A Guide to Living in Austin, Texas

in Find an Apartment, Moving on by

Living in Austin, a city where having character counts and being “weird” is welcomed, is an experience enjoyed by 1.2 million Texas residents. Austin’s culture and lifestyle vacillates between New Urban and classic ways. A place where laid back, old fashioned neighborhoods collide with bustling modern areas, Austin, the capital and fourth largest city in the state of Texas, is a blend of pedestrian-friendly communities where residents have easy access to cafes, shops, clubs, galleries and more.

Awards

According to Small Planet Guide*1, Austin, Texas sports a few Top 10 awards countrywide:

  • – One of the top 10 cities in which to be a dog
  • – One of the best cities for dating
  • – #2 vegetarian city
  • – One of the coolest cities for young professionals
  • - 3rd most wired city

Walkability

Living in a walkable neighborhood can have significant impacts on the environment, as well as your health, finances, and community. As car pollution is the leading cause of climate change and average residents of walkable communities weight 6-10 pounds less than residents of spread out areas, living in a walkable neighborhood matters.

Walk Scores, which are depicted numerically 0 through 100, measure the “walkability” of any address or neighborhood. The higher the number, the greater the accessibility to grocery stores, restaurants, banks, parks, coffee shops, entertainment and public transportation. Scores 70 and above signify that most day to day errands can be accomplished without a car.

The Austin neighborhoods with the highest Walk Scores, in descending order, are:

  • – Downtown – 89
  • – West University – 86
  • – University of Texas – 85
  • – North University – 83
  • – Bouldin – 83

Find Austin Apartments now.

Visit Walk Score to see how your Austin neighborhood ranks.

In addition to its high level walkability, downtown Austin also offers a free bus service called the Dillo.

Entertainment

Commonly known as the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas is known for nurturing talented musicians. There are hundreds of music venues in the city, to boot. Every spring the SXSW Music Festival brings 1,800 plus artists to the city to perform.

In addition to its musical flair, Austin offers residents and visitors several locales for outdoor recreation.

Town Lake, the focus of outdoor activity in downtown Austin, offers a great venue for consummate joggers, hikers, bikers, canoers and kayakers, as well as the Austin Rowing Club. In Republic Square, one of three historic Austin parks, “Austinites” can relax and hang out as well as enjoy the SFC Farmers’ Market, open year round, rain or shine. Quaint boutique shopping, including bookstores, home decor and clothing stores, also line Republic Square.

Austin’s nightlife is incredibly vibrant and very much alive. With Sixth Street as Austin’s main entertainment center, old buildings are transformed into a unique collection of bars, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and of course, a host of live entertainment venues from jazz and blues to country, rock, hip-hop, punk and many, many more. Sixth Street restaurants specialize in many regional favorites such as chili, ribs, and Tex-Mex, as well as steak, seafood, Cajun and deli eats.

Safety

As far as living in large cities is concerned, Austin has a high reputation for safety. Forbes rated Austin as the 14th safest city in America*2. Austin also has a unique safety program enforced by a group of uniformed bike riders, all volunteers. Six days a week, these bikers patrol the streets of Austin from early morning until late evening and they communicate directly with the city’s police department.

As with living in any big city, always use common sense and stay on well-lit and traveled streets, especially after dark.

Weather

Austin summers are very hot and humid, with average temperatures in the mid-90’s. In winter, Austin is dry and mostly mild with average temperatures in the mid-60’s. The city has an average of 300 days of sunshine a year.

Austin facts

  • –  Percent of Austinites with a bachelor’s degree or higher (age 25+): 43.5%*3
  • –  Population in 2010: 790,390*3
  • –  Median household income between 2005-2009: $50,236*3
  • –  Total number of Austin business firms in 2007: 80,582*3
  • –  Top industries and commercial activity: High technology and innovation, and biomedical and pharmaceuticals*4
  • –  Top items and goods produced: Computers, computer peripherals, software, electronic instruments, semiconductors, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, business equipment, video games*4

Sources:

3 Responses to “A Guide to Living in Austin, Texas”

  1. February 27, 2012 at 2:50 am, Will said:

    This review needs updating. There is no more Dillo service. It has been replaced with the Leander Choo Choo that thought it could. Also corruption is rampant with city government, soon to be plastic bag tax than ban, along with Austin energy socking it to residential customers while giving big business a lower electricity rate. The CEO of Austin Energy makes $300,000, and the CEO of our failing public transit system makes $228,000. This is one of the few places where someone can be illegally banned from city hall as the case with John Bush a local activist. Walkable city score is a joke, they must have been both drunk on LSD and stoned when they did such report as you try walking down a sidewalk (which doesn’t exist) to the Shops At Arbor Walk from the Domain. Plus get lied to by Austin Energy with such false, and insulting statements on your electric bill “The City is Complying with the Americans with Disabilites Act” yeah and I got ocean front property in Florida to sell you right now! This a car dependant town, and who tells you otherwise is full of it, like the progressive car insurance commercial where the two men’s pants are on fire, that is your city government for you. Austin is home to Lance Armstrong who bribed federal officals to get his criminal allegations of steroid use dropped. Representive Eddie “DWI Attempted Murderer” Rodriguez who because he was a wealthy Mexican Democrat with ties to the Trial Lawyers PAC he got away with almost killing a bicyclist on Chicon St, him along with State Senator and former Mayor Kirk “The Jerk” Watson decided to create more of a train wreck with Capital Metro. Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum thinks Austin is just a ATM, he can panhandle downtown but our homeless can’t. But of the positive side is Austin has less sprawl in the retail and service sector, we have a Randall’s and Fiesta foods here, and thunderstorms are rare compared to cities like Houston, Texas.

