Enjoy the Full Austin Experience at these 5 Iconic South Austin Locations

Visit these south Austin hotspots and truly embrace the full Austin experience

If you’re into shopping, sunshine, live music, or nature you must visit these 5 iconic south Austin hotspots. They’re located along Miles 1-6 of the Austin Marathon course so they’re within walking distance of downtown Austin. Take in the Austin experience in one day or spread it out throughout Austin Marathon weekend. The choice is yours! If you find yourself hungry or in need of a cup of coffee, stop by our favorite south Austin coffee, breakfast, lunch, or dinner spots.

Congress Avenue Bridge (start)

Image of Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly, performing at Continental Club. Enjoy the Austin experience when you take in a show at Continental Club!

Wanda Jackson, Queen of Rockabilly, performs at Continental Club.

This is one of Austin’s most iconic places to take photos for many reasons. Panoramic views of downtown, unobstructed view of the Texas State Capitol, Town Lake sunrises and sunsets, the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats, and the beginning of the Austin Marathon! Whether you watch 17,500 runners cross the bridge or 1.5 million bats fly out from underneath in their bat cyclones, make sure your camera is charged and you have a great vantage point! Pro tip: take Bat Watching 101.

The Continental Club (Mile 1)

This live music venue is the self-proclaimed granddaddy of live music venues. The Continental Club (1315 S. Congress Ave.) has had a coast-to-coast and worldwide reputation as the premiere club for live music in Austin since 1955. Artists have included Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Social Distortion, TD Bell and the Blues Specialists, Robert Plant, Blues Traveler, Dale Watson & his Lone Stars, Wanda Jackson, and more. Pro tip: Peterson Brothers Band, the 2018 Austin Marathon finish line festival headliner, play every Monday for free!

South Congress Shopping (Mile 1-2)

Image of mural outside of Triple Z Threads. Enjoy the Austin experience when you shop on South Congress.

Mural that greets you outside of Triple Z Threads.

Preview Miles 1-2 of the Austin Marathon course when you shop SoCo! You’ll find something you need and everything you don’t. Visit some of our favorites like the Kendra Scott Flagship, STAG Provisions for Men, Allens Boots, Monkey See Monkey DO, and Triple Z Threads. Stop by Big Top to satisfy your sweet tooth! Pro tip: follow us on Instagram and see what murals you can find along the way.

Greetings from Austin Mural (Mile 5)

Known around the world, the Greetings from Austin Mural (1720 S. 1st St.) is one of the most visited murals in Austin. The mural was painted in 1998 by Todd Sanders and Rory Skagen and restored in 2013. Pro tip: get there early for the shot you want. You’ll avoid the crowds and there will be less traffic.

Auditorium Shores (Mile 6)

You know this an Austin blog when Stevie Ray Vaughan is mentioned twice. One of the main Auditorium Shores (800 W. Riverside Dr.) highlights is his statue along the trail overlooking Town Lake. Mile Marker 0 is a popular gathering spot for runners because of water fountains, plenty of space to stretch, and a workout station. On a rest day? Take your pup to the off-leash Auditorium Shores Dog Park. Bringing the kids? Take them to the Splash Pad. Pro tip: the lefthand turn runners take during the Austin Marathon is a popular cheering location for loved ones and spectators.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the Austin experience. You have to start somewhere, right? This is one of Austin’s most vibrant and diverse areas, making it the perfect place to explore. Do you have a place in south Austin that you love that did not make the list? Let us know what it is on Facebook or Twitter.

5 Must Try Austin Eats on Course

Take your family and friends to dinner at these five South Austin restaurants

South Austin has a collection of some of the city’s most delicious food. Dinner is no exception. Plan your next date night or take friends and family who are visiting to one of these 5 south Austin restaurants along the Austin Marathon course.

Image of drinks and appetizers at Botticelli's outdoor space in the back. They're one of the Austin Marathon's five recommended south Austin restaurants. Credit: Botticelli's Facebook page.

Credit: Botticelli’s Facebook page.

