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East Austinite Gifts

Our Holiday Gift Guide: What to buy an East Austinite

Windmill Bicycles entrance sign
Whether it's a much-needed tune-up or a new ride, any East Austinite will appreciate the gift of two-wheels. Photo by Windmill Bicycles/ Facebook
Mantis Massage
We can't imagine Mantis Massage remaining under the radar much longer. Give the gift of a massage and grab one for yourself. After all, who doesn't need a massage after spending a week with family? Photo by Mantis Massage/ Facebook
Switched On electronic gear
Switched On is the perfect place to grab essential gear for all the musicians in your life. Photo by Switched On/ Facebook
Farewell Books stack of books
Pick up some unique gifts at Farewell Books (and grab a few for yourself — you deserve it). Photo by Farewell Books/ Facebook
Purple cherokee tomatoes at In.gredients in Austin
Pick up some organic produce or bath products from in.gredients. In.gredients/Facebook
Windmill Bicycles entrance sign
Mantis Massage
Switched On electronic gear
Farewell Books stack of books
Purple cherokee tomatoes at In.gredients in Austin

If you're in need of unique gifts for the creative urbanite in your life (see, I didn't use the word "hipster" there), look no further than East Austin. Filled with mom and pop boutiques, studios and up-and-coming eateries, this lively neighborhood also has a wide range of places to shop. Being an East Austinite myself, I gravitate to these spots to procure some of my favorite Eastsider holiday gifts:

Gift for the graphic designer who has developed posture like the Hunchback of Notre Dame:
Mantis Massage
Located next to KOOP at 38th Street and Airport Boulevard, this massage studio not only offers traditional (and extraordinary!) Swedish and deep tissue massages, but  also provides trigger-point and advanced neuromuscular therapy for the person who needs a little more work. What makes this studio stand out above the rest is its attentive therapists and the price points. Oh, they also have playlists featuring M83 and Arthur Russell to zone out to. All massages are a dollar a minute in increments of 30, 60, 90 or 120. Full disclosure: I have had numerous trigger-point massages here, and I'm fairly certain my body involuntarily River Danced itself on the table. Insider tip: Ask for Laura-Anne.


Gift for the musician who dresses like Hollywood from Mannequin:

Switched On
For the wannabe 80s new wave rocker in your life (it's Austin — you at least have two of these friends), check out this East 11th Street store for a variety of new and vintage electronic keyboards, distortion pedals, effects and amps. If your friend is going through his exhausting Brian Eno phase, come here for your wide selection of Moogs and synths.

Gift for a girlfriend or boyfriend who has talked about riding his or her bike to work for the past five years:

Windmill Bicycles
Owned by a sister-and-brother team and named after the windmill that sits on their centenarian grandmother's farm, this Manor Road bicycle shop offers competitive bicycle maintenance and repair prices ($25 for single-geared tune-up; $45 for geared), with a sweet selection of hip and stylish helmets, baskets and other accessories for your two-wheeler. They also boast a snazzy collection of vintage-inspired and photo-friendly bicycles that will make any peddler look like he or she is posing for an Austin tourism ad. Extra bonus: they also sell gorgeous cardboard artwork by Landry McMeans.

Gift for the friend who brings a typewriter to the coffee shop:

Farewell Books

For the friend who frequently uses the word "postmodern" in his or her conversations, this book store/art gallery in the former Domy Books location on East Cesar Chavez offers a wide selection of weird and collectible books. Currently, you can get your hands on unique finds such as the collected fanzines of filmmaker Harmony Korine, Car Crash Studies by Nicola Howalt and The End of Living the Beginning of Survival by deceased street artist Dash Snow.
Gift for the friend who has reached the age when they want to start eating/wearing natural items in order to detox from all the bad things they did in their twenties:
Let's face it, no matter how hip East Austin wants to be, there still is a little bit of hippie in all of us. This Manor Road grocer, famous for having little-to-no packaging, offers a great selection of local food and wine, including Austin draft beer growlers, Zhi Tea, Third Coast Coffee, Lick ice cream, produce from urban farms — the list goes on and on. In.gredients is also a great place for bundling together a holiday gift basket of local sundries. Look for their natural shampoo, soap and oils available by the pound.

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