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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.

Dedicating His First Marathon Will Push Him to the Finish Line

This runner is dedicating his first marathon to his biggest supporter

Runners dedicate their training and running to others all the time. Their dedication can show loved ones how much their support means. They can also dedicate their running to supporting a charity of Austin Gives Miles presented by Moody Foundation, the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon’s philanthropic program. Rene Arguello is dedicating his first marathon, the Austin Marathon, to his wife Veronica. She’s his biggest supporter. Read Rene’s edition of My Running Story to see how much he and his wife has been through recently and why he’s dedicating his first marathon to her. Are you dedicating your Austin Marathon to someone specific? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Time to sign up for the Austin Marathon

Image of Rene Arguello and Veronica, his wife, next to a Christmas tree. He's dedicating his first marathon to her!

Rene and Veronica.

I started running about 15 years ago when someone told me that I would never finish my first half marathon. Is that reason enough to prove someone wrong? The real reason I run is to be an example to my family. I want to show them that running has great health benefits. Every now and then my wife and daughters will join me on a run. Currently I’m training for my first marathon. I have completed ten half marathons and everyone says it is about time I sign up for a marathon. 

I usually like to dedicate my training and racing to someone. When you dedicate a race to someone it gives you the motivation to finish. I am dedicating my first marathon, the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, to my wife. Veronica  is my biggest supporter. She always waves to me or blows a kiss when I am on a training run. My wife even goes to every running expo with me. She knows exactly where I am on any given racecourse and pops up to say “Hi!” on any given street corner. Veronica knows my running so much that she know what foods I need to eat during training and what gear I should wear based on the weather and the distance. 

My wife has been through a lot recently. Her favorite cousin recently passed away from a drowning accident in Port Aransas. Prior to that, her uncle passed away. My wife helped coordinate her uncle’s funeral and the music, no questions asked. 

Running with a heavy heart

This year I am running with a heavy heart, but still staying positive about my training. I like to keep loved ones on my mind and dedicate miles to them during the race. My overall training has been going well. I am following a racing plan and definitely have been enjoying my long runs. Running is contagious. I have several coworkers that have started running and have already signed up for races. They say that I turned them into runners. Maybe I have turned them into runners because I am always talking about it and I am always happy to answer any running-related questions. 

It’s funny, whenever I tell someone that I am running my first marathon I always get a crazy look. I know I will finish my first marathon. I have no doubt about it, especially since I’m dedicating my first 26.2 miles to my wife.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, and Brittany Drennan.

Visit these 5 South Austin Restaurants Along the Austin Marathon 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.