A Local’s Guide to Austin, Texas

Nov 12

Outside of interior design and what we do at IDCO, there’s one other thing I get asked about constantly, and that’s my favorite spots in Austin! Over the past few years, our city has become a more and more desirable place to live and visit, especially for creatives. With so many cool options in one place, I know it can be overwhelming to narrow down your itinerary. Today, I’m sharing my resident-approved, tried-and-true spots for shopping, eating, and staying in our home town. And, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to plan a trip to Austin! 

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Restaurant Guide | The Identite Collective

Cafe No Se | Photography: Madeline Harper

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Travel Guide | The Identite Collective

Photography: Madeline Harper

 

 

WHERE TO SHOP

 

 

Austin’s creative community has produced a wealth of gorgeous brands and small shops that you don’t want to miss. There are also a few flagship stores of national brands that are fun to browse and see where it all started.

 

Tecovas: It isn’t Texas without boots, and these are my favorite. Stop by and try on cowboy boots for men and women while sipping a free cocktail or beer. The stunning interior was designed by Claire Zinnecker, and you won’t want to leave. 

address: 1333 S Congress Ave Suite 160, Austin, TX 78704

 

Esby Apparel: A non-negotiable stop for sustainable fashion enthusiasts. Esby’s pieces are the perfect balance of beautiful and minimal, and definitely deserve a spot in your suitcase. 

address: 1601 S 1st St a, Austin, TX 78704

 

Yeti: Austin is home to the flagship store, and it’s worth a stop. Get your hubby a cool water bottle so he won’t notice all the other goodies you bought on your trip!

address: 220 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

 

Estilo: A trendy, upscale boutique with the kindest owner in Austin. Always a first stop destination when I’m looking for something specific.

address: 2727 Exposition Blvd #121, Austin, TX 78703

 

ByGeorge: When you want to be fancy, this is the luxury boutique of Austin. Think Chloe, YSL, Ulla Johnson, etc. Definitely a fun place to browse.

address: 524 N Lamar Blvd # 103, Austin, TX 78703

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Where to shop in Austin | The Identite Collective

Styling: The Identité Collective | Photography: Madeline Harper

 

 

Paper Place Austin: This shop is my favorite stationery store in Austin and my go-to for small gifts. 

address: 4001 N Lamar Blvd #540, Austin, TX 78756

 

Back Home Living: This is the best home goods store in the city. The ever-changing inventory is reasonably priced, and the management is so helpful. 

address: 4477 S Lamar Blvd #730, Austin, TX 78745

 

Stag: Originally a men’s only boutique, Stag recently released a women’s line of the world’s comfiest, coolest casual wear. No exaggeration. It’s worth popping in even if just to browse the stunning shop. 

address: 1423 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

 

Book People: Austin’s locally owned bookstore with constant book signings, guest appearances, and events. Check their online calendar to see what’s happening during your stay.

address: 603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

 

Kick Pleat: an upscale boutique for beautiful minimal clothes that feel elevated and timeless

address: 624 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Winter Skirt Styling | The Identite Collective

Styling: The Identité Collective | Photography: Madeline Harper

 

Lobby Shop in South Congress Hotel: This is a central location to shop so many local brands. I can’t walk through this lobby without making a purchase. 

address: 1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

 

Service Menswear: Affordable and incredibly cool menswear, and an absolute favorite of my husband, Quinn. The boys in this shop are SO helpful and charming.

address: 1400 S Congress Ave A160, Austin, TX 78704

 

Good Company: This new Austin shop can take all my monies. Beautiful layers, pleats, airy fabrics, and all the luxe items. Good Company makes shopping small a joy.

address: 918 W 12th St, Austin, TX 78703

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Restaurant Guide | The Identite Collective

Photography: Madeline Harper

 

Charm School Vintage: This is one of my favorite vintage shops in Austin for its carefully curated selection and super well-merchandised displays.

address: 1111 E 11th St #150, Austin, TX 78702

 

Uncommon Objects: The BEST vintage store for home goods and collectibles. It’s not walkable from anywhere, but the quick Uber ride is worth it.

address: 1602 Fortview Rd, Austin, TX 78704

 

Wildflower Organics: The prettiest home store in a perfect location to check out the Whole Foods flagship, Anthropologie, and Book People across the street.

address: 524 N Lamar Blvd #101, Austin, TX 78703

 

Garden House by Thompson & Hanson: A shockingly well-curated collection of clothing, homewares, and gifts directly across the parking lot from Tiny’s Milk & Cookies, which you’ll find featured in the “Where to Eat” section. 

address: 1515 W 35th St Building B, Austin, TX 78703

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Restaurant Guide | The Identite Collective

Photography: Madeline Harper

 

 

WHERE TO EAT

 

 

Austin’s food scene is reason enough to plan a trip. We have all the great design, impeccable branding, and delicious eats of a larger city like LA, SF, or NY, with much more affordable prices. 

