SoCo wonders dazzle freshman Austinite during pedestrian adventure

“SoCo? What’s SoCo?” I asked my dad. Glancing at a sign that read, “Shops at SoCo” we whizzed down South Congress on our way to the Airbnb. We had just arrived to Austin from Castro Valley, California. My dad was here to help me move into my dorm.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Maybe South of the Colorado?” After a quick check with my good friend Google, we discovered we were embarrassingly wrong. As I know now, SoCo is simply short for South Congress, the street where St. Edward’s resides and the place I now call my home.

For my first time exploring SoCo, I rallied a group of my fellow freshmen and just wandered aimlessly.

As I began to explore, I realized that South Congress is the metaphorical mullet of Austin: business in the front, party in the back. The farther you travel down South Congress, the more vintage-inspired restaurants and shops you find, creating the welcoming and unique vibe.

After a mandatory stop to check out the H.E.B. mural, the second stop on our SoCo adventure was a little store called Prima Dora. We found a plethora of Austin-themed gifts ranging from adult onesies to wall hangings. Art from local artists adorned the walls.

Next to Prima Dora sits Magnolia Cafe. This 24/7 diner has become one of my personal favorites as they serve delicious breakfast items all day long. I highly recommend their chocolate chip pancakes!

Farm to Market Grocery was the next stop on our journey down SoCo. This store hosts a variety of food options for the environmentally and health conscious Austinite. While this is great, what really drew us to the store was the large display of cute little succulents outside their front window. These plants are adorable additions to a first apartment.

Needless to say, SoCo does not have a shortage of interesting little stores.

Big Top Candy Shop not only holds one of the biggest collections of taffy I’ve ever seen but also sells Blue Bell ice cream, handmade shakes, soda floats and homemade chocolates.

Off The Wall hosted a range of vintage goods including knicknacks, bolo ties, typewriters, cowboy boots, and floppy hats made this store the most fun to explore.

Amy’s ice cream, an Austin favorite, definitely lives up to all the hype. The Mexican Vanilla with hot fudge and cinnamon is quite possibly my new favorite ice cream flavor.

I’m afraid that people who live in Austin and those who have been attending St. Ed’s for a while often take South Congress for granted. It is more than just a street that hosts the nearest H.E.B. and CVS. Its street art, unique shops, and amazing restaurants make it an exciting place to live. I am looking forward to many more SoCo adventures to come.