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Living in Austin Texas: What To Know Before Making the Move

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand the last few years, you’ve heard about Austin, Texas. It’s a thriving metropolis that’s drawing thousands of young professionals, new talent, and unique perspectives from around the globe. Want to learn more about living in Austin, Texas? We’ve got you covered. Here’s why the city has become so popular and what you can expect if you make the move.

Everything You Need To Know About Living in Austin Texas

ATX Austin sign

Living in Austin, Texas is a privilege. The city is full of diverse perspectives, exuberant personalities, and endless opportunities to explore and learn. Here, you’ll learn more about the basics of the city including composition and weather as well as why it’s such a great place to live.

First, the Basics

Austin is located in central Texas and is the capital of the state. It’s located a few hours from major cities like Dallas and Houston and is just north of San Antonio. It’s also a short day trip out to the Texas Hill Country, complete with stunning green rolling hills, forests, and getaway retreats. 

The city consists of a thriving downtown area with high rises including apartment complexes and company headquarters. Other Austin neighborhoods further away from downtown Austin offer a quiet living opportunity and unique neighborhood vibes — like artist communities and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also a college town where students can attend the University of Texas at Austin. Much of the metro area is built around the Colorado River, offering easy access to nature and great views.

While driving is the most common way to get around the city, there are some public transportation options. The Capital Metro serves the greater Austin area with rates starting at $1.25 and bus and metro options. The system is fairly comprehensive with rides running from Southpark Meadows in South Austin all the way up to Leander and Round Rock.

According to the 2020 census, Austin’s population was just over 960,000 — up by about 200,000 since 2010. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and is home to diverse residents. In fact, 18% of the city’s residents are foreign-born, 33% of residents are Hispanic or Latino, and 52% of the population holds a college degree.

Residents who call the city home work in a huge range of industries. From government employees and business owners to healthcare workers, engineers at tech companies, and environmental researchers, the economy here is booming. Moving to Austin, Texas means you get to enjoy a diverse community with endless opportunities — one of the many reasons Austin has become so popular.

Weather

One of the biggest draws of living in Austin, Texas is the climate. The weather here is pretty gorgeous year-round. While other areas of Texas bake in the summer heat, Austin tends to be a few degrees cooler thanks to the small hills in nearby Hill Country. That doesn’t mean the city experiences cool summers. Temperatures typically stay above the 90s in the summertime, it’s just a bit cooler than other major metro areas. Fortunately, the city offers plenty of ways to cool off in the summertime.

Fall is one of the best times of year in Austin. While temps during the day are still in the 80s, things usually cool off in the evenings. It’s not unusual to have nighttime temperatures in the 50s during the autumn season.

 In wintertime, things are really moderate. Temperatures usually reach the 60s and dip into the 40s at night. On cooler winter evenings, you’ll learn why the city is nicknamed the Violet Crown — a soft purple glow highlights the sky as the sun sets behind the horizon.

By springtime, things start to warm back up before the peak summer heat. The temperature gauge typically stays between the 70s and 80s and humidity picks up. This time of year is a great time to hit some of the forest trails and hikes to catch wildflower blooms.

Who Lives Here

What types of people are living in Austin, Texas? These days it seems like everyone! The city’s population has been increasing for several years. Plus, companies like Google, Dell, Apple, Tesla, and others are establishing large offices here — leading to the new nickname for the city: Silicon Hills. That means it’s home not only to government officials and politicians as the state capital, it’s also a top spot for young professionals in the tech industry.

Historically, the city was popular among artists and musicians, and that’s definitely still the case today. After all, the city is known for its famous phrase: “Keep Austin Weird”. Here, you’ll find world-class chefs, famous actors and singers, as well as artists, writers, and painters. From eccentrics and hipsters to suited businessmen and fashionable icons, there’s room for everyone in Austin.

Cost of Living

With a strong job market and increasing interest in real estate from outside the state, the cost of living in Austin, Texas has increased. While more expensive than it used to be, it’s still more affordable than cities like San Francisco and Chicago — plus it has better weather.

According to Payscale, the cost of living in Austin, Texas is 3% lower than the national average. The cost of utilities and groceries is 12% lower than the national average and the state doesn’t have any income tax. That means you get to pocket some savings, even if the cost of housing is 2% higher than the national average.

Things To Do

There’s no shortage of things to do for people living in Austin, Texas. One of the best things about the city is its unparalleled food scene. Here, you’ll find delicious Tex-Mex treats like tacos from some of the most unassuming food trucks. You’ll also discover world-class eateries with famous chefs, locally sourced ingredients, and an emphasis on the dining experience. Basically, there’s something for everyone in this foodie haven.

Austin is also known as the live music capital of the world. Here, you’ll find major music festivals like South by Southwest (SXSW) as well as famous bars like the Broken Spoke where big names got their start. The city is also home to music venues including ACL Live at the Moody Theater, the Saxon Pub, and the historic Victory Grill. Plus, there’s great nightlife throughout the city of Austin including debaucherous 6th Street and more mellow dive bars and jazz lounges.

Austin is also an incredibly green city with lots of opportunities to get out in nature. Among the most famous attractions are Barton Springs pools — a natural swimming pool with beautiful blue hues — and dozens of hike and bike trails. There’s a boardwalk that meanders over 10 miles featuring a boardwalk out over Lady Bird Lake and winding paths through tree-lined parks. 

In the Austin city limits, you’ll find the Veloway — a paved track where you can speed things up on a road bike. Outside the city, you’ll find several state parks with camping opportunities and some of the best bike trails around. Plus, there are paddleboarding and kayaking opportunities along the Colorado River as well as at Lake Travis.

Affordable Neighborhoods

It’s no secret that the housing market has been crazy. As more and more people move in from places like California, New York City, and Florida, home prices have skyrocketed and available real estate has dwindled. As a result, the cost of living in Austin, Texas has become more expensive over the last few years. But that doesn’t mean that normal families have been priced out. There are still several affordable neighborhoods in the city, keeping your dream of moving to Austin alive and ready.

According to Payscale, the median home price in Austin is just north of $353,000. A new home will be more expensive, but that number can give you an idea of the home price in the Austin area. Renters will be happy to hear that prices have actually decreased slightly to $1,107 per month on average. 

Prices obviously vary depending on the neighborhood you choose. The most expensive area is downtown Austin and prices for places near South Congress and East Austin are also increasing. For more affordable options, look at North Austin, Hyde Park, and Westgate. Before deciding where to live, it’s a good idea for potential Austinites to talk to a real estate agent. They can help you determine which neighborhood suits your needs and offer insight into the best school districts in Austin if you’re moving with your family.

Learn More About Living in Austin, Texas

living in austin texas: woman kayaking Lady Bird Lake

Whether you’re a native Texan from the Lone Star state looking to move to a new city or a transplant from another state or country looking to call Austin home, there are many reasons to make the move. The city offers incredible entertainment opportunities as well as an unrivaled foodie scene. Plus, it’s easy to get outdoors and enjoy nature — even when you’re in the heart of the city. 

Want to know more about living in Austin, Texas? Check out ATX Guides. You’ll find tips on how to enjoy the city from the best places to eat to the best trails and outdoor adventure spots. Plus, you’ll get insight from locals and transplants on how to enjoy the city and learn what’s new and exciting in your new hometown. 

Author
Erika Marty
Erika Marty

Erika is an avid traveler who has been to more than 60 countries where she finds food, activities, and hidden locales for touring like a local. When she’s not writing, she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and planning her next adventure.

Learn more about Erika

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