Though deeply entrenched in music, Austin's collective consciousness has always had one eye towards fixed on the development of a strong art and design scene.
Over the past few years — months, even — more and more shops with a curated selection of homewares, jewelry, textiles, art, books and nifty knick-knacks have cropped up in the center of town.
If you still have some holiday shopping to take care of, look no further than the below design-focused stores for inspiration. These are the types of shops where you might up shopping for yourself rather than sticking to the original mission you entered with.
2151 South Lamar Boulevard
This South Lamar storefront specializes in what the owners call "modern classics." You'll find handcrafted objects with a focus on home design that are nothing if not classic and sleek. The focus is on the artist at Mockingbird, with a featured venders on rotation and on display each month.
These are actually two separate stores, housed within adjoining spaces. Spartan boasts immaculately designed merchandise and objects from around the world like golden barber scissors, recycled bottle planters, ceramic bowls and niche magazines like The Gentlewoman.
JM Drygoods adds a mesmerizing array of color to the space with Latin-inspired everything, including hand-embroidered Odilon blouses, blankets, rugs, candles and sage. Together, these stores make a strong statement that Austin not only knows good taste but loves an obscure designer.
2210 South First Street
The newest kid on the block, Nannie Inez bursts onto the design-concept scene with an interior space defined by mathematical lines, funky furniture and downright happiness. The sharply executed objects sourced everywhere from Japan to England remind you that life doesn't have to be all that serious. It's the place to visit when in the mood for dream-inducing exploration.
Aviary Decor & Lounge
2410 South Lamar Boulevard
The only store brave enough to tempt the fate of a wine bar nestled within displays of very expensive furniture, Aviary is a multifunctional design-and-furniture-store-cum-hangout. A visit to Aviary doesn't mean you'll be pressured into a big ticket item; it's also a great place to go to learn about wine from the owners, which you can then go purchase just down the street at South Lamar Wine & Spirits.
Tribe: A Pop-Up Shop
609 Congress Avenue
Open only until December 23, Tribe is the fruit of two sisters' labor who have brought in an array of products from L.A., London, New York, Paris and Austin. Jewelry, limited edition art, iPhone cases, T-shirts and the like can be found in Tribe's temporary home above Royal Blue Grocery on Congress Avenue. These are seasoned fashion industry gals, so expect highfalutin' taste, limited quantities, but reasonable price-points.
1011 West Fifth Street
Not local, but still a gem. Jonathan Adler's Austin storefront is full of vases, pillows, and books with "pop." This is the go-to place for any design-conscious friend with a sense of humor as wicked as Adler's (we recently interviewed him here). Our favorite? The ceramic canister marked "Puppy Uppers," perfect for your pal's treats.