The Texas state capital city of Austin is a delightful juxtaposition that its residents just love. A perfect spot within the Texas Hill Country, here you'll find genteel Southern manners alongside decidedly “woke" behavior.
Local business takes on an independent spirit in Austin, Texas, and the city has vibrant coffee shops, a dynamic food truck scene, progressive thinkers, college students and live music venues. It's a mix that caters to everyone, epitomized by the slogan to "Keep Austin Weird."
Finding the best neighborhoods within Austin's rolling hills isn't difficult at all. The sheer number is totally in keeping with Texas's larger-than-life persona.
Need a little help making your list of possibilities within Austin city limits? Here's a list of potential neighborhoods that get our vote.
The quiet community of Allandale is a perfect family-friendly neighborhood. Known for its picturesque streets and excellent public school system, Allandale residents also enjoy enviable proximity to downtown Austin and everything that entails.
This charming neighborhood is an ideal area for those who prefer to get around by bike. While the community's walk score is only a 68, its bike score is an 85. Exploring this Austin neighborhood means access to delightful restaurants, local shops, a relaxed nightlife and a smattering of local parks.
Living here is also relatively affordable, with an average one-bedroom apartment costing $1,399 per month.
The neighborhood of Barton Hills is a literal paradise for nature enthusiasts thanks to incredible amenities like the Barton Creek Greenbelt, which features 12 miles worth of trails across the southern end of Austin.
Along the way, there are opportunities for swimming, rock climbing and bouldering. One great green space in Barton Hills is Zilker Park, which is home to Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre watering hole kept at an average temperature of 70 degrees thanks to underground springs. Not surprisingly, the springs draw many thousands of visitors every year, plus locals.
The desirability of the neighborhood makes it one of the pricier options, with an average one-bedroom apartment renting for $2,029 per month, but many are willing to pay a premium for access to the city and the renowned schools.
Like to get funky? The North Loop neighborhood of Austin could be the place for you. Small but mighty, North Loop has a healthy dose of individuality thrown in the mix. It's a popular area for young professionals and college students alike thanks to its east access to both Downtown Austin and the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The average one-bedroom is also not too high at $1,707 per month.
Hallmarked by the North Loop IBIZ District, this area has plenty of restaurants and shops that are full of personality, including more than one record store. Vintage clothing shops, bars and other meet-up spots make it one of the most beloved shopping districts in the area.
North Loop is also extremely walkable, with a walk score of 70. Even better, it's one of the most bike-friendly communities in Austin, with a mean bike score of 89. It's even easier to get around without a car here thanks to the liberal shade trees designed to thwart some of the Texas heat.
Historic charm abounds in this incredibly well-maintained North Austin neighborhood. With a bike score of 95, it's a cinch to cycle around the 'hood and take in the beauty of Hyde Park and its variety of preserved architectural gems.
Art lovers will especially enjoy the Elisabet Ney Museum, nestled square in the middle of Hyde Park. Dedicated to the life and work of the sculptor who relocated in 1882 from Germany to Austin, the museum hosts exhibits, events and activities that draw far more than neighborhood residents. Even better – admission is free!
The neighborhood also butts right up to the Wright-Whitaker Sports Complex, which has basketball, tennis, volleyball, pickle ball, sand volleyball courts and much more. Clearly, it's easy to stay both active and cultured while in Hyde Park, easily one of the best, and more affordable, neighborhoods in Austin. The average one-bedroom rent is $1,250 per month.
Looking for a diverse, liberal and — gasp — affordable spot among Austin neighborhoods? Make haste to Windsor Park, located just north of downtown Austin. The average one-bedroom apartment here is only $1,275 per month.
This area's growth stalled for decades because of its proximity to a very noisy local airport. When the airport closed, however, it opened Windsor Park up to a new world of possibilities best explored by bicycle. The neighborhood has a 70 bike score.
