A Neighborhood Snapshot
A Quick Look to Help Newcomers Get a Jumpstart on Finding the Nieghborhood for You
Published on: April 09, 2024
exterior of a house with greenery
Photo By: Matt Jones

Austin’s reputation as an eclectic city can easily be attributed to its collection of unique neighborhoods. From high rises catering to young professionals and urban enthusiasts, to sprawling luxury apartment complexes, to suburbs with notable schools and parks, Austin has it all. However, choosing the right neighborhood can be difficult for someone unfamiliar with the lay of the land.  

The Austin landscape can be divided into six major geographic areas, each with its own subset of neighborhoods. Add in surrounding suburbs, and you have your pick of scenery, lifestyle options, and desired geographic location. Read on for more on each part of Austin and a few neighborhood highlights. Then start making a wish list of those that sound the most appealing. For the latest information on Austin neighborhoods, visit 

Downtown:  Austin’s Central Business District has always been a vital part of the capital city community, but in recent years and decades, it has become a true metropolitan powerhouse with anything a person could desire from a major city. Within the downtown zone, neighborhoods include bungalows and apartments along Rainey Street, live music venues aplenty in the Red River Cultural District, bars and hotels galore along Sixth Street, and lofts, apartments, and several LGBTQ businesses in the Warehouse District.

North Austin: The city’s northern sector has a more suburban feel with an abundance of chain restaurants and retailers, as well as a general sense of things being more spread out between densely populated developments. Popular neighborhoods within North Austin include The Arboretum, a mixed-use retail and entertainment development with numerous apartment communities, and Domain NORTHSIDE, another popular (and vast) shopping destination with apartment living throughout.

South Austin: This part of the city truly captures the “Keep Austin Weird” vibe with a blend of funky stores, restaurants, and live music venues that have been around for decades and newer additions that complement the eclectic nature of the neighborhoods. Among the options for setting up residence: South Lamar, a bustling entertainment district dominated by apartments and bungalow-style homes; South Congress Avenue (also known as SoCo), a wonderfully walkable district with boutiques and eateries galore; and South First Street, a haven for food enthusiasts and fashion devotees.

East Austin: East Austin covers a large swath of real estate, encompassing the land that used to be home to Austin’s airport in the north and the airport’s new home to the south. The former airport land has transitioned into Mueller, a planned community that has become a wildly popular area,  thanks to plenty to eat, drink, and experience. East Cesar Chavez, East Sixth Street, and Manor Road each draw their fair share of residents and visitors.

West Austin: West Austin easily tops the list as the most scenic of all the city’s sections. With the winding roads and gorgeous vistas of the Texas Hill Country, neighborhoods here the farther west you get people in touch with nature and prove popular with the fitness set. Closest to the city center, West Sixth Street has its unique charm, maintaining the walkability of downtown without the towering skyscrapers. The Clarksville Historic District offers some of the most beautiful homes, providing a sense of the city’s past block after block. Tarrytown falls between downtown and Lake Austin. And Westlake (as the name suggests) is situated near Lake Austin, near the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, and three miles of hiking trails.

Central Austin: Located north of the massive University of Texas at Austin campus, the neighborhoods of Central Austin are home to many students. Faculty and people who’ve settled in the city for the long term also call this section home. Closest to campus—and one of the liveliest neighborhoods in the city—is University, also known colloquially as The Drag. Cheap eats and drinks abound, along with vintage stores and music shops. Nearby, shady Hyde Park offers a quiet enclave between more bustling areas, including North Loop and Koenig Lane.

Suburbs: Many people who relocate to Austin, as well as anyone seeking slightly more affordable housing, find the suburbs to be a great alternative. Commutes into the city can be time-consuming due to traffic, so depending on where you’re employed could determine whether living farther out is truly a savings. The most popular cities surrounding Austin include Round Rock, Georgetown, Lakeway, Pflugerville, Four Points, Cedar Park, Bee Cave, and Shady Hollow.