One of the most frequent questions I receive as a True Austin local is "What can I do with my teenager when we visit Austin?" Thankfully, I have a resident teen to ask.
South Congress Avenue is always part of the answer. It's my daughter's favorite place to spend an afternoon, especially when I'm on hand to pay for treats along the way. So, based on her suggestions, here is a teen-friendly itinerary for exploring Austin's eclectic SoCo.
Big Top Candy Shop (1706 S. Congress Ave.) Because every good outing should start with dessert, dont you think? This old fashioned candy shop and soda counter is packed to the gills with every sugary treat imaginable.
Prototype Vintage Design (1700 1/2 S. Congress Ave.) & New Bohemia (1606 S. Congress Ave.) South Congress is an ideal shopping destination for vintage clothing and accessories, my teen's favorites. For a map of local shops, check out the Vintage Around Town Guide.
Uncommon Objects (1512 S. Congress Ave.) If you only visit one shop in Austin, let this be the one! It is amazing. The Vintage Around Town Guide describes it best: "Vintage mecca, this enormous emporium of antique goods will delight anyone who likes old stuff. Your eccentric uncle's attic on steroids. Amazing curiosities arriving daily."
Lucy in Disguise (1506 S. Congress Ave.) This incomparable costume shop is jam packed with styles and accessories from every era. Weave your way through the maze of unusual apparel and have a good laugh over the wacky wigs, hats, shoes, and more.
TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee (1401 S. Congress Ave.) Step inside this cozy little house on SoCo to enjoy a hot beverage, while perusing the glasses and shoes available for sale. As an added bonus, the store regularly hosts free events (yoga, movies, crafts, and even DJ school). You can follow TOMS Austin on Instagram for event updates.
St. Vincent de Paul Vintage Boutique and Thrift Store (1327 S. Congress Ave.) Want to take home a unique souvenir? Shop in this thrift store for retro treasures on the cheap.
Home Slice Pizza (1415 S. Congress Ave.) Take time to admire the murals adorning the outside walls of the restaurant, then order yourself a cheesy slice of heaven! There's not a lot of indoor seating available, so you may want to order from the outside window and take your pizza to go.
Hey, Cupcake! (1511 S. Congress Ave.) You can't spend an afternoon in Austin without getting a bite to eat from a food trailer. The Hey, Cupcake! airstream is located on the corner of South Congress Avenue and Elizabeth Street. Order a cupcake, then order your teen to pose with the "Smile! even if you don't want to" mural nearby.
"Before I die" wall (206 E. Elizabeth St. at Brackenridge) A mere two blocks east of the Hey, Cupcake! trailer is a huge chalkboard of hopes and dreams. What would you like to do before you die? Add your wish to the wall!
Bonus stop - By this point, you are probably full, and possibly broke. But, if you can squeeze in one last indulgence, head back to Congress Avenue for Amy's Ice Creams (1301 S. Congress Ave.) or Jo's Coffee (1300 S. Congress Ave.). Make sure to take a photo by the "I Love You So Much" mural while you're there.