SHOP, DINE

What's New in the 2nd Street District

Spring has sprung in the 2SD, and in keeping with the season, delightful new things are abloom. From a fashionable pop-up and a gentlemanly apothecary to an Italian bakery and cafe on an up-and-coming streetcorner, fresh additions to the district are popping up like bluebonnets and we couldn't be more pleased.

Alimentari 28

Local Italian eatery Numero 28 quickly became a neighborhood favorite when it opened its doors a couple of years ago and began serving up Neapolitan pizzas, delicious pastas, perfect espresso drinks and gelato galore. Now, it's building on that success with its newly-opened space next door: Alimentari 28, a casual Italian bakery and cafe that already feels like home.

What's the vibe, exactly? Well, Thea Newell of The Austin Chronicle says it best: "Staffed largely by native Italians, who greet guests with an enthusiastic “Buongiorno,” and staying true to the Italian eatery set up of lunch items on display bakery-style, Alimentari 28 feels classically and authentically Italian. For those who have spent any time in Italy, the cafe will feel welcoming and nostalgic." We couldn't agree more. Stop in for a bite before word gets out and the line starts to stretch out the door.

Alimentari 28, 454 West 2nd Street

Finley's Apotheke

For the man who has everything except the perfect beard oil, Finley's Barber Shop has expanded its offerings to include the brand new retail concept, Apotheke, which opened last month. The hometown haircutter's shop next door (connected behind Cathy's Cleaners in what Community Impact calls "a horseshoe") has everything a dapper dude could need to stay that way, from colognes and beard products to gourmet hair products and fine accessories.

Congrats are also in order for this local favorite: the Austin-based barbershop brand has grown to encompass eight locations around town (including its one-two punch with Apotheke complementing its 2SD shop) plus two in Dallas, and it's soon expanding into Houston and Denver, topping things off with a third Dallas location to boot.

Finley's Apotheke, 209 West 3rd Street

UAL

"Is this store the best-kept secret in fashion?" The New York Times recently asked its readers, referring to the up-and-coming Nashville-based retailer known simply as U.A.L. Here in the 2SD, we're inclined to say yes, but the secret's out now, and it's about to spread far and wide: as of early April, U.A.L. (short for "United Apparel Liquidators") has erected a pop-up shop at the corner of 2nd and Lavaca since leaving its former spot on South Congress. In business since 1980, it sells designer clothing from the likes of Balenciaga, Celine, Isabel Marant, Rodarte and more, at a mere fraction of the usual price.

"Technically, U.A.L. belongs to the booming retail category known as off-price," says NYT writer Steven Kurutz. "But where discounters like Nordstrom Rack and T. J. Maxx have a bargain-basement atmosphere and leftover-seeming merchandise, UAL feels like a designer boutique. Imagine walking into Jeffrey in New York or Fred Segal in Los Angeles and discovering it’s having an everything-must-go fire sale."

UAL, 249 West 2nd Street

Get it while it's hot, Austin. We'll see you around the neighborhood.

Want to keep up on all things 2SD? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and check back here for the latest news on and around 2nd Street in beautiful downtown Austin, Texas.

DINE, SHOP

Valentine's Day in Austin's 2nd Street District

February 14 is fast approaching here in the 2SD (and everywhere), and happy hearts are setting their sights on the perfect way to spend the evening. Reservations around town are filling up fast, but never fear: Valentine's Day in Austin's 2nd Street District offers a plethora of ways to treat your honey right. Ready to spoil the object of your affection? Read on for menu specials and gift ideas galore.

Taste the Romance: Valentine's Day Restaurant Recommendations

Sink your teeth into some New American cuisine at The Bonneville, which offers a sumptuous 4-course prix fixe menu ($65 per person) on the 14th, including smoked mushroom tian, ricotta agnolotti pasta with mini chicken meatballs, warm lobster nicoise, tiramisu and more. Dinner comes with a complimentary Persephone Punch, and you can add wine pairings for $30.

Can't decide between surf and turf? Have both in style at III Forks, offering a three-course prix fixe menu ($160 per couple) from February 10 through 14. It includes dinner for two featuring filet mignon and coldwater lobster tails served with whipped potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, vine ripened tomatoes and spring onions, and chocolate lovers' dessert. Additional wine pairings and champagne are on offer to make the evening pop.

Lovers of the grape, rejoice: CRU Food & Wine Bar on 2nd Street is serving up a perfect 4-courses Valentine's meal with your choice of filet of sole with crawfish nantua, roasted mushrooms and jumbo asparagus; beef tenderloin with pommes puree, haricot verts and green peppercorn sauce; or lamb loin with provencal vegetables, roasted baby yukon gold potatoes and sauce choron. The $55 prix fixe menu runs alongside an exhaustive list of wines from all over the world; instead of committing to just one, try one of CRU's famed wine flights to find your favorite vintage.