They also make great options the night before you run the Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon! They’re within walking distance if you’re staying at a downtown Austin hotel during Austin Marathon weekend. Want more south Austin recommendations? Check out our lists for lunch places, breakfast spots, and coffee shops.

Botticelli’s (Mile 1)

This fun and tasty Italian restaurant is located on South Congress (1321 S. Congress Ave.), within walking distance of downtown hotels. Botticelli’s combines old family recipes and new, inventive ones. Their wine list is what dreams are made of! Make sure you order the Botticelli Bread. Sit out back by the beer garden and enjoy live, local music Thursday through Saturday.

Fresh shrimp and oysters at Perla's. They're one of the Austin Marathon's five recommended south Austin restaurants. Credit: Perla's Facebook page.

Credit: Perla’s Facebook page.

Perla’s (Mile 1)

If everyone is craving seafood, go to Perla’s (1400S. Congress Ave.). They fly in fresh fish and oysters daily from both coasts. Happy hour is Monday – Friday 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Dinner begins every day at 5:30 p.m. and they rotate their menus. Pro tip: order the Baked Shells & Cheese and add lobster!

Enoteca Vespaio (Mile 1.5)

Enoteca (1610 S. Congress Ave.) opened in 2005 and has served delicious Italian food since. This bistro-inspired cafe has it all: phenomenal food, amazing coffee, a full bar, extensive wine list, and delectable desserts and pastries. We recommend you begin with a charcuterie board before dinner and a cannoli after. What you eat for dinner is up to you!

Sway is an award-winning Thai restaurant. They're one of the Austin Marathon's five recommended south Austin restaurants. Credit: Sway Facebook page.

Credit: Sway Facebook page.

Sway (Mile 5.5)

Sway (1417 S. 1st St.) is an award-winning modern Thai restaurant, recently being named “2019 Best Thai Food” by the Austin-American Statesman. You’ll be blown away by their Blue Crab Fried Rice. Their dinner menu offers numerous gluten-free and vegetarian options. Yes, their margaritas are good. Pro tip: don’t anything extra spicy the night before the Austin Marathon!

El Mercado (Mile 5.5)

You didn’t think we’d make this list and not include Tex-Mex, did you? El Mercado (1302 S. 1st St.) is family-owned and started in Austin in 1985. They began on the front porch of their south Austin location and have grown ever since. Before you order dinner, make sure the entire table enjoys Phillip’s Special Queso. They will thank you for the entire night!

Image of taco plate with a side of salsa from El Mercado. They're one of the Austin Marathon's five recommended south Austin restaurants. Credit: El Mercado Facebook page.

Credit: El Mercado Facebook page.

These five south Austin restaurants provide a little bit of everything for everyone. They’re perfect for a night out on the town or for runners who want to carb-load before race day. Don’t forget, you can stretch out your legs during Austin Marathon weekend. These 5 south Austin restaurants are within walking distance of downtown Austin hotels. Did your favorite south Austin restaurant not make the list? Let us know what it is on Facebook or Twitter.

Our Favorite Coffee Spots, Part 1

These 7 south Austin coffee shops take their game to another level

You can get a cup of coffee from just about anywhere these days. Read about our seven favorite south Austin coffee shops along Miles 1-6 of the Austin Marathon course and order like an Austinite! Whether you need a cup before going to work or you’re meeting friends after your long run, put these south Austin coffee shops on your radar! Check out our blog featuring these seven south Austin breakfast spots if you’re planning brunch after the Austin Marathon. South Austin lunch and dinner blogs coming soon!

Image of iconic i love you so much mural. Take a picture with it when you visit one of the south Austin coffee shops on our list, Jo's Coffee.

i love you so much mural outside Jo’s Coffee.

Jo’s Coffee (Mile 1)

Jo’s Coffee (1300 S. Congress Ave.) opens every day at 7:00 a.m. and a line quickly forms at this Austin staple. They’ve been serving folks since 1999. Order the Iced Turbo and enjoy their sweet signature beverage! If you don’t like that much sweet in your coffee, order the Belgian Bomber. It’s half Turbo, half cold brew. Jo’s Coffee is home to the world-famous “i love you so much” mural and one of Austin’s fastest-growing running groups, The Morning Jos

Image of Cosmic Coffee's outdoor space. Cosmic Coffee made our list of our favorite south Austin coffee shops.

