A Guide to 14 of the Best Neighborhoods in Austin

I was born at Seton Hospital near downtown Austin in the eighties. It’s safe to say that the city has evolved over the passing decades, but it’s core spirit– a love for music, the outdoors and doing things a little different than other large cities– remains the same. 

It’s no secret that people from both coasts and just about every city in between have been flocking to the capital of Texas city for many years now. I believe Elon Musk’s exact words were “mega boom” when describing the current influx of people to Austin. Austin, Texas is now the 11th most populous city and for good reasons– a vibrant art and music scene, talented chefs and delicious restaurants, plenty to do outdoors and relatively moderate weather (June through September withstanding), just to name a few. While costs have risen exponentially over the last decade, you can still get more for your dollar here than you can in other coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area.

At least once a week, a message slides into my DMs from someone who is moving to Austin and wants insights on the neighborhoods. There are so many different incredible neighborhoods here with very distinct vibes, all with their own pros and cons. I thought it was time to put some of that information here in one place. We polled a lot of you on Instagram to find out more about where you live, what you love about it and what you don’t. I actually discovered a couple of new neighborhoods I knew nothing about! It was really interesting for me to put this together and hope it is for you, too, as you’re reading it. 

Property Tax in Austin

One thing to keep in mind when shopping for a house in Austin is the property tax rate. Because Texas doesn’t have a state income tax, the property tax rate is higher than many other states. Prepare to pay about $2100 a year for every $100,000 your home is appraised for. 

Best Neighborhoods in Austin, Texas

There are dozens and dozens of incredible neighborhoods and enclaves across the capital city, all with their own personality and character. For our purposes we included 14 that we love and hope to continue to add to this list. Do you love your neighborhood? Let us know where you live and why you love it in the comments below! One thing that Aaron and I thought a lot when we were moving back was the type of lifestyle we hoped to have here. Do you want to be able to walk to dinner? To school? To get a coffee? The answer to this question alone may significantly cut down on some of your neighborhoods. Do you care about highly rated public schools? This, too, will narrow your search!

Neighborhood: Tarrytown

  • Location: West Austin – West of Mopac, west from campus.
  • Zip code: 78703
  • Year developed: 1930s
  • Cost of a 5 bedroom 4600 square foot home on a .38 acre lot: $2,300,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • Close to Lake Austin
  • Great hills for power walking
  • Close to Deep Eddy, Pool Burger, Littlefield’s and a handful of other eateries
  • Swimming at Deep Eddy and exploring at Mayfield Nature Preserve and Laguna Gloria
  • Just 5 minutes from downtown Austin
  • Good public schools

Things to consider:

  • Lots tend to be small, so not a lot of privacy between neighbors
  • There aren’t good grocery stores nearby
  • Parts of the neighborhood are walkable to things, while other parts are more isolated.
  • One of the least racially and economically diverse neighborhoods in Austin
  • It’s expensive compared to other parts of Austin

Neighborhood: Crestview

  • Location: Central Austin, North of Campus and South of 183
  • Zip code: 78757
  • Year developed: 1950s
  • Cost of a 4 bedroom 2800 square foot home on a 7500sf lot: $1,350,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • Very central- 5 minutes to campus, 10 minutes to downtown, 10 minutes to the eastside, 10 minutes to west Austin
  • A diversity of ages– there are still a handful of original owners who have been here since the fifties and sixties, others that moved into the neighborhood in the seventies and eighties and lot of new families that have moved into the neighborhood in the past decade
  • Has a quirky Austin vibe
  • Walkable to Little Deli, Violet Crown Clubhouse, Taco Deli, Juiceland, Patisserie, a Bird Bird Biscuit later this year and handful of other eateries.
  • Good public schools- the elementary is currently under construction. The brand new building opens in 2022.
  • One of the few central Austin neighborhoods with highly rated schools that is still relatively affordable
  • All the kids and families walking around and playing everywhere.

Things to consider:

  • The elementary school is currently under construction
  • Lots tend to be small, so not a lot of privacy between neighbors
  • A very flat landscape and not a lot of mature trees
  • It’s a quickly evolving neighborhood. Lots of demo of old houses means there’s a lot of construction in the neighborhood. 

