Welcome to SoCo

Charmingly quirky, super fun.
Officially South Congress Avenue, but known by all as “SoCo,” this is one of the more eclectic areas of Austin that screams “bohemian.” SoCo is a hip and modern place to live. It has its own unique, friendly flare that Austin is known for, and its residents and businesses nurture that with their traditions and events specific to the area. Rumor has it that SoCo is where Bob Dylan went shopping for his retro outfits, as the area was known for its many retro clothing stores.
Today SoCo is a hopping, trendy place filled with unusual boutiques, restaurants, clothing and shoe stores, and retro shops. They’re proud to be part of the “Keep Austin Weird” movement, an Austin Independent Business Alliance slogan promoting unique small businesses. The housing includes luxury high-rise condominiums, urban lofts, townhouses, and single-family homes.  Bouldin and Travis Heights are two main neighborhoods in this red hot area.

What to love

  • Large selection of restaurants, cafes, delis, and specialty shops
  • Neighborhood party every First Thursday of the month
  • Live music performances, festivals, and street vendors
  • Art galleries and street mural art
  • Reasonable parking with electric scooter rentals available
  • Live music capital of the world

Local lifestyle

On the first Thursday of the month, residents are out enjoying the community party. Businesses stay open until at least 10 p.m., street vendors set up tents and sell their crafts and food, and live music is playing everywhere. There’s no need to worry about transportation because you can just hop on an electric scooter rental and whiz your way quickly and easily around town. That’s just part of the bohemian lifestyle of SoCo, where they keep things as uniquely Texas as possible, and chain businesses take a back seat. The convenience of living so close to the action lends itself to a fun, carefree environment.   

Dining, entertainment & shopping

Food is made from scratch at Matt’s El Rancho, and many have tried to duplicate the steak Tampiqueña and other Tex-Mex dishes. Over at Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, enjoy a sit-down meal of seared Maine scallops with a Catalina wine mixer cocktail. For “new school BBQ and old school service,” make a beeline for LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, and make sure to have the pulled whole hog with your choice of sides. Life’s too short not to have dessert first, so head for Amy’s Ice Cream and try the chewie Wookie cookie.
Shopping is a unique experience in SoCo. For the best place to buy boots in town, stop at Allens Boots for their thousands of cowboy boots and other western wear, or try STAG Provisions for Men, where they sell western clothing galore, including some vintage items. After you get your new outfit, go hang out at one of the Auditorium Shores SXSW Free Concerts, and yes, it’s free. Or head for the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park, where legends are born. 

Things to do

When locals want to get away for some running, hiking, biking, and wide-open green space, they go to the Blunn Creek Preserve, which runs through the heart of Travis Heights, the oldest neighborhood south of Lady Bird Lake. There’s also the Butler Pitch & Putt 9-hole, par-three golf course just south of Lady Bird Lake near Bouldin, right in the heart of Austin. You can eat, drink, golf, and listen to live music.


SoCo is served by the Austin Independent School District and is notable for the following schools.

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