As for shopping in Austin, the highest concentration of interesting shops is on South Congress (SoCo). Uncommon Objects [1512 S Congress Ave] and Parts & Labour [1117 S Congress Ave] are must-browse. On the first Thursdays of each month and on most every Saturday, outdoor arts and crafts booths pop up on South Congress like wildflowers. For groceries, don't forget Whole Foods was invented here, and if you want to see what Whole Foods was like when it first started out, visit Wheatsville food co-op [3101 Guadalupe St].
Hill Country Weavers [1701 S Congress Ave] is great for yarn, Stitch Lab [1000 S 1st St] for retail and classes, Make It Sweet [9070 Research Blvd #203] for the bakery types and Jerry's Artarama [6010 N IH 35].
Crafters and craft-lovers, keep your eyes peeled for bazaars and flea markets. During the holidays, Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and Blue Genie Art Bazaar are your go-to for all things handmade and quirky. During the rest of the year, Pecan Street Festivals spring up every six months, and there are too many neighborhood-sized weekend markets to count. Going on all the time are events with Austin Craft Riot.
Beyond BBQ and breakfast tacos, Chuy's [1728 Barton Springs Rd] can't be beat for chips and salsa (ask for the creamy jalapeño dip), or Trudy's [409 W 30th St] for Mexican martinis. If it's late night, get gluten free pancakes and cowboy queso at Kerbey Lane [3704 Kerbey Ln], the Neptunian landscape at Magnolia [2304 Lake], or yeast-based waffles and beet-based vegan sausage at 24 Diner [600 N Lamar Blvd].
Spider House Cafe [2908 Fruth St] is a nice place to get noms and an iced latte, especially if you have time to take in their quirky patio furniture and any live show they have going on. Sweetish Hill Bakery [1120 W 6th St] is fantastic for traditional and exceptional baked goods. But if it's ice cream you love, find Amy's [1012 W 6th St]. If you can name the movie quote, you get a free crush-in topping!
Hands down, drinking on Sixth Street [1717 W 6th St #365] is iconic in Austin. To watch the cavalcade of crazy from a safe distance, enjoy your local beer from the patio on the second floor of Buffalo Billiards [201 E 6th St]. They also have pinball and shuffleboard. For drinks and burgers, definitely hit Casino El Camino [517 E 6th St] or The Jackalope [404 East 6th], all on Sixth. If the crazy on Sixth is too crazy, take a pedi cab over to Rainey Street, a quieter version of Sixth with better cocktails and a bar dedicated solely to local beers. If you're looking for more of an LGBT-specific scene, mozey toward Fourth Street for a few hangouts you should check out.
It's too hot outside to work with wool unless you're felting it with your bare hands. Forget about quilting on your lap, either. Instead, we seek out bars like the Flying Saucer [815 W 47th St] and Rio Rita [1308 E 6th St]'s. Both have been known to host groups of crafters. The Saucer will even reserve a table for your group if you ask nicely. And we're nice in Austin.
Craft Mafia started in Austin, but is now sadly inactive. However, the Austin Craft Riot seems to have filled the void, and their site is a great resource for events.
You know how your town wants to keep itself weird? Well, we're pretty sure we invented that phrase sometime back in the 80s. And even if we aren't the original purveyors of weird, we sure try to be the authority. If the Cathedral of Junk [4422 Lareina Dr] is allowing visitors again (they have a love-hate relationship with city ordinances), it's a must-see. All of Austin is quirky: just keep your eyes open. Oh, and watch out for bats: we host the world's largest urban bat colony under Congress Street bridge [305 S Congress Ave]. Watch them come out at dusk from the hike and bike trail on the south-east side of the bridge.
You can get a 10 lb brisket in the airport on your way out, packed in a cool sack with ice. Easier to carry—and more fun to eat—are pralines and other goodies from Lammes Candies [5330 Airport Blvd]. You can pick those up in the airport, too, or you can visit their shop with the giant candy cane outside.
You can't be the live music capital of the world without a lot of inspiration. Music-makers and crafters alike can take in some serious vistas up at Mount Bonnell [3800 Mt Bonnell Rd], soak in some hardcore sun and people watching around Ladybird Lake, or revel in solitude at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden [605 Robert E Lee Rd] or Mayfield Park [3505 W 35th St]. Take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr [2100 Barton Springs Rd] (a tiny train), stroll to Barton Springs [2201 Barton Springs Rd] (our version of the beach, with 68-degree water year-round to escape the heat and for unbeatable people watching), or take a drive down to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center [4801 La Crosse Ave].
If you're not too full or if you need to walk off the queso, hike up the hill to the capitol and spin under the rotunda, then hang out and siesta under the trees. Every native tree in the state is planted on the grounds. If you can time the lights just right, you can skateboard all the way down Trinity to Ladybird Lake. Do some stand up paddling, canoeing, or join all the runners and walkers around the lake on the excellent trails. If the blazing hot outdoors isn't your thing, go catch a movie at Alamo Drafthouse [5701 W Slaughter Ln]: they bring your food (a full menu), beers, or snacks right to your seat during the movie!
For must-see locations, Austin is full of postcard-like murals. Greetings from Austin on South First is at the top of the list. Check out other murals nearby, like the I love you so much on South Congress, and the Hi How are you on Guadalupe near campus. Check out the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue and the amazing cityscape behind him on the Ladybird Lake running trail.