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Laura Noyes, 52, poses with the iconic I Love You So Much mural on the side of Jo's Coffee.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites on South Congress

Laura Noyes, 52, poses with the iconic I Love You So Much mural on the side of Jo's Coffee.
  • By Omar L. Gallaga
  • Photos by Ilana Panich-Linsman
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South Congress
Austin
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An area that was once a little seedy has gone upscale hipster in the past two decades. But don’t worry: The vibe is still low-key, and there are still enough bookstores, weird antique shops and homegrown restaurants to counter all the Instagram photo ops. If you can master the tricky back-in parking on South Congress Avenue, you might be ready to move here.

Meet Omar Gallaga

Omar has lived and worked in the Austin area since 1997. He’s watched the city change and still loves how friendly and open to new experiences people are here. He’s always looking for that perfect bowl — not just a cup — of queso.

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mail-solidEmail bytheway@washpost.com
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South Congress

La Mexicana Bakery
Fast and cheap tacos are on offer, but you’ll want to get your hands on some pan dulce (Mexican pastries), including pumpkin empanadas, gingerbread marranitos and wedding cookies a la Mexicana.
La Mexicana Bakery, 1924 S. First St. Austin, Tex. 78704
Home Slice Pizza
The closest to big, flat New York-style slices you’re likely to find in Texas. The toasted Italian sub sandwich is fantastic, too.
Home Slice Pizza, 1415 S. Congress Ave. Austin, Tex. 78704
The Continental Club
Since 1955, the venue has hosted musicians including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Plant and Wanda Jackson. Catch rockabilly, blues, punk and country music here — sometimes all on the same night.
The Continental Club, 1315 S. Congress Ave. Austin, Tex. 78704
Kendra Scott flagship store
This showcase for local jewelry entrepreneur Kendra Scott’s work includes its own cafe called Sips & Sweets, valet parking and, of course, gems.
Kendra Scott flagship store, 1701 S. Congress Ave. Austin, Tex. 78704
Jo’s Coffee
This coffee shop is one of the best people-watching spots in Austin. Grab an iced turbo coffee and take a picture with the iconic “I Love You So Much” mural on the side of the building.
Jo’s Coffee, 1300 S. Congress Ave. Austin, Tex. 78704
Lucy in Disguise With Diamonds
It doesn’t have to be Halloween to enjoy the wigs, props, masks, accessories and vintage clothing from Austin’s best costume shop.
Lucy in Disguise With Diamonds, 1506 S. Congress. Austin, Tex. 78704
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Omar L. Gallaga
Omar has lived and worked in the Austin area since 1997. He’s watched the city change and still loves how friendly and open to new experiences people are here. He’s always looking for that perfect bowl — not just a cup — of queso.
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Ilana Panich-Linsman
<b>Ilana</b> is a contributing photographer for The Washington Post based in Austin. When not traveling on assignment, she’s swimming laps in Deep Eddy Pool; hiking the trails with her chocolate labradoodle, Dottie; or holding forth about the best barbecue in Austin.
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