Neighborhood: Zilker / Barton Hills

  • Location: South Austin, West of 1st Street and East of Mopac
  • Zip code: 78704
  • Year developed: 1920s
  • Cost of a 1000 square foot home built in 1962 with no updates on a 7,000 sf lot: $1,050,000.

What the neighbor’s love:

  • The hilly landscape and heritage oak trees
  • The proximity to great restaurants like Fresa’s, Lenoir, Uchi, Patika, Matt’s El Rancho, Odd Duck, Ramen Tatsu-ya, Austin East Ciders and so many more
  • Walkability to delicious coffee and great shopping
  • Close to Zilker Park, Barton Springs, and other nature areas
  • Great public schools

Things to consider:

  • More tourist traffic than other parts of the city
  • Street closures and more traffic during big events like ACL and SXSW
  • It’s expensive compared to other parts of Austin

Neighborhood: MLK

  • Location: Far east Austin between Airport Blvd and 183. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd is the northern border of the neighborhood
  • Zip code: 78721
  • Year developed: Between 1940 and 1970
  • Cost of a 2 bedroom/1 bath 725 square foot home: $375,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • The Morris Williams golf course
  • A lot of dual language programs at the elementary school level
  • You get more square footage for your dollar here than in other parts of the city
  • Close to the airport

Things to consider:

  • Pretty far east- 20 minutes to downtown
  • Public schools aren’t highly rated

Neighborhood: Cuernavaca

  • Location: Southwest Austin
  • Zip code: 78733
  • Year developed: 1980’s
  • Cost of a 4 bedroom / 3.5 bath 1900 square foot home: $700,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • Down-to-earth, hippy vibes
  • Surrounded by hills and the lake
  • More affordable than other parts of Austin
  • Bea Love Yoga, Civil Goat Coffee and Austin’s Pizza
  • Eanes school district
  • A cool artist scene including the annual Cuerny Jam music festival.
  • Big, spacious lots

Things to consider:

  • No building codes or HOAs- think tractor trailer in the front yard next door to a 2 million dollar manse. 
  • Prices are going up rapidly, pricing out long-time home owners (this is true for just about every neighborhood in Austin.)
  • 21 minutes from downtown without traffic

Neighborhood: Travis Heights

  • Location: South Austin, just east of I-35 and west of Congress. 
  • Zip code: 78704
  • Year developed: Founded in 1912 and developed rapidly in the 20s
  • Cost of an older 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom 1600 sf home: $1,200,000.

What the neighbor’s love:

  • Big oak trees and great neighbors
  • The birthplace of ‘Keep Austin Weird’
  • Very dog friendly
  • Accessible to the greenbelts
  • Many families here now
  • Walkability to coffee shops and restaurants
  • Live music every night of the week
  • Diverse compared to other Austin neighborhoods: retired folks, empty nesters, young families and singltons. There are many women-led households, gay, immigrant and biopic families. 

Things to consider:

  • Random vacant house in the neighborhood and no one seems to know why
  • If you live close to South Congress the streets get crowded with overflow parking, especially on the weekends or during SXSW and ACL.
  • The schools that this neighborhood is zoned for are poorly rated. 

Neighborhood: Cherrywood

  • Location: North Central East Austin
  • Zip code: 78722
  • Year developed: Between the 1930s and 1950s
  • Cost of a 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom 1900 square foot home: $675,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • Easy access to great grocery stores
  • Convenient public transportation
  • Cherrywood Coffeehouse, Posse East, and Eastside Cafe
  • More affordable than other parts of Austin
  • Some decently rated public elementary schools 
  • Close to the University of Texas campus

Things to consider:

  • High petty crime rate
  • Some poorly rated schools

Neighborhood: Travis Country

  • Location: Southwest Austin
  • Zip code: 78735
  • Year developed: 1973-1982
  • Cost of a 3 bedroom / 2 bath in a cul-de-sac with a pool: $805,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • You can walk out your door and onto the Greenbelt
  • It’s only a 10 minute drive downtown without traffic
  • There are beautiful views on certain golden streets
  • Tennis courts, pools and parks abound

Things to consider:

