Most visitors come to Austin for the lakes, live music, Tex-Mex, and football. Locals, however, know they’re sitting on a home décor Mecca full of interesting finds and gorgeous shops. On my last trip, I wrestled my attention away from food and music—no small feat!—and refocused on design. I walked South Congress. (Okay, honest minute: I made a pit stop at the Hey Cupcake! air trailer.) I perused funky South Lamar for less well-known haunts. I slowly made my way through downtown’s 2nd Street Shopping District, weaving my way in and out of the string of modern and vintage furniture stores. Forget the whole “Keep Austin weird” bumper-sticker nonsense; this is the place to go for stylish finds. Whether you pine for clean lines, French antiques, or colorful, lacquered vintage pieces, you’ll have no problem finding something to suit your style.
Owners Marco Fiorilo and Shanna Eldridge travel around the globe to find unique modern furnishings, rustic pieces, and gifts. New parents flock to the modern kids collection from Offi. Also find items from Anne Black, Gus Design, and William Earle. Bonus: Aviary houses a wine bs a wine bar. aviarydecor.com.
We love the clean, modern furniture, but we spent most of our time checking out the funky accessories, like the nut bowl constructed of peanuts, the hand wall mounts cast from the artist’s hands, and the tiny zoo animals made of beachwood. ifdaustin.com.
Feather Your Nest
Find classic gifts for hostess, mom, or baby at this luxury linen and home accessories shop. We picked up monogrammed linen napkins, a hand-blown Juliska vase, and Bella Note bedding. featheryournesthome.com.
This eclectic 2nd Street Shopping District shop is home to whimssical and hand-crafted furnishings, linens, and tabletop. The Roost serving slabs are earthy and and edgy. John Robshaw lovers are in luck with the collection of Eastern-inspired pillows and linens. shopfinch.com.
At this sustainable shop, you’ll find contemporary furniture by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, lamps by Jamie Young and Arteriors, colorful DwellStudio and Pine Cone Hill bedding, and geometric Dash & Albert rugs. The natural Bina and Environment collections use reclaimed woods for tables and consoles. lofthomedecor.com.
Mercury Design Studio
There is no lack of color in this vibrant vintage furniture store. Finds from around the world are refinished, lacquered, and upholstered with unique fabrics. Vignettes are arranged as trendy rooms, making it easy to envision your future purchase. Pick up a gift from their unique selection of leather goods, vintage jewelry, art, books, tableware, and ceramics. mercurydesignstudio.com.
Wildflower Linens & Home
This eco-friendly store houses the largest selection of organic mattresses in Texas. Furniture ranges from contemporary Oly Studio upholstered pieces to antique pine farmhouse tables. Don’t miss the luxury organic linens or the room dedicated to all-natural baby furniture and accessories. wildflowerorganics.com.
This vintage furniture and fabric store specializes in saving and refurbishing old pieces. Modernize Grandma’s chair with their selection of designer fabrics such as Shumacher, Knoll, LuLu DK, and Q Collection. Or buy a one-of-a-kind piece from the ever-changing selection in the store. They also offer a fun two-day upholstery class. spruceaustin.com.
Chef and sushi master Tyson Cole’s Japanese restaurant is tucked away in an old house on South Lamar. The creative menu is a combination of raw and cooked small tasting plates, ranging from sea bass with orange oil, garlic, and black pepper in a citrus vinaigrette to oak-grilled escolar with candied citrus and a quail egg yolk and sea urchin shot. uchiaustin.com.
This fancy downtown bar barbecue joint is located in the historic Schneider Brothers Building. Try the wild boar ribs, cold smoked Bandera quail, and crème fresh mashed potatoes. Enjoy nightly live music. lambertsaustin.com.
Hotel Saint Cecilia
This boutique hotel is a secluded estate just a short walk from the South Congress District shops and restaurants. Rockers (like Pearl Jam) and artsy types stay here. Choose from five suites, six poolside bungalows, or three studios, complete with eclectic furnishings with a Texas twist. hotelsaintcecilia.com.
Lake Austin Spa Resort
After a day of shopping, kick off your heels and relax at the serene surroundings of the resort. The grounds are on 19 lakefront acres in the Hill Country, just 30 min from downtown. lakeaustin.com.