Stepping Out

 Shopping

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Written by Shannon Barrientes / Images Provided by Allen Boots
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shopping-steppingout2A ustin has a reputation as a trendsetter and the spirit of being so unique is most certainly found in its wide array of shopping options. Trendy outdoor shopping grounds are all the rage in Austin, from the versatile and stylish Domain to the gorgeously rolling Hill County Galleria.

Literally dozens of stores are waiting for you to explore them, all in a convenient row, with lots of entertainment in the form of dining, music and street vendors along the way. And even downtown you can find the Second Street District for a centrally located shopping district. Whether locally owned boutique shopping is your thing or upper scale finds are more for you, Austin has that and everything in between.

From trendy and diverse to sophisticated and chic you can find it here. Along with the retail chain department stores you are accustomed to finding in most major cities, Austin has many independent, one-of-a-kind stores that make for fun and exciting shopping experiences. What does support the spirit of the “Keep Austin Weird” motto, are numerous peculiar stores, stylish boutiques, art galleries and antique shops lining the streets of downtown.

First Thursday is a great tradition that, as the name suggests, takes place the first Thursday of each month. On this day all of the shops and restaurants along South Congress Avenue stay open late, offering special sales and offers, plus the amusement of people watching.

But it’s not all about the odd and offbeat. Austin has traditional stores as well, and one of the best places to explore them is The Domain. A 700,000 square foot outdoor shopping center, The Domain offers traditional anchors such as Dillard’s and Macy’s along with luxury shopping at stores like Neiman Marcus. There are many designer shops as well, Cole Haan, David Yurman and Michael Kors among them. If you work up an appetite while at The Domain, you are in luck because California Pizza Kitchen, Daily Grill and Austin Cake Ball Kitchen & Bar are there for your enjoyment.

Another beautiful, natural, outdoor shopping center in Austin is the Arboretum at Great Hills. Home to a wide range of national retailers, the Arboretum offers great shopping in a relaxed park-like area. The Pottery Barn, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Sephora, Z Gallerie and the Gap are just of few of the retailers that make up this calm shopping environment. And once you are done shopping, head over to Cheesecake Factory or Five Guys Burgers for a bite to eat. With so many exciting retail centers to appeal to you, don’t overlook the local stores.

Shopping at locally owned stores benefits the culture of the community. Visitors and locals love the originality of the Austin spirit, and spending a portion of your budget with local merchants helps to preserve what is unique about Austin. Some of the most original treasures and finds, such as art, jewelry, clothing, toys and more can be found at one-of-a-kind stores that can only be found in Austin.

If you love Austin be sure to love your locals! Visit the Austin Independent Business Alliance website at www.ibuyaustin.com for a list of locally owned businesses. The AIBA is a nonprofit organization of locally owned and operated independent businesses that have joined together to promote the cultural and economic benefits of shopping locally. AIBA works to ensure the success of Austin’s local independent businesses so that we can continue to contribute to Austin’s rich character and vibrant quality of life.

Whether you’re at the fabulous outlet malls, on South Congress for First Thursday, or midtown finding some local treasures, you have so much to choose from. With all of the shopping choices that Austin has to offer, you are sure to discover the perfect place for you whether you enjoy shopping indoors or out, at stores you know and love or at new and different shops.