic, overpriced options available at the airport. Plenty of local boutiques, vintage furniture and clothing shops, craft stores, and toy shops are interspersed between restaurants and situated across from the food trailers that line the east side of the street.

There’s Tesoros Trading Company, which sells folk arts and crafts from over 20 countries, Off the Wall, self-described as selling “Furniture, Art, Gifts, Antiques, [and] Odd Stuff,” Uncommon Objects, which sells mostly antiques and “raw materials for creative living,” and many others. My favorite shop on my most recent visit was Monkey See, Monkey Do. The toy shop combines a random assortment of stuff like themed card decks and prank toys, the usual collection of “Keep Austin Weird” hats and shirts, and an infusion of Austin spirit with reusable water bottles and bags with slogans and witty sayings.

This goes without saying, but South Congress is one of the first places to take guests if they’re here with you in Austin. In the four blocks I walked down this past weekend, I saw not only five street performers, but two lemonade stands (both raising money to fight cancer). There is no better place to get an idea of the fusion of music, shopping, food, and culture that exists in Austin.

The best part about the shopping on South Congress is that it includes both the loud and proud, clearly Austin-made paraphernalia and original, crafty, not-so-obviously-Austin-made items. Whether shopping for souvenirs or just gifts in general, South Congress is the spot.

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4 Responses to South Congress: Fulfilling Your Souvenir and Gift Needs

  1. Rachel Levi says:

    Totally have to agree with the fact that South Congress is the spot. Whenever friends from out of town come I always take them for a drive to South Congress. I love the little gifts you can get there, it makes me feel like I am buying something that is considered to be from the “authentic” part of Austin.

  2. Korri Kezar says:

    My mom loves to visit South Congress when she comes to Austin, particularly for the vintage shops and off the wall items. One other notable SoCo shop is Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds. It’s not really a souvenir shop, but it has an eclectic mixture of jewelry and clothing, even if you’re not looking to get a full get-up. New Bohemia is great too.

  3. My roommate has a friend in town this weekend from Boston, and she said South Congress is at the top of the list of places to take her friend. SoCo epitomizes Austin’s culture. From the food trucks to the eccentric stores, SoCo really offers a true taste of Austin.

  4. South Congress is one of my favorite places to go in Austin, even if I’m not planning to buy anything. It’s just a very pleasant street and I enjoy walking down it. Usually I end up at Big Top, a candy store. For anyone who has a sweet tooth, this place is like heaven. It is intended to be a little old timey, so the employees dress the way people working in candy stores would have dressed in the 50s and 60s, and the store itself is just incredibly cute.

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