Sure, you could save your money for your next happy hour or use it to carbo-load on one of Austin‘s best desserts, but booze and buttercream will only make you happy for a few hours. That hand-woven angora wool blanket, on the other hand, will make you happy every time you curl up on the couch. Anyone who tells you retail therapy isn’t as effective as real therapy hasn’t seen the best shopping in Austin.
From the designer fashion you’ve been eyeing for months to that freakin’ weird accessory you didn’t know you needed until now, Austin has a shopping experience for everyone. So, take a look at the best shopping districts, malls, and individual stores worth going out of your way (and out of your budget) for. Break out the credit cards, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s time to get spendy.
The Best Shopping Districts in Austin
The SoCo District, which runs along South Congress Avenue from E Ben White Blvd. to W William Cannon Dr., is one of Austin’s hottest neighborhoods. And, the shops here are helping keep Austin weird.
Pick up a statement necklace at the Kendra Scott Flagship Store, get in touch with your inner cowboy at Allens Boots, find the manliest flannel at STAG Provisions, or go incognito with a costume from Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds.
If you describe your favorite stores as “eccentric” and “quirky,” then you’ll find your new favorite shops in the SoCo neighborhood.
2nd Street District
The 2nd street district offers the best shopping in downtown Austin. The streets are lined with high-end boutiques, including Sikara & Co. modern fusion jewelry, Sneaker Politics sneakers and urban apparel, and United Apparel Liquidators discount designer fashion.
After you work up an appetite searching for the perfect designer handbag, head to one of 2nd Street District’s amazing eateries. The area features some of Austin‘s best restaurants. Don’t miss La Condesa and Fixe Southern House, two Austin institutions. If you’re still going strong after all the food and shopping, stay to enjoy the areas live music scene.
6th and Lamar
Stick around downtown to find more of the best shopping in Austin. Just around the corner from the 2nd Street District is 6th and Lamar. Sure, some have called it the worst intersection in Austin, but after you’ve fought off the traffic and stalked a stranger to steal their parking spot, you can calm your road rage with amazing retail therapy.
This intersection is home to BookPeople, an indie bookstore with a quirky gift shop, a coffee bar, and regular readings. You can also pop into ByGeorge, Anthropologie, Lululemon, West Elm, Waterloo Records, and a handful of antique stores. Just around the corner, you’ll find Outdoor Voices, an Austin original selling outdoor apparel that helps you take advantage of Austin‘s best hiking trails.
The Best Shopping Malls in Austin
Shopping malls — you either love them or hate them. But, there’s no denying that malls have a special place in American culture, and there’s nothing more Americana than spending a hot day in a cold mall. So, here are the malls where you’ll find the best shopping in Austin (and some of the best air conditioning).
The Arboretum at Great Hills
The Arboretum is not your 90s shopping mall. Sure, it includes all your classic department stores — Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Dillard’s — plus some familiar boutiques like Chico’s, Soma, and Jos A. Bank. But, the Arboretum isn’t shoved inside a cold, concrete building like the malls of your childhood. Instead, it’s an upscale shopping center where the shops and restaurants are connected by tree-lined pathways. The natural setting offers a relaxing day of wandering and window shopping.
Barton Creek Square
If you’re thinking, “Trees are nice and all, but sometimes, it’s just too hot to be wandering outside in Austin,” then head to the city’s best enclosed shopping mall, Barton Creek Square. This is your classic mall with all the standard department stores: Macy’s, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, and JCPenney. It also has the other stores you’d expect to find — Sephora, William Sonoma, Abercrombie & Fitch — plus, 140 other shops and restaurants.
You can browse designer fashion, stop by the children’s play area, grab a bite in the food court, and catch a movie at the AMC movie theater — all without having to leave the comforting hum of air conditioning.
The Best Shops in Austin
If you really want to hunt down Austin’s shopping treasures, these are the individual stores worth seeking out.
There’s a reason Allens Boots is a first stop for tourists and Texans alike. Easily recognizable from the iconic boot on their awning, this Texas tradition is the place to pick up a pair of cowboy boots, a Stetson cowboy hat, or a high-quality belt. It’s also the place to go to breathe in that sweet, sweet smell of genuine leather.
Uncommon Objects describes itself as an “emporium of transcendent junk.” Here, you’ll find 24 individual antique sellers and their curated collections of historical bits and bobs. The last Sunday of every month, they offer an expanded flea market with even more vendors selling antique and handmade objects.
1603 S Congress Ave.
When you’re ready to unleash your inner flower child, head to this Indie boutique in Travis Heights. They sell boho dresses, updated western apparel, unique swimwear, and one-of-a-kind jewelry. The thoughtfully curated collection makes Sunroom some of the best shopping in Austin for women’s clothes and accessories.
Don’t think we’ve forgotten about the gentlemen in the room. STAG helps men step-up their style with well-made, classic clothing, manly home goods (yes, we firmly believe home goods can be manly), barware, grooming products, and candles that smell like dark rum and a desert road. One stop at STAG will have people stopping you on the street to say, “Clint Eastwood, is that you?”
Room Service Vintage
Room Service Vintage is the best vintage shop in North Austin. Focused on the period between the 50s and 70s, this place is a Mid-Mod dream come true. In addition to Mid-century furniture and home decor, they sell the kind of clothes and jewelry your grandma would have worn back when she was the flirtiest girl in school.
Charm School Vintage
This East Austin treasure (or should we say treasure trove?) hand picks every piece of vintage clothing in their store. You’ll only find clothes that have worn well and offer timeless style. It’s the perfect place to find your next shift dress or old band t-shirt. You can even shop online.
Prepare Your Bank Account for the Best Shopping in Austin
From eclectic gift shops to high-end home goods, the Austin shopping scene is everything you want it to be — weird, extravagant, and a little unnecessary.
Find unique home decor to redecorate your apartment. Find gifts for your friends and family who aren’t fortunate enough to live in Austin. Or better yet, find your new favorite power outfit — the one that will give you the confidence to march into your boss’s office on Monday and demand a raise (because — oops — you just spent this month’s salary on the best shopping in Austin).
Whatever you find, Austin has all the hidden treasure you need to fill your treasure chest (i.e., your closet, jewelry box, or living room). Looks like temperatures won’t be the only thing in the red this month.