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What is South Congress?

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What is South Congress?

South Congress (or SoCo), is one of the most iconic entertainment and commercial districts in the city of Austin, Texas. It was formerly part of the historic 1850s farming community, before becoming an important street for local businesses and entertainment. This area is located south of downton Austin and is centered around South Congress Avenue, and features a variety of unique bars, restaurants and shops.

The area is best known for its colorful and unique mix of local stores and unique eateries that offers some of the best culinary offerings in the city. Famous spots such as Allens Boots, HomeSlice Pizza, Torchy’s Tacos, Jo’s Coffee, and Guero’s Mexican Eatery are all popular eateries that bring people from far and wide to experience all that South Congress has to offer. While Austin continues to grow and become ever fancier and more expensive, South Congress still retains its bold, vibrant and kitschy presence for both locals and visitors alike.

In the evenings, South Congress starts to transform into one of the most lively and vibrant streets in the area. With its popular bars and music venues such as “The Continental Club”, “The White Horse” and “Cheer Up Charlie’s” as well as its “SoCo Music Block Party”, South Congress has become a major center for live music. Scouts Austin also lists some unique spots worth visiting on South Congress, offering a more detailed overview of the activities available in the area.

South Congress also features an array of vibrant festivals with the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) and ongoing car free days all taking place on the avenue. Time Out offers more information on the different festivals, live acts as well as nightlife that takes place in South Congress.

On any given day, SoCo is alive with Austinites indulging in the eclectic shops, music, art galleries, cultural events and lively eateries. Some of its most famous spots are still around making the district a timeless part of Austin’s history inspiring endless nostalgia. From its bright and colorful façades to its unique indie businesses, South Congress is a place many explore and return to time after time. Its delightful mixture of people and culture provide an unparalleled flavor that you won’t find anywhere else in Austin.

An Insider’s Guide to South Congress in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is a city of contrasts where you can find big-city amenities and small-town charm, a thriving downtown and vast open spaces, trendy bars and laid-back restaurants, and historic neighborhoods next to modern homes. One such neighborhood that has become a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists is South Congress.

Local Attractions in South Congress

South Congress, or SoCo, as locals call it, stretches about a mile from the Colorado River to West Elizabeth Street and is known for its eclectic mix of vintage stores, art galleries, music venues, and food trucks. If you’re looking for local attractions in South Congress, here are a few must-visit places:

– The Continental Club: Since 1957, The Continental Club has been Austin’s premier live music venue, where legendary musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Junior Brown have played. The club features a retro atmosphere, a large dance floor, and a wide selection of local and national acts.

– Austin Motel: Built-in 1938, the iconic Austin Motel is a retro-style motel located in the heart of South Congress. The motel has been recently renovated, but still maintains its neon sign and classic charm. The motel features a heated outdoor pool, a poolside bar, and a funky boutique.

– South Congress Bridge Bats: Every evening, hundreds of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from the crevices of the South Congress Bridge to feed on insects. The spectacle draws crowds of people who line the bridge and its sidewalks to watch the bats fly overhead.

Dining Spots in South Congress

South Congress has a flourishing food scene, with an array of restaurants and food trucks that cater to different tastes and moods. Here are some dining spots that you shouldn’t miss in South Congress:

– Home Slice Pizza: Home Slice Pizza is a New-York style pizza joint that serves authentic, hand-tossed pizzas and classic Italian dishes. The restaurant has a cozy, retro-style décor and a lively atmosphere.

– Güero’s Taco Bar: Güero’s Taco Bar has been serving up tasty Mexican food to the locals since 1986. The restaurant features a covered outdoor patio perfect for dining al fresco, and it’s a popular spot for live music.

– Jo’s Coffee: Jo’s Coffee is a laid-back coffeehouse that offers locally roasted coffee, signature lattes, and delectable pastries. The coffeehouse is best known for its iconic “I love you so much” mural, located on the side of the building.

Cultural Experiences in South Congress

South Congress is home to a diverse array of cultural experiences, from art galleries and museums to historic landmarks and theaters. Here are some cultural experiences that you can’t miss in South Congress:

– Yard Dog Art Gallery: Yard Dog Art Gallery features a unique collection of folk and outsider art, including paintings, sculptures, and jewelry. The gallery represents over 70 artists from across the globe, and it’s a must-visit spot for art lovers.

– Big Top Candy Shop: Big Top Candy Shop is a vintage-style candy store that offers an extensive selection of candies, chocolates, and other sweets from around the world. The shop also features an old-fashioned soda fountain, where you can savor milkshakes, floats, and ice cream sundaes.

– The Paramount Theatre: The Paramount Theatre is a historic theater that has been entertaining audiences since 1915. The theater features an eclectic mix of films, concerts, comedy shows, and theater productions, and its majestic architecture and decor add to the magic of the performances.

Local History in South Congress

South Congress has a rich history, dating back to the early days of Austin when it was a small frontier town. Here are some local history spots that offer a glimpse into the area’s past:

– The Austin History Center: The Austin History Center is a research library and museum that collects and preserves the history of Austin and Travis County. The center features exhibits, artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the story of the city’s past and present.

– Battle Bend Park: Battle Bend Park is a 50-acre park that was the site of the Battle of Battle Bend during the Texas Revolution. The park features a historical marker and a walking trail that loops around the park and offers scenic views of the surrounding hills.

– The Texas State Cemetery: The Texas State Cemetery is the final resting place of over 4,000 Texans who have made significant contributions to the state’s history and culture. The cemetery features the graves of famous Texans, including Stephen F. Austin, Barbara Jordan, and Governor Ann Richards.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions for South Congress

If you’re looking for some off-the-beaten-path suggestions for South Congress, here are a few ideas:

– The Little Longhorn Saloon: The Little Longhorn Saloon is a dive bar that hosts a weekly game called Chicken Shit Bingo. The game involves a chicken that walks around on a bingo board, and patrons place bets on where the chicken will poop.

– Austin Pets Alive!: Austin Pets Alive! is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to saving the lives of homeless pets in Austin. The organization offers adoption services, volunteer opportunities, and educational programs, and it’s a great place to meet some furry friends.

– Texas Capitol Building: The Texas Capitol Building is a must-see landmark located in downtown Austin. The building features a stunning pink granite facade, picturesque gardens, and an impressive rotunda. Guided tours are available, and it’s a great way to learn more about the state’s history and government.


South Congress is a vibrant neighborhood in Austin, Texas, where you can experience the best of the city’s art, music, food, and history. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, there’s always something new to discover in South Congress.

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What is South Congress?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!