The 15 Best Neighborhoods in Austin, Texas
Once you decide you want to live in Austin, TX, it’s time to narrow down exactly where you want to put down roots. There are plenty of great neighborhoods in Austin to choose from, but you’ll first need to examine your priorities: Will you be looking for an apartment or a house? Do you want to live somewhere central and walkable, or would you rather opt for a bigger space and a yard by living a bit further out? Do you want to live in the center of the excitement, or in a quieter, calmer area of town? These are all important things to consider before settling down in the vibrant Live Music Capital.
To help you figure out where you’d like to live, we’ve compiled this list of the 15 best neighborhoods in Austin, including:
- Travis Heights
- East Cesar Chavez
- Bouldin Creek
- Zilker/Barton Hills
- Hyde Park
- North Loop
- Windsor Park
- Onion Creek
Let’s get started!
1. Travis Heights
There might not be a neighborhood that feels more “Austin” than Travis Heights. This cute enclave, located just south of downtown over the Congress Avenue Bridge, features a mix of historic and renovated homes and plenty of shade from the area’s magnificent oak trees.
The touristy hustle and bustle of the SoCo shopping district on South Congress Avenue is just a stone’s throw away from Travis Heights, which means many of its homes have become vacation rentals. However, there is still a cozy neighborhood feel to the area, and you’ll often see young people running and cycling and families walking with their kids or dogs along the hike and bike trail along the south perimeter of Lady Bird Lake.
You’ll also be conveniently close to a wide range of restaurants, including Perla’s, June’s All Day, Maie Day, and Otoko, along with shops such as Neighborhood Goods, Parts and Labour, Allen Boots, and South Congress Books. This area is also home to a couple of music venues, including Continental Club and C-Boy’s Heart & Soul.
If you decide this is where you want to live, just expect to pay top dollar for all these amenities—this neighborhood ain’t cheap!
2. East Cesar Chavez
Although Central East Austin is often casually referred to as “The Eastside,” there are actually many distinct neighborhoods throughout the sprawling east end of the city. One great one is the section of Cesar Chavez just east of I-35 and downtown Austin, and the little streets running south of it until you hit Lady Bird Lake.
Unfortunately, many of the piñata shops, dive bars, and murals that originally gave this historically Mexican-American neighborhood its charm have been replaced with condos and mixed-use new-builds. However, the area has maintained a whisper of its past self. There are still some families living in original homes (though plenty of renovated houses in between, mainly occupied by young professionals) and there are still many delicious taquerias in town, including Granny’s Tacos, Las Trancas, Veracruz All Natural, and Juan in a Million.
Gentrification has brought bars like Drinks Lounge, LongPlay Lounge East, and High Noon, as well as restaurants like Cenote, Bufalina, and Oseyo. There’s also a vibrant vegan community here, spearheaded by Mr. Natural and followed by Counter Culture Cafe, The Vegan Nom, Gati Ice Cream, and more.
This neighborhood also provides easy access to the north side of the hike and bike trail, as well as Fiesta Gardens, a community space featuring many outdoor events throughout the year.
This historic neighborhood, located just west of downtown Austin, was originally established in 1871 by freed slave Charles Clark after the 1865 emancipation in Texas. Clark subdivided his land among other freedmen and started the city’s first African American community. However, early in the 20th century, developers started to realize the land value of Clarksville, with its proximity to downtown Austin, and they began to force the Black community to the east side of the city by closing the Black schools in the area and withholding services. In the 1970s, the city declared a section of Clarksville historic, and the 1879 Hezikiah Haskell House still stands as a reminder of the neighborhood’s roots.
While there are still some original bungalows tucked throughout the tree-lined streets, most have been renovated or entirely replaced, and the north side of the neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most centrally located mansions. However, some apartment buildings do exist here, too, and many of them are on the older side.
Despite all of those extreme early changes and development, Clarksville hasn’t changed a whole lot in recent years, so the very beautiful, walkable, and family-friendly neighborhood still exudes what locals think of as “old-school Austin” charm.
