Thanks to mild weather, excellent quality of life, and one of the best job markets in the country, Austin and its surrounding areas have experienced dizzying recent population growth, making it the fastest-growing major metro in the US for the last nine years.
If you are contemplating joining the throngs of people moving to this vibrant and eclectic city, you may be at a loss of where to set up your home base. Every neighborhood in Austin has its own personality and flavor and finding the right one is key to making your Austin experience a success. Here is a breakdown of our favorite local neighborhoods and why you should consider them.
Surrounded by the bustle of city life, Allandale is a unique enclave of quiet suburban streets just minutes from downtown with easy access to the rest of Austin. Residents here enjoy an eclectic mix of local shops and eateries and several local parks, including the newly remodeled Northwest Recreational Center.
The median home price in Allandale is $800,000. Houses for sale are typically one or two-bedroom homes in a mix of ranch and mid-century modern styles. Families moving to Allandale will benefit from their highly-rated public schools.
Why Allandale: Centrally located with great local establishments
The Vibe: Quiet tree-lined streets and active close-knit community
2. Barton Hills
Nature lovers will revel in the mix of Hill Country serenity and city convenience of Barton Hills. Residents can take advantage of the many natural attractions in their backyard, including Barton Springs, Zilker Park and the lush Barton Creek Greenbelt, while also enjoying living in the heart of Austin. Quiet residential streets and a welcoming atmosphere are the hallmarks of this highly sought after community.
Why Barton Hills: Great access to nature and city life
The Vibe: Friendly outdoor enthusiasts
One of Austin’s many bedroom communities, the town of Buda is a great choice for those seeking a more suburban lifestyle. It has small-town charm in spades with a downtown historic district and seasonal events such as the Movies in the Park, farmer's market, and the annual county fair and Weiner dog races. The 21-minute commute to downtown Austin makes Buda a solid option for those who work in the city.
The median home price for Buda is $400,000, but the area is also home to the luxury community of Oak Forest, with custom-built stone and brick homes. Public schools in Buda are rated as above average.
Why Buda: Suburban atmosphere with easy work commute
The Vibe: Small town living with a more metropolitan feel
4. Cedar Park
Located on the northwest edge of Austin, the town of Cedar Park is situated close to some of Austin’s largest employers like Dell, Apple, and National Instruments, as well as local tech and manufacturing companies and the Cedar Park Medical Center. This ideal location makes Cedar Park an attractive option for commuters and industry professionals. It boasts a wide range of local shopping and dining options as well as convenient access to both Austin and the Hill Country.
Additionally, Cedar Park has been nationally recognized. Family Circle Magazine and Wide Open Country both identified it as one of the Ten Best Towns for Families. It is served by the award-winning Leander and Round Rock Independent School Districts.
The median home price in Cedar Park is $499,000, but there are a wide range of options available, from 1,400 square foot homes in the low $200’s up to spacious, multimillion-dollar mansions.
Why Cedar Park: Great location and great amenities
The Vibe: Classic suburban living
Also referred to as French Place due to all the French place names used there, Cherrywood is an eclectic mix artists, retirees, professionals, and students and faculty from the nearby University of Texas. Its excellent location means that residents can walk or bike to great local establishments like the Cherrywood Coffeehouse and other great Austin amenities are just a short drive away.
Buyers looking in Cherrywood will find adorable bungalows and craftsman style homes. The median home price is $699,000.
Why Cherrywood: A centrally located neighborhood with classic Austin vibes
The Vibe: Quirky blend of old and new
Downtown Austin consists of a booming business district, a thriving entertainment district, and sophisticated urban dwellings. Metropolitan enthusiasts living here enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle with an upscale feel. Real estate here tends to be more expensive than other Austin neighborhoods, reflecting its location in the heart of the city with walking, biking, and metro access to area employers, world-class shopping, gourmet dining, and relaxing recreation.
Characterized by scenic views of the Colorado River, Downtown Austin listings typically feature high-rise lofts, luxury condos, and small, garden-style condos, most with their own parking spaces. The median home price in Downtown Austin is $734,300.
