Austin shopping can fill hours on end, and it seems that every year, the options only get more expansive. The Downtown District is one of the best places to start when looking to do some shopping in the Texas Capital, and if you haven't been Downtown in a while, you might notice some fresh shopping hot spots, such as the one that is expanding around Congress Avenue on West Second Street.
The 6th Street Entertainment District is the top spot for Downtown Austin shopping, with the shops ranging from specialty stores and boutiques to antique shops and art galleries. The West End is also worth exploring, thanks to its book, computer, music, and handicrafts stores. The prime Downtown shopping area is relatively easy to get around when traveling by foot, and there are plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants to choose from when you need to take a break.
The Downtown District isn't the only place to look when trying to find a good shopping center in Austin. In the Lamar District to the near west, for example, there is a satisfying array of specialty shops that are of the one-of-a-kind variety. After exploring the Lamar District, those who are looking for a good shopping center in Austin might head to North Lamar and 38th Street. A renowned food store can be found in this shopper-friendly area, and visitors can also check out a number of specialty shops that sell anything from cosmetics to cameras. Should you head west on 38th Street, you will eventually come across a pair of smaller shopping centers that offer specialty stores and boutiques.
Another interesting shopping center in Austin can be found just north of town near the University of Texas at Austin. Guadalupe Street, or The Drag as it is locally known, is home to some interesting shops that cater mostly to students. Beads and books figure among the goods that are for sale along The Drag, and when the weather is nice, people often take to selling jewelry, t-shirts, and other items in an open-air area named Renaissance Market.
When shopping enthusiasts aren't hanging out to the near north of the Downtown Austin, they might wander down to the near south. As you cross the river and exit Downtown Austin on Congress Avenue, you eventually come into South Congress, which is also known as SoCo. The shops along South Congress include a variety of antique stores, clothing shops, boutiques, and art galleries. The first Thursday of every month is arguably the best time to go shopping in South Congress, as that's when the monthly street festivals takes place. These festivals offer live music and other entertainment. It is worth noting that the Congress Avenue Bridge that you use to get to South Congress is also known as the Austin Bat Bridge. Between March and November, more than a million bats roost under the bridge, and their evening flying displays have become a popular spectacle with residents and visitors alike.
A good collection of Austin Texas malls help to round out the shopping options in the Texas Capital, and there are a bunch of farmers markets that spring up all over town from March to November. Northwest Austin is where the best malls can be found, and they include the Arboretum, the Gateway Complex, and the Arboretum Market. Northwest Austin, it should be noted, is often referred to as South Dallas and is an upscale area with ample shopping opportunities. The Austin Texas malls are not only home to a variety of shops. They also offer an array of restaurants, and if nothing else, their air-conditioned environs can prove inviting during the hot summer months.
In addition to spending some time at the Austin Texas malls, shoppers who are looking to get the full experience in Austin can also check out the city's farmers markets. The Austin Farmers Market is arguably the best of the bunch. Held at Republic Square Park in Downtown Austin, this market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. between the months of March and November. In addition to perusing the food-related goods, those who attend the Austin Farmers Market can expect to enjoy various workshops, cooking demonstrations, and live music. There are also plenty of kid's activities to keep the little ones content.