Moving to Austin can be an interesting adventure. There are a lot of reasons why people move to the capital of the Lone Star State, which at least 150 newcomers settling in each day can testify to. Summing up those reasons to great barbecue, live music, and pleasant weather would do injustice to this interesting and fast-growing place.
It is true that the weather is beautiful, the cultural scene is lively, and the costs of living are affordable, but A-town offers different kinds of neighborhoods for everyone’s convenience, growing job opportunities, exciting nightlife, and plentiful outdoor recreation.
Like any other capital in the world, A-town offers a chance to live an urban and modern life, coupled with an abundance of cultural and educational opportunities. If we are to emphasize some aspects, one of them would definitely be the live music scene. It features a couple of massive music festivals that dominate the city’s atmosphere each autumn and spring to the point that part of the population leaves their homes to avoid the crowds. Also, the popular Tex-Mex cuisine, a mix of authentic Texas and Mexican meals, along with a variety of other cuisines available in the restaurants around the town. All in all, you will have plenty of things to do in Austin if you choose it as your next home.
One of the advantages of Austin is definitely the weather. With almost ten months of warm weather a year, you can leave your winter wardrobe behind. It is true that the heat in July and August can be extreme, but there are a lot of public pools and swimming holes to solve the problem. Winters are mild. As for humidity, it depends on the wind direction. If it is blowing from the desert, it brings dry air, but if it is blowing from the Mexican Gulf, it brings humid air.
The constant influx of new residents is bound to introduce some traffic problems everywhere, and this town is no different. The number of vehicles on the streets by far surpasses the infrastructure built when the place was moderately big. The commute time is a thing to be seriously considered when deciding on the housing options.
So, living downtown can prove to be worth the extra money you will spend on renting or buying. The majority of residents commute to work by car or work from home, and only a small percentage uses public transport, which mostly includes a bus system called CapMetro and light rail service to the North part of the town. Public transportation is very affordable, though. Gasoline is cheaper here than elsewhere, which is good as the car is almost a must here.
If we are to summarize the food in A-town in a couple of words, it would be tacos and barbecue. But, then again, it would be simplifying the variety of cuisines offered in A-town, from the famous food trucks to sushi restaurants. Tacos are definitely popular from breakfast to dinner time, and there are even vegetarian options.
As regarding the food for our minds, the town offers an 18,000-works collection of theBlanton Museum of Art, displaying art pieces from ancient Greece to abstract expressionism. Also worth visiting are the Jones Center downtown, displaying contemporary art in various forms, and the Laguna Gloria offering different perspectives of art depicted through nature and history.
The “Live Music Capital of the World” nickname fits this town perfectly. There is a vibrant music scene with a lot of venues to choose from, and there are also two massive festivals lasting for a week, South by Southwest and City Limits. The annual music, film, and interactive conference festival South by Southwest, or as the locals call it “South By”, takes place in March, totally changing the life in the town. The same applies to City Limits, a music festival offering big breaks to many beginner artists. There is also Fun Fun Fun Fest, an annual music and comedy festival, featuring genre stages for hip-hop, electronica, indie rock, punk/metal, and comedy. A very popular cultural district known for a number of great music venues is theRed River Cultural District, especially for hipster-lovers.
A-town has no major league teams and isn’t that famous for sports, but football, basketball, and softball are popular college sports, and there are also Formula 1 races held in the Circuit of the Americas along with Indycar and MotoGP races. Circuit of the Americas hosted famous racing names at its 3.41 miles long racetrack, so it is not like you are going to be deprived of thrill in A-town.
This is where A-town has a lot to offer. Just to mention a few areas for your general knowledge, there’s “Dirty Sixth”, the 6th Street offering a variety of options, from restaurants and bars to music spots and then there’s Rainey Street with numerous bungalow bars and restaurants, and Green concerts of free blues in Zilker Park.
Texas has a lot of natural attractions from canyons, caves, mountains, forests to beautiful beaches. For recreation lovers, there is Big Bend International Biosphere Reserve, offering hiking, biking, camping, boating and fishing, and other outdoor activities.
If you are a fan of natural beauty, Lost Maples Natural Area in Central Texas is your place, offering an amazing spectrum of color nuances if you visit in autumn.
Enchanted Rock is a huge rock formation rising 1825 feet above sea level and a landmark of Texas, attracting numerous tourists.
If you want to take a peek below the ground, there are Cascade Caverns featuring a special attraction – a 100-foot underground waterfall.
For nature lovers, Padre Island National Seashore, located on North Padre Island, offers remote long beaches with preserved nature.