Children who live in Downtown Austin attend schools in the Austin Independent School District or can take advantage of the many private and charter schools in the area.
Why Downtown Austin: Living in the beating heart of Austin
The Vibe: Sophisticated urban lifestyle
7. Dripping Springs
"Gateway to the Texas Hill Country" Dripping Springs is an unpretentious city set amongst rolling hills, oak trees, and rock-bottom creeks located just 25 minutes southwest of Austin.
This beautiful Hill Country town is rife with amenities so there's no need to drive into the city for any day-to-day errands. Dripping Springs Sports and Recreation Park and Charro Ranch Park are both excellent places to enjoy a weekend picnic, and the stunning Hamilton’s Pool Preserve is only 10 miles away.
Dripping Springs offers ranch-style homes on spacious plots, an excellent school system, and a rural lifestyle. The median home price is $762,500.
Why Dripping Springs: Stunning scenery and great local conveniences
The Vibe: Smalltown America
8. East Austin
East Austin is chock full of amenities, attractions, and conveniences, including Lady Bird Lake, Roy G. Guerrero Park, and the historic Victory Grill, where they’ve been playing live music since 1945. Festival Beach is also located in East Austin and hosts a variety of great events such as the Texas Craft Brewers Festival, Big Android BBQ, and Celtic Fest. There is so much to do and see in this vibrant section of the city that East Austin is perfect for anyone seeking a more affordable alternative to downtown.
The median home price in East Austin is $595,000, and as with other areas, the area offers a mix of property types - from 1930s bungalows to condos to sleek new construction.
Homes in this area are served by the Austin, Del Valle, and Manor Independent School Districts. There are also a number of charter schools in the area offering alternative learning.
Why East Austin: More affordable alternative to downtown living
The Vibe: Energetic and diverse
Straddling the Balcones Escarpment, scenic Georgetown is divided into two distinct sections: the farming land to the east and the Hill Country to the west. This community has been rapidly growing in recent years, both economically and population-wise. It was named one of the Best Places to Live & Launch by CNN Money and named Fastest Growing City in America by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016. Small town charm and close proximity to big-city excitement and the Hill Country means that Georgetown has something for everyone.
Georgetown real estate offers an extremely varied selection, ranging from modest starter bungalows priced under $100,000 to expansive luxury homes priced well into the millions. The median home price is $450,000.
Students here attend schools in the Georgetown Independent School District and Georgetown High School is a National Blue Ribbon School.
Why Georgetown: Great for commuters, entrepreneurs, and those looking for small-town living
The Vibe: Beautiful city in idyllic surroundings with impressive economic growth
10. Hyde Park
Hyde Park was established as one of the city's first planned suburbs in 1891 and is home to mostly families, professionals, and students. It is situated in Central Austin and is known for it’s quaint, tree-shaded neighborhoods, small business district, and neighborhood market that many residents can walk to. Just south of the area are numerous sports fields, and 500-acres of recreation area, trails, and greenbelts in Town Lake and Zilker Park.
The median home price in Hyde Park is $799,900 and the majority of houses are older, character bungalows built in Victorian and Craftsman styles. Children who live in Hyde Park attend schools in the Austin Independent School District.
Why Hyde Park: Beautiful neighborhood with walkable amenities
The Vibe: Historic charm and eclectic mix of neighbors
Another of the adorable small towns that surround Austin, Kyle is situated just 15 miles south of the city and 10 miles from nearby San Marcos along the major I-35 corridor. Kyle residents enjoy a wide range of local shopping and dining options, as well as plentiful outdoor recreation, including nearby Lake Kyle, Plum Creek Trail, and the idyllic Plum Creek Golf Course.
Kyle offers houses, condos, and townhomes built from the 1980s to the 2000s with classic designs, open floor plans, front porches, hardwood floors, and high ceilings. The median home price for Kyle is $349,000.
Children who live in Kyle attend public schools of the award-winning Hays Consolidated Independent School District. Kyle residents can also take advantage of 24 colleges and universities within a 50-mile radius.