In the mood for some laid-back elegance? Bring your valentine to La Condesa for a romantic menu of specials featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients from Texas providers. Its exclusive seasonal menu can be enjoyed a la carte or as a shared plate experience to elevate your dinner favorites to the next level. Then, finish the night strong at La Condesa's adjacent bar, known for its specialty cocktails like the Alma Blanca or a classic pisco sour.

If simplicity is key and all you want is a touch of old world romance and some finger-licking good Neapolitan pizza, look no further than Numero 28. Treat your favorite person to a delicious southern Italian experience: indulge in fresh pastas, oven-fired pizzas, small plates and Italian wines served in a warm and intimate atmosphere.

Super Sweet Gifts Galore

There's no shortage of great gifts to shower upon your beloved. From artisanal soaps and spa products to unique jewelry and dapper menswear, you're sure to find something to surprise your valentine and/or #treatoself with this year. Take a gander at what's for sale in the 2SD this February:

Feather your nest with gorgeous, organic goods from Hacienda...

Keep your gent outfitted to the hilt with threads from League of Rebels...

Melt the stress away with apothecary products from Luxe Apothetique...

Set the mood for love with luxury goodies from Mercury Design Studio...

Inhale deeply and enjoy ultimate indulgence from milk + honey...

Knock 'em dead with retro-chic looks from Modcloth...

Get the "person who has everything" something cool from PRIZE...

Add a touch of color with local fave Rae Cosmetics...

Bejewel them (or yourself!) with baubles from Sikara & Co...

Or work up a sweat together with fitness gear from St. Bernard.

For more tips on enjoying the 2nd Street District and everything it offers, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Have yourself a happy heart day and we'll see you around the neighborhood!

Keep Your Fitness Resolutions in the 2nd Street District

When it comes to wellness and worknig out, the arrival of the new year offers a perfect starting point from which we can step up our game, renewing our resolutions and taking time to sweat each day. For Austinites, opportunities abound to try out new fitness routines, incorporate healthy foods into their day-to-day routines, and get those heart rates up while keeping stress at bay. Thanks to the concentration of wellness-oriented businesses downtown, it's easier than ever to keep your fitness resolutions in the 2nd Street District. Read on to learn about the flavors, fitness brands and fashion retailers just waiting to make your 2017 as healthy as can be.

Gear Up at Saint Bernard

Whether you're in need of a fresh pair of yoga pants, the perfect running shoes, new water bottle or high-performance pullover to keep you warm in the winter on the hike and bike trail, Saint Bernard's got you covered. The national sports outfitter has been curating and selling the best sporting goods and gear since 1978, and its Austin outpost keeps downtown denizens all geared up for whatever adventures they choose to take on.

Shake It Off at Ballet Austin

Ballet Austin isn't just the home of graceful pro ballerinas; it's also a hub for community fitness classes, instructing Austinites on the basics and finer points of everything from yoga and Pilates to hip hop and, yes, ballet. Its Butler Center for Dance and Fitness hosts more than 80 classes a week, including a hotter-than-hot Videodance series with offerings like the Beyonce Get Me Bodied workshop, running Feb 9-23. If you're feeling the need to shimmy, shake or pirouet your way to peak fitness this year, this is your spot.

Break a Sweat at RIDE

Ready to push yourself to the limit and do some serious cardio? RIDE Indoor Cycling is ready to put you to the test in its studio at Lavaca and Cesar Chavez. Buy a series of classes or just sign up for a trial class and shoe rental to get a taste of the action. Daytime parking can be validated in the AMLI Downtown and City Hall garages (the latter being best for early-morning riders).

Cool Down at Daily Juice

Once you've worked up a sweat and need some refreshment, pop into Daily Juice for a juice, smoothie, salad or acai bowl. This Austin original has been keeping customers nourished and energized since 2003, and its location near AMLI Downtown is perfect for rejuvenating yourself after a lake or city run, a dance class or an invigorating indoor cycling session. Or, if it's just a healthier breakfast or lunch alternative you're after, look no further than this favorite local spot where "fresh" is always the word of the day.

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Want more inspiration for things to do, see, taste and try in the heart of downtown Austin? Keep an eye on the 2nd Street District's happenings by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. See you around the neighborhood!

