101 GuidescityTravel

austin design guide {update}

by Grace Bonney


Today’s city guide update comes from Austin resident, and artist-extraordinaire Alyson Fox.  Alyson knows exactly why Austin is such a phenomenal city and today she shares with us the reasons why.  With an ever-growing art and music scene, and a bounty of new restaurants popping up on the scene (just check the list below), Alyson has given us a great guide to shopping, dining and seeing all that austin has to offer.  Thanks alyson for a great update!–Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full austin guide after the jump!

Austin Guide

  • Bow and Arrow: A great little clothing store for men and women that shares a joining space with Spartan.
  • Stag:. A well edited menswear clothing store that is perfectly designed and merchandised.
  • Feathers: A fun selection of vintage clothing and accessories. You are sure to find something.
  • Spartan: a well-edited mix of gift/paper/travel/housewares. Spartan also offers registry services.
  • Finch: as one Yelp-er put it, “If you like the aesthetic of Dwell magazine and Design*Sponge, you’ll fall in love with Finch.”
  • Aviary: incredible home decor and accessories (vintage and modern).
  • Uncommon Objects: it might be a major crime not to have this first on the list. Uncommon Objects is an Austin institution carrying antiques, furniture, clothing, accessories and more. The common answer to questions about this store is “Just Go”.
  • Room Service Vintage: some of austin’s finest vintage furniture.
  • Gardens Austin: Mouth watering home, garden and lanscape architecture goods. Great stuff, expensive though.
  • Wildflower: a great bed, bath and home store with organic everything from around the world.
  • Big Red Sun: stunning (stunning) collection of furniture and home accessories. Great outdoor and garden goods, too.
  • Mercury Design Studio: A major must-visit with a mind-blowing collection of vintage accessories and furniture, as well as contemporary gifts. They offer design services as well. Really, a must-visit for anyone heading to Austin.
  • Eliza page: Great jewelry and accessories with a lot of local artists.
  • Tops: a great resource for old metal desks, lockers, file cabinets and chairs from offices and schools.
  • By George: One of the prettiest stores I have been in for clothing. Beautiful things.
  • Eco Wise: sustainable home /body store. Organic matresses, dishwashers…
  • Underwear: great undergarments
  • Cush Cush: Great upholstery fabric (lot’s of vintage blots too!). By appt only.
  • Fanny’s: Upholstery Fabric that is locally owned and has a good selection.
  • Service: for the boys. Good simple clothes.
  • La Luz: a great store with vintage home goods. Really good furniture.
  • The Paper Place: great gift store. Stationery as well.
  • IF+D: all things contemporary furniture and home decor. Great selection of lighting and artwork.
  • Toy Joy: for the little ones and adults. Awesome toys and gadgets. Locally owned and an Austin Favorite.
  • Progress– It’s a coffee place but they always have great art on the wall for sale.
  • Hill Country Weavers: textiles, thread, craft supplies and much, much more.
  • Kickpleat: Alyson’s favorite clothing store.
  • Ten Thousand Villages: wide range of personal and home accessories with a “world” flair.
  • Azzia: modern/contemporary furniture.
  • Four Hands Home: traditional, solid furniture if you’re in the market for something a little less contemporary.
  • Nest Modern: modern furniture and home accessories.
  • MOSS– a designer consignment store opened by the owners of the popular Feathers boutique.
  • Dog and Pony– a new boutique with vintage finds as well as new things. Close to UT campus.


  • AMOA: Austin Museum of Art always has great shows.
  • Blanton Museum of Art: The Blanton is the largest College Art Museum in the Nation. Beautiful space and a great collection.
  • Women and Their Work: A space dedicate to showing women’s work. Group and solo shows.
  • Art House– it recently reopened ( much anticipated)  and it is a really beautifully designed space by the LTL design team.

Where to Eat:

  • The Good Knight: A fun bar/restaurant.
  • Enoteca: Yummy Italian Food. Great Brunch on the weekends.
  • Thai Fresh: Great Thai plus cooking classes available.
  • Food Heads: Delicious sandwiches, salads and soups.
  • Eastside Showroom: Food, drinks and music.
  • Justines: Perfect French food in a great old house. I love it, but it is very popular so be prepared.
  • Enchiladas y Mas: I’m told by several people who eat meat that they have the the best Beef Fajitas ever.
  • Wink: A nice restaurant that has an ever changing menu. They also have a separate bar adjacent to the restaurant.
  • Amy’s Ice cream : A local favorite for creamy yummy ice cream.
  • The Steeping Room: Great healthy food in the Domain ( outside Mall). The best coconut tea!
  • Whip In: Live music a couple times a week and delicious breakfast and lunch sandwiches on naan.
  • Taco Deli: Fresh tacos. Really yummy green salsa.
  • Torchy’s Tacos: Good Taco’s with fun names.
  • Hey Cupcake: Big yummy cupcakes.
  • Counter Culture: Vegan and raw foods served from a trailer. Love it.
  • Uchi: Great Sushi
  • Casa De Luz: Alyson’s favorite. A Macrobiotic well being center. Pizza and mexican night are the best and Sunday Brunch.
  • Polvo’s: great Mexican
  • Vespaio: Italian food
  • 34th street cafe: wonderful sandwiches and soups!
  • Eastside Cafe: great fresh menu with many organic items and fresh herbs from their home garden
  • Davine Foods: All veggie place that is so healthy and delicious.
  • Lamberts: A great alternative to traditional bar-b-cue. Great side dishes.
  • Starlite Cafe: great brunch and yummy hashbrowns
  • south congress cafe: yummy brunch.
  • Koriente: Great Asian Food
  • Quacks Bakery: Best vegan treat I have had in a long time: Chocolate covered brownie.
  • Cocina de consuelo: Best breakfast tacos
  • House Pizzeria: They have a roasted potato pizza that is to die for.
  • El Chile: Good food, fun space and I love the salsa.
  • Red House Pizza: A fun bar with great pizza.
  • Fino- they have a fun outside patio and good food.
  • Mohawk bar– fun space, music  and lot’s of local things happening there.
  • Spartan Pizza– Yummy- with great toppings. In a trailer
  • Perlas– a seafood and oyster bar. When the weather is nice the patio is hard to beat.
  • Homeslice pizza– Can you tell I like pizza? THey have a great thing going here.
  • Hopdoddy– incredible hamburgers. really. A great veggie burger and locally sourced meat.
  • Haddingtons– great cocktails and food.
  • Mulberry- a wine bar with really tasty tapas and food.
  • Tacos and Tequila– a hearty weekend brunch.

