Austin is a lot of things, but it's mostly young, progressive, musical, creative, and gay—all in the best possible way. It's no secret that gays and lesbians are welcomed here more openly and enthusiastically than in most other regions of this primarily conservative state. Austin is a little liberal bubble that sits just southeast of the very center, surrounded by some , miles of cornfields and cacti. It is renowned for hosting the annual South by Southwest Festival and for its thriving music scene.
During the blistering heat of Austin summers, many shoppers still flock to air-conditioned malls, but many of the newer developments are mixed-use with both residential and retail sections, lending them more of a neighborhood vibe. For those in search of the weird old Austin of yesteryear, there are still a few shops on South Congress Avenue and in pockets throughout the city that defy easy categorization. Around Halloween, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds is always packed with shoppers looking to assemble the perfect costume. Austin's city center holds more than commercial high-rises and government offices — urban lofts, sidewalk eateries and local boutiques abound, particularly in the Second Street District. The three-block area provides an alternative shopping experience to the standard indoor mall.
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The city's growth has led to major traffic. Use public transportation, bikes, car2go, Uber, pedicabs, or your own two feet to get around whenever possible. BY Shelley Seale. Shopaholics will be pleased with what they find in the Austin shopping scene —whether your style is retro vintage, upscale fashion designer or all things wacky and wonderful for the home or gifts. The usual range of chain department stores and shopping malls are in evidence of course, but the city has notable independents as well, such as Book People and Waterloo Records.