Named the No. 1 place to live by U.S. News & World Report, living in Austin mixes southern comfort with a bohemian flair.
Whether your passion is catching live music, hiking, paddling, chowing down on authentic Texas barbecue or simply swinging on the porch with a sweet tea in hand, you're bound to find yourself at home in Texas's quirky capital.
Here are the top 10 things you need to know about living in Austin.
Austin has no shortage of desirable neighborhoods. And, thankfully, the average rent for a one-bedroom throughout the Austin metro area is $110 less than the national average for spaces of the same size.
A few must-see neighborhoods include the North Loop, which is a funky little enclave located between Mopac and I-35. It's home to vintage shops, record stores, coffeehouses and an anarchist bookshop. The average rent is $1,314 for a one-bedroom apartment.
Crestview is another area that exudes a small-town vibe with mid-century ranch-style homes and bungalows. Developed between the 1950s and 1960s on the site of an old dairy farm, this neighborhood is perfect for families. The average rent is $1,711 for a one-bedroom apartment.
With tree-lined winding streets and Craftsman-style houses and bungalows, Cherrywood offers a quaint escape from the party scene of The University Texas at Austin (UT), which sits just west. Meanwhile, Hyde Park's well-manicured lawns and tree-lined streets greet you to this historic neighborhood of Queen Anne, Victorian and Craftsman homes north of Downtown. The average rent is $1,189 for a one-bedroom apartment.
There are days when it can feel like you've just stepped into a sauna thanks to highly variable humidity. But those few bad hair days come with a subtropical climate that includes long, hot summers and short, mild winters. There's also plenty of rain — 34.32 inches throughout the year (higher than the national average) with spring and fall marking the wettest seasons.
While winters are generally mild, the city experiences occasional bursts of cold weather known as "Blue Northerners." Snow is rare, but every two or so years, Austin experiences an ice storm that freezes roads, effectively shutting down travel for up to 48 hours.
South Congress, a.k.a. SoCo, puts the weird in "Keep Austin Weird," showcasing a vast array of independent coffee shops, offbeat boutiques and popular food trucks along a highly walkable, bikeable and even horseback-rideable stretch. It's also a hotspot for people watching. Some of Austin's most colorful characters hang out here, mixing with local fashionistas in vintage cowboy boots and trucker-cap-wearing hipsters.
Nicknamed the “Live Music Capital of the World," Austin has more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. You can trace the careers of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams back to Austin's gritty dive bars and nightclubs — especially those Downtown on Old 6th Street, a.k.a. Dirty 6th, which is often compared to New Orleans' Bourbon Street.
Austinites love their queso — so much so that you can find this Tex-Mex cheesy dip on menus from breakfast to supper. But even more than queso, they take pride in their barbecued brisket, particularly when it comes to Central East Austin's Franklin Barbecue, where it sells out every day.
Austin boasts 2,650 hours of sunshine and plenty of places to soak it up. Start by paddling Lady Bird Lake just north of South Congress or hit the 10 miles of adjacent trails by foot or bike. Detour just an hour southeast of the city to Gonzales and you'll encounter a tropical forest at Palmetto State Park. There, you can rent a canoe or kayak along the Jurassic-like swamps.
Austin's wildlife extends beyond Dirty 6th. A colony of Mexico free-tailed bats makes their home under the South Congress Bridge between March and November. Avid bat watchers gather on the grass below to catch sight of these winged wonders flying at 60-plus miles per hour in pursuit of tasty Austin insects.
Tech, pharmaceuticals and biotech industries are big here. Considered a major hub for tech, Austin has earned the nickname "Silicon Hills." UT is a significant source of tech employees from its engineering and computer science programs. Dell claims headquarters here and has been joined by outposts of 3M, Apple, Amazon, Blizzard Entertainment, Dropbox, eBay, PayPal, Facebook, Google and Xerox.
Austin has also emerged as a major center for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Hospira, Pharmaceutical Product Development and ArthroCare Corporation are among the approximately 85 in town.
Austin is known for having top-rated schools. Austin's Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA) ranks No. 1 for Austin metro area high schools, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school additionally ranks No. 19 for all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) schools.
Meanwhile, Austin is also home to The University of Texas at Austin, which ranks 48th among national universities, according to the U.S. News & World Report. UT also ranks fifth for business programs and first in the nation for its accounting program.
You may be in store for a long commute. Austin drivers lose about 69 hours per person in traffic, according to a 2019 report from data firm INRIX. INRIX ranked Austin 18th overall in its assessment of the most congested cities in America. Traffic is particularly bad along Interstate 35.
Are you ready to join the push to “Keep Austin Weird?" There are hundreds of reasons to claim your stake in Austin and thousands of apartments ripe for the picking. Start your journey and find your special place today.