Some of My Favorite Businesses in Austin, TX

“Some of the most consistent innovators of the modern era have also been among its biggest monsters. [Think of] the diabolical creativity of Nazi Germany, which was the first country to use ballistic missiles, jet fighter planes, assault rifles, and countless other weapons. And yet nobody wanted to add Peenemünde, where the Germans developed the V-2 rocket during the 1940s, to the glorious list of creative hothouses that includes Periclean Athens, Renaissance Florence, Belle Époque Paris, and latter-day Austin, Texas.”

 

Dear P,

Austin is my favorite city in the world. Everything here is vibrant and growing. Austin is not just a city, it’s an attitude. Here are five businesses that truly capture the Austin vibe and how:

Whole Foods

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The headquarters of Whole Foods is just down the street from me. I pay homage to it regularly, as you know. Whole Foods has been heavily criticized for its prices, as in this article by the Huffington Post, but I think the prices are justified by the volume of free samples and the quality of the customer service. The people that work there are genuinely passionate about Whole Foods and your experience as a customer. You can’t fake that.

Car2Go

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Unlike Whole Foods, Car2Go is not a local Austin business. It was started in Ulm, Germany in 2008. However, it’s taken off in Austin and I want to talk about it. The concept is brilliant. You find a nearby car on their handy app, swipe a card, enter a pin number, and can use a car for as long as you want at $0.38 a minute. It’s perfect for a college student because you don’t have to pay for parking on campus. Gas is provided as well. The only disadvantage is that, occasionally, other people are using all the cars in your area and you have to go on a walk-around until you find an available vehicle.

Buffalo Exchange

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I thought Buffalo Exchange was an Austinian product, but turns out it started in Tucson, Arizona. Regardless, my Buffalo Exchange, the one by UT campus, is definitely the coolest, because it has a conglomeration of clothes from only the coolest students, professors, and other UT backwash (see this article that dubs UT the most “hipster” campus in all of America). You can find anything at Buffalo Exchange, which you learned firsthand during your visit this summer.

Amy’s Ice Cream

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The best ice cream in the entire world. Trust me, I was breastfed on Bluebell. The people that work there are always so cheerful and funny. They let you take pictures with them if you wear their silly hats. The word on the street is that you have to undergo a strenuous application in order to be employed by Amy’s. Overall, it’s the best quality food institution I have ever encountered.

Lush

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Lush isn’t an Austin native, either. However, I was aware of this ahead of time because it was one of my favorite places to visit when I lived in Cork, Ireland. Lush is like a fragrant Disneyworld for adults, both male and female. A charming employee will lead you around the store, trying out all the different fizzy, smooth, and grainy concoctions. I was so excited when I found it in Austin, right next to Amy’s on 6th Street.

BookPeople

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I saved the best for last. BookPeople is an independent bookstore and is only found in Austin. Not only is it one of my favorite businesses in my city, it’s one of my favorite areas in the world. If you are a book person, you will eventually find your way here, and you will love it. Read this lovely article about how BookPeople fights to stick it to the man in the calmest possible way.

Basically, P, your statement that Boston is better than Austin is, right now, refuted. Keep Austin Weird.

Loads of love,

E

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