City Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Austin Neighborhoods

Austin Neighborhoods

Austin has consistently ranked as the #1 city to live in the United States. Thousands of professionals, families and individuals are moving to this popular city. In Austin, residents get to enjoy the feel of a big city without sacrificing tight-knit communities and beautiful natural scenery. 

At about 272 square miles and a population of almost 951,000, Austin is an exciting city with plenty to see and do. There are many different neighborhoods and areas within Austin. From suburbs to historic townhouses, every resident can find their dream home here. 

Read on to find out more about why people are moving to Austin in droves. 

 

Why Should I Live in Austin?

In Austin you will meet a few natives whose families have been living in the city for generations. Because of the high ratings of this area, there is also a good chunk of the population that have recently relocated. In both camps are people who simply love living in Austin. 

You can find family-oriented suburbs with tons of amenities pretty close to exciting downtown culture. Students get to attend excellent, industry-leading schools at all education levels. Because the city is so popular with tourists, you can guarantee that there are endless attractions, restaurants, activities and nightlife to check out. 

 

History of Austin

The land that Austin is built on was once occupied by Native American groups such as the Comanches, Tonkawas and Lipan Apaches. To teach and convert the Native Americans, the Spanish brought missionaries to the area during the 1700s. Later, in the 1800s, the first Anglo settlers began to arrive and called the area Waterloo. 

After the Texas Revolution—1835-1836—Waterloo became the capital of the Republic of Texas. Waterloo was later renamed Austin after the founder of Anglo Texas, Stephen Austin. The capitol building was finished in 1888 and symbolized the continuous growth of the city. Austin has transformed from unspoiled natural lands populated by the first peoples to a sprawling metropolis that hundreds of thousands call home.

 

Austin Real Estate

The median home price in Austin is $468,000. Currently, the housing demand is at a historic high in the Austin area, causing a shortage of homes into the foreseeable future. Prospective buyers should know that while the market is hot, there are still a wide range of homes available for purchase; from 600-square foot condos to 18,000-square foot mansions. No matter what kind of home you envision your family in, you will find it in Austin. 

 

Is Austin Safe?

Like any big city, Austin has high amounts of criminal activity. Although, there are many neighborhoods within the city that have very low crime rates. 2020 homicide rates in Austin have increased by 54% since 2019, although that number has fluctuated a lot over the past decade. There are over 40,000 reported violent and property crimes committed in Austin every year. The city of Austin is safer than 7% of cities in the United States. Although these statistics make it seem like Austin is a bit risky, most residents feel completely safe in their neighborhoods. 

Based on a 2019 community survey, about 90% of Austin residents feel safe in their home, workplace and neighborhood during the day. However, only 23% of residents reported feeling safe walking in Downtown Austin at night. Although most crime in Austin is confined to the downtown area, residents trust that the Austin Police Department will keep them safe in their communities. 

Continue reading for more information about each of the areas of Austin, Texas.

Downtown and Central Austin

Downtown Austin is where you can find some of the most popular attractions in the area. There are almost 9,500 people living in the heart of Austin. Residents and tourists alike love visiting this vibrant area. 

Things To Do

Downtown Austin is one of the most highly-visited areas of the city. This is because all of Austin’s “must-sees” are downtown. Stroll down historic streets lined with beautifully designed 19th century architecture. Visit the incredible 1888 Texas State Capitol Building and the Driskill Hotel. Check out art exhibits at the Jones Center or the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Listen to live music at one of the many well-known venues in the area and grab a bite at some of the most celebrated restaurants in Texas and the United States. South by Southwest has music, film, and comedy festivals that bring in large swaths of tourists each year. The attractions are endless in Downtown Austin.

Downtown Austin

Neighborhoods

In Downtown Austin, you will find many neighborhoods and districts that are home to businesses, organizations and homes:

  • Government District: where you can find the Texas State Capitol building. 
  • Medical District: many of the city's major hospitals and research facilities are in this area.
  • Red River Cultural District: where you can find some of the greatest music venues in Austin.
  • Convention District: some of the biggest events in Austin are held here .
  • 2nd Street District: an upscale area with fine dining and fancy cocktail bars.
  • 6th Street: home to some of the most popular nightlife venues.
  • Congress Avenue: where you can find some of the best shopping and dining in the area.
  • East Sixth: a trendy area with an eclectic style. 
  • Old West Austin (Clarksville): historic residential area with homes, apartments and golf courses.
  • Arts Districts: here you can find galleries, music venues and more. 

