Get to Know South Congress Shopping, Restaurants & Things to Do

This vibrant neighborhood south of Lady Bird Lake is a must-stroll for visitors and a popular hangout for locals. South Congress Avenue oozes homespun character and boasts the story of Austin’s yesteryear in its boutiques and eateries.


Start with an iced turbo coffee at Jo’s Coffee and a photo op with the famous “I love you so much” mural. Candy and more candy is the main attraction at Big Top Candy Shop, a veritable carnival of confections that will satisfy the sweetest tooth. Hopdoddy is home to some of the best burgers in the city, but don’t skip the parmesan truffle fries or the salted caramel shake. For a long time, Home Slice Pizza was the only game in town, and they continue to rival other pie shops with their giant, cheesy pies worth waiting in line for. Keep it coastal with a stop at Perla's Seafood & Oyster Bar, an eye-catching patio setting ideal for people watching while shooting oysters. Watch for the 2020 opening of St. Elmo Public Market, which will feature a brewpub and variety of restaurants.

Musician Tje Austin on patio at Jos South Congress
Tje Austin at Jo's South Congress. Credit Annie Ray.


If you’re looking for a place to drink, Hotel San José makes a mean michelada, and often has live music on its patio. Kick back with an icy margarita and catch a live performance Wednesday through Sunday evenings in the Oak Garden at Güero’s Taco Bar. The Continental Club, upstairs Continental Gallery and C-Boy’s Heart & Soul are owned by the same folks, but have very different vibes. Find bluegrass, Americana, blues, funk and everything in between. Make your own music at Ego’s, a basement dive bar with cheeseballs, a pool table and nightly karaoke.

Home Slice Pizza at night on South Congress in austin texas
Home Slice Pizza, South Congress at Night. Credit Julia Keim.


Stop and shop at Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds to find all the costumes you could ever need or want. This is your chance to channel Elvis or Cher. If you want something more wearable on the daily, Parts & Labour has a well-curated selection of locally made art, apparel and jewelry. Embrace your mischievous side with Monkey See, Monkey Do, a kitschy shop featuring everything from the wild and wacky to the straight-up bizarre. You’ll find Tesoros is a little more exotic, with beautiful gifts, jewelry and apparel from all over the world.

Find more downtown dininghotels and things to do in the South Congress neighborhood.