There are few places in the United States of America where the main street of a bustling metropolis offers an unfettered view of the government. Yet, if you stumble upon Congress Street, you can see the famous Texas dome from miles around. Regulations have been put in place to make the Capitol of Texas completely unmissable.
If you go across the famous Congress Street Bat Bridge, you are entering a completely different part of the street. While they have a name in common, South Congress couldn't be more different than it's northern counterpart. Though less than a quarter of a mile separates them, the vibes are far mellower than the hustling bustling downtown Congress.
In exchange for a hopping bar culture, South Congress offers a little bit of couture for the Austinite. One could spend the entire day walking down the strip and still fail to see every site, every sound, and every flavor it has to offer. When you find a home in Austin, you're definitely going to want to experience it all, but with so much variety packed into such a small area, your brain can get boggled very quickly.
That's why we've compiled the best of the best, the créme de la créme, the master strokes of the glorious tapestry that is South Congress. In other words, we've put together a list. As Austinites ourselves, we firmly believe that these are the can't miss landmarks that dot the town down in SoCo. If you miss some of these, then you are missing some of the most crucial parts of what makes Austin so weird.
The Bat Bridge
Photo: Eric Borja
On your way to SoCo, make sure to take the Congress Avenue Bridge. It is a beautiful sight combining the views of Lady Bird Lake and a true downtown Austin skyline. There is a sidewalk on each side of the bridge for passer-buyers of this Austin classic. Check out the Congress Avenue Bridge for Austin Bat Fest as well, where you'll see thousands of bats fly through the sky making for a memorable moment.
Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds
Photo: Gary J. Wood
Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds is one of the first places to catch your eye on SoCo. If the explosion of color on their walls isn't enough, the dancing zebra statue on their roof is sure to get your attention. Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds is the biggest costume shop in Austin. From scary masks to wigs, to all the get-ups you could think of, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds has got you covered for Halloween or any costume event. They also sell vintage clothes and jewelry. Whatever you need, this kaleidoscope shop will keep you entertained.
I Love You So Much
If you've seen the "I Love You So Much" sign blowing up on Facebook and Instagram and always wondered where it was, now you know. It's on South Congress, on the side of Jo's, a coffee shop that also sells breakfast tacos, pastries, and sandwiches. So take a quick pic, and grab a cup of Jo for your South Congress adventure.
Big Top Candy Shop
Photo: Shelley N.
If you've got a sweet tooth, then you're in luck with Big Top Candy Shop. Stepping into this Austin treasure is like being transported into a circus from the 1940s, with its red and yellow pinstriped walls, rusted old instruments, and vintage posters. It has all of your favorite candy treats along with a soda fountain, chocolates, and saltwater taffy. Big Top Candy Shop is definitely a must-see for your South Congress travels.
Photo: Pelle Sten
Uncommon Objects is a beautiful, organized, chaos of antique treasures. It almost seems like a museum of all of your grandparents’ dug up belongings on display. However, all of the antiques at Uncommon Objects are for sale. Taxidermy, vintage signs and posters, rusted lamps, ancient-looking vases, olden-day cameras, figurines, and trinkets from around the world, Uncommon Objects is a truly unique wonderland worth a visit.
Photo: Charles Henry
All of your walking, may make you hungry. Take a lunch break at the South Congress food trucks. SoCo is one of the most popular food truck stops featuring some of the best like Hey!...You Gonna Eat or What?, Wurst Texas, Crepes Mille, Hey Cupcake!, and David's Lockhart BBQ. If you're a food truck fanatic, you must try out your options on S. Congress. Those are SoCo's famous must-see's. Stay tuned for the best food, bars, music, art, shopping, and lodging of South Congress.
Those are SoCo's famous must-sees. Stay tuned for the best food, bars, music, art, shopping, and lodging of South Congress.