2023 Readers Poll
2023 Critics Picks

photo by Wayne Lim

Best Head Shop in a Food Truck Park

If you're looking to buy a pipe at 11pm on a Wednesday, have we got the spot for you. Something about an open-air head shop just feels right, and this West Campus spot surrounded by food trucks manages to feel old-timey (and vaguely like a booth in a Pirates of the Caribbean-style outdoor market?) despite the actual modernity of such a concept. True to its name, the shop – which boasts two other locations around town – deals in locally blown glass, and you can even watch live glass blowing. Plus, there's bud!

The Glassmith
2512 Rio Grande St.

Best Heirloom Relocator

In a sea of resellers focused on NASCAR tees and Nineties synthetics, Jello Mom Vintage’s offerings actually feel like something that may stick around in your wardrobe and home. Leather loafers, patchwork pants, maybe a framed print – the quaint, quality Americana of curator/stylist Katelyn Mitchell makes an excellent Instagram follow, with local pickup available. To shop the easygoing cotton, leather, and Southwestern weaves in person, find the seller at regular trendy market lineups around town like Passport, Lolo, and Better Half.

via Instagram

via website

Most Metal Accessories

Chain mail used to be worn beneath suits of armor – the hottest look on ye olde battlefield. Now, sick-nasty accessories like the ones crafted by trans- & nonbinary-owned jeweler Desired Objects do combat on the fields of fashion. What weapon forged by man can pierce your stone-cold style when you’re drenched in hand-linked surgical steel jump rings? The haters will simply not prosper. Wearers of Desired Objects' chain mail necklaces, rings, hair clips, and bracelets, however, are welcome in the kingdom of hottie heaven. Amen!

Most Kitties and Kitsch Per Square Inch

When you’ve got to have that purr-fect present for an ailurophile or are on the hunt for a quirky white elephant gift, this is the place. You’ll find tons of treasures you didn’t know you needed from the vast selection of feline-themed goodies, vintage toys, buttons, figures, T-shirts, cards, books, jewelry, thingamabobs, and whatsits, and enthusiastic owner Lani Steingraph will help you navigate the matchbox-sized, densely stocked boutique.

5732 Burnet Rd.

photo by John Anderson

via website

Best Upscale Eye Candy

Noticed a string of celebs snapped wearing subtly diamond-shaped eyewear? Or perhaps locally, among the shades-after-dark Justine's Brasserie and Coconut Club crowds? Such sunnies are the signature Siren shape by VADA, designed in Austin and handmade in Japan in a rainbow of acetate colors. Launched with a focus on fine jewelry, which the brand continues to craft, creative director Katie Caplener has risen to eyewear cult status on the noses of Bad Bunny, Leon Bridges, and Ty Haney. Starting at $420, these wares are not for the sartorially faint of heart. Peruse in person at VADA’s Austin studio (hours on @studio_vada).

Best Metro Retro for Your Get-Go

Jessica Nieri's well-curated vintage shop on the Eastside is a portal to the most stylish parts of decades past – from the Forties to the Nineties – whether you're seeking men's or women's fashions, I-remember-those housewares, jewelry, bicycles, furniture, artifacts, or the unique oddities that no one else will have. This swellegant store not only invites much delightful browsing, but also supercharges its offerings with occasional maker markets and concerts in the adjoining courtyard.

Blackfeather Vintage Works
979 Springdale

photo by John Anderson

photo by John Anderson

Best Weekday Farm Stand in an Airstream Trailer

This urban farm stand – really an Airstream trailer nestled among the bucolic backdrop of, uh, Oltorf Street – is the prime destination for locals seeking farmers' market goodies beyond your usual farmers' market hours. Owned by the folks behind Belle Vie and Shirttail Creek Farms, here you'll find pasture-raised pork, poultry, and eggs and grass-finished beef seven days a week. The friendly staff create a warm and welcoming experience for customers, who can shop for locally sourced honey, produce, and coffee, and even get raw milk on Wednesdays. Local Pastures is a haven for those who support local agriculture and savor the delicious flavors of Central Texas.

Local Pastures
1301 W. Oltorf

Best Chari-Tees (and Socks)

This Austin-based company makes only the finest socks, from thigh-high to ankle to compression, and the softest T-shirts, all for a cause: to promote personal well-being. Pride Socks believes that when people are proud of who they are, they can accomplish their dreams. In just over a year, their “Drag Is Not a Crime” T-shirt has helped raise over $3K, which Pride Socks has given directly to Drag Story Hour. Meanwhile their “custom for a cause” design collaborations with folks like former NBA player Jason Collins and musician Brandi Carlile have raised awareness and funds for such nonprofits as the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students, and Looking Out Foundation, which promotes empowerment through music.

Courtesy of Pride Socks

photo by Jana Birchum

Cheapest Thrill

This gem of a thrift store boasts hidden treasure across so many beloved “vintage” categories: clothing, housewares, toys, fabrics, jewelry, wigs. The key is appreciating the diversity of goods and finding the gems: that black velvet blazer of your dreams, or an acid-washed gray denim jacket, or an Adidas track jacket. Discover some older picture frames to repurpose. Snatch that elegant glass dome you can cover cheese with to dazzle guests, or that brand-new cast iron frying pan. Here, South Austin thrifters always know they're going to score.

Thrift Land
512 W. Stassney

Best Fizzy Water Delivered Straight to Your Doorstep

Bubbs Seltzer is a zero-waste alternative to corporate fizzy water. Subscribe to Bubbs, get refillable seltzer bottles delivered to your home, and make all the bespoke sodas, cocktails, and zero-proof concoctions you can dream of. Level up and use Bubbs' seasonal syrups, shrubs, and bitters to fancy up your drinks. If that's too much of a commitment, you can get a single seltzer or soda at Barrett's Coffee or at the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller. A kicky pineapple ginger soda made with seltzer sourced from the Texas Hill Country is a great way to beat the heat.

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