Median RentMedian Sqft
Studio$1,275437 sqft
1 Bed$1,400685 sqft
2 Beds$1,8001,012 sqft
3+ Beds$2,7001,608 sqft


It bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World (something we definitely don’t dispute), but that’s just one of the many things that make Austin, Texas one of the most vibrant and eclectic cities in Texas — if not the entire southern United States. Its culinary scene, abundance of breweries, access to the great outdoors, technology buzz and an energetic student population add to the appeal.

On the food front, world-class chefs cook in the kitchens of cutting-edge restaurants while purveyors of food trucks continue to push boundaries and take their delicious creations directly to the people. Austin is home to a passionate population of adventure-seekers, whether it’s kayaking on a lake, hiking among limestone cliffs, cycling all over the city, or swimming in the historic Barton Springs watering hole — anything to get outside the house and into the sunshine (which can be found on average 300 days per year). The capital city of Texas also attracts an enviable number of major corporations to the area and continues its rise as one of the nation’s top technology hubs. And looping back to that whole live music brag, you can find countless performances all day, every day at venues across the metropolitan area, highlights of which include blues & soul, country, folk, electronic and dance, hip hop & R&B, pop, jazz, indie, rock, Tejano & Latin, and world music. Austin also hosts a number of high-profile festivals, including South By Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits (ACL) which bring audiences from all over the globe. Though Austin has no major professional sports teams, it also welcomes several high-profile sporting events to town each year.

Though small in comparison to some cities, Austin is still a major metropolitan destination, with nearly 1 million people calling it home according to the 2020 census. Combined with its neighboring suburbs, Georgetown and Round Rock, the region as a whole has more than 2.3 million residents. Despite its dramatic growth in recent years, Austin has managed to maintain its earlier hippie reputation that coexists with the ever-changing landscape and influx of new people from all over the country, particularly California of late. So it’s probably no surprise that the general vibe is one where people can be their true selves and get along despite differences. At the time of the writing of this guide, the city is still majority White (48.9%), with Latino (34.5%), Black (7.6%), and Asian (6.8%) people making up the largest additional demographics, according to the most recent data. Austin has a thriving LGBTQ population with a number of bars, clubs, and businesses comprising a gay district along 4th Street, but also spread throughout the region.

The rental scene in Central Austin resembles most other Texas cities with highrises the predominant option in the Downtown Austin area, the pulsing heart of the city. In this vibrant central business district, you’ll find the Texas Capitol, the famous live music scene of historic 6th Street, tons of restaurants and bars, including a cluster of LGBTQ bars and businesses along 4th street, the bustling Rainey Street Historic District, and Hyde Park. To the north of Downtown, the University of Texas’ massive campus is practically a city unto itself, spread out over 437 acres. A huge variety of Austin apartment rentals can be found here to appeal to students ranging from undergrads to graduate students and PhD candidates. Quirky homes converted to apartments, older-but-smaller apartment buildings with larger-square-footage floorplans, and massive apartment buildings and communities offer plenty of options for every budget and required amenity. Often, the farther away from Downtown Austin and the U.T. campus area, the (slightly) cheaper the rents. South Austin has a more suburban feel in some parts with lots of shopping centers and office parks, as well as highly sought-after neighborhoods such as South Congress (SoCo), South Lamar, and Zillker. East Austin is an extremely diverse part of the city with an ever-changing landscape of old meets new, with the Mueller neighborhood one of the most popular. In West Austin, Barton Creek attracts young professionals and students. And in North Austin, renters are drawn to the quieter neighborhoods of North Campus (also known as North University) and the Arboretum, which are all close enough to the action on the U.T. campus and in Downtown Austin.

