If you’re thinking about moving to Austin, one of the most important things to figure out is what neighborhoods might be a good fit for you. Do you want to be close to the action or somewhere quieter? Are you a family with kids or a recent college grad just starting to build your adult life? Austin has neighborhoods to suit almost anyone – but if you really want to understand what an area has to offer, you have to talk to the people who live there. Which is why Trulia has added a new feature – What Locals Say – to every home listing. More than fifteen million locals have shared insights about their neighborhoods, and an average of 100,000 reviews are being added every day. We used that data to identify four very special, and very different, Austin neighborhoods that you might want to consider in your home search.
If some locals consider this hip enclave to be the best neighborhood in all of Austin, it’s for a good reason. Bouldin, a historic zone just across the river from downtown’s core, contains a taste of all of the things that make the city great. And while it has a reputation for being a paradise for young singles, it’s much more than that – which you find when you dig into the numbers.
Fans of urban living value one neighborhood characteristic above all others: walkability. And Bouldin sure is walkable. Want to be able to mosey to cool bars and hot restaurants? Check, according to 94% of residents, with almost the same number adding that the neighborhood is a safe place to walk alone at night – and a large majority appreciating the fact that even there are sidewalks, which is not a given in this car-oriented town. Interested in a tattoo? Bouldin has you (literally, if that’s your style) covered. Are you an Asian-food fan? Great, because Bouldin features some of the best Vietnamese and Thai restaurants in the city. Enjoy silence? So do your potential neighbors, despite the lively shopping and dining scene on the main drags, with 82% describing Bouldin as quiet. Love dogs? A resounding 100% of locals who weighed in on the matter describe the hood as ‘dog friendly.’ And while 75% of residents say you are probably going to want to own a car, the same number note that you won’t need it for errands like grocery shopping. As one local puts it: “Living so near [downtown] and having the peace and quiet of a suburban neighborhood gives you the feeling that every day is a vacation. What a great place to live!
- Best mega-Austin-y restaurant: The popular and bohemian Bouldin Creek Cafe, which one local describes as ‘the best Vegan diner on earth”
- Best Vietnamese restaurant: Elizabeth Street Cafe, which also serves delicious French-Vietnamese baked goods
- Best castle: Bouldin Castle, a Franciscan monastery-turned-spectacular medieval-inspired home
- Best park: Town Lake Memorial Park, which hugs the Colorado river with spectacular views of downtown
- Best concert hall: The Long Center for the Performing Arts
- Best neon-sign gallery: Roadhouse Relics, where local artist Todd Sanders crafts vintage-style designs
- Best landmark: The famous ‘Greetings from Austin’ mural
- Second-best landmark: The statue of late blues-guitar master Stevie Ray Vaughan
If you are looking for a small-town feel, historic Hyde Park – which is overwhelmingly residential and full of turn-of-the-century homes – is the move. The neighborhood has a longstanding reputation for being brainy, with deep connections to the nearby University of Texas, and a little bit hippy. But dig into the numbers and you’ll find one of the most interesting residential zones in the city.
Victorian mansions meet modest bungalows in this leafy, historically protected district. But even though it is mostly residential, locals love the Hyde Park’s convenience to all key amenities. More than 95% of residents say that grocery shopping and dining are within easy walking distance (although this is still car-oriented Austin and 93% say you need a car). That urban feeling has some trade-offs, though, with less than half of residents finding their neighbors friendly or lauding their “holiday spirit.” But everyone loves dogs, with 100% claiming dog-friendliness, and even if you need to have a car, a solid 85% say that parking is no problem. As one local fan proclaims, “Great homes with character, walkable, friendly neighbors. The best!”
- Best bakery: Get a cupcake at Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery
- Best coffee spot: Flightpath Coffeehouse, where the beard-and-glasses crowd huddle around Macbooks working on their dissertations
- Best historic home-turned-museum: The Elisabet Ney Museum, former home and workplace of the acclaimed German-American sculptor
- Best hippie cafe: Mother’s, a classic vegetarian spot
- Best comedy club: ColdTowne Theater, where you can also take an improv class
- Best diner: Every neighborhood should have a diner, and the Omlettery is Hyde Park’s
- Best import: In N’ Out Burger
Back in 1991, Richard Linklater put both Austin and a certain style of local resident on the map with his groundbreaking feature-film debut, Slacker. And if you want to feel like you are a part of that movie, you could do worse than moving to – and spending your days drifting though – lovely Old West Austin’s vintage record stores, thrift shops, blues bars, and hip locavore restaurants. The ‘old’ part of the neighborhood’s name tells a big part of the story – it is one of the oldest areas in Austin, and its historic housing stock is protected by landmark laws. In part because of its location just west of downtown, Old West Austin also has a reputation for being a place that younger people, often just out of college, gravitate to, but if you talk to the locals and look art the numbers you’ll find a different story.
While Old West Austin is a great fit for young singles, it really shines as family neighborhood. A large majority of residents say that it’s safe for kids to play outside, which isn’t true of many nearby areas. They also agree that neighbors are friendly, holiday spirit abounds, dogs are loved, and it is safe to walk through at night. While virtually everyone agrees that you’ll need a car, 98% say parking is easy, and once you are in the neighborhood and looking for evening or weekend activities, you won’t need it much: 96% say grocery shopping is an easy walk, and 88% say the same of dining out. Parks, playground and hiking and biking trails abound. As one enthused resident puts it: “Dogs, people, location is great! Really special place that I can’t imagine living elsewhere! Never moving!”
- Best vintage soda fountain: Grab a burger and a shake at Nau’s Enfield Drug’s vintage lunch counter in the back of a pharmacy
- Best beer and wine bar: Chill out on the patio at Mean Eyed Cat
- Best beach: Rent a kayak, ride a bike, or just catch a tan at Ladybird Lake-Lamar Beach Metro Park
- Best bookstore: Bookpeople is a locally owned classic
- Best record store: Waterloo Records is the indie record store of your Slacker-inspired dreams
- Best Locavore restaurant: Get a reservation at Wink, a neighborhood institution
- Best coffee spot: Caffe Medici
This affluent north-central Austin neighborhood has everything a professional family might need: good schools, a wide variety of single-family homes on good-sized lots, parks and easy access to shopping an amenities. But it’s still Austin – and that means that there aren’t just Walmarts (although there is one of those) – there are also plenty of vibe-y bars, shops, and locavore restaurants. The neighborhood is also well served by public transportation, and sporty commuters have the option of a bike path that takes you all the way downtown. And if you talk to the locals and look at the numbers, you’ll understand why this is such a special place to live.
Everything a growing family might care about are the areas in which Allandale excels. More than 80% say that kids are safe to play outside – a high number for Austin. More than 95% say that yards are well-tended, parking is a breeze, and dogs are loved. More than 90% love the sidewalks and walkable grocery shopping. And a large majority say they are in for the long haul – with 79% saying they plan to remain in the area for at least five years. As one resident puts it, “I love this area! It’s close to everything and still secluded from the hustle of the city. The neighbors are super friendly.”
- Best donuts: Gourdough’s has a wide variety of sweet treats
- Best tiny pies: Tiny Pies bakes sweet and savory personal-sized pies
- Best Mexican-Korean fusion: Get Korean barbecue in a taco at Chi’lantro
- Best outdoor hang: Yard Bar is a dog-friendly spot for local beers and bites
- Best Park: Sheffield Northwest Park’s playgrounds, lake, and tennis courts are the heart of the neighborhood
- Best refurbished gas station: Phil’s Ice House, where you can grab a solid burger