Real Estate

Unlike many other downtown areas, in Downtown Austin you can find a mix of high rise apartments, luxury condos, suburban single family homes and historic townhouses. Most downtown residents rent their living space, however there are some houses for sale. 

The median home price in Downtown Austin is $655,000, which is 13% higher than the median price in past years. 

North Austin

Although it may be a largely residential area, North Austin has plenty to do. The area has a population of 162,400. North Austin residents enjoy the local dining, shopping and nightlife. 

Things To Do

Although North Austin may be a largely residential area, people who live there have no problem finding exciting things to do. Head down Burnet Road and Rock Rose Avenue for some of the most hip restaurants and live music venues. Walk through The Domain or The Arboretum for high-end boutiques and chain stores you already know and love. Those looking for some fresh air can head to Balcones District Park or Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park where there are beautiful walking trails. 

North Austin

Neighborhoods

North Austin has many unique and beautiful neighborhoods that prospective homebuyers can choose from:

  • Allandale: beautiful residential area with mid-century homes on tree-lined streets.
  • Round Rock: known for historic landmarks and sites, as well as a variety of outdoor spaces.
  • Windsor Hills: tight-knit community with nearby dining and shopping options.
  • Brentwood: beautiful neighborhood that is known for its suburban pace within close proximity of the big city.
  • Highland: the perfect place for someone who is looking for exciting nightlife, this neighborhood has a wide array of shopping, dining and bars for residents to choose from.
  • Walnut Creek: known for the park of the same name, this area is semi-suburban with many opportunities for outdoor adventures. 
  • Avery Ranch: an excellent neighborhood for families looking for great schools and amenities.
  • Wells Branch: beautiful, historic neighborhood with many housing options.
  • Gateway: an urban residential area with a variety of coffee shops, shopping centers and dining options.


Real Estate

In North Austin there are a variety of housing options and price points. Choose from luxury urban apartments to single family homes in master-planned communities. Residents can choose to rent or buy their home in North Austin. 

The median home price in North Austin is about $372,000, with neighborhoods like Allandalle being on the more expensive side and neighborhoods like Round Rock being more affordable.

East Austin

If you are looking for quiet, residential neighborhoods in Austin, Texas, then East Austin is the area for you. Not only does the area have a plethora of affordable housing, but there are also many opportunities for outdoor exploration. 

Things To Do

East Austin is a great place to spend the day. Head to The Thinkery, a children's museum, or the Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata for a few hours of excitement and curiosities. Afterwards, take a walk in one of the many parks in the area such as Mueller Lake Park. Finish the day with dinner and a drink at a delicious restaurant celebrating local cuisine and culture. No matter what you are passionate about doing, you will fall in love with East Austin and all that it has to offer. 

East Austin

Neighborhoods

There are many beautiful neighborhoods in the East Austin area with plenty of amenities and things to do:

  • Govalle: a quaint residential area with affordable housing and great schools.
  • Riverside: dog-friendly neighborhood within close proximity of the city and beautiful scenic views of the lake. 
  • Knollwood on the Colorado River: small residential neighborhood with an urban appeal.  
  • Mueller: known for its environmentally friendly design with acres and acres of outdoor spaces.
  • Cherrywood: beautiful historic neighborhood with tree-lined streets and colorful bungalows.
  • Windsor Park: residential area with ranch-style homes and many amenities. 
  • University Hills: close to University of Texas, hence its name, and contains a multitude of apartment buildings and affordable housing.
  • Heritage Hills: residential neighborhood with plenty to do and affordable housing. 
  • Chestnut: quaint neighborhood with colorful homes, tree-lined streets and excellent nearby schools. 
  • Daffan: a quiet neighborhood with affordable housing, mostly mobile homes, and large plots of land. 


Real Estate

East Austin is mostly made up of residential areas such as suburbs and master-planned communities. While there are some apartment buildings and condos, most neighborhoods contain single family homes and townhomes. 

In East Austin, the median home price is $470,500, which is 12% higher than what it was in previous years. However, you can find more affordable housing in Daffan and Govalle. 

South Austin

Although South Austin makes up a small area, it definitely has a big personality. South Austin has over 110,000 people living in the area. Residents are attracted to the hip vibes in some neighborhoods and the affordable housing in others. 