  • Not a lot of local restaurant options

Neighborhood: Downtown Austin

  • Location: Central Austin, just north of the river
  • Zip code: 78702
  • Year developed: Development dates back to the 1880s for some historica buildings. Many of the buildings now have been built in the last 10 years.
  • Cost of an 800 sf 1 bedroom / 1 bath condo: $450,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • A quick walk to so many things including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s
  • Easy access to the hike and bike trail, Deep Eddy and Barton Springs
  • The best restaurants, coffee, and shopping in the city
  • Austin Central Library

Things to consider:

  • Highrise life… especially with kids
  • Parking is difficult when friends want to visit
  • Cost per square foot is high
  • Train noise
  • Traffic during commuter hours can be heavy

Neighborhood: Hyde Park

  • Location: West of I-35, North of campus
  • Zip code: 78751
  • Year developed: Hyde Park was Austin’s first true suburb and was originally laid out in 1891. Shipe park now pays homage to the developer, Monroe Martin Shipe
  • Cost of a 2 bedroom / 1 bath 800 square foot home: $615,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • The beautiful Commodore Perry Hotel
  • Hyde Park Grill and Quack’s Bakery
  • Close to campus
  • Great bus routes
  • Cozy neighborhood vibe that is close to downtown
  • Highly rated public schools

Things to consider:

  • Being close to campus can mean a lot of young, possibly noisy renters

Neighborhood: Rollingwood

  • Location: Southwest Austin
  • Zip code: 78746
  • Year developed: 1955
  • Cost of a new 4 bedroom / 2 bath 2300 square foot home: $1,800,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • Quiet and safe streets for kids to play
  • Close to downtown
  • Big lots
  • Low-key neighborhood pool and parks
  • Highly rated Eanes public school district

Things to consider:

  • A lot of 1950s homes being torn down to build big 4000sf+ monstrosities
  • New homes are making it more expensive to live there
  • Not very walkable to shops and restaurants

Neighborhood: Western Oaks

  • Location: Southwest Austin
  • Zip code: 78749
  • Year developed: 1980s- early 2000s
  • Cost of a newish 4 bedroom 3.5 bath 3300 square foot home: $600,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • Amazing oak trees
  • Quiet, suburban feel with wide streets
  • 15 drive to downtown without traffic
  • Really affordable compared to many of Austin’s neighborhoods

Things to consider:

  • There’s a really strict HOA which limits the exterior improvements you can do. All upgrade visible from the street must be approved by the HOA.
  • The homes are older but if you’re up for a remodel it’s perfect.

Neighborhood: Wooten

  • Location: North Central Austin, Just South of 183
  • Zip code: 78757
  • Year developed: 1960s and 1970s
  • Cost of an updated 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom 1700 square foot home: $775,000

What the neighbor’s love:

  • One of Austin’s more affordable central neighborhoods
  • Close to the Domain, Top Golf and 3 of Austin’s primary highways
  • Dual language program and small student to teacher ratios at Wooten Elementary School
  • Wooten Park offers a lot of green space and a great playground
  • Similar characteristics to Crestview and Allandale but more affordable

Things to consider:

  • The schools are not highly rated
  • While the petty crime rate has improved over the years, there are certain sections where theft and vandalism is still an issue
  • Homes close to 183 may get a lot of highway noise

Neighborhood: Bryker Woods

  • Location: Central Austin- Northwest from campus
  • Zip code: 78703
  • Year developed: 1930s
  • Cost of a 3 bedroom / 3.5 bath 2800 sf new construction: $1,600,000

What the neighbor’s love: 

  • Bryker Woods Elementary School is beloved for it’s relatively small size and great ratings
  • Parts of the neighborhood are walkable to shops and restaurants
  • Tiny Boxwoods, Milk and Cookies, Alexa James, Spread & Co, Kerbey Lane Cafe, 34th Street Cafe, Pasta Co and more
  • A lot of green space in the way of parks and two golf courses
  • Shoal Creek Greenbelt
  • Pease Park

Things to consider: 

  • Close to Seton Hospital so there’s occasionally siren and helicopter noise
  • Some through streets run parallel to nearby highways so traffic can get congested during commuter hours and drivers often seem to be in a hurry
  • Not all parts of the neighborhood are walkable to shops and restaurants
  • The neighborhood borders Mopac on one side. These homes may get a lot of traffic noise from the highway. 

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