Shopping in Austin is an exciting experience for shopaholics! The city has various options, from chain department stores and shopping malls to independent stores like Book People and Waterloo Records. It also features many stores that offer Austin-original items, such as “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirts and prayer candles with Stevie Ray Vaughan on them. The retail industry here caters heavily to the creative class and local artists.
The 2nd Street District is filled with art galleries, original jewelry designs, and quirky gift shops. South Congress (SoCo) is also a great place to shop, with its vintage stores and food trailers. For a more modern Austin experience, The Domain is a great option. It has major retailers, hip boutiques, and fashionable cafes in an outdoor walking environment.
The Best Places for Shopping in Austin
1. SOCO, OR SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE
South Congress Avenue, now known as SoCo, has long been a beloved part of Austin. It was originally known for its retro furniture stores and vintage clothing boutiques, such as Uncommon Objects and New Bohemia. It is rumored that Bob Dylan even shopped at Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds and Electric Ladyland for retro outfits.
Today, SoCo has something for everyone. It offers vintage clothing and upscale Austin-chic boutiques such as Kendra Scott Jewelry, By George, Blackmail, and Creatures. It is also anchored by Allen’s Boots, which offers thousands of different styles of Texas cowboy boots.
SoCo is known as the “hip strip” in Austin and is highly recommended to all visitors. It is a great place to find something unique and special, whether it’s a vintage item from one of the retro stores or a modern trinket from one of the chic boutiques.
2. 2ND STREET DISTRICT
The 2ND Street District is a true mixed-use development in downtown Austin. It is made up of numerous shopping spots, dining and entertainment venues, and residential buildings. Walking along the boutique-lined sidewalk, you will likely encounter unique stores and small businesses with friendly owners. The District offers almost anything you can imagine, from local stores such as Austin Rocks and Toy Joy to clothing, housewares, groceries, and more.
For those looking to shop, dine, and have a good time in downtown Austin, the 2ND Street District is one of the best places to visit. It provides an enjoyable experience with plenty of options to choose from.
3. THE DOMAIN
Austin is known for its unique culture, which can now be experienced all in one place at The Domain. It features the city’s best restaurants, upscale shopping, and entertainment.
The Domain is a pedestrian-friendly open-air lifestyle center anchored by Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and Dillard’s. It also includes Westin and Austin’s first aloft hotel, a luxury movie theater, and various entertainment options. This is why The Domain is recommended for the best shopping in Austin.
4. ARBORETUM AT GREAT HILLS
The Arboretum at Great Hills is a unique shopping experience in Austin’s premier retail area. It boasts more than 40 fine shops and restaurants and is characterized by its heavily wooded park-like atmosphere. With a strong tenancy of national retailers and a regional draw, the Arboretum is an inviting destination for shoppers.
The tranquil environment features nature’s landscape, a flowing tunnel, a soothing fountain, a picnic area, and Austin’s landmark marble cow sculptures. These features make the Arboretum a great place to shop in a peaceful setting.
The Arboretum is popular amongst north Austinites and is still a thriving area of shopping, eating, and entertainment. This is why it is recommended for the best shopping in Austin.
5. WATERLOO RECORDS
When people come to Austin, they usually think of music. Waterloo Records is the Mecca for music lovers, renowned for its knowledgeable staff and emphasis on customer service. The store is dedicated to “catering to the music consumer” and offers a ten-day return policy for goods in new condition. In addition, it often hosts events featuring live performances by local and nationally-known artists.
Due to its excellence in customer service, Waterloo Records has been awarded the “Best Record Store” awards nearly every year since it opened. It is also listed among the best record stores in the US. Because of this, Waterloo Records is highly recommended for best shopping in Austin as it is “the live music capital of the world” and a unique music store.
6. SOUTHPARK MEADOWS
Southpark Meadows is in South Austin, bordered by the Monarch Highway and the Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park. It has a variety of stores to suit your everyday needs, such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. You can also find plenty of homewares, craft, and clothing stores for all your essential items.
The shopping center has large car parks, so it is easily accessible if you are driving from Downtown Austin. At the southern end of Southpark Meadows is a cinema, which is a great place to stop and relax while watching a movie.
7. THE AUSTIN ANTIQUE MALL
The Austin Antique Mall is a popular destination for vintage shoppers. Located in North Austin, this large indoor shopping complex is the go-to spot for those looking for antiques and rare treasures. With over 100 dealers and vendors, many of whom are family-owned businesses, the mall offers a vast selection of vintage items.
From antiques to vinyl records, retro furniture to vintage clothing, and rare books, there is something for everyone at the Austin Antique Mall. Prices may vary depending on the shop, but shoppers can often find great deals and discounts. Experienced shoppers know that the Austin Antique Mall is the place to go for the best antique shopping in Austin.
8. TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES
Ten Thousand Villages is one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations. For over 60 years, it has cultivated trading relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work, and consumers can access distinctive handmade items. The Austin Ten Thousand Villages store recently moved from the SoCo shopping district to Burnet Road.