Things To Do

South Austin is the place to be if you are searching for excitement and uniqueness. There is a multitude of interesting gastro pubs and restaurants, cozy coffee shops, local breweries and wineries to grab a drink and snack. Go to any of the shopping centers for a selection of stores you know and love as well as locally owned boutiques and small businesses. Walk through South Congress and South Lamar and you are sure to stumble upon a music venue with guitar-picking country bands or a club where you can dance the night away. For some fresh air you can enjoy a walk, bike ride or hike in a local park. 

South Austin

Neighborhoods

South Austin has a fun mix of exciting and trendy neighborhoods along with more affordable communities:

  • Bouldin Creek: an eclectic neighborhood with a host of unique shops, quirky homes, trendy coffee shops and so much more. 
  • Garrison Park: a small and quiet residential neighborhood with a park of the same name.
  • South Congress: one of the best spots for those looking for exciting nightlife and hip spots to hang out. 
  • South Lamar: another great neighborhood that is perfect for checking out local cuisine, viewing art and listening to folk country music. 
  • Franklin Park: a quiet residential neighborhood with affordable housing, close to other neighborhoods with exciting nightlife. 
  • Montopolis: this urban area is close to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. 
  • Westgate: an urban neighborhood with some single family homes and residential streets. 
  • Sweetbriar: quaint and quiet residential neighborhood with a variety of housing options.  
  • Dove Springs: called the ‘44’, this neighborhood is small and contains many affordable housing options. 
  • Colorado Crossing: this master-planned community is still in the process of being developed and will have some exciting entertainment when completed. 


Real Estate

There are a variety of neighborhoods in South Austin that include master-planned suburban communities and apartment buildings with affordable accommodations. No matter what stage of life you are in, you will be able to find a place in South Austin that is perfect for you. 

The median home price in South Austin is $470,000. This price is 29% higher than what it has been in previous years, most likely due to the rapid development of the area. However, you can find more affordable housing in areas like Dove Springs and Franklin Park. 

West Austin

West Austin is a great location for families in the Austin area. There are well over 200,000 residents in the West Austin area. It stretches from west of the Mopac Expressway to east of the Colorado River. Residents love the natural beauty that can be found in this area. 

Things To Do

Those who want privacy and relaxation come to West Austin. Enjoy a fun day boating, kayaking, fishing, tubing and many other waterfront activities on the Colorado River. If you prefer land, spend some time hiking at River Place Nature Trail or have a picnic at Emma Long Metropolitan Park. You can find the Austin Zoo and Lake Travis Zipline Adventures in this area. Many communities also have amenities that are available to residents only. Golf courses, pools, playgrounds and parks are especially popular in West Austin. With a hills-and-valleys terrain and a beautiful river, you can bet that you will never get tired of the view.

West Austin

Neighborhoods

If you are looking for master-planned communities, incredible natural scenery and many amenities, head to West Austin:

  • Steiner Ranch: this master-planned community is only 10 miles west of Austin, making it an excellent home for commuters. 
  • West Lake Hills: as the name suggests, this neighborhood has been built into the hills alongside the Colorado River making for some incredible views. 
  • Lost Creek: beautiful and private, this neighborhood offers luxury housing with an abundance of natural scenery and amenities such as golf courses. 
  • Tarrytown: this historic neighborhood boasts unimaginable scenery, old homes, plenty of sightseeing and waterfront views. 
  • West Oak Hill: a sparse suburban area with beautiful homes on huge, multi-acre lots. 
  • East Oak Hill: similar to the previous neighborhood, this community has towering trees and babbling brooks that are sure to captivate all residents. 
  • Davenport Ranch: this master-planned community has all kinds of amenities and custom-built homes. 
  • Barton Creek: known for high quality golf courses and a beautiful resort and spa located right within the community.  
  • Balcones Village: a small residential neighborhood with a variety of home styles and sizes. 
  • Circle Ranch: a master-planned community with modern ranch-style single family homes. 


Real Estate

Most of the homes in West Austin are part of a master-planned community or suburb. There are a few homes that are in more remote areas on acres of land. You can also find some apartment buildings and townhomes in West Austin. 

In West Austin, the median home price is a little more expensive than other areas at about $700,000. Median home prices depend on which neighborhood you are planning to move to. Those along the river, with scenic views or with state-of-the-art amenities will have a higher price tag than others.

Top Ten Austin Neighborhoods

Whether you are moving across town or moving from a different state, Austin has many incredible neighborhoods. Every neighborhood is unique and has something different to offer. It doesn’t matter what area of Austin you live in, you can find the home and the community that you have been dreaming of. 