Cosmic Coffee has plenty of outdoor space and is dog-friendly! Credit – Cosmic Coffee Facebook.

Cosmic Coffee (Mile 2.5)

The area around Cosmic Coffee (121 Pickle Rd.) has transformed massively since it opened in 2017. What was once an open lot now features waterfalls, a coy pond, a chicken coop, and tons of outdoor seating with shade trees. Add amazing coffee, three food trucks preparing delicious food, and the fact that Cosmic is also a beer garden and you have an oasis. The smooth Nitro Cold Brew (on tap) is a must!

Plaza Colombian Coffee (Mile 3)

One of the newer spots in town, Plaza Colombian Coffee (3842 S. Congress Ave.), is family-owned and brings the flavor of Colombia to Austin. They roast 100% Cafe de Colombia in-house and often feature live music. In a hurry? Hit up their drive-thru!

Image of Summer Moon coffee. Summer Moon made the list of our 6 favorite south Austin coffee shops.

Try a Summermoon or Wintermoon, your choice! Credit – Summer Moon Facebook.

Summer Moon Coffee (Mile 4)

Austin has many Summer Moon locations, but 3115 S. 1st St. is their original location. Before you try anything on the menu, you need to delight your tastebuds with a Summermoon (hot) or a Wintermoon (cold) depending on your preference. Their secret ingredient is moon milk. Don’t even think about asking for the recipe; it’s top secret. They opened in 2002 and began crafting their own custom roasts by 2004 in their built-from-scratch roaster. Pro tip: if the full moons are too sweet, order a 3/4, half, or 1/4 moon.

Bouldin Creek Cafe (Mile 5)

Bouldin Creek Cafe (1900 S. 1st St.) is another go-to south Austin coffee shop. But if you prefer to obtain your caffeine from tea, they offer 25 different hot tea options. If you need a quick fix to your hangover, order The Leveler (Guinness, espresso, and chocolate). Want to check out an Austin mural? Bouldin Creek Cafe is one block from the “Greetings from Austin” mural.

Image of the Greetings from Austin mural. Snap a picture when you visit 2 of the south Austin coffee shops on our list!

Swing by the Greetings from Austin mural when you visit Bouldin Creek Cafe or Once Over Coffee Bar.

Once Over Coffee Bar (Mile 5)

This little gem with a creekside deck has been serving south Austin since 2009. Once Over (2009 S. 1st St.) opens at 7:00 a.m. every day except Sunday (8:00 a.m.). You can’t go wrong with any beverage on their menu. Their food comes from various local spots, but they’re cool with your bringing food as long as you order a drink from them. Whatever you decide, make sure you end up on the deck!

7th Flag Coffee (Mile 5.25)

The modern and clean look of the converted house to coffee shop offers no distractions, with good coffee and pastries to boot. They’re dog-friendly and have a great outdoor spot for when the weather is nice. If you’re spectating near 7th Flag Coffee (1506 S. 1st St.) on race day swing by when they open at 8:00 a.m.

Our favorite south Austin coffee shops are unique in their own way, helping keep Austin weird. We love them for that and know you will too! Grab one of our recommendations the next time you’re in the neighborhood. Did your favorite south Austin coffee shop not make the list? Let us know what it is on Facebook or Twitter.

Try these 7 South Austin Lunch Spots Along the Austin Marathon Course

These seven South Austin lunch spots are all Austin originals

South Austin is one big melting pot. This list of seven south Austin lunch spots perfectly exemplifies this! From grilled cheese to barbecue, everything on this list offers something different. If you’re visiting friends or making plans for the Austin Marathon, add these lunch places to your must-visit list. Check them out and Miles 1-6 of the Austin Marathon course at the same time! Want more south Austin recommendations? These lists of breakfast spots and coffee shops should get you started.