FreshPlus, the local grocery store, appears small but has everything you could ask for, and Sledd Nursery has been beautifying this Texas town with plants and flowers since 1978. Jeffrey’s, one of the city’s top restaurants for fine dining, and Cipollina, a casual pizzeria, are both icons in their own ways, and the original Cafe Medici keeps residents caffeinated.
This cute, tree-shaded neighborhood is tucked along the east side of I-35, just northeast of the University of Texas Austin’s campus and just south of the Mueller development. The homes lining Cherrywood’s winding side streets are mostly original single-family bungalows from the 1940s (built right after World War II) and some duplexes.
There are also several micro-neighborhoods within Cherrywood, including Delwood, University Heights, and French Place, which features stunning historic and renovated homes. The demographic of this neighborhood is primarily split among well-to-do young professionals, families, and older residents. However, Manor Road, which makes up the south perimeter of Cherrywood, is home to a number of apartment buildings that are much more affordable for both students and post-collegiate residents.
Cherrywood Coffeehouse is a popular neighborhood hangout that features a full menu in addition to its coffee and regularly hosts live music and family-friendly programming. Manor Road is chock full of restaurants (and a couple of bars), such as Dai Due, Haymaker, School House Pub, Este, Bird Bird Biscuit, and Tex-Mex mainstay Mi Madre’s.
5. Bouldin Creek
Bouldin Creek is located just south of Lady Bird Lake via the South 1st Street Bridge and just west of Travis Heights. This is another very desirable neighborhood due to its lingering quirky vibe—yet, much like Travis Heights, it has become extremely expensive in the past decade.
There are still some lingering bungalows and a couple of apartment buildings that provide more affordable options for those who want to live here, but in general, the neighborhood comprises stunning architectural masterpieces alongside more generic mansions.
But it’s no surprise that young professionals and families have flocked here in droves—there’s plenty to love about this neighborhood beyond its proximity to downtown, Auditorium Shores, Lady Bird Lake, and the hike-and-bike trail. South 1st Street is splashed with colorful murals—the most famous being the “Greetings From Austin” painting outside of Roadhouse Relics, a fantastic gallery filled with iconic neon signage.
Despite all the surrounding development, the street also boasts several food truck parks, and Bouldin Creek’s restaurant scene continues to thrive, with favorites like Bouldin Creek Cafe, Terry Black’s Barbecue, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Fresa’s, Polvo’s, and more.
As central East Austin has exploded in popularity and development has spread further east, so have Austin residents. Located east of Pleasant Valley and spanning from Oak Springs Road in the north down to Lady Bird Lake in the south, Govalle is a little pocket of the eastside that has become increasingly popular over the past five years, particularly with younger people.
Parts of Govalle have historically been industrial, and there are still some traces of that vibe between Cesar Chavez and 7th Street, as well as plenty of studio space (the area comes alive during the Austin Studio Tour each fall!). Justine’s Brasserie was the only restaurant over here when it opened in 2016, but many more have joined in the past five years, including Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile, Kinda Tropical, Lustre Pearl East, Koko’s Bavarian, and Llama Kid. Other local hangouts include breweries such as Hi Sign Brewing, Friends & Allies, and Austin Eastciders, as well as the East Austin Bouldering Project, which serves as a community hub.
These two cozy residential neighborhoods in North Austin blend together so seamlessly that it just makes sense to talk about them together. Both span from North Lamar to Burnet Road, with Anderson Lane bordering Crestview and Brentwood tucked just below it, running to Koenig Lane. Both family-friendly neighborhoods feature midcentury homes, though there are also several new apartment buildings on the western perimeter along Burnet Road.
This stretch of Burnet is filled with plenty of trendy bars and restaurants, including The Peached Tortilla, Bufalina Due, Barley Swine, and Dip Dip Dip Tatsu Ya), a food truck park, and some older staples like La Cocina de Consuelo, Upper Crust Bakery and Billy’s on Burnet. Long-standing neon signs, Top Notch Hamburgers (the drive-in from the movie “Dazed and Confused”), and a couple of old-school dive bars like The Little Longhorn Saloon and Aristocrat Lounge also give this neighborhood some retro vibes.
