Rainey Street Guide

Median RentMedian Sqft
1 Bed$2,171810 sqft
2 Beds--
3+ Beds--


The Rainey Street Historic District lies in the southeasternmost corner of Downtown Austin and despite only spanning a few square blocks, it’s one of the most jam-packed neighborhoods for food and nightlife options. A recent spurt of residential growth in the form of condos and apartments in Rainey Street has cemented the area as one of the most popular sectors in the city and a highly sought-after place to live. Historic bungalows in abundance offer a glimpse into the neighborhood’s past, with nearly three dozen pre-1934 structures remaining intact and reimagined into modern restaurants and bars. Their mere existence makes the Rainey Street Historic District one of the most unique parts of Austin and a prime example of merging old and new seamlessly. The neighborhood’s boundaries consist of East Cesar Chavez Street to the north, Waller Creek to the west as it meanders toward the southeastern border of Lady Bird Lake, and Interstate 35 to the east. Though Rainey Street has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985, most of the current residential options are far newer, with mid-rise and high-rise apartment buildings the standard. Surprisingly, even with tremendous curb appeal and live-work-play balance, reasonably priced apartments in Rainey Street can be found. Buildings and complexes in the neighborhood feature all the latest technology and amenities, including dog parks, fitness centers, in-home washer-dryer connections, and access to several hiking and biking trails, as well as other nearby outdoor activities.

Getting Around

For those who wish to stick close to home, the Rainey Street Historic District is one of the most walkable areas in Downtown Austin—and much of the city as a whole, for that matter. But the reality is that Austin is very spread out, and most people find it essential to own a car, truck, motorcycle, or bike for most transportation options around town. However, Austin offers a variety of public transport options, which make getting to, from, and around the immediate Downtown Austin area easier than most other neighborhoods, even if you don’t have access to your own four wheels.

Capital Metro offers several bus routes in addition to newer MetroRapid and MetroRail services that connect Downtown residents with other parts of the city, too. Cycling is popular throughout the city, and both Rainey Street and the greater Downtown Austin area are quite easy to navigate on a bike, whether it’s your own or a cycle rented from the many bikeshare stations or bike shops in Austin. Rideshare services are also popular and affordable when staying within a couple of miles of Rainey Street. And great news for electric vehicle owners: Austin has a large volume of free charging stations all over town.

For travel beyond Austin, 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 called Vonlane has a pickup/drop-off point in Downtown Austin that gets residents and tourists between Austin and San Antonio, Houston, or Dallas without the hassle of driving or dealing with airport delays and other issues.

Food & Drink

Bungalow-set restaurants and a larger-than-average number of food trucks and trailers represent the bulk of dining options within the Rainey Street Historic District. And because many of the restaurants in former homes have large yards that have been converted to patios, Rainey Street is one of the most dog-friendly dining districts in Austin. Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite Rainey Street restaurants and food trucks. Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden is a can’t-miss for brunch or happy hour; Anthem features Tex-Asian fare; Shawarma Point delivers on its promise of modern Mediterranean; Geraldine’s inside Hotel Van Zandt has a Little Lucy’s doles out doughnuts; Emmer & Rye focuses on New American interpretations; and the Rainey Street Food Truck Lot welcomes multiple food trucks serving a variety of creative cuisines for al fresco dining experiences or takeout.

If a bungalow doesn’t house a restaurant, then it most likely has been transformed into one of many popular Rainey Street bars. Among the area’s most beloved watering holes, Lustre Pearl, Parlor Room, Clive Bar, Unbarlievable, The Tipsy Alchemist, Augustine, Idle Hands, and Half Step each offer a laidback Austin vibe with the opportunity for spontaneous mass celebrations to break out at any time. If you want to guarantee a more chill scene, however, it’s worth checking out Little Brother, a tiny space with only four bar stools but a fully stocked bar. Meanwhile, local brewery Stay Put is one of the newest on the scene.

For coffee, Little Brother serves up great espresso drinks when not doling out cocktails. Other java joints worth checking out are Café 605 and Royal Blue Grocery, as well as nearby options including Malone Specialty Coffee and Good Things.


As a primarily food-beverage-and-nightlife neighborhood, the Rainey Street Historic District doesn’t have much in the way of shopping for its residents or visitors. Nearby in the heart of Downtown and a mile or two in nearly any direction, you’ll find far more options, including several big-box national chains mixed in with local boutiques. The same goes for grocery stores. However, there is one small specialty grocery store in the Rainey Street District called Royal Blue Grocery.

Things to Do

In the heart of the Rainey Street Historic District is the free Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), an institution dedicated to preserving and promoting Latin culture through its two museums, rotating exhibits, and live performances. The Trail of Tejano Legends statues can be found just outside, as well as the Tejano Walking Trail that covers the history and contributions of Latino residents in the neighborhood. For outdoor activities that don’t include an educational component, most Rainey Street residents flock to the walkable Lady Bird Lake and the various parks along its shores, Waller Beach Metropolitan Park falling within the neighborhood’s borders. There, you can head out on the water in kayaks, standup paddleboards, and other modes of recreational craft. The area is also filled with public art in the form of sculptures and murals.

Colleges & Universities

The largest university in town, The University of Texas at Austin, exists just north of Downtown Austin, making the Rainey Street Historic District a popular area to live with rents lower than the heart of Downtown. Almost an equal distance to the south, St. Edwards University is another school with students, staff, and faculty living in Rainey Street apartments. Art institutes, trade schools, the Austin Community College District, and several smaller universities bring a great deal of diversity to the educational landscape and an easy commute from Rainey Street.

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