Let’s not forget kids’ entertainment, as they will enjoy visiting Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, with huge models of dinosaurs, but also a Fossil Rim Wildlife Center dedicated to the preservation of endangered species. Meanwhile, Hueco Tanks State Historic Site includes prehistoric pictographs on cave walls.
A-town cherishes its outdoor sites, starting from the three lakes – Lake Austin, Lake Walter E. Long, and Lady Bird Lake, to the Barton Creek Greenbelt featuring a 12-mile trail in the center of the town, perfect for jogging. Lady Bird Lake or Town Lake offers not only 10 miles of hiking and biking trails around, but also canoeing, kayaking, and other water activities. Plus, you can watch a bat colony under the Congress Bridge. Another summer destination is Barton Springs Pool, a natural pool fed by underwater springs located in Zilker Park. There is also hiking in Mount Bonnell and a variety of other outdoor options for you to discover.
Job growth is strong in A-town, with a 2% unemployment rate. There are many top tech companies operating in A-town, such as Dell Computer and Apple, and the technology industry is very developed, from video game production to space technology. The unemployment rate is very low, and wages are high.
Education revolves around the University of Texas, situated north of Downtown and crowded with college students and graduates. It is a public research university and one of the best universities in the country, educating students for future positions of scientists, athletes, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, and artists.
If compared with New York, this community is a much more affordable place for living. Rent and food are cheaper, but it is still moderately expensive if you add all Austin living costs to your rentals. However, the wages are relatively high, so people can afford a median rental price of $1,190 for a one-bedroom apartment or a median home price of approximately $350,000. That means the price is about five times the median household income, which amounts to $71,000, close to the Chicago ratio but much less than in New York. The average renting price amounts to about 30% of the monthly income in A-town, so it is safe to say it is rather affordable.
Picking the best Austin neighborhood with the best schools depends mostly on your preferences – whether you like peace and quiet, or the city bustle – but given the poor transportation options, it is best to search for a home close to your work. Obviously, the closer you are to the center, the higher the prices will be.
Let’s start with the downtown area, obviously the most populated and expensive part of the town. If you like numerous bars and restaurants, shops, music venues, and other urban features. If you can afford it, you will definitely want to move downtown. You’ll probably be close to work, as the majority of companies are situated there. But, as mentioned, it comes with high prices and additional parking problems.
North Central part is also among the most expensive neighborhoods to live in. It is the most historic part with lovely old homes, cafes, locally sourced authentic groceries, and fancy shops. Rental costs are relatively affordable, and businesses tend to move there from the downtown area to reduce the rent and tax costs. Further north from this area, you will encounter a more suburban atmosphere.
East part is packed with Mexican grocery shops and taco trucks as it houses mostly Latino and Mexican populations, but it is becoming a popular destination for artists as well. This part of the town has evolved significantly in the last decade and is now a vibrant neighborhood with unique bars and the best restaurants in Austin with a hipster vibe.
Across Town Lake, is where the South neighborhood is located. This area favors small businesses of all kinds, displays unusual houses, old-style boutiques, hip coffee shops, vintage restaurants, and other eccentric spots. Residential options vary from authentic old houses to modern communities. Further south you go, the prices are lower, and the area is more residential and working-class.
Heading west, you will find a hilly landscape with charming mansions overlooking Lake Travis. The West part has expensive real estate because it is considered a reputable and wealthy area with good schools, but renting is reasonably affordable. This is a nice neighborhood if you fancy living by the lake in a quiet atmosphere surrounded by natural beauties.
You can also choose to go outside the city limits and commute to work a bit longer if you want to have more living space for less money. But, you may not even be far away from your office if you happen to work for some of the major employers situated outside the city.
The housing market in A-town is becoming very competitive with the huge influx of people that are coming in daily. The prices also vary depending on the neighborhood and whether you want to or a house. Generally, the prices of apartments are lower than the houses, but if you opt for the downtown area, you will find it very pricy to buy an apartment, too. If you want to rent a house or get an apartment, the best way is to hire a licensed leasing agent, as you are not paying for their services, but the landlord is. As elsewhere, a monthly deposit is required before getting long distancemoving services or getting in touch with Austin movers.
Renters insurance is very cheap and amounts from $20 to $30 for coverage of $300,000, depending on the insurance company, so it is advisable to get it.
If it is your first time here, we suggest you start by checking what you need to rent an apartment and prepare and organize important papers before you arrive. And don’t forget to get all of your apartment essentials once you start relocating.