So, you’re thinking about moving to Austin, Texas? This city sparkles throughout the Sun Belt, and was crowned, “The fastest growing city in the U.S.” with a population that has nearly doubled since 1990. In 2015, the census ranked Austin 11th overall among all U.S Cities, checking in at roughly 915,000 people.
Overwhelmed by the numbers? Not to worry! Despite containing nearly a million people, Austin does not give off the vibe of being overcrowded like other large cities you may have visited. Check it out!
NORTH LOOP NEIGHBORHOOD
What should I expect to see in the North Loop Neighborhood?
There is no shortage of quirky coffee joints, vintage/consignment stores, record shops, and fun eateries scattered around the North Loop neighborhood. Diverse in its architecture and housing options, there are modest, single story family homes, accompanied with newer, modern, medium-density apartments.
This neighborhood is mostly known for having a laid-back and hip vibe. However, if you’re looking for a vibrant and bustling nightlife, the North Loop neighborhood is in very close proximity to The University of Texas and downtown Austin. If you are looking to stay within walking or biking distance of the loop however, you’ll find there are a few pubs & bars near Avenue F and North Loop Boulevard/E 53rd St.
How can I plan for an ideal day in the North Loop Neighborhood?
First, you can start your morning off right with a cup of coffee at Epoch Coffee, a local favorite for many. Once you’re nice and caffeinated, head on over to Breakaway Records, and then maybe see what kind of fun things are on display at Room Service Vintagea little ways down the road.
For lunch, check out Titaya's Thai Cuisine, a savory and popular Asian-fusion bistro. There you will notice a few more shopping spots, and if the weather is kind, walk off those carbs with a stroll along the scenic Waller Creek.
For dinner, check out Phara’s Mediterranean Restaurant. Phara’s has live belly dancing, a hookah lounge, and an outdoor courtyard and gazebo that will keep the energy fun and high throughout the night. Their menu consists of wonderful Mediterranean dishes ranging from hummus and lamb, to Turkish Coffee and Baklava.
Not in the mood for Mediterranean? Not to worry! Check out Foreign & Domestic - a restaurant that has creative and unique meals that change seasonally that all use local products. If you’re a fan of seafood, come in for dollar Oyster Tuesdays! It’s cozy place with a ton of taste.
For a little nightcap, the bar Drink.Wellis the perfect place to unwind and relax. Drink.Well is known for their diverse and interesting cocktail list that uses local ingredients. Still up for more? Head over to Epoch Coffee again since it’s open 24 hours and grab another cup of coffee to keep that night rollin’!
HYDE PARK NEIGHBORHOOD
What should I expect to see in the Hyde Park Neighborhood?
Nestled between the North Loop and Central Austin/University of Texas, Hyde Park has an artsy, small-town charm that is so important for maintaining the balance of a large city like Austin. With coffee shops and bakeries bordering its primary residential areas, Hyde Park is well suited for walking and biking about. If you wish to get Downtown, biking does work; however, there are multiple MetroBus lines at your convenience that take about 15 minutes. With lots of trees and smiling faces in the neighborhood, it won’t take long to feel comfortable and at home in the Hyde Park area.
How can I plan for an ideal day in the Hyde Park Neighborhood?
Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery is the self-proclaimed “first coffeehouse in Austin,” and is definitely the best place to start your day. Filled with a menagerie of baked goods and espresso drinks, Quack’s embodies the historic charm that Hyde Park is famous for.
To continue the trend of finding such fitting establishments, stop by the Elisabet Ney Museum or Blue Moon Glassworks. The Elisabet Ney Museum is a very unique art museum that was once the former studio of Elisabet Ney, an 18th century sculptor, while the glassworks will enlighten you, giving you a newfound appreciation for any stained glass window you’ve ever seen.
For lunch, Avenue B Groceryis one of the oldest (if not the oldest) grocery stores in Austin. Buy something fresh from the market or stop by the deli, which is an absolute hit; it will be packed with the lunch crowd. Take your meal over to Shipe Park and have a picnic, where you can appreciate Austin in its most natural state.
For dinner, Hyde Park Bar and Grill is a casual, homemade, incredibly delicious restaurant that is also very well priced. For dessert, walk over to Dolce Vitaand you’ll find yourself gushing over the sweet treats and smooth drinks they have to offer.
Sweet tooth? I recommend the sorbet cocktail aka “Sorberita”… Get it. Try it. It’s awesome. Not really a dessert person? Check out Vino Vino, a wine bar that actually gets it right. Not often do you find a wine bar that has decent pricing, great selection, and helpful staff, Vino Vino is top of the line! Feelin’ a little more edgy? Check out The Parlor for a late night snack (Pizza!!!), billiards, and music!
