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Six ATXperts Share Their Favorite ‘Hoods for Dining, Shopping and More

Trust Thy Neighbor

Six local ATXperts share their favorite ‘hoods for dining, shopping and more

By Darcie Duttweiler
Photos by Brian Fitzsimmons
Lead photo of Hotel San José’s courtyard by Hannah Koehler

Best Neighborhood for Dining: East Side

Photographed at Tamale House.

Jane Ko

Austin Food & Travel Blogger

Chances are you’re one of the almost 250,000 people who follows Jane Ko as @atasteofkoko on Instagram or TikTok for the best Austin restaurant recommendations, as well as travel suggestions from all over the world. Ko wrote the (literal) guide to Austin in 2019, and her blog A Taste of Koko was voted best Austin blog by the “Austin Chronicle” two years in a row. So she clearly knows her food stuff. As for her favorite neighborhood for dining, Ko says she loves visiting “both East Austin’s historic, old restaurants and newcomers in barbecue, Mexican, Asian and New American.”

Favorite Spots:

Tamale House East
Cisco’s Restaurant Bakery & Bar
Justine’s Brasserie
la Barbecue
Cuantos Tacos
Spicy Boys Fried Chicken

Best Neighborhood for Music: East Side

Photographed in front of East Austin mural by artist John Yancey.


Musical Artist

Musical artist Mobley grew up all over the world, from the Spanish Mediterranean to the California coast. Now he calls the Live Music Capital of the World his home. The dynamic and charismatic front man does it all: he’s a songwriter, producer, visual artist, filmmaker and, of course, musician. His second EP with label Last Gang Records will be released in September following last month’s single drop and national tour with The Arkells. When he’s not busy traveling and performing, you’ll find Mobley enjoying live music in East Austin. “That part of town just has so much hard-earned culture and character and history,” he says. “Even as gentrification and commercial development change the face of things, there’s an undeniable spirit there that nowhere else can compare to.”

Favorite Spots:

Victory Grill
Kenny Dorham’s Backyard
Six Square
Carver Museum and Library

Best Neighborhood for Nature: Lost Creek

Matthew Guthrie

Founder Hike Austin

Born-and-raised Austinite Matthew Guthrie created his Instagram account @hikeaustin in 2018 to showcase and promote the gorgeous natural spaces in Austin. When not producing “The Build Show,” he also serves on the board of directors of the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center. Needless to say, nature is his thing. He loves the neighborhood of Lost Creek because “the area is packed full of hidden gems most folks don’t know about, with several neat swimming holes. With all the amazing trails right out your backdoor, and the close proximity to downtown, Lost Creek stands out above the rest for access to nature while still being in the city.”

Favorite Spot:

Barton Creek Greenbelt Hill of Life

Best Neighborhood for Nightlife: SoCo

Photographed at C-Boys Heart & Soul.

Alexandra Reichek

PR Specialist

Alex Reichek is a real gal about town. As @chekmarkeats, you can watch Reichek nosh on sweets, swim laps at Barton Springs Pool and hit up several social events all in one day. Along with her personal brand, Reichek is a popular PR entrepreneur known for her work with local restaurants like Otoko, Koko’s Bavarian, Thai Fresh, Tiny Grocer and Lenoir. When this nightlife aficionado is ready to paint the city red, she heads to South Congress. She says: “I used to think it was too touristy, but I’ve found a plethora of spots to have any style of evening — from a nice, cozy tucked away spritz cocktail to my absolute favorite music clubs that are either hidden upstairs or off the beaten path. I’m all about a progressive evening and trying to visit as many places as possible, and South Congress allows you to keep making your way down the road and discovering new experiences all night.”

Favorite Spots:

C-Boy’s Heart & Soul
The Gallery at The Continental Club
The Meteor
Hotel San José’s courtyard
Soho House Austin
June’s All Day

Best Neighborhood for Families: Mueller

Photographed at Lick Honest Ice Creams.

Shruthi Parker

Lifestyle Blogger

On Shruthi Parker’s blog and Instagram account, you’ll find content ranging from food to faith and marriage to motherhood. Currently a mom of two (and soon to be three!), Parker entertains her followers with her authentic and passionate voice on everything from stretch marks to her relationship with God, and her kids are always a prime focus. So when tasked with picking a favorite neighborhood, Parker says the Mueller area is perfect for the whole family: “We’ve made so many wonderful memories there. There are so many options for the kiddos! They can eat, run and play all day long. Do they want ice cream from Lick? Check! Do they want to run around on a grassy field with a kite? Check! Do they want to play soccer and then feed the ducks? Check and check!”

Favorite Spots:

Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller
Lick Honest Ice Creams
L’Oca d’Oro
Colleen’s Kitchen

Best Neighborhood for Shopping: North Loop

Photographed at Blue Velvet.

Jewlie Williams

GM of Understated Leather

Although Jewlie Williams currently resides in South Austin, the former freelance fashion stylist lived in New York for many years, and she travels to California regularly. It’s no wonder her fashion sense runs the gamut of designer to vintage and pretty much everything in between (think chunky sneakers, poofy dresses and ’90s sunglasses). On Instagram the General Manager of Understated Leather shows off her fashionable styling skills and robust skincare collection, along with snaps of new tattoos and cuddly kitty Meatloaf. This fashionista’s favorite part of town to peruse the shops is the vintage-friendly strip of North Loop. “I think the vintage selection here is unmatched and a point of difference compared to other cities,” Williams says. “A lot of the spots in North Loop fly under the radar, so the selection rarely feels picked over or overpriced. I never come to this neighborhood and leave without at least one incredible find!”

Favorite Spots:

Blue Velvet
Breakaway Records
Big Bertha’s Paradise
Room Service