 

LORO: Loro is, hands down, my favorite restaurant in Austin. The brainchild of two world-renowned chefs (one Michelin starred, the other a Top Chef winner), it is a Korean/Texas BBQ fusion. Order at the counter and eat family style with wait staff serving you at your seat. The design is gorgeous—very Korean-inspired in a rustic, Texas, minimal way. However, the food is the real star here. Don’t miss: brisket, corn fritters, chicken koragee, AND THE FREAKING FROZEN GIN + TONICS.

address: 2115 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

 

Tiny Boxwoods: This was originally a Houston restaurant, and they recently opened in Austin. It’s the best combination of upscale, garden cafe surroundings and familiar American fare. Tiny’s Milk + Cookies is in the parking lot with the best coffee + pastries in town.

address: 1503 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703

 

El Chilito: If you want a breakfast burrito, this is the place. It’s so cute inside + the food is so good. My recommendation is the Cherrywood Burrito, no eggs with the black roasted salsa. Trust me.

address: 1623 E 7th St #3325, Austin, TX 78702

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Restaurant Guide | The Identite Collective

Photography: Madeline Harper

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Restaurant Guide | The Identite Collective

Photography: Madeline Harper

 

Radio Coffee: This is our favorite hangout spot in Austin. There is live bluegrass on Mondays, and trivia, game nights, and standup the rest of the week. Mornings, we get coffee and sit in the garden with breakfast tacos from the taco truck on-site, Veracruz. Food Network named Veracruz the best tacos in the country. We agree.

address: 4204 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78704

 

El Alma: This quirky, super beautiful Mexican restaurant is owned by female Michelin star chef, Alma Alcocer, with incredible interior Mexican style food. The ceviche, crab chile relleno, and spicy margaritas can’t be missed. Enjoy on the mountainside patio looking over downtown for the ultimate Austin dining. 

address: 1025 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Restaurant Guide | The Identite Collective

Photography: Madeline Harper

 

Juliett: One of my favorites for fancy nights out, this patio feels totally French, especially on Wednesdays when they have live jazz music.

address: 1500 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

 

Bangers: Bangers is a beer garden smokehouse on Rainey Street, and definitely the place you come to post up all day. Drink all the beer and get the snickers parfait for dessert.

address: 79 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701

 

Salt Lick: This is a 20-minute drive from downtown but our absolute MUST DO when in Austin. Set in a vineyard, it has the most Texas swagger you can get, plus it’s BYOB. The bison ribs and potato salad are not to be missed. Go for an early lunch to avoid the lines.

address: 18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Hotel Guide | The Identite Collective

The Wayback | Photography: Carley Summers

 

Clark’s Oyster Bar: Located in Austin’s cute bungalow neighborhood just west of downtown, Clark’s is super tiny, quaint and delicious. If you’re not into oysters, get the burger. It’s the best in town.

address: 1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703

 

Josephine House: A French Vietnamese dreamboat of a restaurant. You’ll need an extra battery for your phone after taking all the pictures here. The Bahn Mi is to die for and the French pastries to-go at the counter feel super fancy. All the French girl vibes, the Austin way.

address: 1601 Waterston Ave, Austin, TX 78703

 

Vespaio: Just down the street from my parent’s new place in Austin, this is a go-to—a local favorite and city staple. Italian, delicious, low-key, and so cute.

address: 1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Hotel Guide | The Identite Collective

The Wayback | Photography: Carley Summers

 

 

WHERE TO STAY

 

 

For a real Austin experience, skip the chains and stay at one of our stunning boutique hotels for Instagram-worthy design and true Southern hospitality.

 

The Wayback (obviously): it’s perfect for quick access to downtown but feels like a true retreat. We’re hosting design camp there for it’s organic + all-natural commitment to luxury and it’s laid-back vibes. The food is incredible and the cafe is open all day.

address: 9601 Bee Caves Rd, Austin, TX 78733

 

South Congress Hotel: Such a fun spot if it’s your first time to Austin. Right on South Congress (Austin’s most condensed + hip shopping/eating neighborhood), the design is hipster meets desert chic. Definitely, the place to see and be seen. We love the carefully curated gift shop in the lobby (mentioned above) and the easy parking below. Don’t miss breakfast at Cafe No Sé while you’re there.

address: 1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Hotel Guide | The Identite Collective

The Wayback | Photography: Carley Summers

 

Hotel St. Cecelia: Austin’s original boutique hotel, this splurge is worth every penny. Set under massive heritage live oaks, this motel turned private apartment suites is a bucket list trip. Renovated by the world-famous Bunkhouse hospitality group, the entire place is Instagram-worthy.

address: 112 Academy Dr, Austin, TX 78704

 

The Line: Austin’s newest boutique hotel, this property is right downtown and on Lady Bird Lake. Their pool is a local favorite hangout spot and the in-house dining options are killer good and super cool.

address: 111 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

 

Hotel Van Zandt: This is a Kimpton property that has live music almost every night and is right on Rainey Street—my favorite “night on the town” district. It’s made up of historic bungalows turned bars and restaurants and feels like a cool block party with games and music every night.

address: 605 Davis St, Austin, TX 78701

 

A Local's Guide to Austin, Texas | Austin Travel Guide | The Identite Collective

Photography: Madeline Harper

 

For more travel topics and design inspiration be sure to check out:

 


 

IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.

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