2nd Street District Holiday Happenings

'Tis the season to bundle up, go off in search of the perfect gifts for the ones we love, and enjoy the delights of December. In the 2nd Street District, that means special events galore, where locals and visitors alike stroll along our sidewalks, supporting downtown businesses while indulging in holiday treats and entertainment under the twinkling lights.

photo: Zappy Springs

photo: Zappy Springs

So far this month, we've hosted a handful of glee-filled gatherings, from the 2nd Street Social Sip & Stroll to our first-ever Santa Lounge. Take a gander at the fun we've been having in the heart of Austin this holiday season--if you breathe deeply enough, you just might catch a whiff of hot chocolate.

For the inaugural Santa Lounge, held at 3TEN Austin City Limits Live, a host of local businesses got in on the action: Cafe Ruckus provided piping hot cocoa while Bribery Bakery kept things sweet with free treats; Rae Cosmetics prepped everyone (the big guy included!) for their Santa photos taken by Zappy Springs; Toy Joy kept things hopping with an awesome kids zone; and since it's not a celebration without classic holiday cartoons, Violet Crown Austin knew just what to bring to the screen.

For the 2nd Street Social Sip & Stroll, holiday shoppers enjoyed cocktails at local retailers like Flor, Saint Bernard, Sikara & Co., and Teddies for Bettys, taking in the sights of the student-decorated shop windows along the way. Window competition judges included KEYE's Taylor Ellison, Mix 94.7's Brad Booker, and Austin Way's Kathy Blackwell; this year's winner was Colleen McCool, who gussied up the League of Rebels Menswear window with a festive, dapper theme. And the newest visual addition to the 2SD landscape, sure to pop up soon in plenty of Instagrams (and rightly so), is the custom "Love Will Win" mural installed by beloved local street artist Mike Johnston and unveiled to an approving Sip & Stroll crowd.

Curious about what's next in the district? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with what's going down, and stay tuned right here for more holiday happenings in the 2SD.

Shop Small Biz Saturday in 2ND Street District

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become household terms over the years, but no retail holiday says "Austin" quite like Small Business Saturday. Dreamed up by American Express and gaining traction in recent years as more holiday shoppers support local businesses while crossing off items on their gift lists, the event falls on November 26 this year. Luckily for Austinites, the 2ND Street District is a one-stop destination for all things festive and fun, and this Small Business Saturday, deals and discounts abound.

Get it while it's hot

On Saturday, November 26, head downtown and park in either AMLI garage (2nd and San Antonio or 2nd and Lavaca) to enjoy 2-hour parking validation from 10am-5pm with proof of purchase from any local business.

Steals and deals

Not only are you supporting small businesses by spending your Saturday in the 2ND Street District -- you can also take advantage of all sorts of sales. Here's the scoop:

  • $15 and $25 sale racks, in-store raffles, and complimentary sips and bites at Luxe Apothetique
  • 20% off all lipsticks, liners and glosses at Rae Cosmetics
  • $1, $2 and $3 off select olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Con' Olio
  • 25% off flooring at FLOR Austin
  • 15% off food at Cru Wine Bar
  • Buy one, get one 50% off all regularly priced Sikara brand merchandise bought with your AmEx at Sikara & Co.
  • Double Diamond Dollars on jewelry for loyalty customers at Eliza Page

See you soon

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and the shops and eateries of 2ND Street District are ready to celebrate with you. Come on down and stock up on gifts for everyone on your list, plus a little something for yourself. Stay tuned for more holiday happenings in the heart of downtown Austin as the district hums with year-end activity.

SHOP

A Stylish Bed In 7 Easy Steps

Guest blogger Jessica Beattie, owner of HACIENDA shares her tips on creating a magazine-worthy bed.  Photos by Katie Jameson.

With HACIENDA's recent expansion into all things bedding, we thought it was only appropriate to ask shop owner, Jessica Beattie to give us her tips on how to make your bed look as stylish as the magazines. 

1. Start with a simple fitted sheet- we're currently coveting our newest LinenMe sheets that are made in an incredible linen fabric available in a teal blue, raspberry and sunflower gold. 

2. Lay your flat sheet pattern down (if there is a pattern). Then tuck in all sides. 

3. Place your comforter over the flat sheet and fold both the flat sheet and comforter 1/3 of the way down the bed. Tuck your comforter in on all sides for a more polished look. We recommend a goose down comforter covered in our MixMax Barcelona jersey duvet. 

4. After you've folded the comforter, place your largest pillows against your headboard. Traditionally this is your king size pillows. 

5. Next, place either queen size or medium size pillows in front and center. 

6. My favorite part, place a variety of decorative pillows in different sizes and textures in front of the medium pillows. I recommend our Aviva Stanof pillows with hand-painted silks, hand-stitched beads and dip dyed furs - each pillow is a work of art! 