8. Zilker/Barton Hills
If you’re looking for greenery in the heart of the city, you might want to consider living in the Barton Hills and Zilker neighborhoods. Flanking the Greenbelt, Barton Hills features beautiful views and easy access to swimming holes, hiking trails, and mountain biking trails. Zilker is nestled just east of Barton Hills and runs right up to its namesake park, which boasts 350 acres of green space, jogging and biking trails, and its crown jewel, Barton Springs, making it the perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
While there are some lavish and beautiful houses throughout these neighborhoods, there are also many apartment buildings that are popular among young professionals. Several high-rise apartment buildings have been built along South Lamar Boulevard in the past five years.
While the street isn’t particularly the best for strolling along due to loud traffic and a lack of consistent sidewalks, it is lined with plenty of restaurants, such as Eberly, Uchi, Odd Duck, Soto, and Ramen Tatsu-ya, along with bars such as Tiki Tatsu-ya, Gibson Street Bar, The Golden Goose, and Barton Springs Saloon.
As for other entertainment, you’ll be conveniently located to an Alamo Drafthouse (complete with karaoke rooms!) as well as the newly renovated Butler Pitch & Putt and the iconic Peter Pan Mini Golf.
9. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is a charming neighborhood located just north of the University of Texas campus and just west of I-35 between 38th Street and 51st Street. Wide, shady streets are lined with both Victorian and Craftsman houses, with some duplexes peppered throughout as well. There are also some smaller housing options tucked throughout the neighborhood that tend to be popular among UT students and graduate students looking for apartments.
Though most of Hyde Park is residential, there is a strip of cafes and shops along its eastern perimeter, including longstanding favorites like ASTI Trattoria, Hyde Park Cafe, Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery, and Julio’s Cafe. There are also a few quaint small businesses throughout the neighborhood, such as Blue Moon Glassworks, a stained glass supply store, Avenue B Grocery & Market, a deli inside a century-old grocery store, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, and a small FreshPlus grocery store.
Another highlight is Shipe Park, which has a playground, picnic areas, and a free neighborhood pool, as well as the adjacent Elisabet Ney Museum, which showcases the work and life of the German-born sculptor.
10. North Loop
Nestled up to Hyde Park on the north side and just south of Austin Community College Highland Campus is North Loop, a small neighborhood filled mostly with single-family homes erected after World World II. The residents are a mix of families and young people, and the blocks of houses are dissected by North Loop Boulevard, a quirky and walkable street with vintage stores, food trucks, indie shops, bars, and restaurants.
Highlights of this part of Austin include Epoch Coffee, Foreign & Domestic, drink.well, Workhouse Bar, and Home Slice Pizza, along with shops like Yarrow & Sage, Breakaway Records, and Monkeywrench Books. There is also a strong vegan culture in this area, with an entire food truck park dedicated to selling vegan eats from Zucchini Kill Bakery, Bistro Vonish, and other rotating trucks.
11. Windsor Park
Located just east of North Loop and north of Mueller is Windsor Park, which spans from East 51st Street to 290 North, with I-35 along the western border and Manor Road on the eastern border. This primarily residential neighborhood, which was originally developed in the 1950s, has been a popular one for young families looking to purchase a more affordable home, but its prices have certainly risen in the past few years.
Windsor Park is located close enough to Mueller to enjoy all of the same amenities, and it does include a few of its own, such as an all-day café named Hank’s, a second (and bigger!) location of Little Deli & Pizzeria, and beloved taqueria Mi Trailita y Más. Bartholomew Pool, a spacious community pool, is also a great feature for families with kids to enjoy in the summer.
12. Downtown Austin
Many people move to this Texas town from other cities set on being located in a bustling “city environment” and opt for downtown without a second thought. Austin’s downtown housing is primarily made up of luxury high-rises, many with views of the water, for top dollar.