Why Kyle: Lower priced homes in a country setting, within driving distance of downtown Austin
The Vibe: Small town charm along a high traffic corridor
Located in the northeast corner of the Hill Country, Leander is a fast-growing suburban community situated north of Cedar Park. About 25 miles away from downtown Austin, it’s close to technology employers and the Capital MetroRail Red Line train, making it convenient for commuting. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the Sarita Valley Greenbelt and Devine Lake Park. Plentiful local shopping and dining options mean that residents don’t have to venture far from home for daily essentials.
Leander homes tend to be houses of various sizes, ranging from historical homes to suburban single-family houses to luxury estates. The median home price for Leander is $465,000.
Children who live in the Leander area attend public schools of the Leander Independent School District, recognized for its academic excellence and offering gifted and talented classes as well as special education programs. Nearby private schools include the Founders Classical Academy charter school and Harbor Christian School.
Why Leander: More affordable than Austin with excellent schools, exceptional amenities, and within commuting distance of downtown
The Vibe: Quiet community with a relaxed Hill Country atmosphere
Mueller is a nationally recognized community in Central Austin. Formerly the Austin Mueller Airport, this self-styled “sustainable, transit-oriented community" is dotted with relics of the old airport, including hangars repurposed as studios and stages, lending an eclectic air to this walkable community. Residents of Mueller enjoy having their own on-site grocery store and a weekly farmers market, plus easy access to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and downtown Austin. Medical professionals will enjoy being near major employers such as Dell Seton Medical Center and Dell Children's Medical Center.
Developed in 2007, homes in Mueller provide a variety of up-to-date options including hardwood floors, Silestone countertops, and 10' ceilings. The median home price in Mueller is $850,000.
Mueller is served by the prestigious Austin Independent School District. The 2015 GRAMMY National Signature School program rated McCallum High School in the top 13 schools.
Why Mueller: Fantastic central location with walkable amenities, green spaces, and easy access to Austin’s greatest features
The Vibe: Environmentally conscious and friendly
14. North Loop
This classic Austin neighborhood is an eclectic mix of students, blue-collar workers, professionals, and artists. Residents can enjoy the local color at a wide range of neighborhood eateries, vintage stores, and performance spaces, like Foreign and Domestic and Coldtowne Theater along the North Loop Street. North Loop’s walkability makes it a great choice for those wishing to limit their time in the infamous Austin traffic. The sight of a neighbor walking their dog is a regular occurrence here, adding to the feeling of approachability and the laid back atmosphere.
Homes in North Loop tend to be small craftsman style or bungalow homes originally built in the 1940s. Many have been updated and some have been razed and replaced by contemporary style houses. The median home price in this area is $597,000.
Children who live in North Loop will attend schools in the Austin Independent School District.
Why North Loop: Authentic Austin experience with relatively affordable housing and great walkability
The Vibe: Laid back and eclectic with a strong community spirit
15. North University
Named for its proximity to the University of Texas at Austin, the neighborhood of North University has long been a bastion of classic Austin culture. Along with families and long-time residents, both students and tenured faculty alike call this area home, lending it an air of energy and sophistication. It is convenient to downtown and has good walkability to daily necessities. Home to great local favorites like Torchy’s Tacos, the Wheatsville Food Co-op, and Hemphill Park, as well as a number of Austin’s top trending cafes and restaurants, North University is a good choice for anyone looking for that classic Austin feel.
Most of the homes in North University are one to three-bedroom craftsman or bungalow-style homes. It is also home to a charming enclave of homes from the 1910s to 20s in the Aldridge Place Historic District. The median home price in North University is $854,000.
North University is serviced by the Austin Independent School District and is also home to private Kirby Hall School.
Why North University: Great location and walkability with lots of local color and ambiance
The Vibe: Classic Austin experience
16. Old West Austin
This cherished Austin neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers a glimpse at Austin’s architectural past. Lovingly preserved homes and buildings dating from 1853 line the verdant, tree-lined streets. Its close proximity to the downtown area makes it the perfect neighborhood for architecture lovers with a taste for city life. Residents here love to visit Pease District Park or nearby Lake Austin to walk, bike, or just relax. The area may be close to UT, but high property values and few rental options mean that few students can afford to live in this quiet area, which is home to many professionals, retirees, and established wealthy families.
