Just when I had written off Anthropologie as a warehouse of expensive thrift store knock offs, they go and worm their way back into my heart by using Austin as the backdrop for their most recent catalog shoot. And is it just me, or are these pictures much better than usual? Alright — I admit it. I’m a sucker for the charms of my recently adopted hometown, but no other place I’ve lived has made me feel so comfortable, had so much to offer, and remained actually affordable. Ssshhhhhh, don’t tell anyone, though! The traffic is already so bad that you can walk down I-35 faster than you can drive it. But because I’m a sharing and caring person, I’m kicking off a two part tour of Austin via Anthropologie that Karly will conclude next week. Whew, and thank jeebus for Karly’s super sleuthing skills! In the two years I’ve lived here, I have barely sampled a tenth of all the fun goodies, shopping, restaurants and curiosities, that make up the capitol of the Lone Star State.
Welcome to Austin, y’all!
So you’d think a trailer with a giant Austin sign guarded by an ex member of the Grateful Dead would be hard to miss, but actually Karly and I are kind of at a loss as to the location on this one. Karly says it may be a part of the crazy Cathedral of Junk, and I’d say that’s an awesome guess. If it’s not correct, I fully expect some savvy Austinite will come set my ass straight, pronto (but in the nicest, friendliest way possible).
Update: This fantastic neon montage appears courtesy of Roadhouse Relics. Mystery solved!
Grab a cuppa joe at everhip Jo’s Hot Coffee. Owned by ex Manhattan crime fighter, Liz Lambert, Jo’s Congress location sits next to the Hotel San Jose — site of much boozing and laid back cruising — which she also owns. Not content with owning a badass coffee shop and our favorite hotel in town, Lambert recently opened the uber fabulous Hotel Santa Cecilia, which our Austin buddy Andrea blogged about here.
Say hello to The Hideout. It’s a theater! It’s a coffee shop! It’s an art gallery! Speaking of art, check out work recently exhibited at The Hideout by our good friend Miss Hope Perkins of The Hot Pink Pistol. Her sister, craft goddess Jennifer Perkins of Naughty Secretary Club fame, blogged all about it right here.
There are a million hipster havens in Austin, but South Austin Music (on the right) with its huge selection of guitars and banjos, is a staple stop for local indie kids of the musical persuasion. Of course, if you’re like me and don’t know your C chord from your G, you can take lessons there, too.
Austin has more than its fair share of drags, but none are as popular as South Congress. Little more than a decade ago, the South Congress was apparently a cultural wasteland filled with hookers and more hookers.
Now it’s filled with delicious boutiques and restaurants and candy. And if you like candy like I like candy, you’ll love the very quaint Big Top Candy Shop, with its old timey soda fountain and eclectic assortment of sugared goods. Where else can you get a candy coated scorpion? Hm?
On the left, Cheapo Records beckons with its siren call of cool dusty vinyl and free live music, which reaches a drunken fever pitch during SXSW. On the right, yet another colorful Austin vignette. Eastside, maybe?
The Continental Club has been an Austin institution since 1957. They carry on the swinging, honky tonk vibe and for the most part, it’s all good. But I have been known to throw a fit after being asked to pony up a $15 cover fee for a band I’ve never heard of. However, as even my sweet little dad can attest, the bartender pours very stiff drinks. And that leads to dancing. And dancing is always a good time (until you wake up the next morning).
Guero’s Taco Bar on South Congress has one of the cutest patios in the history of the world. Sit under the spreading branches of an enormous oak tree festooned with lights at night, and enjoy yourself a margarita (or five). There really is nothing better on a hot Texas night. A word of caution, though: watch out for the flying tree roaches, aka floaches, aka B-52 bombers. You may have heard that everything is bigger in Texas? Well, it’s true.
No trip to Austin is complete without a visit to one of Alamo Drafthouse‘s seven locations. I’m partial to the South Lamar theater since it’s close to home and I’m a lazy bum, but the downtown Ritz theater always makes for a good time. The Alamo basks in unique awesomeness largely due to the fact that they will bring food and BEER to your seat while you watch movies. The only downside to that arrangement is that you will surely miss at least 10 minutes of the movie while peeing out that pitcher of Dos Equis you just guzzled. Eh, small price to pay, right? The Alamo also hosts all kinds of crazy events, like a sing along to Purple Rain, visits from directors like Quentin Tarantino, and wacky comedy routines set to soundless movies.No can miss.
Be sure to join the very knowledgeable Karlypants on Monday for Part Deux of our Austin tour guide. There will even be — gasp! — home decor.
See? We didn’t forget this was a design blog, after all.