If you’re considering moving to Austin, you’re not alone. On average, around 100 people move there every single day and this shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the city’s population is set to grow by 80% by 2030.
If that’s the case, why are so many people relocating to Austin, TX? Well, there are numerous factors that draw people in. The Texan city has a booming job market, a vibrant live music scene, and more smoked meats than you can shake a stick at.
That being said, with so many people relocating to the city, is it worth it? Before you consider moving to Austin alone or with your family, check out this guide on what you need to know. It includes:
- About Austin
- The Climate
- Austin’s Job Market
- Austin Cost of Living
- What Neighborhood to Live in?
- Transportation in Austin
- Austin’s Food and Restaurant Scene
- Austin’s Festivals - More than SXSW
- Why Move to Austin, Texas?
First things first, here’s some background on the capital city of Texas.
Austin has grown from a sleepy college city to the 11th most populous city in the United States. Moreover, it’s also the second-most populous state capital- after Phoenix, Arizona.
Since the 1990s, the city has become a center for tech startups. A number of Fortune 500 companies - including Amazon, Apple and Google - have headquarters or regional offices in Austin. This means that Austin is awash with job opportunities (more on that later).
The city’s official slogan is “The Live Music Capital of the World”. This tips a hat to the many famous Austinite musicians, live music venues, and the world famous South by Southwest (SXSW) festival that takes place every March.
The weather in Austin is incredible. That being said, it does take some getting used to - especially in the summer.
In August, temperatures average close to 100°F. Moreover, it’s not uncommon for those temperatures to creep into the triple digits.
The rest of the year, the weather is generally fairly mild without ever getting too cold (the lowest it will fall to is around 40°F). However, in order to survive the scorching summers, it’s worth investing in air conditioning. With several months of the year seeing temperatures of at least 80°F, this investment definitely pays for itself!
Austin’s Job Market
The success of Austin’s job market is perhaps underlined by the city’s shifted reputation over the past decade or so.
Formerly primarily known for it’s thriving art scene, it’s now mainly known for being a tech hub. This has earned it the moniker “Silicon Hills”. In fact, the tech companies in Austin account for the majority of tech-related revenue in the state of Texas.
We mentioned a few earlier, but here are some of the tech companies who have put down routes (and routers) in Austin:
- Cisco Systems
There’s a lot of work to be found at large tech conglomerates. Moreover, Austin is a good location for those looking to build their own startup.
However, if you’re not in the tech bubble, there’s still other employment opportunities within the city. Other major sectors include education, entertainment, engineering, government, and health care. The average weekly wage in Austin is around $1,116.
Austin Cost of Living
Austin has a reputation for being expensive. From afar, it may seem like living in Austin is out of most people’s budget.
However, the aforementioned weekly wages being over $1k a week coupled with a booming job market make the city much less intimidating when you’re actually in it.
Austin rent is the highest of all the cities in Texas. Moreover, while it’s cost of living is 3% lower than the national average, it’s housing is marginally higher. The average rent for an apartment in Austin, TX is $1,439.
On the flip side, this is a lot less eye watering than cities such as San Francisco or New York - where rent can set you back around $3,000 a month. Austinites also save money by having relatively low state and local taxation rates.
What are the Best Neighborhoods In Austin?
As you can see, Austin’s pendulum swings from being a bustling tech epicenter to a center for art and culture. This juxtaposition means each neighborhood is unique.
Therefore, whatever you’re looking for in a home, there’s a perfect neighborhood suited to you.
Let’s look at Austin’s main neighborhoods:
- Downtown Austin - If you’re someone who likes to be in the thick of the action, Downtown is the place for you. This area is the culture hub of Austin and provides fancy condos for you to rest your head. This is one of the more costly areas of the city, but, if you want to get the best of urban living, this is the neighborhood you should choose. Notable areas include Congress Avenue, Market District, and Warehouse District.
- North Austin - If you still want to be close to downtown but are eager to avoid high rental costs, North Austin is a good neighborhood to consider. There’s a wider variety of properties available here, ranging from modern apartments to single story houses. This area is becoming increasingly popular with people relocating to Austin as it’s relatively affordable (for Austin, anyways). Notable areas include Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Round Rock.
