Austin is home to the University of Texas. Like the capital, this is another major source of revenue and job opportunities that keep the economy healthy. With 50,000 students and a staff and faculty system that baffles the mind, this university is one of the many 800 pound gorillas that keeps Austin economically competitive, while also making sure the city stays hip, strange, or just plain weird (depending on your perspective). Austin also boasts the economically robust area of Silicon Hills, the city’s rapidly growing technology sector. With companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Dell and PayPal setting up shop in the city, Austin is now being recognized as one of the most technologically advanced areas in the nation. Social media and internet marketing startups also abound, which has lead many to project an upswing of thousands of new tech related jobs over the next two years. Music & nightlife also draw a crowd and keep money earned in the city to be reinvested in the city. The popularity of the downtown area attracts locals and vacationers alike to see what the “live music capital of the world” is all about. Combine the exciting nightlife and live bands with the young crowd a few blocks north at UT and it’s easy to see why the city stays so young and hip. Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s the inside scoop of where to live based on your lifestyle. Austin can be divided into approximately 8 different districts. We’ve listed each of the districts here, with a short bio on what you’ll find in each district. Central- This is where you’ll find the majority of “Austin things.” Live music venues, parks, Town Lake, the capital, UT and much more. This is a good choice for those who want to live, work and play downtown. If you plan on having a high paying job downtown or are interested in using the city bus system, this would be a good fit. Crime is slightly higher here than in some parts of the city, but it comes with the real estate and proximity. North- This is a great place for those who want a bit more of a neighborhood like atmosphere, while still being close to the hipster Austin scene. North Austin has many nice older neighborhoods, as well as plenty of shopping. There are many older homes here with tree-lined streets. This is a good pick for those who want a short commute and a traditional neighborhood aesthetic.
North Central Austin Homes
Round Rock, Pflugerville and Cedar Park- Say hello to the suburbs! Sure, we all love Austin, but if you want to raise a family in a more suburban environment, then these are the places to be. Round Rock is the largest of the three and boasts the Dell Diamond, home to the Minor League Triple A Baseball team: the Round Rock Express. Pflugerville is slightly closer to the city, while Cedar Park is the farthest from downtown, but it offers a small town vibe with downtown access. With any of these three you can enjoy a suburban life, newer homes and great schools. West- Similar to the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Cedar Park scene, West Austin is typically considered to be the wealthiest part of the city. Residents here are willing to have a longer commute into the city in exchange for beautiful rolling hills, gorgeous new neighborhoods and great access to the lake. Steiner Ranch is one of the most popular places in this area. Looking into this neighborhood will give you a good idea of what life is like in West Austin. Southwest- This area is a nice mix of the safety and beauty of West Austin combined with more affordable homes. While Southwest Austin certainly has plenty of older neighborhoods, there are also new subdivisions and the commute to the city can be half that of those who live in West Austin. Consider it middle-high income neighborhoods in the hill country that enjoy a shorter commute. South- This could be considered the birthplace of the ‘Keep Austin Weird’ slogan. In South Austin you’ll find the bulk of the creative, artsy and hipster bunch. South Austin has plenty of eclectic stores and fantastic restaurants. South Congress (or SoCo as its often called) is the main drag of this part of the city. Just head a few miles north on SoCo and you’ll be in the heart of downtown. Home prices have increased here over the last few years, but it’s the place to be if you want to embrace the glory of Austin weirdness.
View from South Congress Bridge
Southeast- Looking for an affordable rental? This is the place for you. Southeast Austin is known for its above average percentage of UT students (thanks to the affordable housing) as well as its proximity to the airport. The schools here are considerably worse than schools in North, West, and Southwest Austin, but if you don’t have children, it’s an affordable option. East- This part of town has traditionally been known for its low SES locals and underperforming schools. But in recent years, East has been contending with the South for the “weird scene” title. A decade ago, this area was considered an eye sore to many Austinites. Today, many new businesses and fun restaurants are cropping up. Combine this with the lower cost of housing and it’s the perfect storm for those moving to Austin without a job but planning to work in the local scene. Not the best choice for families who like good schools and the suburbs. For more information about these and other neighborhoods, be sure to check out our Austin Neighborhoods Guide. Our Austin home search also lets you search by neighborhood, price range and other options that will help you determine which of these Austin districts is right for you. And as always, feel free to contact us for expert advice on where to live in Austin, TX.