7. For more texture, I typically add a throw blanket at the foot of the bed. The versatility of the Hacienda Collection Turkish towels are perfect fit for the foot of the bed because they can be both decorative and functional.

About HACIENDA

HACIENDA Austin showcases locally sourced and globally inspired custom furnishings and curated gifts for the modern ranch lifestyle. Motivated by travels that took her from the Outback to the Arctic, owner, Jessica Beattie, has a keen eye for scouting well-designed objects that celebrate local artisans. In addition to a curated assortment of luxury brand goods including R&Y Augousti exotic leathers and fine European bed linens, discover our private label, HACIENDA Collection, ranging from Turkish towels to glassware to body care. Shop HACIENDA at our downtown Austin location, 204 Colorado St. Austin, TX 78701 or shop online at haciendacollection.com. For more information follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

SHOP

ModCloth Comes to Austin

**Guest Post by Lauren Whitehouse, ModCloth Fashion Publicist

ModCloth has set up shop in 2ND Street District! Now through Memorial Day, the online purveyor of unique indie and vintage-inspired styles and home goods is hosting a pop-up shop at 249 W. 2nd Street.

What can you find at ModCloth’s 2ND Street District shop?

  • A curated collection of ModCloth styles, including dresses, separates, shoes, graphic tees, accessories, and unique home decor
  • Exclusive swimwear available in a full range of sizes (up to 4X)
  • One-of-a-kind vintage chosen especially for Austin (cowboy boots!)
  • Offerings from 8 local Austin artists
  • Graphic t-shirts, including a custom ModCloth x Austin tank, only available in-store
  • Free personalized appointments with on-site ModStylists™ for expert fit and styling guidance (book an appointment)
  • Free ModCloth Austin tote bag with any purchase

Everything we do at ModCloth is inspired and influenced by our vibrant online community, so we are relishing the opportunity to meet our fans ‘IRL’. Stop by the shop to snap a selfie and tag #ModClothIRL for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. We can’t wait to meet you!

Photos by Laura Morsman Photography

South by 2ND Street District

Need a break from all of the festivities? Here's our guide on the best places to refuel, relax and refresh in the 2ND Street District.

Refuel:

Stop by Jo's Coffee for a breakfast taco and their house latte, The Turbo, Daily Juice for an instant dose of vitamins and nutrients and Cafe Ruckus for a coffee or tea.

Relax:

Treat yourself to a mani and pedi at the oh-so-chic Lacquer and a massage at milk+honey.

Refresh:

Get a haircut, straight razor hot towel shave and a relaxing executive hand detail, all without leaving your oversized, comfortable barber chair at Finley's Barber Shop. Ladies, freshen up at local Austin favorite Rae Cosmetics. Best known for their heat and perspiration-resistant cosmetics that help improve your skins natural, healthy appearance, you'll at least look like you got a full night's rest!

That's not all...View the full list of boutiques, restaurants and entertainment here. Cheers!

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas in Austin

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Whether you are crafting your very own wish list, dropping some hints to your significant other or shopping for friends, family and loved ones, the 2nd Street District has you covered. Here’s what’s on our gift guide this year.

 

1. Prize: We’re swooning over the Fornasetti Baccio lidded candle keepsake ($175) crafted of natural vegetable wax and poured into a glazed ceramic vessel featuring the lithographic image of house muse Lina Cavalieri’s nose and mouth. Master perfumer Olivier Polge crafted the invitingly warm Otto signature scent of the candle.  Or, try their Montale Paris eau de parfum spray ($170) with scent notes of vetiver from Haiti, Moroccan cedarwood, patchouli, grapefruit, elemi, and black pepper from Madagascar.

 

2. HACIENDA: Right in time for Valentine’s Day, Hacienda has launched the new, in-house fragrance, Texas Rose. This is a custom scent developed by HACIENDA using all organic ingredients sourced in Austin. They are launching this product with their essential tin (good for lips, skin and perfume), a sugar lip scrub, and a bar soap – all in time for Valentine’s Day. Coming soon: enjoy this scent and other ones from their collection in a shea butter body cream and sugar body scrub. Honoring the new fragrance and the romantic holiday, enjoy complimentary Bellinis at the shop over Valentine’s Day weekend.

 

3. SIKARA & CO.: Give the gift of jewelry with the small Criss Cross Heart Wire pendant ($90) from Sikara & Co. Modern and futuristic in design, this pendant was inspired by a trip to Cairo. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Don’t miss entering their blog contest – each individual who submits an entry receives a gift card and the winner – a piece of jewelry!

