Of course Austin has its malls. But if you really want to stand out at the next office party or family gift exchange, steer clear of Nordstrom and head to these local Austin gems. Home to a wide array of outrageous and offbeat shopping destinations, here are a few places guaranteed to make sure your next present truly unforgettable.
Ensure you're doing your part to "keep Austin weird" now:
Novelties and Nostalgia at Toy Joy
Although the exterior of its old location in South Austin was a little quirkier, the inside still remains very much so at Toy Joy’s new central downtown location. Sushi roll Christmas ornaments? Check. Bacon favored breath mints? Check. All the games you dreamt of as a kid but Santa forgot to bring you? Definitely check. A staple in Austin since the ‘80s, Toy Joy is famous for it’s wacky and exotic toy collection, for children and adults alike.
Hunt for Treasures at Uncommon Objects
An antique and vintage shop like no other, Uncommon Objects is an explosion of your grandmother’s attic and the garage sale of your dreams. Sensory overload, if you can focus your eyes and take it all in, you’ll find things hanging from the ceiling, covering the walls, and stacked from the ground up. Mounted bison heads, cowboy relics, and mannequins are just a few of the oddities you can find here.
International Delights at Tesoros Trading Company
Another great South Austin gem, Tesoros has collected items from around the world that you didn’t even know existed. Until you have to have them. Mexican superhero masks, life-sized Buddha heads, baskets weaved out of magazines, and Dia de los Muertos dolls all under one roof makes for an international shopping spree, but you will be amazed at how easy it will be to check off all the names on your holiday shopping list with their one of the kind finds.
Get Festive at Piñata Party Palace
If you really want to be the life of the party, or if you just really want a socially acceptable reason to hit something, pay a visit to the Piñata Party Palace, that sells, you guessed it, dozens of piñatas. The shelves are lined with minions, superheroes, dragons, cowboy boots, and Angry Birds all for very reasonable prices, plus other party supplies. If you’re feeling extra kooky, they can custom make any design so if you ever felt like whacking your boss, this may be a good alternative (although I wouldn’t recommend doing it right in front of him).
Visit a Local Institution: BookPeople
So a bookstore isn’t quite as fun as a party palace or a store full of skeletons, but Austin’s independently owned and operated BookPeople is a local institution. Famous for fighting off the giant chains, they’re the original ones who popularized the phrase “Keep Austin Weird,” back in the ‘70s, solidifying a place in Texas history. It still has plenty of quirky sections including an extensive incense collection and a variety of local merchandise.