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The 20 Best Places to Live in Austin

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Austin might be the Live Music Capital of the World, but there’s a lot more to the Texas capital than amplifiers and guitars. Thanks to its abundance of restaurants, nightspots, museums, outdoor spaces, and events, the range of things to see, do, and experience are endless. Understandably, more and more people are looking to experience the delights of the city for themselves, with the end result that the population has exploded over the past few years. Property prices have risen accordingly, but there’s still plenty of options out there for those looking for affordable housing. Those that are more concerned about quality of life than budgetary constraints will also find themselves spoiled for choice. If you’re considering making the move, check out our round-up of the 20 very best places to live in Austin, TX.

20. Serenada

The small Atlanta suburb of Serenada may only have 1,679 residents to its name, but its punching far above its weight when it comes to safety, green areas, and the kind of welcoming community we’d all like to be a part of. The peaceful, slow pace of life makes it a big draw to families, while its easy access to downtown Georgetown is a huge boon for those looking for more in the way of an active social life. Property may be slightly more expensive than the national average, but the high median income of $84,931 more than compensates for the elevated cost of living.

19. Clarksville

Clarksville is positively bursting with charm and history. Situated on the border of Downtown Austin, it boasts a diverse, friendly community, a great range of housing options, and all the bars, restaurants, shops, and conveniences anyone could ever need. If that wasn’t enough, the delightful Lady Bird Lake Trail runs along its entire southern border, giving hikers and bikers the perfect opportunity to indulge their love of the great outdoors.

18. Hutto

If you’re a first-time buyer looking to combine affordable property prices with a great standard of living, you’d be hard pushed to beat the charming suburb of Hutto. With decently sized family homes selling for just $167,200, it’s the ideal place to get your foot on the property ladder – the excellent schools, low crime rate, and above-average median income of $76,433, meanwhile, turn it from being a merely affordable option to a desirable one.

17. Dripping Springs

Don’t let the slightly offbeat name put you off: when it comes to the good life, Dripping Springs is where it’s at. The suburb’s small population of 2,764 are well served by a good stock of amenities (including a clutch of first-rate restaurants, boutiques and even a number of wineries, distilleries, and breweries) and local attractions, while its easy commuting distance into the heart of Austin guarantees plenty by way of big-city thrills and spills. Property may come with a hefty $313,700 price tag, but with most residents earning the very robust income of $76,771, you’re unlikely to hear too many complaints.

16. Buda

If you can afford the very reasonable property price of $218,500, the small suburb of Buda makes a great choice. In addition to the low crime rate and excellent schools, the 13,253 strong population are well served by a thriving job market (so thriving, in fact, that most households are drawing the very healthy income of $79,821), a great lineup of local events, numerous outdoor attractions, and the kind of small-town charm that more than justifies the property price.

15. Georgetown

Georgetown is the kind of place few could fault; a wonderful, diverse community is complemented by a great range of family-friendly activities, a cute downtown square, some vibrant nightlife spots, and more first-rate restaurants than you can shake a stick at. Factor in some excellent schools, a thriving local economy, safe, walkable streets, and a job market that’s able to sustain the very healthy median income of $67,753, and it’s clear to see why this little suburb of Atlanta is so desirable.

14. Barton Creek

Barton Creek has a lot more to boast about than a 2,989 strong population. The suburb’s crime rate is so low as to be non-existent, while its excellent range of amenities and recreational facilities would be as equally fitting to a town three times its size. The superb handful of schools servicing the area make it a popular choice with families, as does it's more than robust median household income of $155,125. As you’d expect of such a desirable enclave, property prices are high: expect to pay around $1,030,600 for a decently sized, 3-bedroom family home.

13. Pflugerville

Although the average home price is just a smidgeon over the national average at $200,600, Pflugerville still makes a very affordable option for those looking to buy a home in the Austin area, especially when you factor in the great quality of life that’s on offer. Most households are pulling in the very robust income of $82,145, while the superb range of amenities and recreational pursuits on offer belie its modest size. With easy access to the job opportunities and attractions of Austin, it makes a great option for those looking to combine small-town charm with big city appeal.

12. Leander

Home values in Leander come in at around $214,500- a price that may be a touch over the median national value of 184,700 admittedly, but one that’s more than compensated for by the above-average median income of $89,649. Those that are willing to pay the price stand to get much more than a decent salary by return: along with the excellent schools, low crime rate, and superb job market, residents have a full host of amenities at their disposal, along with some truly sublime natural scenery.

11. Wells Branch

Wells Branch is one of Austin’s most desirable suburbs, at least according to its 12,431 residents. “Wells Branch is a relatively small but bustling neighborhood in far North Austin/Travis County that provides a variety of housing from single-family homes to multi-family apartment communities, a large well-maintained park with beautifully landscaped walking trails and ponds, swimming pools, its own Municipal Utility District, restaurants, and organized events. I've lived here for over eight years and have really enjoyed the time - it's become "home" for me. I enjoy the people, have raised a small family of pets and the neighbors have become good friends and I have gone through many moments of my life here in nearly a decade,” enthuses one such resident on Niche while another offers the comment “Has excellent small-town feel within Austin proximity. Excellent schools, playgrounds, community, neighbors, and amenities. With metro rail within so close, commuting to Austin is easy. Excellent neighborhood for the price!”

10. Hudson Bend

The small but mighty Hudson Bend has a lot to offer: along with its friendly, welcoming community of 2,263 residents, it boasts a low crime rate, a clutch of excellent schools, some superb amenities, and more than enough outdoor pursuits to keep nature lovers happy. High property prices come with the territory (expect to pay around $378,000 for a 3-bedroom home), but the above-average median income of $104,926 more than makes up for the spend.