At Ten Thousand Villages, shoppers can find various unique items from around the world, including jewelry, home decor, art, sculpture, textiles, serve ware, and personal accessories. All these products are crafted by artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The company encourages them to use environmentally friendly processes, sustainable resources, and recycled materials.
Ten Thousand Villages is recommended for the best shopping in Austin because of its wide selection of unique, handmade items from around the world and its commitment to fair trade.
9. 26 DOORS SHOPPING CENTER
Since 1976, 26 Doors has been an Austin original and a great place to find unique gifts, clothing, and toys. Located in the heart of mid-town Austin, the shopping center has a pretty central plaza with a bronze sundial, making it a perfect meeting place for friends, family, and kids. The center was opened by Scott and Linda Storm and decorated with artifacts from central Mexico, such as ox-cart wheels, carved stone blocks, and pottery. The signature feature of the center is the twenty-six 200-year-old hand-carved wooden doors that adorn each of the shops, giving the center its name.
The shopping center is highly recommended for the best shopping in Austin because it is smaller, more low-key, and has been part of Austin for decades. Adelante and Bell & Bird are two of the great boutiques located here.
Atown is a unique Austin, Texas, store on Burnet Road. Founded in 2011, it is an Austin original and brings a new attitude to the strip. It is a large and well-laid-out space that captures Austin’s free spirit.
Atown offers a wide selection of stylish women’s and men’s apparel, gifts, beauty products (including Bumble & Bumble), home décor, children’s and pet goods, and more. It is also home to the work of over one hundred local artists and designers.
The store also sometimes holds live music and other events. It is recommended as one of the best shopping spots in the city, as it has anything and everything that is uniquely Austin, with plenty of weird gifts and items.
11. 812 Outdoor Market
The 812 Outdoor Market is a weekend flea market in southeast Austin, off S Highway 183. It’s 8 miles south of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and 12 miles southeast of Downtown. A small entry fee and free parking make it a great place to shop on a budget.
The market hosts hundreds of vendors across a huge outdoor park area, with something for everyone. You can find various items for sale, including clothing, electronics, furniture, and toys. There’s also live music and authentic Mexican food from midday until closing. The 812 Outdoor Market is great for finding unique items and having fun in Austin.
12. Texas Farmers Market at Mueller
The Texas Farmers Market at Mueller is held every Sunday at Branch Park Pavilion, four miles north of Downtown Austin. Since its opening in 2012, it has been voted Austin’s best farmers’ market.
The market features over 120 vendors, approximately half specializing in selling fresh fruit and vegetables. The other vendors provide a wide selection of artisan goods, hot food, and locally handmade crafts. To further add to the market experience, there are usually food trucks and acoustic music for entertainment.
The Texas Farmers Market is particularly special because the produce is grown locally within a 150-mile radius of the market. This means the fruit and vegetables are as fresh as they can be in Austin.
13. MARKETPLACE AUSTIN
Marketplace Austin is a large indoor market 10 miles north of Downtown Austin. It’s known for its affordability and friendly vendors, making it a great option for bargain hunters. The warehouse-style space is divided into neat rows, allowing customers to navigate easily.
The market sells jewelry, electronics, homewares, and clothing. Additionally, several stalls offer hot food, including traditional Mexican dishes, desserts, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Marketplace Austin provides good value for money, making it an attractive destination for shoppers.
SHOPPING IN AUSTIN FAQ
Does Austin have good shopping?
The capital of Texas is an ideal destination for shopaholics. It provides various shopping experiences, from upscale boutiques to local farmers’ markets. You can find an array of independent stores along the city’s shopping streets. Whether you’re looking for designer labels or unique handmade items, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes in the capital of Texas.
What is the famous street in Austin?
Sixth Street is a famous street in Austin known for its vibrant atmosphere. It is a destination for locals and tourists alike, who come to experience its lively bars, live music venues, and fantastic restaurants. These places have been around for many years, each with a unique story.
What is Austin best known for?
Austin is also recognized for its diverse food scene, with its Tex-Mex and specialty barbecue restaurants. This city is home to the famous South by Southwest® Music, Film, and Interactive Festival, which brings together the best entertainment industry in one place.
Austin has a vibrant art, theatre, and comedy scene, with many festivals and events celebrating these artistic communities. Finally, Austin is known for its natural beauty, with many outdoor attractions like Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park, and the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
What is Austin’s largest mall?
Austin’s largest mall is Barton Creek Square Mall. Located overlooking downtown Austin, this mall is the city’s largest and a great place to visit if you have limited time and need to find everything.
What can I bring back from Austin?
When visiting the amazing city of Austin, souvenirs don’t have to be tacky trinkets. Instead, bring back flavorful and local treats to show off your experience. Spice up any meal with a local hot sauce.
Pick up a jar of jam from Confituras Little Kitchen for something sweeter. If you’re a coffee lover, you can find a bag of locally-roasted beans to bring back as a reminder of your trip. To capture the beer scene of Austin, bring a crowler or growler of a local brew.
For a unique read, “The Austin Cookbook” by Paula Forbes is a great way to learn more about the city’s food culture. Finally, a sweet treat from Maggie Louise Confections and salumi from Salt & Time are the perfect way to end any meal.