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:
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:
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:
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:
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.