Cool Guide to Parenting

The cool parent's guide to back-to-school shopping in Austin

The cool parent's guide to back-to-school shopping in Austin

School bus back of bus with writing
Tackle back-to-school shopping at these local stores. Courtesy photo

As summer comes to a close, our thoughts turn at a frantic rate to back-to-school shopping. If you find yourself shopping averse and dread spending the day scouring the malls for everything your little academic may need, we offer some unique and refreshing alternatives to last-minute forays into the suburban sprawl.

All these shops are within city limits and have local ties. So explore, shop, and have more fun as you gear up for the beginning of the year.

Fit Japanese Goods Store
If your kiddo is a fan of My Neighbor Totoro or Hello Kitty, look no further than Fit, the Japanese goods store that has the niftiest selection of back-to-school pencil toppers; art cases; notebooks; and for lunchtime, quirky animal bento boxes and chopsticks. Here you will find aisles of things you never knew you needed that will become favorites for your kids.

Kido Shoes
Back-to-school shoes. Probably the only time you can get your kiddo excited about the going back part. It’s bribery you can feel good about, especially if you know you are supporting a local family business like Kido Shoes. Colorful, cute, and comfortable is the name of the game here, with unique brands like Livie & Luca, Naturino, and See Kai Run that are committed to providing quality footwear for our active kids.

Once Upon a Child
Back-to-school shopping for clothing does not have to mean dragging our kids through the mall and spending a fortune on clothes sure to get worn or outgrown by spring. Gently used clothing is the way to go, and the selection and shopping experience at Once Upon a Child surpasses mall shopping any day. Carefully curated clothing from wee tots to pre-teens offer drastic price cuts on well-known brands such as Gap, Mini Boden, Old Navy, Osh Kosh, and more.

Paper Place
If your kid's school supply allows for some creativity or includes crayons, markers, and pencils, spend one of the last afternoons of summer dawdling in the aisles of Paper Place (locally owned since 1979), filling your basket with the practical goods along with quiet time activities like beading kits, origami books, or kid-sized sewing projects. Easing our way back into structured activities is always easier with art. 

SAFE Place back-to-school supply drive
While you are out with your kids stocking up on basics they may take for granted, like pens, notebooks, and markers, consider buying extra for kids in need. Through the end of August, SAFE Place will be accepting donations to assist the families that rely on their services. Over 39 percent of their residents are children.