Sidewalk Cafe Culture

North, 2nd Street - Austin, Texas

North, 2nd Street – Austin, Texas

When I think of sidewalk cafes, I instinctively think of Paris. Austin may be a far cry from Parisian Streetlife, but it’s getting noticeably better. The second street district, once a quiet area of aging warehouses, has continued to transform. The latest extension connects it, over Shoal Creek, to the newly built Central Library and the redeveloped Seaholm Power plant. It’s taken a long time, but the city has done a great job.

What I didn’t notice at first, even though it’s one of my favorite local urban photography destinations, is the abundance of sidewalk cafes. The newest extension continues with this pattern. There’s about a dozen of these places in a six-block stretch on the north side of 2nd Street.

Flower Child, 2nd Street - Austin, Texas

Flower Child, 2nd Street – Austin, Texas

The city planners and architects have done an admirable job, along with the numerous private development companies. They are addressing many of the downtown deficiencies that plagued a, until recently, small 2nd tier city. Austin is growing up, and it’s creating the amenities to attract well-heeled urbanites. It was quiet on a late afternoon on Sunday, but this area is usually bustling with activity.

To me, these sidewalk cafes are like Austin’s live music scene. It’s something that I don’t partake often, but I’m glad that they are there.

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2 thoughts on “Sidewalk Cafe Culture

  1. While I love sidewalk cafes, the two example images don’t appear to sidewalk cafes. It’s open air cafe. They aren’t located on a public sidewalk. They are roped off/fenced off from the actual public sidewalk indicating that they are private.

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