We’re constantly reminded how much the whole country loves Austin. Everywhere we travel, when we say we’re from Austin, the response is “I love Austin” or “I can’t wait to check out Austin.”
Even if you live in the capital city, it’s equally fun to staycation and play tourist for a day, . Here are a few of our favorite downtown spots that make for a great day or weekend.
They’re fun; they’re super functional; and great for the environment. Electric bikes can be one of the most enjoyable ways to get around, whether you live in the city or country. Especially useful to commute in town, these foldable (one version), lightweight (50-60 lbs with battery) bikes are helping city commuters make biking possible again. (They flatten the hills, so to speak.)
MOD Bikes on South First in Austin provides a location for interested e-bikers to try out a model and easily order — although they have a waiting list until September due to the pandemic. And, they even offer city tours for day use. MOD Bikes were voted “Best Bike Shop in Austin” last year for great reason: top-notch customer service, knowledgeable staff/owners and easy maintenance/repair.
Interestingly, 60% of their buyers are the 60+ crowd, who have found that electric bikes make cycling possible again. With the booster system in the motor of the bike, you can easily maneuver back and forth between pedaling and using the electric system to power the bike. Commuters are using them; others buy an electric bike as a second vehicle; and some customers are simply having a ball using them as sport.
MOD Bikes even have a model that attaches a sidecar (like from old movies). One buyer plans to use her sidecar to store her wheelchair — brilliant! The bikes can easily charge using a wall socket (no need for fancy charging stations), have a range of 45-60 miles and can reach top speeds of 25-28 mph.
Bikes range from $1,990-$3,490, which seems very reasonable as a mode of transportation. Locks that fold up and slide into place on the underside of the bike make it easy to get around wherever you need to go, such as…
Situated in the heart of downtown Austin, directly across from Whole Foods Market and their highly photogenic ATX sign, SkinSpirit is the new kid on the day spa block. With an efficient and clean check-in process, this is a great option to rejuvenate your face.
Their signature Diamond Glow microdermabrasion treatment uses a diamond tip tool to thoroughly remove debris and dead skin cells, clear out pores, and reveal a youthful glow. The gentle treatment takes less than an hour, during which you can relax on a massage table while your technician educates you on each step of the process.
Topping the benefits of microdermabrasion are the immediate softness of your face and its healthy appearance. Unlike some chemical peels, this treatment requires no downtime, leaving you without severe irritation or noticeable redness. Just protect your newly-dewy skin with a light layer of sunscreen and a hat, if outdoor fun is on your agenda. You’ll also want to avoid washing your face for several hours, to receive optimal benefits from the high quality products applied.
After freshening up, head on over to…
Neighborhood Goods + Prim and Proper
Hop on your e-bike and head south across the river down to SoCo (South Congress) for a combined shopping and dining experience at the third location of Neighborhood Goods (NG) and Prim and Proper. (The other two are in Plano, TX, and Chelsea Market, NYC).
Having opened in Austin just before the pandemic began in March 2020, the progressive department store and bistro closed briefly, before reopening in June 2020. The Austin location’s popularity continues to soar.
Ample safety measures make you feel comfortable, not crowded. With 10,000 square feet of space, NG features unique local and international brands. Many brands are female-owned, sustainably sourced, and the result of start-ups.
Brands rotate on a weekly basis, so the store’s look is constantly evolving. Plus there’s a strong sense of customer service and community. Much of NG’s merchandise consists of brands primarily sold online. That means customers get the opportunity in NG to touch and feel the quality of products. Fitting rooms are available to try on clothing and cleaned routinely throughout business hours.
From greeting cards to jigsaw puzzles, loungewear to business and outerwear, device accessories to dog products, and cozy blankets to specialty home decor, there’s a world of products for travel and home. For that person in your life who seems to have everything, this is the place to find that unique gift that won’t be soon forgotten.
Prim and Proper
Inside NG, Prim and Proper offers food and beverage options catering to an active shopper’s appetite. Start your day here with breakfast tacos and gourmet coffee, or a pastry provided by Austin’s beloved Easy Tiger artisan bakery. Lunch options include soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers.
At the heart of this clean and thoughtfully staged store, Prim & Proper’s stunning circular bar offers a generous list of wine, beer, and nine hand-crafted cocktails. Look out for Happy Hour specials from 4-7 pm (MWF). Pair your drinks with the hummus plate, charcuterie and cheese board, burger and fries, or avocado toast, all for just $10 or below.
Dog-friendly Neighborhood Goods fits right into SoCo, while Prim and Proper’s patio tables beckon both you and your canine bestie to hydrate and relax.
Cover photo courtesy Four Seasons Austin
Marika Flatt is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine and was named “Outstanding Austin Communicator” 2021 by Women Communicators of Austin. Flatt has been the voice of the Weekend Trip Tips on NPR’s Texas Standard for over three years and is a regular travel contributor to TV shows across the state.
Dana Maass is a contributing writer, occupational therapist, and dog mom in Round Rock, TX. Also an Airbnb host, she is a lover of travel, food & wine, nature, sports, theatre, and community service. Maass volunteers with Sacred Heart Community Clinic and co-facilitates the “Still Standing” amputee support group, through St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.