- East Austin - The East of Austin is one of the trendiest, diverse, and, frankly, hipster neighborhoods in Austin. The area is great for those who appreciate walkability and are fans of coffee culture and food trucks on every corner. Despite the area being up and coming, it’s increase in popularity has seen rental prices boom over the past few years. Therefore, if you want a slice of the action in East Austin, move sooner rather than later. Notable areas include East Cesar Chavez, Holly, and Govalle.
- South Austin - South Austin is a great mix of the new and old elements of Austin. As a result, this area has been able to adhere to the city’s unofficial slogan of “keep Austin weird”. Moreover, it’s one of the most diverse areas in the city and rent gets cheaper the further south you go. Notable areas include Barton Hills, Bouldin Creek, and South Congress.
- West Austin - For those who want a taste of country living while in a big city, West Austin is the place to look. This showcases Austin’s often uncovered picturesque countryside and rolling hills. Moreover, this wealthy area has the best schools, multiple golf courses and some of the nicest properties in the city. While not cheap, this is a great option for a family moving to Austin. Notable areas include Cat Mountain, Northwest Hills, and Tarrytown.
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Transportation in Austin
When it comes to getting around Austin, driving is the norm. However, if you think moving to Austin from LA or New York will see you escape traffic, think again.
Austin is known to be one of the worst cities when it comes to traffic. Therefore, when considering relocating to Austin, it’s worth mapping out your commute or taking it into account when finding a place to live.
On the other hand, there is some relief provided to Austinites by the increasing presence of public transportation in the city.
If you don’t have a vehicle, here are some other ways you can get from A to B in Austin:
- Capital Metro - Capital Metro is Austin’s public transportation system and, once you’ve got used to it, it’s one of the easiest ways to explore downtown and greater Austin. Single rides start at just $1.25.
- MetroRail - At only $3.50 a ride, this 26-mile MetroRail line runs between Leander and Downtown Austin during the week, and Lakeline to Downtown on the weekends.
- Ridesharing - Uber and Lyft are both popular ride sharing apps within austin. However, there is also a local rideshare app called RideAustin.
- Biking - Downtown Austin is trying to heavily promote biking, with new cycling infrastructure cropping up throughout the city. Moreover, Austin BCycle has bikes for rent from various kiosks - these can be accessed through different memberships.
- By plane - If you need to fly in to or out of Austin, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is just a few miles away.
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Austin’s Food and Restaurant Scene
As a state, Texas is known for being a hotspot for great food. Austin is no different. Tex-Mex and Barbeque are two of the most popular local cuisines. This is underlined by the world famous Franklin Barbeque, where visitors will queue around the block for their brisket.
In addition, food trucks are becoming increasingly commonplace throughout the city, In fact, there are dedicated food truck parks which all cover the global food map.
Do yourself a favour, if you’re planning on moving to Austin, arrive hungry!
Austin’s Festivals - More Than SXSW
As we mentioned, Austin is one of the nation’s cultural hotspots. There are countless festivals that take place throughout the city every year. Firstly, there’s South by Southwest (SXSW), this 10-day event celebrates music, film and tech and is one of the most popular attractions in Austin.
To take it back to grub, Austin is also home to the Austin Food and Wine Festival. This brings the best chefs and restaurants from Central Texas together for a calorie-packed carnival.
When it comes to festivals and events in Austin, there’s never a dull moment.
Why Move to Austin, Texas?
Moving to Austin, TX is something that many people are considering, which is hardly surprising considering everything it’s got going for itself. Now you’ve read this guide you should be a little closer to answering the question: should I move to Austin?
From the booming job market, endless festivities, and hot - sometimes too hot - weather, there’s clearly a lot on offer to those relocating to Austin. If you are considering a move, make sure you do it sooner rather than later. The more people want to become honorary Austinites, the more rent and property prices will go up.
Wake up, smell the smoked meat, and make the move today!