9. Bee Cave

If you’re prepared to spend the $529,600 it takes to live in the charmingly named suburb of Bee Cave, you’re in for a treat. Crime is low, the schools are outstanding, the restaurants are first-rate, and the range of shops covers everything from chain stores to unique boutiques. Throw in a median household income of $101,765, and It’s easy to see what make Bee Cave such a desirable destination.

8. Mueller

According to Austin Relocation Guide, Mueller is one of Austin’s most desirable neighborhoods. Looking at the list of attractions of offer, we can’t say we’re inclined to disagree. Located just 4 miles from Downtown, the community boasts everything from tranquil little lake parks, local boutiques, big box stores and office blocks to community centers and leisure spots. For kids, there’s even the fascinating children's museum, Thinkery. Chief among the attractions of this master-planned community is the housing options: with an enviable range of lofts, houses, townhouses, and apartments, there’s truly something to suit every taste and budget.

7. Sun City- Georgetown

Granted, this one is for retirees only, but if you’re 55 plus, you’ll find few better places to spend your twilight years than the "active adult" retirement community of Sun City. The master-planned community has everything you could possibly want or need directly on hand, including three 18-hole golf courses, swimming pools, restaurants, cafes, workout facilities, and billiard rooms. All homes are 1-story residences, but there’s enough variety in design and layout to give you plenty of options to choose between.

6. Lakeway

You may need the sizable sum of $430,500 to buy a property in the pretty suburb of Lakeway, but it’s unlikely to be an investment you’ll come to regret. Crime is reassuringly low, while the median income of $124,556 is more than double the US national average. Along with the bountiful job opportunities, there’s an abundance of outdoor leisure possibilities thanks to its proximity to the Canyonlands, the Hamilton Green belt, Balconies Preserve, Hamilton Pool, Kruse Springs, and Lake Travis. For those who prefer to get their entertainment indoors, there’s no shortage of coffee shops and cafes, boutiques, galleries, and unique local businesses. Schools are some of the best in the state, which, combined with the great range of family-friendly activities on offer, makes Lakeway one of Austin’s hottest destinations for families.

5. Cedar Park

According to Area Vibes, the Austin suburb of Cedar Parks ranks better than 99% of other areas in the US, and it’s not hard to see why. The crime rate of 1568 per 100k people is 43% lower than the US average, giving residents just a 1 in 64 chance of becoming a victim. The median income of $87,466 is 58% higher than the US average, while the income per capita of $34,534 is 16% higher than average. The tiny unemployment rate of 3% is 31% lower than the US average, while the schools are faring equally well with a 92% graduation rate and test scores that stand at 71% higher than the national average. The median home value of $230,900 maybe 25% higher than the US average, but all in all, it seems a small price to pay for all the added value residents get elsewhere.

4. Brushy Creek

Brushy Creek’s median home price of $262,800 may be a tad over the national average, but considering most households are earning the hefty median salary of $103,738, you’re unlikely to hear too many complaints about the cost of living. What you are likely to hear, on the other hand, is a lot of very happy residents enthusing about their great lifestyle- at least if those represented on Niche are anything to go by. “Brushy Creek is a family neighborhood. As you travel through this beautiful, peaceful neighborhood you see an abundance of children enjoying themselves. With a multitude of parks, trails, and more outdoor activities to choose from, this neighborhood is simply amazing. There is no worry when the children are outside, as this neighborhood is safe and child - and adult-friendly,” says one, while another comments, “Brushy Creek is absolutely perfect. Its only 30 minutes from downtown Austin, which is great if you like it to be quiet, but still want to be able to party. The parks are beautiful, and the people are friendly.”

3. West Lake Hills

West Lake Hills is home to some of Austin’s most exclusive real estate, something that’s as evident in the median home value of $865,300 as it is in the outstanding range of amenities and attractions on offer. The neighborhoods proximity to the highway makes the commute into any area of the city a breeze, while its equally close distance to Barton Creek Wilderness Park (not to mention other outdoor amenities like Red Bud Isle, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Pennybacker Bridge, Zilker Park, and the Lions Municipal Golf Course) makes it’s a nature lovers paradise. Throw in a median income of $155,769, and it’s not hard to see the appeal of this hugely desirable enclave.

2. Shady Hollow

For those who can afford to spend $334,300 on a single-family home, Shady Hollow makes a great place to do it. The low crime rate, friendly neighbors, and safe, tree-lined streets make it a hugely attractive proposition to families (the excellent schools don’t exactly hurt matters either, with establishments such as Liberal Arts & Science Academy and Richards School for Young Women Leaders ranking as some of the best in the state). The excellent amenity center, meanwhile, guarantees plenty by way of entertainment, while the suburb’s excellent accessibility and proximity to the center of Austin provide plenty by way of job opportunities (and high paying ones at that – the average household earns the very sizeable income of $120,455).

1. Rollingwood

For those who want to experience the very best Austin has to offer, Rollingwood beckons. The highly exclusive community of 1,565 residents enjoy some of the highest median incomes in Texas ($185,568, by the last count), as well as privileged access to the cream of the crop when it comes to schools, amenities, a strong police presence, and all the delights of Ziker Park and downtown Austin. Yes, you’ll need to pay hand over fist to live here (don’t expect too much change from $937,100 for a family home), but all in all, it’s well worth the cost.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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