First is best

Hip South Austin 'hood named coolest in the country

Hip South Austin 'hood named coolest in the country

Greetings from Austin mural on South First Street
South First is a destination for locals and tourists alike. Photo courtesy of Roadhouse Relics

Money magazine has validated something we’ve known for a long time: South First Street in South Austin is one of the coolest neighborhoods in the country.

South First ranks eighth among the magazine’s 10 hippest ’hoods in the U.S. for tourists and business travelers. No other neighborhood in Texas shows up on the list, which appears in the magazine’s January/February 2018 print edition.

Amy Balfour, a travel writer for Lonely Planet, a publisher of travel guides, tells Money that South First visitors shouldn’t be fooled by what looks like a “ho-hum stretch of cottages, food trucks, and weathered buildings.”

Money says it worked with experts at Lonely Planet to identify neighborhoods around the country where visitors can try trendy restaurants, shop for artisan wares, and sample craft beers.

“Tourist traps are a dime a dozen in big cities, but many popular urban destinations have up-and-coming enclaves that serve as cool alternatives to the guidebook staples,” Money says.

In Austin, South First serves as a “cool alternative” to the nearby — and much more hyped — “guidebook staple” of South Congress. Money also advises readers to check out stalwart eateries like Bouldin Creek Cafe and Torchy’s Tacos. 

Visit Austin, the city’s tourism arm, aptly describes South First this way:

“An artery of unique shops and delicious eateries, South First Street is an interesting area of South Austin that begs to be explored and yet remains somewhat off the beaten path. Here you will find eclectic stores and vintage goodies next to ethnic restaurants and buzzing coffee shops.”

Other “emerging” neighborhoods singled out by Money are:

  • East Liberty and Lawrenceville in Pittsburgh
  • Avondale in Chicago
  • Point Loma in San Diego
  • Frelard in Seattle
  • East Nashville in Nashville
  • Capitol Riverfront and Yards Park in Washington, D.C.
  • Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York
  • Montavilla in Portland, Oregon
  • River North in Denver