Today, this community is a popular spot, full of a diverse mix of income levels, cultures and points of view. So, it's not a surprise that it's home to an organization called Austin Creative Reuse, dedicated to bringing awareness about, “conscious consumption, sustainability and art."
Downtown Austin, sitting right along the Colorado River, has an incredible walk (93) and bike (90) score, which is definitely a good thing since there's so much to see and do in the area. The literal beating heart of the capital city, Downtown Austin is next door to UT, so naturally, it's party central.
Concerts and amped-up nightclubs abound in the Red River Cultural District, "where Austin happens." If that's not your style, hit up Rainey Street for a decidedly chiller, but still fun vibe.
The Warehouse District, so named because it's chock full of renovated warehouses, is home to the area's LGBTQ+ community and any number of local businesses and eclectic shops.
Then, there's Sixth Street, which boasts beer gardens, art galleries and everything in between.
All combined, Downtown Austin draws in young professionals, hipsters, college kids and anyone who wants to live a truly urban life, which does come at a high cost. Average rents here are definitely up there, with a one-bedroom costing around $3,221 per month.
The East Austin neighborhood is one of the fastest-growing in the area, thanks to the culture and diversity and general awesomeness it has in spades.
Whether you're African American or not, Six Square, the city's historic Black Cultural District, is a necessary experience. Take an organized walking tour, or tick off visits to any and all of the culturally significant sites, like the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center.
For a rocking good time, stop by Hotel Vegas or hit up The Vortex for less conventional live music performances. Keep an eye on those calories upon moving to East Austin, though. The variety of incredible restaurants makes it darn near impossible to keep the old appetite in check, and with a walk score of only 59, it might be hard to walk off a big meal.
Luckily, it's easy to budget for food in this part of the Texas capital city because rent isn't bad. The average one-bedroom is $1,237 per month. Now that's affordable housing.
Merely a hop, skip and a few miles from the city center, Mueller is a neighborhood within a neighborhood, so to speak.
Located in East Austin, this modern, master-planned community concept is ultra eco-conscious — helped along by the fact that everything is pretty much new (the first homes went up in 2007.) These resource-efficient homes and units use non-toxic and recyclable materials while featuring designs to improve water and air quality. In Mueller, things like solar panels and community gardens are the norm, not the exception.
The area also helps the environment by being incredibly bike friendly. Mueller has a bike score of 75.
The neighborhood includes everything from expansive green spaces, transit options, shopping and entertainment. All types and price points of housing options are available, perfect for pretty much anyone. There's even an Affordable Homes Program to help those who may struggle with the average one-bedroom rent of $1,735 per month.
The neighborhood of North Austin is so happening that even tourists head there in droves. The hallmark of the 'hood is the outdoor shopping center called The Arboretum. It's full of food and unique specialty shops, plus the relaxing atmosphere is idyllic.
Entertainment is another cornerstone of North Austin and is best found in the Rock Rose entertainment corridor.
With two great areas to walk about, it makes sense that North Austin has a 59 walk score. Affordable housing options and a family-friendly vibe also make this a popular place to live. The average one-bedroom rent is only $1,188 per month.
Yet another directionally specific neighborhood, South Austin is classic meets contemporary, all in one quaint area. Ever seen the “I love you so much" mural on Insta? You can find this famed art piece in South Austin, along with plenty of other street art.
Shopping is a particularly big deal in South Austin, as the 'hood has ton of designer and vintage shops. In particular, South Congress Avenue hosts Allens Boots and the Kendra Scott jewelry store.
There are also plenty of artsy-crafty shops to browse through on South Congress. South First Street is yet another shopping paradise, especially when it comes to higher-end boutiques. It's also home to the largest assortment of food trucks in the city.
Attracting both families and retirees, the area also offers an easy commute to the center of the Texas capital city. Rent is affordable, and a one-bedroom only costs $1,213 a month on average. It's also a pretty mobile area even without a car. South Austin has a walk score of 66 and a bike score of 70.