Take a look at two lists of the best suburbs and most exciting neighborhoods in Austin:

Top Ten Suburbs in Austin

These are the best suburbs in Austin, Texas because they have excellent schools, tight-knit communities and state-of-the-art amenities. Here are the top ten Austin suburbs in no particular order:

  1. Avery Ranch (North Austin)
  2. Rollingwood (West Austin)
  3. Steiner Ranch (West Austin)
  4. Santa Rita Ranch (North Austin)
  5. Belterra (Southwest Austin)
  6. Rancho Sienna (North Austin)
  7. Deerbrooke (North Austin)
  8. Tessera (West Austin)
  9. Mueller (East Austin)
  10. Bee Cave (West Austin)

Many of these suburbs are master-planned communities and census-designated places. Each of them are wonderful places to live.

Top Ten Trendy Neighborhoods in Austin

Some residents prefer nearby nightlife, art, museums and other attractions. If you are looking for a little more excitement than what a suburb might offer, take a look at some of these neighborhoods:

  1. Hyde Park (Downtown Austin)
  2. Barton Hills (Central Austin)
  3. Tarrytown (West Austin)
  4. Zilker (Central Austin)
  5. Allandale (Downtown Austin)
  6. Downtown (Downtown Austin)
  7. Travis Heights (Central Austin)
  8. Cherrywood (East Austin)
  9. Bouldin Creek (South Austin)
  10. South Congress (Downtown Austin)

These are the best places for those looking for hip shopping and dining and endless activities.

Moving to Austin

Starting to think a move to Austin is in your future? The Capital City is the eleventh largest city in the United States. This, of course, means that it has numerous employment opportunities, housing options and healthcare facilities. Moving to Austin is not just for those coming from a small town. There are many families and individuals who are moving from large cities, like Boston, to Austin. 

Take a look at some things to think about if you are considering a move to Austin:

  • There is no income tax or local income tax in the State of Texas or any of its municipalities.
  • Texas is home to 50 Fortune 500 companies with a few, such as Whole Foods Market and Dell, in Austin.
  • There are many top-notch educational opportunities at all levels with one of the biggest universities in the United States, University of Texas, based right in Austin. 
  • Texas is the second most diverse state in the United States based on socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household, religious and political diversity. 


Pros and Cons of Moving to Austin

No matter what city you plan on moving to, there will always be some aspects you love and some you don’t.

Take a look at some of the cons of moving to Austin:

  • Traffic and transportation: the majority of residents living in and around the city commute to all over Austin for work. Because of this, some are having to drive across the city to get to their workplace. With so much daily commuting, there are many areas that get clogged with traffic during rush hours. It may not be easy to find public transportation if you live outside of the main highways and expressways. 
  • Climate: the state of Texas can get hot and humid pretty quickly. Heat, humidity and stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Those who are used to these conditions may not be bothered by it, but depending on where you are coming from this could be a dealbreaker.
  • Hurricanes: the state of Texas is notorious for receiving heavy rainfall, tropical storms and severe hurricanes. While Austin receives slightly fewer hurricanes than the neighboring city of Houston, extreme weather may keep some people from moving to the city. 

 

Fortunately, the benefits outweigh the negatives when it comes to Austin, Texas:

  • Things to do and see: as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, you can bet that you will never run out of things to do. From exciting outdoor adventures to enjoying live music at a honky tonk, the options are endless. Residents love that they can find something different to do every weekend. 
  • Rich culture and history: living in Austin is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in history and culture. As the capital of Texas, Austin has a long and deep history that starts with the first peoples in the area. Texas is the second most diverse state in the United States, ensuring that the local culture is rich in heritage. 
  • Global and local cuisine: in Austin you can find classic Texan cuisine such as mouth-watering barbecue and flavorful chili. In this diverse city there are also many opportunities to try global cuisine. While Mexican food is the easiest to find, there are also many restaurants that serve a variety of other international dishes. Try Greek, Filipino, Caribbean, Persian, Indian, Lebanese and Ethiopian food among many others.
  • Growing job market: the city of Austin was the fastest growing metro in Texas in 2019. In the same year, 29,607 jobs were created and the unemployment rate was only 2.7%. The fastest growing industries in Austin are education and health services due to the constant development in the area. Professional and business services were the next fastest growing industries. 
  • Airport: many Austin residents travel for work or enjoy traveling around the world. Because of this, it makes sense that there are multiple airports within the city. The biggest airport in Austin is the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. There are also a few private airports and municipal airports. 