ST. EDWARDS/SOUTH CONGRESS AREA
What should I expect to see in the St. Edwards/South Congress area?
Austin is home to multiple universities and institutions, most notably The University of Texas. However, St. Edwards University, a liberal arts Roman Catholic University of about 5,000, is one of Austin’s best-kept secrets.
St. Edwards neighborhood has that small-town college campus feel, there’s a lot of cafes and quirky shops; despite the young undergraduate presence, St. Edwards is home to many youth professionals, young families, and working artists.
How can I plan for an ideal day in the St. Edwards/South Congress area?
Jo’s Coffeeis great for a quick breakfast and hot cup of coffee in the morning, but if you want to sit down for a nice meal, South Congress Café has brunch that is exquisite to say the least.
Take a snack break at Amy’s Ice Creams, whichis an Austin staple. There’s a wonderful array of fun flavors to try, might I suggest the Elvis chocolate crunch?
Come evening, South Congress has a fantastic night music scene. The Continental Clubis an intimate venue that, historically, has hosted a wide spectrum of blues, country, and rock musicians; from local acts to legends.
If you’re diggin’ The Continental Club, be sure to check out Ego’s, Guero’s Oak Garden, C-Boys Heart & Soul – and keep your eyes open for other fun venues you may stumble upon.If you’re feeling like tad fancier and low-key, make it a date night at Botticelli’s - one of Austin’s busiest, and most respected Italian restaurants/music venues.
What should I expect to see in Downtown Austin?
Downtown Austin is an economic and cultural catalyst for not only Travis County, but also the entire state of Texas. Here you’ll find large corporate offices, towering residential skyscrapers, as well as an abundant number of restaurants with a vibrant nightlife. The average age for residents’ downtown is about 33, so for many young professionals, this is a fantastic place to settle. The University of Texas, Austin, is meshed with the downtown area ever-so-slightly north, which adds to the diversity of residents and leisure/work options.
How can I plan for an ideal day in Downtown Austin?
Starbucks is an internationally renowned coff- (kidding). There are so many breakfast brunch options it’s hard to choose just one, but The Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill has a great atmosphere and a bold breakfast menu; might I add, that on Sundays, they have a first come, first served, $18.95 a person All-You-Care-To-Eat deal. Come hungry, leave happy! There are multiple retail districts and shopping areas downtown that you don’t normally find out in other neighborhoods. Whether it be chain stores or local mom and pop shops, downtown has a plethora of options when it comes to your frugal options.
For lunch, why not try some Barbecue? I’ve yet to mention that BBQ in the south is incredible, especially at La Barbecueoff of E Cesar Chavez. About a mile or two from the city center, La Barbeque will leave you craving for more and is worth the wait (because there probably will be a line).
When evening falls, check out 2nd Street, Rainey Street, Red River and East 6th Street. All of the places mentioned have music, bars, movie theaters, lounges, and gastro-pubs, perfect for hanging out after work or whatever the occasion may be. You will not be short of options when it comes to downtown Austin. Go explore! It’s the 2nd safest big city in the United States; wander a bit and ask around – did I mention that people are really friendly too?
OAK HILL NEIGHBORHOOD
This neighborhood is ideal if you’re looking to move your family into an area that’s a little quieter. Located just a few miles southwest from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Oak Hill is known for its fantastic schools, friendly neighbors, and beautiful landscaping. It’s very spread out, and has more of a rural/suburban feel to it.
How can I plan for an ideal day in the Oak Hill Neighborhood?
More than likely if you’re residing in Oak Hill, you’ll start your day off in the confines of your own home!
Popular lunch options include: Via 313 Pizza, a Detroit style deep dish that is considered one of the best pizza places in all of Austin; Sesame Hill; quaint, Oriental Fusion place with Malaysian, Thai, Chinese and other Southeast Asian flavors on the menu, ideal for fresh, fairly priced, lunch and dinner; Hecho en Mexico, a southwestern eatery that has traditional to Tex-Mex flavors, as well as a fantastic happy hour.
Unlike the other neighborhoods mentioned, you’ll more than likely use your car to get from place to place. Family friendly, there is no shortage of parks, pools, and recreational facilities located around Oak Hill, along with outlet malls and small business plazas for your various shopping needs. Oak Hill/West Oak Hill is roughly 7 miles from downtown, and about at 15 minute drive with no traffic.