Picture of the Waylon & Willie from Burro Cheese, one of our favorite south Austin lunch spots along the Austin Marathon course.

Snag the Waylon & Willie! Credit – Burro Cheese Facebook.

Burro Cheese (Mile 1)

Don’t look at the name and dismiss this as a food for children. Burro Cheese (1221 S. Congress Ave.) is next-level and combines artisan cheeses, homemade sauces, and fluffy breads. Burro has served delectable grilled cheese sandwiches to the masses since February 2013. Whether you’re from Texas or just visiting, we strongly recommend the Long Tall Texan or the Waylon and Willie. 

Güero’s Taco Bar (Mile 1.5)

When Texas food is mentioned most people immediately think Tex-Mex and they wouldn’t be wrong. But Güero’s Taco Bar (1412 S. Congress Ave.) is just a bit different. They’ve prepared Mexican food with a hint of Tex-Mex for 30 years. Their menu can be overwhelming… in a good way. They have something for everyone, plus their tortillas and salsas are homemade. Whatever you decide to eat, wash it down with a hand-shaken margarita.

Picture of different pizza slices from Home Slice Pizza, one of our favorite south Austin lunch spots along the Austin Marathon course.

In crust we trust. Credit – Home Slice Facebook.

Home Slice (Mile 1.5)

This South Congress staple has the best of both worlds (1415 S. Congress Ave.): you can dine-in or you can call ahead and pick up your pie. Home Slice’s New York-style pizza is making the world a better place, one slice at a time. We can brag about their pizza all day, but their salads, subs, and calzones really make this joint the perfect place for friends to gather after the Austin Marathon. 

Lucy’s Fried Chicken (Mile 2)

Picture of a bucket of fried chicken from Lucy's, one of our favorite south Austin lunch spots along the Austin Marathon course.

Can’t go wrong with a bucket of fried chicken. Credit – Lucy’s Facebook.

Lucy’s (2218 College Ave.) is open seven days a week and their brunch is as legendary as their lunch. If you keep waffling on what to get, just order the Chicken Basket. You won’t be disappointed. Make sure you save room for dessert and their homemade pies! When you go there for lunch, you might want to set aside some time for a post-lunch siesta (nap)!

LeRoy and Lewis (Mile 3)

This once up-and-comer on the Texas barbecue scene has firmly established themselves as one of the best. They even made our top Austin barbecue spots list! LeRoy and Lewis (121 Pickle Rd.) offers non-traditional meats like beef cheeks and barbacoa. They pair them perfectly with their ever-rotating side options. You can still get your brisket on the weekends, but their masterful ability to smoke different meats allows you to expand your horizons. They change their menu a lot. Stay up-to-date with their Instagram!

Picture of the outdoor seating at Fresa's, one of our favorite south Austin lunch spots along the Austin Marathon course.

Sit underneath the massive shade trees at Fresa’s. Credit – Fresa’s Facebook.

Fresa’s (Mile 5)

The Tex-Mex at this Austin original (1703 S. 1st St.) is perfect for sharing with friends and family. If you’re thinking Fresa’s tacos are good then you are correct. Before you order, start off with the Chipotle Bacon Guacamole (you’re welcome). Looking for a vegetarian option? We recommend the Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Grilled Sweet Potatoes. If it’s a beautiful day, sit underneath the massive shade trees. Pro tip: this location offers happy hour prices all day every day to folks seated at the bar! 

Elizabeth Street Cafe (Mile 5.5)

Switch it up a bit at Elizabeth Street Cafe (1501 S. 1st St.). This Vietnamese cafe and French bakery opened in December 2011. They’ve served South Austin fresh-baked pastries ever since. You might think this is an odd combination, but try their pho and follow it up with something sweet. You’ll be hooked! They also have a full bar featuring different sakes and Japanese whiskeys.

We curated this list of south Austin lunch spots. Now the question is where do you begin? To tell you the truth, you can’t go wrong. Just pick a place and get started. Welcome to south Austin! Did your favorite south Austin lunch spot not make the list? Let us know what it is on Facebook or Twitter.