2019 Readers Poll
2019 Critics Picks

Photo by John Anderson

Best "Let's Get Sweaty" Gear

#DoingThings – especially outdoorsy things – is a motto most Austinites can get behind, which might explain our (and the world’s) obsession with Outdoor Voices. But Tyler Haney's activewear brand is a lot more than a motto. The fabric-first, sustainably made fitness apparel goes beyond your regular athleisure because it’s actually designed for you to get sweaty while wearing it. From form-sculpting leggings to crop top sports bras, shorts, fleeces, and a few swimsuits, OV – headquartered right here in Austin – suits you up to get outside and get active without feeling too underdressed or overstuffed. Plus their Blanco Street store embodies much of the line's understated elegance-meets-comfort vibe.

Outdoor Voices
606 Blanco St

Best Appliances on the Cheap

Did you just get the news that your washer isn't worth repairing? Can't afford to replace it with one of those fancy washers that connects to your wi-fi and tweets the status of your unmentionables? Just south of Highway 71 sits an unsuspecting warehouse with a wide selection of refurbished appliances priced to sell. What's more, the staff will install it and promptly fix it (while still under warranty) for no charge. You'll come out looking cleaner, and your bank account will still be in the black.

Alberto's Appliances
4118 Todd

photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Best Buddhist Community Garage Sale

This meditation center's periodic garage sale is like a traveling market drifting across the Saharan desert: You never know when it will appear or how long it will last, scheduling and linear time being two constructs the adherents of the center are presumably hoping to renounce. When it does pop up, though, you can always count on remarkable finds. Think vintage cast-iron cookware, silk scarves, somebody's collection of opera records – fabulous material things to practice not being attached to.

Palri Pema Od Ling
605 E. 45th

Best Collection of Creepy and Occult Offerings

On the hunt for the freakish and far-out? Searching for a dark shop filled with occult objects and kitschy merch from your favorite spooky figures – Elvira, Nosferatu, even that ghost with the most, Beetlejuice? When pondering where in jolly ol’ weird Austin one might find a two-headed skeleton a room away from candles displaying a well-hung devil of the bathhouse, listen to the wind as it whispers the name of this vampiric cove of creep right off First Street.

photo by Shelley Hiam

Photo by Shelley Hiam

Best Home Decor Heaven

Decorating the 2019 home is a tricky business. You want the sleekness of West Elm without the yawn factor, and the funk of your favorite vintage store without the dust. Naturally, you also want candles. And plants. As the welcoming name would suggest, Clarksville home goods stop Open Invite checks all the above boxes with a colorful blend of independent brands and vintage wares. Austin native Mary Rose Wiley opened up shop in June, pinpointing playful gifts, chic ceramics, and the best emerging designers on Instagram.

Best New Spot for a Book and a Beer

We love independent bookstores, and even more so when we can enjoy a pint with our paperback. Lark & Owl was opened by a group of women in downtown Georgetown in April of this year, and in August, they debuted a bistro inside of the store, serving sandwiches, salads, and breakfast, plus beer, cocktails, and coffee. The seriously charming space has fast become a community hub, hosting children's storytime, trivia nights, and author signings, and including a diversity of voices on the shelves and for in-store events has been a focus for the team since the start.

Lark & Owl Booksellers
205 W. Sixth St. #101

Best Nightmare in Time for Christmas

For some of us, The Nightmare Before Christmas isn't just a movie: It's a way of life. So for anyone in your life who likes their tinsel black, their wreaths ready for the tomb or the front door, and their centerpieces with a carnivorous plant, Horror for the Holidays is the ideal place to pick up a gift. Organized by Austin's terror connoisseurs at Blood Over Texas (and most especially by the queen of satanic shopping, Bunny Voodoo), the annual two-day fair of fright is your perfect opportunity to sit on Krampus' lap.

Best Non-Traditional Musical Instruments

If you're a synth-head and want to spice up your sound, Mickey Delp has been wiring up something just for you. Think of a Wiimote that turns your movement and buttons into bent notes; or the ThunderBell Analog Cowbell, which is as badass as it sounds. Let Delptronics transform your usual knob twiddles and button presses into something more physical, and set your live performances free without sacrificing your sound.

Photo by Bret Brookshire

photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Best Place to Buy Prada for Next to Nada

Fifth Avenue has found its way to the 2ND Street District with this high-end clothing and accessory Southern chain, which boasts 70-90% off retail every day. Brands like good hYOUuman, Gold Hawk, and Billy Reid (for the fellas) fill the racks for under 50 big ones. Even the pricier picks are a fraction of their usual lip-biting cost: affordable Italian leather shoes, Helmut Lang for under a hundred, a pink Prada flare dress reduced from $2,400 to $250. As close to nada as top designer gets.

United Apparel Liquidators
249 W. Second

Best Place to Don Your A(TX) Apparel

Lizelle Villapando's stalwart and dog-friendly SoCo shop of locally produced clothing (and artwork and gifts) is deeply Austin-centric and Texas-forward, offering a sweet variety of graphic T-shirts among their wares: the sort of comfortable cotton torso-sheathes that let everyone know you're from these here parts, by damn. Perfect shirt for the relentlessly unemployed: "Grackle Got No Boss," with that trashy corvid looking all smug.

Parts & Labour
1704 S. Congress

photo by Jana Birchum

image via facebook

Best Satellite Vinyl Emporiums

Vinyl road trip, anyone? With the artistic revival of Texas small towns comes two new standout record stores beyond city limits. In Lockhart, pink storefront Bluebonnet Records presents new and used vinyl, CDs, and cassettes, with a spirited emphasis on Texas and local acts. Co-owning power couple/punk players Kana Harris (Xetas) and Cody Kimbell (Super Thief) aim to make analog audio accessible for all. Meanwhile in Bastrop, Astro Record Store finds a home for veteran Austin Record Convention seller Kevin Mawby’s vintage collection. Offering a treasure trove of yellow crates in the historic Downtown, this shop focuses on used-vinyl matchmaking.

Astro Record Store
705 Pine St.

Bluebonnet Records
112 E. Market St.

Best Styles for Your Head

The human head is a fine contraption, but even the most resplendent locks or shiniest dome can do with a little high-quality augmentation – and the Hatbox is exactly the place to find it. Can't tell a fedora from a Dirted Hank? Fascinated by fascinators? Can't decide between a pillbox and a headband? After 45 years of millinery magic, the Hatbox will find your perfect headgear and have you stepping out in style.

Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery
704 Congress

Photo by Bret Brookshire

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