 

4. Jo’s Coffee: Jo’s Coffee will be offering their Monday night special on 2/14. Enjoy 2-4-1 burgers – perfect for a date or hanging with a friend! It’s truly the best-kept burger secret in Austin and the perfect casual spot for a Valentine’s Day celebration.

 

5. lll Forks: Enjoy the special Sweetheart Menu at lll Forks from February 6th-February 14th. This couple’s menu ($170) includes your choice of salad or lobster bisque to begin, two 6 oz. filets mignon accompanied with two 6 oz. cold water lobster tails for your entrée served with whipped potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn and vine ripened tomatoes and spring onions. For dessert, enjoy a Chocolate Lovers’ treat.   

  

6. Austin Rocks:  If you are looking for something special for someone special, Austin Rocks has a variety of gift ideas at a convenient array of prices. From books, pillows, picture frames, coffee cups and more – there’s a little love for everyone at this 2nd Street District gem.

 

7.  Rae Cosmetics: Pucker up! Look and feel extra beautiful this Valentine’s Day with 50% off their Valentine’s Day collection with the purchase of any full price lip color.   

  

8. Milk + Honey: This luxe Austin spa favorite has the perfect Valentine’s Day packages and gift ideas. Give the gift of a hydrating pedicure, facial, couple’s massage – or even a gift card. The options are truly endless when it comes to Milk + Honey and pampering!

 

9. Teddies for Bettys: Make your Valentine’s Day extra special with new pieces from Teddies for Bettys. This year, we’re shopping gorgeous lace pieces by Envol from Simone Perele Official and new pieces from Marie Joe in Valentine Red. 

 

10. Toy Joy: We truly can’t get enough of Toy Joy! A few things on our gift guide this year for Valentine’s Day: a Giant Heart by I Heart Gus ($99.95), Cockatiel and Parrot masks by Dillon Inc. ($29.95), a Giant Rilakkuma Plush ($199.95), Pixel Heart glasses by Elope ($8.95), Valentine’s Plush items by GUND ($16.95-$21.95), mini red piano by Schylling ($84.95), Animail Heart by Marky Sparky Toys ($11.95), and much more.  Be sure to stop by Toy Joy to see the full lineup of Valentine’s Day gifts!

New Year's Eve in the 2nd Street District

New Year's Eve in the 2nd Street District - 2015

New Year's Eve in the 2nd Street District - 2015

What are you doing New Year's Eve? Prep and prepare for festivities right here in the 2nd Street District.

  1. Stock up on your favorite sparkly baubles at Eliza Page. From rings, to gemstones and more, it's the perfect way to add a bit of glamour to your New Year's Eve night.

  2. Get beautiful at Milk+Honey. Schedule a last minute facial to get your skin really glowing for evening festivities. Or, you can always pop-in for a blowout! Book your appointment by calling them at 512-236-1115.

  3. Celebrate New Year's Eve this year at Cru. Make your reservation today to enjoy their spectacular New Year's Eve celebrations with your favorite wine in an intimate space. Make your reservation by calling 512-472-9463.

  4. Turn New Year's Eve into a special date night or time together with friends at The Bonneville. With delicious New American fare- it will be a memorable evening you won't forget. For the holiday, they are offering a delectable four-course prix fixe menu at $75.00 a person - including a champagne toast! Wine pairings are available for an additional $35. Entree options include Quail a la Mattone, Crab Stuffed Filet of Beef, and more. Make your reservation by calling 512-428-4643 or visiting their website.

  5. Shop for some dazzling new earrings to complement your dress at Hemline. From cocktail dresses to the perfect accessories, style is guaranteed at this chic Austin boutique.

  6. Nothing says date night quite like Violet Crown. Plan a low-key New Year's Eve and enjoy a movie and delicious bites and cocktails at this 2nd Street District gem.

  7. For the ultimate beauty statement, take advantage of cosmetics and gift ideas at Rae Cosmetics. Enjoy 10% off gift sets and 20% off makeup applications the through January 2nd - $60 for a full makeup application and $35 for just eyes. Both include false lashes! Call Rae today and plan your special day: 512-320-8732.

  8. Not sure what to wear this New Year's Eve? Stop by Francesca's and plan your entire outfit! From shoes, to dresses, to handbags and accessories - you can pull together a New Year's Eve look in a cinch.

SHOP

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas in Austin

Stil searching for a few last minute gifts? This season, we've pulled a variety of items at some of our favorite boutiques and stores. We've rounded up some of our top picks at under $100. Find the perfect present for a co-worker, client, family member, loved one or friend. From embroidered cocktail napkins to jewelry - there's something for everyone in the 2ND Street District. Happy shopping!