Top Industries in Austin

While Austin hosts a few Fortune 500 company headquarters, the city also ranks highly in many other areas, including:

  • Natural resources and energy
  • Business and financial services
  • Medical research and treatment
  • Education
  • Construction and industrial services
  • Shipping and manufacturing

 

Here are 20 of the top 30 employers in Austin:

  1. State Government of Texas
  2. University of Texas at Austin
  3. H-E-B
  4. City of Austin
  5. Dell Technologies
  6. Federal Government
  7. Austin Independent School District
  8. St. David’s Healthcare Partnership
  9. Ascension Seton
  10. Samsung Austin Semiconductor
  11. Apple
  12. Round Rock Independent School District
  13. IBM Corporation
  14. U.S. Internal Revenue Service
  15. Travis County
  16. Texas State University at San Marcos
  17. Leander Independent School District 
  18. NXP Semiconductors
  19. Amazon
  20. Austin Community College


Education in the Austin Area

In Austin, one of the largest population demographics is students. There are all kinds of educational facilities in Austin, from preschools and daycares to colleges and universities. 

If you are planning to enroll your student in an Austin school, you will want to take a look at the different Independent School Districts in the area:

  • Florence
  • Jarrell
  • Liberty Hill
  • Georgetown
  • Granger
  • Thrall
  • Taylor
  • Hutto
  • Coupland
  • Leander
  • Round Rock
  • Lago Vista
  • Pflugerville
  • Elgin
  • Manor
  • Austin
  • Eanes
  • Lake Travis
  • Del Valle
  • McDade
  • Bastrop
  • Smithville
  • Lockhart
  • Wimberly
  • Dripping Springs
  • Hays
  • San Marcos

 

There are also many secondary education facilities in Austin. Students can attend trade school, community college or universities. The most popular institutes of higher education include:

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • St. Edward's University
  • Texas State University at Round Rock
  • South University at Austin
  • Austin Community College (multiple campuses)
  • Texas State Technical College
  • CyberTex Institute of Technology
  • Southern Careers Institute Austin
  • The College of Healthcare Professions
  • Baylor Law School
  • Concordia University Texas
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Austin University
  • DeVry University  


College students are a large part of the population in Austin. Most college students live in student housing or commute from rentals or family homes. 

Tourism in Austin

Austin is one of the most popular cities in the United States for tourists to visit. Over 30 million people visit Austin every year. In the year of 2018, tourists generated $8.7 billion in revenue and helped to maintain 70,000 jobs in the city of Austin. 

As one of the top tourist destinations in both Texas and the United States, there are so many attractions to visit:

  • Texas Capitol
  • Lady Bird Lake
  • Zilker Park
  • Barton Springs Municipal Pool
  • Mount Bonnell
  • Bullock Texas State History Museum
  • Congress Avenue Bridge
  • McKinney Falls State Park
  • Lake Austin
  • Zilker Botanical Garden
  • LBJ Presidential Library
  • Austin Aquarium
  • Blanton Museum of Art
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
  • Austin Zoo
  • Thinkery Children's Museum
  • Austin Nature & Science Center
  • Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
  • Elisabet Ney Museum


Outdoor enthusiasts, museum goers, history buffs and architecture lovers alike will enjoy spending time exploring every corner of Austin. Living in Austin, residents visit attractions less frequently. Instead, many residents spend their weekends and Friday nights enjoying the local nightlife and entertainment.


Austin Nightlife and Entertainment

The nightlife in Austin includes dance clubs, honky tonks, casual bars, piano lounges and so much more. Take a look at some of the most popular entertainment in Austin:

  • Broken Spoke
  • Threadgills
  • Continental Club & Gallery
  • ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • The Saxon Pub
  • Cactus Cafe
  • Antone’s Nightclub
  • Elephant Room

Whatever kind of music or dancing you enjoy, it can be found in Austin.

Life in Austin

No matter what your dream home and life looks like, Austin can deliver. Beautiful neighborhoods, breathtaking scenery, close communities, exciting nightlife and endless activities are only some of the things that make Austin so special. The community is steadily growing and expanding in both employment opportunities and real estate. Come to Austin and find everything you have been searching for in a home.

Empowering you to live in a community you love.
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