Also known as West Campus, the West University neighborhood of Austin is appropriately named since it's 15 minutes or so west of the UT Austin campus by foot. Not surprisingly, it boasts excellent walk (91) and bike (94) scores, which is helpful because the majority of people that live there are college students.
A patient renter, who doesn't mind the occasional rager or other student-related noise, can still be happy in this extremely fun neighborhood. The Drag (formally known as Guadalupe Street) has tons of shopping, and the area's architecture is historic and beautiful. There's also a thriving night life (of course.)
Living here as a college student is a slight stretch though, unless you have roommates or a good job. The average one-bedroom apartment rent is $1,442 a month.
Close to Downtown Austin and UT, Central Austin is a little bit of everything in one friendly and affluent neighborhood. You'll find everything from newer high-rise apartments to classic 1950s-era bungalows, with a few mansions and historic homes sprinkled in for good measure. This combination can make rent high, and the average one-bedroom apartment has a monthly cost of $2,005.
Certainly among the best neighborhoods in Austin, the people here pride themselves on supporting locally owned and operated restaurants, boutiques and the like. There are fewer chains here than in many other neighborhoods, so in general, the area has a more unique feel than other parts of Austin. You can spend the day wandering from store-to-store thanks to the area's 80 walk score and 88 bike score.
Central Austin is also a great place for families, as the schools in the area are generally highly rated. Pro tip: the west side of Central Austin boasts the best of the best, in terms of education.
The Riverside neighborhood is appropriately named because it lies right on the banks of the Colorado River. This area is part of a massive ongoing redevelopment plan, so it's a good time to get in while rent prices aren't out of control. Currently, a one-bed will set you back $1,432 a month, on average.
A decent walk (63) and bike (73) score also add to the area's appeal.
When it comes to green spaces, Riverside residents enjoy proximity to the river, naturally, but also Lady Bird Lake, which is just a hair north. A stroll, jog or bike along the 7,250-foot Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake is an especially popular activity among seasoned Riversiders.
For a truly unique night out, stop by the beloved club Emo's, a small concert venue that offers an up-close look at first-rate talent.
People who want proximity to the action of the city, but desire the conveniences and space of suburban life, should definitely look into Southwest Austin. With parks and green spaces on practically every corner, it's the ideal place for young families with kids and dogs that need to stretch their legs plenty.
A particular jewel in the midst of Southwest Austin is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which features over 900 species of plants native to Texas. Golfers love the area as well, thanks to several nearby courses.
Known for being close to plenty of employers, but especially those in the tech sector, Northwest Austin is ideal for young professionals. Like much of the rest of the metro area, Northwest Austin is especially proud of its great schools. People with kids of all ages can feel confident in the educational options here.
The neighborhood itself isn't the most walkable or bike-friendly because it's a pretty spread-out suburb, but fortunately, there are plenty of excellent parks, including Balcones District Park and the Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park.
Northwest Austin is also home to the Austin Aquarium, which proudly cares for and displays all varieties of marine animals. There's even a mermaid on-site, who'll take selfies with visitors!
Rentals in this part of Hill Country are decent, and a one-bedroom has a monthly average rent of $1,282.
Artists, musicians and an eclectic mix of creatives especially love the funky freshness of South Lamar. Once a primarily working-class neighborhood, South Lamar is now very trendy and full of all of the shopping, dining and housing options that go along with that. As a result, it's getting pricier to live in this ultra-desirable end of town. A one-bedroom apartment in South Lamar can cost an average of $1,677 a month.
South Lamar does have a solid walk (60) and bike (69) score, making it easier to catch a flick at the Alamo Drafthouse, take in a show at the ZACH Theatre or enjoy a local artist exhibit at the Austin Art Garage, all within walking distance.
Overwhelmed yet? We warned you about the many, MANY diverse Austin neighborhoods when you're looking for the best. No matter if you're looking to live near Lake Austin or just trying to find the spot where all the young professionals congregate, the best apartments in Austin are out there waiting for you, and luckily, they're all over the city.