City Guide of Austin, TX

Overview Tab

History: What is now known to be Texas’ Barton Springs was previously the camp and hunting grounds for the nomadic tribes of Tonkawas, Comanches, and Lipan Apaches. The 1830s marked the arrival of the first Anglo settlers who named this village Waterloo. Waterloo was eventually chosen to be the capital of the new Republic of Texas. Out of this creation came the small city of Austin whose name refers to Stephen F. Austin “the father of Texas.” By the start of the 1880s Austin was beginning to become a real city as the Grand Capitol Building was completed, Austin Public City Schools admitted their first classes, and the University of Texas opened its doors. Later came the implementation of the Great Granite Dam which stabilized the Colorado River. However, rapid growth of the population of Austin really began to flourish in the 1970s as Texas began to increase political activity. The small town has now become a big city — known for their high-tech innovations, research labs, and culture — and Austin has garnered themselves with a national reputation instrumentally playing a part of their continued growth expansion.

Location: Austin falls under the seat of Travis County, with some of the city residing in that of Hays and Williamson County. The city is also the capital of Texas. Austin is known to be the 11th largest city in the United States and the 4th largest city in all Texas. Not to mention, it is also the fastest growing city in the United States. It is primarily located in Central Texas, with surrounding waterways of Lake Walter E. Long, Lady Bird Lake, Lake Travis, Colorado River, Barton Springs, and McKinney Falls.

Commutes: A large majority of commuters drive to work with the small remaining amount of Austin residents either carpooling, working from home, utilizing public transportation, biking, or walking. Fortunately for residents the city is positioned right in the middle of a few major interstates — Interstate 35, Mopec Expressway, U.S. Highway 183, and State Highway 71. For people who need a form of public transportation, the city also offers the Capital Metro. Greyhound lines, an intercity bus service, as well as Amtrak Texas Eagle station, an intercity rail service, is also available. In addition, Austin is also home to the large Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Culture: Austin, also known as the “hipster” city, is one of the fastest-growing places in all of the United States. It has a low unemployment rate, low housing costs, and sunny weather. The real key to the prosperity, however, lies within the city’s creative economy. As it is the hub of art institutions and a variety of events such as Austin Fashion Week and Austin Poetry Slam. The substantial amount of high-tech industries, colleges and universities, and live music also seems to draw in the masses.

Local Government:

City Council
The Austin City Council has immense goals for the upcoming year. The council hopes to better “recognize employees” for their hard work, add high paying jobs and tax base enhancement, continue to maintain the city’s programs and amenities, and protect natural resources that enhance quality of life.
Phone: 512-974-2250
Address: Austin City Hall 301 W. Second St. Second Floor Austin, TX 78701
Email: ora.houston@austintexas.gov#

Mayor’s Office
The Mayor of Austin has a principle part in setting not only the laws that govern the city, but also enforcing them, and creating a budget. As time progresses, the Mayor hopes to lead Austin’s government to a new level of civic engagement between residents and officials.
Phone: 512-978-2100
Address: 301 W 2nd St Austin, 78701
Email: steve.adler@austintexas.gov

Chamber of Commerce
The Austin Chamber of Commerce desires to create a prosperous business community. For 140 years, the Chamber has invested in a wide range of programs which has largely contributed to Austin’s economic stability. In addition, they create jobs, prepare students for the workforce, and help businesses grow.
Phone: (512) 478-9383
Address: 535 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78701
Email: mrollins@austinchamber.com

Schools Tab

Overview: The schools of Austin, Texas, are divided into one of three groups. Either public district, public charter, or private schools. Just the Austin Independent School District alone is home to over 83,000 students and 130 schools. With this being said, out of all available institutions the best test scores are generally located anywhere to the west of the city and in the suburbs which encompasses Northwest Austin, Cedar Park, and Round Rock. Eanes, Lake Travis, Leander, Round Rock, and Dripping Springs Independent School Districts are among the five best. Austin also has sixteen high schools and one college listed on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools and Best Colleges rankings. Individually, the Liberal Arts & Science Academy of Austin ISD and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, a private institution, are highly regarded.