Getting Around

Similar to other Texas cities, Austin is primarily a driving city with everything being very spread out over its 271 square miles (not including Georgetown and Round Rock). Cycling is huge in Austin, however, and you’ll find some people who use their bikes as the primary source of transportation but even more who pedal recreationally, which is why it’s so nice that Austin has one of the best biking lane systems in the state. But drivers tend to be very aware of cyclists and give them space, even in areas where bike lanes aren’t present. Bike rentals and scooters also cater to people looking for quick trips. Rideshare services are common, and taxis are fairly easy to get throughout Downtown Austin. Public transportation is limited to Capital Metro buses, but routes are numerous, and schedules are fairly robust. The city is served by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, with an average of 350 daily flights with nonstop service to more than 70 destinations, both domestic and international. A luxury bus service with first-class seating and beverage/food service, Vonlane, also serves the Austin community with direct routes to San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas as a good alternative to driving yourself or flying.

Food & Drink

Austin has been dishing out culinary creations from its food trailers, food stalls, and food trucks — long before mobile dining became trendy elsewhere. Many a great Austin restaurant got its start serving people from a small window. Whether you’re at a dedicated food truck/food trailer park or you’re at an event where your meal arrives on wheels, you don’t have to sit down to experience some seriously tasty eats in Austin. A few food halls have popped up recently, too, offering a similar amount of variety as food truck parks. The city serves a large vegetarian and vegan population, so you’ll find a bevy of plant-based eateries around town, plus plenty of options catering to special diets on nearly every restaurant menu, including steakhouses, Tex-Mex, and even occasionally BBQ joints. Barbecue, of course, is a tremendously popular category in Austin for both locals and visitors, with some of the more famous places requiring people to line up hours in advance with the hope that they’ll get to the counter to order before the food sells out. All varieties of Asian food can be found here, from Chinese and Japanese to Indian and Vietnamese. Multiple Austin chefs have been recognized with James Beard Award nominations in recent years, and you’ll find that many are on the cutting edge of trends and culinary innovation.

Grocery stores, including Austin-based Whole Foods Market, can be found in abundance in every major neighborhood. Natural food stores and farmers markets are also sprinkled throughout the city.

Bars and nightclubs offer something for every taste and budget (and like all venues that serve alcohol in Texas, none are open past 2:00 a.m.). You’ll find more than 58 breweries in town, at least 20 active distilleries (including some national and internationally recognized brands), and more than 50 wineries in the Texas Hill Country, a short drive from the city center.


Although you’ll still find a few examples of malls thriving in Austin, most neighborhoods are filled with more localized shopping centers and strip malls, with many centered around a major national big-box retailer, electronics store, or fashion brand. Downtown and neighborhoods around the University of Texas main campus tend to have more boutiques and designer showrooms. The Arboretum and the Domain are two of the biggest destination shopping areas, while many people still flock to the outlets in San Marcos, about a 30-minute drive.

Things to Do

Of course, one of the top things to do in Austin is live music, whether you’re listening while hanging out on a patio, inside a bar, or at one of the more than 250 dedicated performance venues, including the legendary Austin City Limits Live. The culture scene extends beyond live music with art galleries, museums, and performing arts, including ballet and local theater.

Walking tours are a great way to get to know the city or a specific neighborhood. And you can always find ways to relax with several luxury resorts and spas around Austin, especially the ones overlooking nearby lakes. Hippie Hollow is a popular weekend destination with a bohemian history and reputation that appeals to just about anyone looking to boat, swim, or unwind on the rocks overlooking Lake Travis. Another must-see event is the flight of thousands of bats from under bridges over Lady Bird Lake near Downtown Austin each evening around sunset.

Colleges & Universities

The largest university in town, The University of Texas at Austin, is a small city unto itself on 431 acres with more than 52,000 students and at least 3,000 faculty members. Other nearby institutions include St. Edwards University, Southwestern University in Georgetown, and Texas State University in San Marcos. Art institutes, trade schools, the Austin Community College District, and several smaller universities bring a great deal of diversity and an influx of new ideas to central Texas. Some of the most affordable apartments in Austin can typically be found near these campuses.

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