Venture south across Lady Bird Lake, aka Town Lake, to find eclectic, unvarnished, and casual. Great neighborhoods with a real community feel are in South Austin. So is SoCo or South Congress, arguably one of the coolest locales in the city. The street scene serves up Home Slice pizza and Jo’s coffee as well as the Continental Club, Uncommon Objects, and the San Jose Hotel. Retail is not the big box kind here. First Thursdays have morphed into a monthly block party with special shopping (and eating) opportunities from local merchants. Plus it’s a fun way to get a feel for the neighborhood.

Snap your photo by the Austin “postcard” at West Annie Street and South 1st Street, but don’t leave without popping next door to La Patisserie for macaroons, or back over to SoCo to check out the selection at Allen’s Boots.

Some of the city’s jewels in terms of location and texture are here. Zilker Park, Barton Springs, the Long Center, and St. Edward’s University are among the treasures on this side of town.

Beyond the centrally located and uber-cool 78704 ZIP code, most neighborhoods start to have a more suburban feel. Newer homes and family-oriented communities become the norm and the retail landscape shifts to the popular, mainstream brands.

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