Best known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin has lots to offer anyone, even those of us who are not music junkies. It’s got a thriving cultural scene, gorgeous scenery, a strong business presence, unique culture, and more, all in the midst of an environment that blends fun and serenity. Read on for our complete city guide to Austin, as an aid to you as you search for the perfect apartment!
Austin’s geographical setting is in hill country, with lots of gorgeous rivers and lakes. In fact, it’s bisected by the Colorado River (misnomer, we know) into northern and southern parts of the city. North Austin is largely residential, while downtown and southern areas of Austin hold more activity and attractions. And there are tons of areas in and around the city themselves that have their own unique characters too. Read on for our complete city guide to Austin, as an aid to you as you search for the perfect apartment!
To the northwest of the city lie established neighborhoods that some claim to feel more like Dallas than Austin. One of these is Arboretum Area, which offers top retail, great schools, high tech employers, tons of apartments, and lots of dining and nightspot options. The tech companies and University of Texas research campus are big draws for the population who live there.
On the south side of the Colorado River is an area called Barton Hills, which is absolutely full of things to do, especially outside. Apartments are plentiful here, and there are parks, swimming pools, creeks, greenbelts, hiking and biking trails, etc. all over the area. It’s an ideal place for people who love the best of all worlds because it offers plenty of activities, shopping (Barton Creek Square), great schools, and other options within itself but is also super close to downtown and 2nd street retail district.
The suburbs of Austin are also very desirable. West Lake Hills especially is a popular area with its great rolling hills, gorgeous views, and proximity to both the city and the Colorado River. It is also within the Eanes Independent School District, the top school district in Austin.
East Austin tends to be a bit more gritty and nonconformist, and is becoming an increasingly popular area of the city. It’s got lots of hole-in-the-wall places (this area serves some of Austin’s best Mexican food), murals, worn-in spots, rugged exteriors, and an eclectic mix of neighbors. Nightlife in East Austin is extensive and full of character.
Living in downtown Austin is great for those who want to be in the center of all the action. Depending on where one lives downtown, it’s either right next to or super close to the Colorado River and Lady Bird Lake, meaning there’s lots of water-play options. There are also tons of parks, museums, restaurants, shopping, and events going on too. Austin is one of the nation’s most fit cities, and this is reflected in downtown’s walkabilty as well as proximity to all kinds of trails for all kinds of activities. There’s also the weekly Farmers Market in Republic Square as well as lots of other healthy grocery options like Whole Foods and multiple Royal Blue Grocery locations.
Beyond fitness awards, Austin is a great place for tons of different people, including creative professionals. Obviously, being the Live Music Capital of the World provides tons of opportunities and a great scene for aspiring musicians and producers. However, it is also great for moviemakers, artists, authors, etc. And this is shown in the city’s eagerness to “Keep Austin Weird.” Although there are many large businesses and retail chains in the area, the city’s residents have a huge appreciation for all things indie, local, and unique. Austinites hold dear all the things that make them funky and love encouraging anything that adds to, or maintains, their funky vibe.
The main form of transportation in Austin is, of course, the classic automobile. However, plenty of public transportation options are available as well. Capital Metro is the city’s provider of public transportation, and they offer MetroBus, MetroRapid (bus service on the same line as MetroBus but with less stops), and MetroRail, that all run from north to south in the city; UT Shuttles (University of Texas transportation, free to those with a valid UT photo ID); and vanpool and carpool options.
Overall, Austin is an eclectic, thriving mix. Different parts of the city serve different interests, but all are united in their love for Austin’s unique vibe. Moving here means getting a lot of opportunities for exposure to various sounds, tastes, interests, and walks of life. It’s a great place for those who want to expand their horizons and experience varying types of influences! As always, Apartment List is here to help you find the perfect home.