Hilltop Views

10 essential South Congress Ave pit-stops for the St. Edward’s freshman

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The fall semester begins again, bringing old and new faces to Austin. Here at Hilltop Views, we have compiled a list of great places to check out on South Congress Avenue. We seek to either remind returning students of some cool places or inform anyone that might be new to the state capital. This is not an exhaustive list of all of the interesting stores, parks and eccentricities that pervade Austin. The following SoCo places are but an introduction to the city at large.

  1. Southside Flying Pizza and Homeslice Pizza – Southside offers delicious, huge pizzas by the slice (a single slice being one quarter of a large pizza), with combinations to appease every customer. Popular favorites (as well as my own personal favorites) are the Double Dragon and regular Pepperoni, but I’ve never been mad about a meal from this shop. Homeslice, on the other hand, is a quintessential Austin eatery and delivers on the hype. I have recurring, heated arguments with people about which of these two restaurants is superior.

  2. “Willie for President” mural – This is the only mural in the city worth taking an obnoxious tourist photo with. If Willie Nelson, the patron saint of Austin, had run for president in 2016, I would probably feel a whole lot better about the fate of our nation. That being said, let’s not rule out a run in 2020 against Kanye West.

  3. Magnolia Cafe – The  neon “Sorry, we’re open” sign outside of the Magnolia Cafe may be corny, but this cafe is as much a part of South Congress as the Capitol. Featured in Linklater’s 2014 movie “Boyhood,” Magnolia has plenty of character and plenty of good food to be enjoyed at any hour of the day.

  4. The Capitol – Being located on the same street as the Texas Capitol building presents students at St. Edward’s with the opportunity to connect with the state government in a way most others cannot; we make their voices heard — literally. Whether you’re attend a hearing on a piece of legislation or taking a tour, you have a chance to learn about the history of the Texas government. After you’re done admiring the striking external architectural work, step inside the Capitol to be in awe of the activity within.

  5. Lucky Robot – If this list is beginning to sound like one concerned only with restaurants, that’s because of how much they all matter to my life. Lucky Robot is consistently ranked as one of the best sushi places in town, and it does not disappoint. The atmosphere is really cool and the mochi is delicious.

  6. Big Top Candy Shop – This little candy shop is packed from floor to ceiling with cavity-inducing treats. The nostalgic feel of the store makes it feel twice as good to walk out with a comically oversized lollipop. While it’s still hot outside, consider stopping by and getting an italian cream soda or really anything else. Every season is candy season.

  7. Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds – This is, hands down, the strangest store I’ve ever entered. Come October, go check out Lucy in Disguise and you might get lost wandering the aisles of realistic Renaissance garments and mannequin families and assorted space helmets and so much more. It’s a trip.

  8. Triple Z Threadz – Triple Z is a custom embroidered pearl-snap shirt shop that also sells “irreverent art and decor,” according to their website. It’s an apt description; last time I went in Triple Z, I saw shirts emblazoned with eagles carrying human babies and shooting fire, among other fine articles of clothing I would gladly own if my wallet weren’t perennially empty. Very weird, very cool and very Austin.

  9. Uncommon Objects – This antique store seems to extend far further back from the entrance than should be physically possible. Packed wall to wall with interesting knick knacks, taxidermy and jewelry, among other things, Uncommon Objects is an experience in itself. Go check it out and see if you can’t find a stuffed meerkat or gothic candelabra to use a conversation starter in your room on campus, apartment or medieval castle.

  10. St. Edward’s University – OK, I ran out of places on SOCO that I truly care about. But aren’t they all second to the university anyway? Steds is a great place. The architecture here is really inspiring and the (second) oldest tree in Austin overlooks the skyline from campus. What more do the people want?

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10 essential South Congress Ave pit-stops for the St. Edward’s freshman