School Districts: Austin’s school districts offer students a wide variety of options from arts and culture, to sport programs, and college preparatory courses. A few of the districts boast award-winning and nationally recognized schools. One district may have close to 47,251 students — Round Rock Independent School District (Round Rock ISD) — while another may be much smaller with only 8,833 students — Lake Travis Independent School District (Lake Travis ISD). A student is districted to a school depending upon where he/she lives and these schools are free of charge. However, a student can also apply to a magnet program and charter school or opt to attend a private institution for a price.

Central
Austin ISD
Eanes ISD

Northwest
Leander ISD
Lago Vista ISD

Northeast
Georgetown ISD
Hutto ISD
Round Rock ISD
Pflugerville ISD

Southwest
Lake Travis ISD
Dripping Springs ISD
Hays Consolidated ISD

Southeast
Del Valle ISD
Manor ISD

Schools:

Elementary Schools
Coincidentally, most, if not all of the highest rated and recognized elementary schools come from one district, Eanes ISD. This includes Forest Trail, Cedar Creek, Barton, Bridge Point, Valley View, and Eanes elementary school. The above-listed institutions all contain about 500-800 students and vary from 11:1-15:1 in their student-teacher ratio. Depending on the elementary school selected there will be various academic and enrichment programs offered. Some may be aimed towards the gifted & talented while other may focus closely on computer programing or the arts.

Middle Schools
There are a bunch of Austin public, charter, and private middle schools. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) evaluated all institutions in the area based upon the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR). A majority of the schools which ranked highest on this list are open enrollment. The top five include: (1) West Ridge, (2) Hill Country, (3) Olympia Hills, (4) Gorzycki, and (5) Walsh Middle. These schools stem from the districts of Eanes, Austin, and Round Rock ISD.

High Schools
There are a large amount high schools located within Austin, Texas. Many of them are flexible in the sense that they have both required curriculum for graduation and additional AP/dual enrollment courses students can participate in if so desired. On the U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of Best High Schools, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy ranked the highest of all Austin’s schools. They landed 27th nationally and 5th in the State of Texas. Beyond that what is mentioned, Austin has an additional twenty high schools on the U.S. News & World Report’s annual list.

Private Schools
Private schools in the city often have challenging and rigorous coursework designed to prepare students for higher education and professional opportunities. For consideration of admission, students do have to complete an application at a cost. If accepted there is a tuition which largely varies depending on grade level and area. St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, Regents School of Austin, and St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School are among the best the city has to offer.

Housing Tab

Overview: Austin is labeled to have the nation’s fastest growing housing markets. This means one thing, there is a slew of different residence options to choose from. You can find homes, townhomes, mid-rise/high-rise condos, apartments, and more, both for rent and for sale. Properties in the Austin area have a community room, gym access, pools, and trails. If not located within the neighborhood than right around the corner. Prices differ greatly upon location, but overall there is a good mix of affordable and more luxurious housing. Due to the large amount of colleges and universities in the area, there is a wide array of student living available. Often times this type of housing means an easy walk or bike to class because of the close proximity to campus. Austin also designates special types of housing for the elderly and disabled.

Housing:

Single Family Homes
When it comes to single family residences Austin has plenty. There are three main types of architectural styles which can be seen throughout the entire city. The first style is Queen Anne homes whose size and classic influence is unparalleled. It is often seen in upscale neighborhoods such as Hyde Park. Contemporary homes are the next architectural home type of which Round Rock and Georgetown have a high influx. The last style is craftsman bungalows. Plainly stated, this just refers to a one-story home with an open floor plan. Craftsman bungalows can be seen in Allandale, Brentwood, and Crestview.

Apartments
Quality Austin apartments can be found for extremely affordable prices. Although the city also has more luxurious options. No matter whether you are looking to find a place in north, east, west, or south Austin, there are apartments close to you. Trio, Tintara at Canyon Creek, Hyde Park at Ribelin Ranch, Lantana Ridge, and The Arnold, are great examples of affordable living in Austin with all the amenities of luxury housing. The city of Austin also provides residents with over 130 low-income and Section 8 properties.

