Austin City Guide
All About Austin
Welcome to the capitol and 4th largest city of Texas! Austin lies along Interstate 35, just northwest of Houston and approximately 160 miles south of Dallas. With a population of approximately 820,600 and growing, Austinians have countless reasons to adore this section of Travis County. In 2012, Forbes Magazine ranked Austin the best metro area amongst all other big cities for job availability. This can be credited to Austin’s love for all things technology related. During the 1990’s, Austin experienced a business and technology boom: earning it the nickname “The Silicon Hills”. For this reason, many huge corporations (Dell, Cisco Systems, Google, Apple, and Facebook, just to name a few) operate within the city and rely on graduates from the University of Texas at Austin for a constant stream of tech-savvy employees. Okay, so what if technology isn’t exactly your forte? Have no fear because despite its techy reputation, this diverse city also goes by “The Live Music Capitol of the World” or “Nashville of the South”. Yep, that’s right! Austin boasts an incredible music scene which is reflected in its nightlife. You can’t walk very far on the streets of Austin without coming across a live music venue or street music festival. Outside of the music and business enthusiasts, Austin is also home to many government employees, domestic and foreign college students, and wilderness loving Texans. Its wide array of entertainment and inhabitants ensures that anyone can find their niche in Austin. So now that you’ve come down with a bad case of Texas fever, let’s take a look at some real estate remedies.
West Austin refers to the area stretching between the Mopac Expressway and Lake Travis. Its hilly, cedar and oak tree studded terrain contains some of Austin’s most wealthy neighborhoods. West Austin contains several suburban neighborhoods, comprised of spacey modern homes, which sometimes can reach prices between $300,000 and millions of dollars. Many successful professionals and their families live in West Austin because of its short, 5-10 minute commute to downtown Austin. Even though this section of the city typically has rentals in the upper price range of the market, some cheaper housing options are available for University of Texas students who can take the University of Texas shuttle into Downtown Austin.
Remember the song, “Funky Town” by Lipps Inc? Even though they claim to, “Talk about it, talk about it, talk about, talk about, talk about moving”, Lipps Inc. fails to disclose its exact location! How am I ever going to “make a move to a town that's right for me” if I can’t find it?? (These are the questions that keep Americans up at night) Well, look no further than South Austin area to put a little funk into your life. South Austin’s official slogan is “keep Austin Weird” and its artistically inclined, liberal, young and creative population has wasted no time in making the area an epicenter of funk. Many of the residents are students or non-Texas natives who dwell in the neighborhoods of Borton Hills, Bouldin Creek, or Travis Heights. At the center of it all is South Congress Street (often referred to as SoCo) which has a lively mix of funky novelty stores, bars, restaurants, and live music venues. The modern apartment complexes along SoCo can be pricey, but they are highly recommended for young, artistic types who want to be at the center of action, or who are looking for a quick commute to the Art Institute of Austin.
Central/ Downtown Austin
Downtown Austin is a little less alternative than South Austin but it definitely rivals its activity level. Located alongside of Guadalupe Street, Lamar Boulevard and Burnet Road, downtown Austin is popular amongst students and young couples. This is true primarily because of its proximity to The University of Texas at Austin and a recent increase in the number of high-rise condos. Many of the neighborhood’s streets are lined with a wide variety of new shopping, entertainment, and dining complexes. The price range of rental options increases as you get closer to the downtown area. However, on the outskirts of central Austin, some of the oldest neighborhoods in the area can be found. These neighborhoods contain a mix of beautiful Victorian houses and 1950’s style cottages. This diverse area has a lot to offer young students and families alike.
Historically known as an area with lower income housing, over the past 10 years east Austin has developed many new loft style condos. Due to the area’s low rates, many artists and young professionals have flocked to east Austin for newly renovated apartments with low price tags. Many businesses have expanded into east Austin and the area is predicted to have competitive living arrangements within the next five years. Many of its edgy residents are excited to boast that they lived in east Austin before it was cool.
North Austin is typically known for its affordable housing options. Most homes were built in the 80’s and have been renovated to appeal to a more modern crowd. The area is popular amongst students and people who work in the city because of its short commute into downtown. North Austin offers its residents lots of shopping opportunities (Including a new, upscale outdoor shopping mall called The Domain) and many locally owned restaurants. The area is perfect for families who are looking to live in a safe neighborhood without breaking their budgets.
Dude, Where’s My Car?
I don’t know. You should probably check on that and contact the proper authorities. However, if you live in Austin, you don’t necessarily need a car to get around! The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (or Capital Metro) provides around the clock bus transportation from many of the neighborhoods in Austin. The city also has plans to install long, high-tech, train-like buses (Basically buses on steroids) called “rapid lines” throughout the city to reduce traffic congestion. Owning a car is only recommended if you live on the outskirts of the city because of the area’s size.
The Bottom Line
Austin has so much to offer both native and non-native Texans. Whatever your interests may be, you can rest assure that Austin, Texas has the right atmosphere for you. So ready, set, GO to Austin!