South Congress Avenue

Written by
Sweet John

South Congress Avenue

As told by
Sweet John
Often referred to as SoCo by locals, South Congress Avenue is packed with funky shops and some of the best restaurants in Austin making THE neighborhood to shop and live in.
Best time of day:

What everyone knows

South Congress Avenue is considered the mecca for artists in Austin and has become nationally known for its music venues, hotels, restaurants, and eclectic shops. SoCo has also become one of the most desired zip codes in Austin and is often referred to as the "04" by those who live there. The iconic business that call South Congress home like Allen's Boots, Guero's, The Continental Club, and Home Slice Pizza are synonymous with what makes Austin, Austin.

What they don't tell you

On the first Thursday of each month local artists, musicians, merchants, bars, food truck, and restaurants stay open late for a family-friendly gathering of the best of Austin. Locals and tourists alike stroll up and down the avenue to check out what local businesses and artists are selling as well as sampling some of the fantastic cuisine you can only experience on South Congress making First Thursday one of Austin's must-do activities!

Do it like a local

Walk across South Congress at Elizabeth Street and while you have the light look up the street to the north and you'll see one of the best views in Austin of the Texas Capitol Building. While you're at that corner head into Guero's for a margarita and admire the picture on your smartphone of the view you just took.

For the History Buffs

South Congress became a reality when Congress Avenue was extended south of the river in 1852 when land owned by James Gibson Swisher was donate to form a postal road from Austin to San Antonio. Once the bridge was completed in 1910 that growth and development began along the avenue. By the 1920's South Congress had a street car, hundreds of bungalows, and was rapidly developing.

In the 1930's the iconic Austin Motel and Hotel San José opened and by the 1950's South Congress became a bustling shopping district. Once Armadillo World Headquarters opened in 1970 the area was becoming home to Austin's artist and musician community but it took a turn for the worse due to I-35 being built on the east side of Austin. Many businesses fell into disrepair and when the tourist traffic disappeared the area became known its seedy establishments. Over time as the cost of rent went down businesses returned and revitalized South Congress and in the 1990's it transformed from the worst part of town to the home of the most sought after real estate in the city.

Today SoCo is considered the cultural icon of Austin and the birthplace of the slogan "Keep Austin Weird" as well as being recognized as the home to some of the nation's best restaurants, food trucks, and music venues.

more deets here

Map it like ya like it.