South Austin is an offbeat and oh-so-Austin neighborhood that was pretty marginal just 25 or so years ago. Today this quirky but festive area – especially along S Congress Ave – is the city's soul. Tourism types nicknamed it SoCo, which has somewhat stuck, but the locals mostly still call it South Congress.
Market District, Clarksville & North Austin
Just west of the downtown core, the Market District is busy with pedestrians and cars headed to the large natural foods market here and several iconic stores. An eye-catching graffiti wall shares the colorful visions of spray paint artists. Farther west, but east of MoPac, is Clarksville, a compact historic district and one of the city's older neighborhoods.
UT & Central Austin
The University of Texas cuts a huge swath across the city just north of downtown; look for the main tower and you'll know you've arrived. Even if you're not an alum or a UT Longhorn at heart, the campus is a pleasant place to stroll. It's also home to several worthwhile museums, although it's a long walk if you want to cover them all in one visit.