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.