Naturally, the downtown area offers plenty to do, including bars, restaurants, and tons of popular music venues. While the area is home to many standard restaurant chains, the area does boast local favorites like Parkside, Red Ash, Sammie’s Italian, Wu Chow, and Comedor, along with popular bars like Midnight Cowboy, Mort Subite, Peche, Garage, The Roosevelt Room, and The Elephant Room. If you’ve decided to move to Austin for its live music scene, you’ll love living downtown for its close proximity to Stubb’s, The Mohawk, and the other venues along Red River (just make sure to pack earplugs if you’re a light sleeper!).
It’s important to note that Austin’s downtown differs from downtown areas in other big cities, as it does lack an efficient public transportation system and amenities such as grocery stores and pharmacies, so you may have to travel elsewhere to stock up on your weekly essentials.
This development, located on the former site of the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, gives suburban vibes but is located right in the center of town, just northeast of Hyde Park and running from East 51st Street to Airport Boulevard. Mueller is a very family-friendly neighborhood and contains more than 6,000 homes of varying sizes and layouts, with more being added each week.
This neighborhood is one of the most popular central neighborhoods for families with small children. It is home to the Thinkery, an innovative children’s museum, as well as beautiful Mueller Lake Park, a community pool, and plenty of playgrounds. On Sundays, a massive farmers market takes over a dedicated venue in the center of the neighborhood, right down the street from a community dog park.
On the northern edge of Mueller, there is an H-E-B, a bank, an emergency medical clinic, and more, and its “town center” boasts several workout studios, an Alamo Drafthouse, and popular restaurants such as L’oca D’oro, Colleen’s Kitchen, Bao’d Up, and Kirbey Lane Cafe.
14. Onion Creek
Named for the Colorado River tributary that winds itself through the neighborhood, Onion Creek is a residential community south of Slaughter Lane. The homes were developed around a country club that offers golf memberships, tennis memberships, and social memberships that include access to its pool and dining facilities. Other families have flocked to Onion Creek in search of larger homes and yards for more affordable prices than what’s available in central Austin.
One of the biggest perks of living in Onion Creek is its immense amount of green space. It’s super close to the trails of Onion Creek Greenbelt and McKinney Falls State Park, which offers hiking and biking trails and access to camping and fishing. Texas Trail Rides at Lone Star Ranch leads riding tours through the trails of Onion Creek, as well as summer camps for kids.
While there aren’t any shops or restaurants within walking distance at the moment, Southpark Meadows is located just across the highway and features a movie theater, grocery stores, and several fast-casual dining options. Nearby, The Far Out Lounge and Stage hosts food trucks and nightly live music. And, just across the street are two fan favorites for Austin dining, Torchy’s Tacos and a Ramen Tatsu-ya.
Though Buda is technically located just outside of Austin city limits, it is so close—and such a desirable location—that it warrants inclusion here. In fact, think of it as Far South Austin, located just 30 minutes south of downtown on I-35.
The central part of town has some beautiful historic homes, dating back to the late Victorian era, but you can expect to pay a hefty price tag for any of those. There are many subdivisions throughout Buda, too, where prices are much more affordable.
Buda’s quaint Main Street (which became a Texas Main Street City in 2017 to preserve its history) gives the town a lot of its charm, with shops, galleries, and markets with historic storefronts. Zoi Market has just about any healthy grocery item you could be looking for without having to go to H-E-B (though there’s one of those nearby, too). And, locals have plenty of options for dining on the main strip, like Main Street Pizza & Beer Garden, Brooklyn’s Down South for Cajun, Louie’s Craft BBQ, and Gotji’s Kitchen.
Find your new home in the best neighborhoods in Austin, TX
Now that you’ve had a primer, are you ready to check out Austin neighborhoods for yourself? Start by moving into one of Landing’s fully furnished apartments, which feature flexible leases that make it easy to stay in town for as long as you need to decide whether this could be your new home. Learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you today!