Retail Roundup: Plaza Lofts Area Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

Within walking distance, Plaza Lofts homeowners encounter well-known retailers as well as off-the-beaten track upscale boutiques. Hidden on the side streets are some of the most fashion-forward finds in Austin.

Along with national retailers, downtown Austin has its own local fashion stores such as By George, Tekgnar, and Hem Jeans Denim Emporium — fun places to discover distinctive Austin fashion. There are also several design-forward furniture and décor shops within easy walking distance of the Plaza Lofts, including Mercury Studios, Design Within Reach, and BoConcept Austin.

When locals want to remember how fun it is to be a kid, they visit Austin’s coolest-ever toy store, Toy Joy.

Residents often do their grocery shopping at the nearby Whole Foods Market and at Central Market, just a few minutes away. The Farmers’ Market at Republic Square Park on Saturday mornings is a must for those seeking the freshest local produce and best seasonal fruits in town.

Local Foodie Favorites

Nearby restaurants are plentiful. Trace Austin, Garrido’s, Chez Nous, The Best Wurst, La Condesa, Barley Swine, Home Slice, Truluck’s Seafood and Hopdoddy Burger Bar are either within walking distance or just a short drive away.

Just three blocks from the Plaza Lofts, La Condesa serves modern, sophisticated Mexican cuisine. Choose from New York strip carne asada served with braised fennel, preserved lemon and citrus-habanero butter, or milanesa de pollo, a breaded, pan fried chicken breast garnished with chipotle en adobo, grilled local romaine, buttermilk crema and avocado served with beans and rice. As good as the lunch and dinner menus are, La Condesa is also well known for its terrific and creative cocktails.

For truly superior burgers, Hopdoddy Burger Bar is an Austin favorite. The El Diablo, Magic Shroom and Goodnight Burgers each seem to redefine just how delicious a burger can be. For sweet treat junkies, milk shakes at Hopdoddy come in such delicious flavors as Vanilla Bean, Milkshake Oreo, and Chocolate Stout.

Dinner, a Movie and So Much More

While there are plenty of regular movie theater chains around Austin, there are two outstanding and unique theaters in downtown Austin. A few blocks away on 6th Street, the Alamo Drafthouse celebrates the grand old-time cinemas of yesteryear, Austin’s storied Ritz Theater, which they’ve restored refitted for their own dine-in viewing experience. Waiters unobtrusively bring moviegoers beer, burgers and more to their seats while patrons enjoy their films.

Another Austin original with its own twist is the Violet Crown Cinema, just blocks away from the Plaza Lofts. With a similar concept to the Alamo Draft House, viewers at the Violet Crown are also welcome to dine and drink during the show. The food and drink tends to be a little fancier at the Violet Crown, and the menu includes tasty cocktails in addition to beer and wine. The seats themselves are extraordinarily comfy, and all seats are specifically sold on a reservation basis. (Reservations can be placed online.) In addition to standard Hollywood movies, the Violet Crown also shows limited distribution titles from the film festival and art circuit.

And there is even more entertainment within walking distance at the Austin Music Hall, City Hall, Ballet Austin Center, the State and Paramount Theaters, Palmer Auditorium, Auditorium Shores, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and the main branch of the Austin Public Library.