South Congress - Neighborhood Guide

austin, texas Jennifer Ferrara January 24, 2024

Sloping gently down to a view of the Texas Capitol, it's a grand avenue littered with restaurants, shopping, bars, and events. The neighborhood is especially appreciated for its unique blend of old and new, with historic homes side-by-side with modern condos and apartments.

There’s so much to do in this vibrant community that there’s really no reason to leave! Boutique shopping, great food and live music make this one of Austin’s most desirable neighborhoods. 

LOCATION

This eclectic and hip neighborhood, often referred to as "SoCo," is situated south of Lady Bird Lake and the Colorado River and north of Ben White Boulevard. Major highways, including I-35 and Highway 290, are easily accessible, making travel and commuting hassle-free. 

TRANSPORTATION

Just across the river from downtown, life in South Congress provides easy access to downtown for work or play. Head east and you’ll reach I-35, the major north/south artery that runs through Austin and connects it to San Antonio and the northern suburbs. 

While there is no rail line on South Congress, there is a bus route that extends from William Cannon to the south, through South Congress Avenue, and nearly as far north as Wells Branch.

SCHOOLS

ELEMENTARY: Travis Heights Elementary School is a dual-language campus, teaching in both English and Spanish.

Lively Middle School provides a law and humanities magnet for students with an interest in global studies. 

HIGH SCHOOL:  Travis High offers a wide variety of advanced and AP courses, plus fine arts and technical education.

SHOPPING

Allen’s Boots 

1522 S Congress Ave

Allen’s for the best boots in the city and beyond. If you’re going to live in Austin, you have to understand that means you also live in Texas and you MUST have a pair of cowboy boots.

STAG Provisions For Men 

1423 S Congress Ave

 Founded and based in Austin, STAG is a general store specializing in contemporary clothing with classic roots.

Sunroom

1603 S Congress Ave

Find highly curated collection of women’s jewelry, clothing and accessories, along with a small selection of menswear, home goods and miscellaneous items.

LIVE MUSIC:

Continental Club

1315 S Congress Ave

For decades it's been the place to go to for down-home, authentic music. Continental Club is one of the things that makes South Congress a destination for late-night entertainment.

The Continental Gallery 

1313 S Congress Ave

The Continental Gallery is the lounge-y, casual sister bar and music venue of the Continental Club. The Gallery, however, offers a much more intimate experience.

Ego's

510 S Congress Ave

One of, if not the best karaoke bar in town. Reasonable priced drinks, friendly staff and dive-y atmosphere - it's the perfect place to engage your inner-rock star.

C-Boys Heart & Soul

2008 S Congress Ave

Enjoy cheap drinks, good music, and most curiously, a Japanese-American bar upstairs.

Guero's Oak Garden

1412 S Congress Ave

Featuring a huge, illuminated oak tree surrounded by an outdoor bar and stage, it's kind of hard to miss. Sit down for a drink while enjoying a live music in an outdoor setting.

 

PLACES TO EAT

BREAKFAST GUIDE:

Magnolia Café 

1920 S Congress Ave

Deliciousness up until 10 PM? Anytime can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner at this hot spot! 

Jo’s Coffee 

1300 S Congress Ave

Grab your obligatory "I Love You So Much" photo, a cup of delicious Jo’s coffee, and a little breakfast sandwich on the go. Enjoy their dog-friendly patio with live music just about every Sunday.

Café No Sé

1603 S Congress Ave

An ideal place to have your first cup of french-pressed coffee and meal of the day. The cafe offers nourishing day starters like homemade pastries, avocado toast, and fresh bagels.

 

LUNCH GUIDE:

Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar

1400 S Congress Ave

Perla's outdoor patio is a great spot to relax, and the menu offers fresh fish and oysters flown in daily from both coasts, coupled with delicious coastal cocktails.

Neighborhood Sushi 

1716 S Congress Ave 

For some of the best lunch deals on sushi in town, head to Neighborhood Sushi. Get one of their lunch combos, served with iced tea and your choice of soup or salad. 

Summer House at Hotel Magdalena

1101 Music Ln

New lunch spot to try in the area, enjoy dishes ranging from grilled prawns to steak frites. 

Home Slice Pizza 

1415 S Congress Ave 

Home Slice has been serving NY style pizza to the Austin community. Our NY friends have given it the seal of pie approval.

DINNER GUIDE:

Vespaio Ristorante

1610 S Congress Ave 

Open since 1998, Vespaio is one of the classic SOCO spots, known for preparing everything from scratch, including delicious homemade pastas. Another great dinner spot is their sister restaurant located right next door, Chapulin Cantina

Lucky Robot 

1303 S Congress Ave

Don't miss this great sushi joint! The options are endless. Don't forget a pitcher of the dangerously-good sake punch with your meal.

Aba

1011 S Congress Ave

One of Chicago's favorite Mediterranean spots from the historic Fulton Market District, has taken it's spot on South Congress. Explore cuisine unlike anything else you'll find in the area.

 

Must Have Dessert

Amy’s Ice Creams 

1301 S Congress Ave

An Austin institution since the beginning of time. If you solve their daily movie quote trivia question, you can get free treats with your ice cream! There is simply nowhere else to go to satisfy your sweet-tooth ice cream craving. 

 

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