High Rises
Especially in Downtown Austin, high rise units are prevalent. Here you can find properties with one, two, and three bedrooms. SEVEN, The Millennium Rainey Street, Skyhouse Austin, Windsor on the Lake, and Brown Building are just a few of the many alternatives to select from. High rises are often urban, stylish, and boast the most up-to-date amenities. Thus, residents truly live a life of luxury. Take a peek at the magnificent views, infinity edge pools, lounge, and fitness center.

New Construction
Austin is one of the leading home building cities. So if you’re on the hunt for newly built properties you won’t run into any problems here. There are master planned communities, apartment complexes, high rises, and more. A huge benefit to purchasing a new home in Austin is that they are 30% more energy efficient than homes built ten years ago. Newly built residences are more modern, easier to customize, and require simpler and much quicker repairs when compared to older housing.

Austin Views
The area of Austin is beautiful in and of itself, but what is even more breathtaking are the views. There is nothing better than waking up to see the serene nature preserve or calming lake right in your backyard, luckily it is possible. Most of the available properties are single-family homes. Depending on preference, skyline, water, and green views can be easily found. Downtown Austin has the bulk of properties with skyline vision. For lake views there are properties surrounding Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis. While lush green landscape can be seen from areas like Barton Creek, Shady Hollow, and Sunset Valley.

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Overview:

Things to Do Tab

Overview: Out of everything, Austin is best known for its thriving and eclectic live music scene. Blues and rock fill Antone’s Nightclub, The Continental Club, and the Elephant Room every evening. This may be partly due to the large amount of the University of Texas college students who makes the nightlife come alive.The city is also home to Formula One, a race track situated to the south which has been the place of designation for the recognized United States Grand Prix in the past. If this isn’t enough, a visit to Austin means the best dining, shopping, theater, parks, and much, much, more. Not to mention, quality museums such as the Texas Military Forces Museum; a military museum, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum; a history museum.

Retail & Entertainment

Parks & Recreation
Look to Austin to find loads of community pools, golf courses, tennis courts, parks, dog play areas, and so on. Climb the rolling hills and take in the lush green preserves of Pedernales Falls Park, McKinney Falls State Park, Palmetto State Park, or the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

Shopping
Austin offers everything from luxury to antique shopping. Get all your shopping done in one place at sizable The Domain. A large outdoor mall with over 100 stores. If vintage is more your style, try out South Congress Avenue for eclectic finds.

Art & Culture
For modern art one might enjoy The Contemporary Austin or The Contemporary Austin-Laguna Gloria. At the University of Texas campus is Mexic-Arte Museum, influenced by Mexican and Latin American Arts. To watch a show or two, visit the ZACH Theater or Paramount Theater for world-renowned performances.

Night Life
There are multiple neighborhoods in Austin that house nightlife options. The five best however come from Rainey Street, East Austin, The Domain, South Congress Avenue, and South First Street. Here you can find clubs, lounges, craft beer bars and everything in between.

Restaurants
Visitors or residents of Austin will be sure to love all the quality and award-winning restaurants the city has to offer. From dim sum and dumplings at Lin Asian Bar + Dim sum, to freshly baked pizza at 40 North, and tropical drinks and hearty nachos at the Last Straw you won’t leave the city feeling disappointed.

Neighborhoods Tab

Overview: There are many different neighborhoods in Austin, some are larger, more popular, and contain more amenities than others. According to the Austin Relocation Guide, the ten most sought after include: (1) Rollingwood, (2) Barton Hills, (3) Tarrytown, (4) Allandale, (5) Mueller, (6) West Lake Hills, (7) Lakeway, (8) Avery Ranch, (9) Circle C Ranch, and (10) Old West Austin. If you enjoy being close the nature and frequently hike, walk, or bike, somewhere like Barton Hills or Lakeway might be the best suited for you. As both are situated near either Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake, or Lake Travis. If you work close to Downtown Austin and need a neighborhood which is in close proximity, Allandale fits the bill. For families who want to be districted to award-winning schools, Avery Ranch is your go-to neighborhood. Not to mention the area also has a 60-acre lake as well as the recognized Avery Ranch Golf Course.

Local Pros Tab