Suggested For You


  • Can’t forget the hamburgers, fries and shakes at the drive- or walk-through P. Terry’s; the breakfast burritos and bbq at Rudy’s (and you can fill up the car’s tank at the same time); and Fino, for small plates and wine. We miss Austin terribly!

  • Stumbled upon your blog looking for eclectic nursery designs, which ARE AMAZING, very inspired, thank you.

    Then I find this GEM of a blog!! I just moved to Austin from LA, after living there my entire life. And I already LOVE it, but man – this just gave me a to do list that is endless. THANK YOU. I’m so excited to live here.

    Couple of favorites I’d like to add:

    FEATHERS – Amazing vintage, SO well priced.

    MAGNOLIA CAFE – Such a great chill spot for brunch.

    STAG for men’s clothing. Not a lot of men’s shops here, but this one is great.

    BUY DEFINITION for fashion forward current women’s clothing. Plus the owner Esti is fab.

    And Jo’s for either a cup of coffee or a beer, take your pick. Gotta love Texas.

  • you missed Threshold….amazing modern furniture and fun accessories, including Missoni thresholdfurniture.com

  • Just a heads up–both Gardens and Big Red Sun have closed their retail spaces within the past year or so. Gardens is reopening a plant nursery this summer–yay!

  • Since this was an update I would assume you’d note places the are no more. Off teh top of my head, IF+D has moved in with Aviary (I think) and Gardens closed a while ago. Maybe double check the links as well… several don’t seem to work.

  • I’m surprised to see the Alamo Drafthouse left out of this update. It was one of the best parts about living in Austin while I was there. I really miss it!

  • I was born and raised here – and it’s growing so fast that I can’t even keep up with everything on this list!

    Note: Gardens and Big Red Sun are both closed for business – Gardens is now Gilda Grace boutique…not sure what Big Red Sun is though. And someone above mentioned Vivid – it’s also closed :(

  • I would add:
    Whole Foods -downtown
    Whole Earth Provision
    Book People – book store love
    Fonda San Miguel – for brunch
    Waterloo Records
    Flip Happy for crepes
    Zuzu’s for breakfast tacos
    Salt Lick for barbeque (worth the drive out of town)
    Natural Gardener – best plants and plant advice
    Boggy Creek Farms for organic produce.
    Alamo Draft House for movies
    Settlement Home Garage Sale – first weekend in November is so worth the wait.
    Interior Fabrics for great deals on upholstery fabrics
    Mod Green Pod for organic cotton upholstery fabrics
    Stitch Lab for craft and clothing fabrics
    Silk Road for exotic fabrics & amazing selection of buttons

    Sadly, Big Red Sun and Gardens are no longer in business.

  • For people who are raw vegans or for those who want some awesome food and smoothies: Beets Cafe near downtown and Daily Juice has several locations in Austin.

  • G’Raj Mahal is so cool. Food Truck vibe with waiter service. The atmosphere is quintessential Austin. They serve delicious Indian food using local and organic ingredients when possible. It is outdoor dining made super cozy with cute Mughal inspired tents with shear curtains. They generally have live music and it is BYOB. Opens after 5.
    It’s on Rainy St. near one of the coolest bars in Austin, Icenhauer’s another must visit! fantastic cocktails and cool modern setting.
    Spruce is awesome!! Best fabric selection in the city. Check out the store for vintage pieces that have been given new life. All about color and print!!

  • Check out Etcetera, Etc. on 2nd St. downtown. This little boutique is busting at the seams with fun, whimsical clothing and jewelry, and the owner is precious! Also, check out Elizabeth St. Cafe for some French-Vietnamese cuisine, and then Contigo for a ranch style dinner with all local farmer’s produce and meats. Enjoy!!

  • Ahhhh! Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse and Cafe moved a couple of blocks away to South First and Mary! Converted an old tire store to a beautiful new space. See their Facebook page for some interior photos.

  • Bows + Arrows seems to have been replaced with JM Dry Goods, which is also a great boutique! I reccommend eating at Hillside Farmacy on East 11th that just opened in March and Franklin Barbecue if you can stand the wait.

  • Lots of great suggestions. But if you want the best burger anywhere, please go to Hut’s and get anything medium rare. Heaven.

  • I think it’s time for an update on this guide. I’ll be going for a second time for a month in May. When I was there last year I was told with a sigh that Austin does not have nice women’s clothing shops like a Stag (menswear) equivalent. That makes me sad and I’d like to think it’s not true. Suggestions? I like vintage but I mostly don’t shop vintage.

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