    Another note, the city only cares about two things, Downtown, and their pocketbook. If you don’t live downtown, you can forget about getting the same benefits as them.

    Sides of town:

    Northeast/East side, tacky, ugly, and not even homevestors would buy them condos. The existing houses there sadly won’t be there for long as more persons of color get forced out with Gentrification, a lawful form of blockbusting. East is considered East of I-35. Bus service fails to connect east to west austin in under 2 hours total trip time. Manor Road famous for resturant road, comprable to San Anotnio’s East Side minus the gentrification. Windsor Park is improving, but will take some time, and new council members and leadership.

    Southeast/Dove Springs- Home to what could be, going down there makes me wonder if APD is training people to be dumb to whats around them and how to act well stupid. Boundaries of this area include the portions from I-35 and E Slaughter to E Oltorf St.

    South Austin- Home to the pay more for less, a lot less square footage. Rent Section 8 quality 1 bedroom apartments for under $700 and nothing below $650, really? This section is I-35 and W Slaughter, W William Cannon to Oak Hill and ends on Barton Springs Dr and Mopac

    Southwest Austin/Oak Hill- Apartments way to pricey like South Austin, but not Section 8 quality. Home to Jerk Watson’s massive toll “highway robbery” initiative.

    West Austin- Home to old money places like Terrytown, where our Governor and select host of others are known to “hide”. What Alamo Heights is to San Antonio.
    Slow pace and the people ignore you if you are not one of the first families off the mayflower.

    North Central Austin- Folks, the Berlin Wall exists in Austin, while not a physical wall like once in Berlin this wall is Mopac and 183 to 45th and Mopac (Camp Mabry) this wall seperates the Hispanic population from the Anglos. This neighborhood has a family friendly, and down home feeling to it with the exception of course, Bryker Woods which could possibly be called Tarrytown II. This is the best place in Austin if you are low income, or middle class Austin without the snobs. Austin all natural.

    North Central Austin starts around N Lamar and 45th street right past Central Market, and covers the communites of Allendale, Crestview, Wooten, North Shoal Creek ends at the Metro Rail railroad tracks. Also covers Ohlen Rd, but not Peyton Gin. This excludes UT area.

    North Austin-Highland Mall/ Rundberg, a mixture of East Austin, and North Central Austin. Can be rough at night. Slowly improving. More Hurban if anything. This could be called “The rockyness of East Austin, with a sprinkle of charm, along with the failed Metro Rail Red Line.

    Central Austin- From Judges Hill to 38th and Guadalupe this section covers UT, Rio Grande, Nueces, to Mopac. This area is home to a lot of students. A younger snobber version of Austin. Their IQ level drops when they put the sunglasses on, seriously. Don’t beleive me, go there and see. The older population however, is not that way. I don’t count the businesses on this one, just the residents mainly from 21 Rio. A lot of hipsters, yuck.

    Northwest Austin-Other Side of Mopac: This is farmost the snobbinest area of Austin. Everyone thinks that they are privledged. This is where you would expect the most hypocritical liberal who thinks saving the planet means driving an SUV and people look down on you if you are low income, of color, and/or disabled. The diversity is nill to nada around these parts, and neighborhood associations along with our public transit “choice” which really isn’t a choice makes sure the dream of intergrated housing is like shattered glass they don’t want to fix.
    The most inconsiderate persons reside there. Of course a small fraction are actually nice, but that ratio is not in your favor. It can be a quiet place to live, reside, but for employment and day to day shopping forget it. While it has more grocery stores, and Fry’s electronics, the grocery stores are overcrowded and understocked. Home to 2 dingy HEB’s both of them are on, Research. Of course you have Randall’s Convience Store home to $7.99 Oscar Mayor Non Organic Bacon which sells for under $4 at HEB.
    You will also find a HEB near Lakeline which doesn’t carry, at all Pork Sausage. No Owens, and No Jimmy Dean, but they sell HEB Sausage Biscuits? WTF.

    Best place in Austin you decide, for quietness with snobs it is Northwest Austin.
    Otherwise snob free North Central Austin

    Reply

  2. January 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm, Bill Dudley said:

    This is a helpful intro to Austin. My son, Royce Dudley, is an officer in the Merchant Marine who
    wants to move from Oklahoma City (which he hates) to Austin. His wife died and I care for
    his 12 year old daughter when he is at sea. I think the three of us would find Austin more in
    line with our taste. Thanks for the info.

    Reply

  3. January 31, 2013 at 3:19 pm, Mary Yamada said:

    I am very interested in moving to Austin to be near the Shambhala Center and the miksang photography group. Can’t figure where where the best affordable place to be is where I could just walk or bike to the center. I am deaf, but I’m very accustomed to being looked down on, etc etc…so it really isn’t a concern for me to be ignored. Any suggestions?

    Reply

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