Second Street District, Austin.
Where the city that insists on staying weird is made to grow up.
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1. Baby store Wee carries enough traditional pink and blue pastels to satisfy most new grandparents, but the emphasis here is on contemporary items, like Dwell cashmere blankets, Orbit strollers, and modernist Boon spoons. Lest you forget you’re in Aus- tin, get an organic onesie with a picture of a Hum-vee on it and the word “bummer.” 417 1/2 W. Second, 512-236-1338
2. If your dog has been swept up in the locavore movement, you’ll make him or her happy at ritzy Lofty Dog, which sells more locally made pet products than you knew existed. Bark for Peace vegan dog biscuits. Dirty and Hairy organic dog shampoo. Handmade leather collars from Heritage Boots. And Wet Nose bowls from nearby Pflugerville. 403 W. Second, 512-476-5050
3. Kirk furniture gallery is the last place you’d expect to find in your hippie uncle’s Austin. Owner Jeff Kirk scours auction houses on both coasts for investment-grade twentieth-century furniture—everything from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s sleek lines to Paul Evans’s fresh-from-the-furnace raw edges—which he re-covers with Maharam textiles. 210 Guadalupe, 512-472-0111
4. Tinyâ€Š Royal Blue Grocery may be the most cosmopolitan place in town. It is Austin’s take on a New York corner store, and its secret is to carry two of everything, with two distinct price points: Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter and Jif, Brazos Valley dill Havarti and Velveeta. Customers include busboys, millionaires, and the mayor. 247 W. Third, 512-499-3993
5. Don’t go in Eliza Page looking for an engagement ring that will quiet the country club. The biggest sparklers here are small, quirky drusies, and the emphasis is on tasteful design and pieces crafted by local artists. A big favorite are the Metalsgirl sterling-silver charms, made on commission to bear an inscription of your choice. 229 W. Second, 512-474-6500
6. The district’s de facto clubhouse is Jo’s, a coffee shop populated by officials from nearby city hall, Friday Night Lights cast members on breaks from shooting, and shoppers catching second winds. The draw? Strong coffee, a hearty tuna melt, and a gourmet Frito pie piled so high with coriander-rubbed pulled pork you can scarcely see the chips beneath. 242 W. Second, 512-469-9003
7. The inventory at Mercury Design Studio and gift shop can best be described as “things owner Steve Shuck loves.” A huge collection of Taschen books. Stacks of vintage Playboy magazines. Marble-handled cheese cutters. The personal accessories run from a $6 rabbit’s foot key chain to an $800 cashmere travel pillow with matching eye mask and blanket. 209 W. Second, 512-236-0100
8. The art gallery presentation of urbane evening wear at Estilo, where racks hang from the ceiling on cables, is almost as impressive as the clothes: Ted Baker tuxedos and Black Halo party dresses. Owner Stephanie Coultress will happily call around town to make sure no one else is wearing your new dress to the next big event. 234 W. Second, 512-236-0488
9. Your voice will slip into a whisper as you enter Milk + Honey Spa, where the signature treatment is the Spa Partisan. This includes a dry brushing to open your pores; a skin polishing with a scrub made of coffee, sugar, crushed almonds, and honey; twenty minutes under the Steamy Wonder steam canopy; and a one-hour massage. 204 Colorado, 512-236-1115
10. Ever wish you could step into a cartoon? You can at the Austin Children’s Museum. Or rather your kids can. The exhibits, which come in Looney Tunes colors, teach hands-on critical thinking: In the Funstruction Zone, little ones can operate not-so-heavy machinery, and in the Global City, they can staff a miniature diner, grocery store, or veterinary clinic. 201 Colorado, 512-472-2499