Homes in Old West Austin vary wildly, from a 19th-century plantation house to 1970s ranch style homes. The median home price in Old West Austin is $1,400,000.
The area is home to 6 schools in the Austin ISD, including Mathews Elementary School, O Henry Middle School, and Austin High school.
Why: Beautiful scenic neighborhood bordering the downtown area
The Vibe: Quiet historic beauty
17. South Austin
Another classic Austin neighborhood, South Austin definitely “keeps Austin weird” with a host of original shops and eateries and a distinctly bohemian, anything-goes vibe. It is home to some of the hottest spots in Austin along with South Congress (SoCo), South Lamar (SoLa), and Barton Springs Road. Residents here enjoy walking-distance access to classic and trendy food spots like the Magnolia Café and live music venues. There are also golf and disc golf courses, dog parks, and lake and river access conveniently located nearby.
South Austin real estate is comprised of spacious homes in a delightful mix of old and new construction available in an abundance of styles. The median home price here is $562,500.
South Austin is zoned to the Austin ISD and is home to 15 public schools and 5 private schools.
Why South Austin: Walking distance to some of Austin’s hottest spots
The Vibe: Keep Austin Weird
Graced with beautiful historic homes and quiet, tree-lined streets, Tarrytown is known for its strong sense of community and stellar schools. Residents love to participate in community events and patronize local businesses, like the Tarrytown Pharmacy. Home to Austin’s oldest golf course, abundant green spaces, and easy water access to Lake Austin, it is a serene enclave just minutes from the excitement of downtown and South Austin. It’s not uncommon for several generations of a family to stay in Tarrytown, adding to its small-town feel.
Real estate in Tarrytown is some of the most expensive in Austin and features historic homes in a variety of styles, many with beautiful lake views. The median home price is $1,900,000.
This area is home to 130-year-old Austin High School and the Girls’ School of Austin. A number of other private schools are also conveniently located nearby.
Why Tarrytown: Beautiful homes, lovely green spaces, and great location
The Vibe: Quiet tight-knit neighborhood
19. Wells Branch
Located just north of Austin, Wells Branch is a great suburban community. “One of my favorite Austin neighborhoods is definitely Wells Branch,” explained REALTOR Jody Adams. “From the neighborly atmosphere you get driving down the street and being met by waves from everyone, to the walkability of the neighborhood, to the proximity of shopping, restaurants, wonderful green spaces and community garden, it is simply a fantastic area that I am proud to be a part of!”
Most of the homes in Wells Branch are contemporary style, with brick exteriors, three to four bedrooms and tree-shaded yards. Homes here are more affordably priced than in Austin, with a median home price of $417,000.
Wells Branch is home to the highly-rated Chaparral Star Academy and is served by both Round Rock and Pflugerville Independent School districts.
Why Wells Branch: Great suburban living for Austin commuters
The Vibe: Friendly and relaxed
This luxury suburb is close to Austin’s most exciting areas, but just far enough off the main thoroughfare to keep traffic light. Nestled along with Lake Austin, many homes in this area boast beautiful city, lake, and hill country views. Due to stringent bylaws limiting advertising signage, business districts have maintained an understated appearance. Highly sought after for its stellar public schools, quiet environment, and convenient location, Westlake is a great option for those looking for a quiet corner in Austin.
Homes in Westlake have been built over the last 50 years, and range considerably in style and size, giving this community a lot of personality. The median home price is $2,450,000.
Many schools in Westlake have achieved national recognition and excellent ratings, including Westlake High School, Westlake Academy, and Carrol Middle School.
Why Westlake: Excellent schools and beautiful views
The Vibe: Stately and serene
Whether you are looking for the bohemian vibes of South Austin, the stately elegance of Tarrytown, or the Hill Country living of Georgetown, Austin has a community to fit your taste. When you’re ready to begin searching for your perfect Austin experience, any one of our stellar Austin expert REALTORS will be able to guide you to the ideal neighborhood for you.
Be sure to also check out our blog on Living in Austin Texas for great insider tips on life in Texas’ capital city.