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Hyde Park may be one of the smallest neighborhoods in the city geographically, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in history as one of Austin’s first suburbs dating back to the last quarter of the 19th century. In 1875, Hyde Park was home to the State Fair of Texas before that event permanently moved to Dallas in 1884. And in 1990, certain parts of the Hyde Park neighborhood were designated as Historic Districts. So, it should come as no surprise that pristine examples of Tudor Revival, Queen Anne, and Craftsman architecture can be found among the mixture of modest bungalows and stately homes. One of the most impressive structures houses the Elisabet Ney Museum. Named Formosa, it resembles a small castle where visitors can experience more than 100 works by the artist.
In between the well-established residential enclaves filled with single-family homes, Hyde Park has almost exclusively small one-to-two-story apartment buildings so as not to distract from the quaintness of the surroundings. While a couple of newer, more typical-to-Austin apartment communities can be found at the edges of Hyde Park, if you’re looking for a place with an abundance of charm and character, apartments in Hyde Park won’t disappoint. And even though it’s less than two miles from the bustling University of Texas at Austin, you can find reasonably priced apartments here, relatively speaking, of course.
Comprising only a few dozen square blocks, Hyde Park is bordered at the north by East 51st Street, to the west by both Red River and Duval Streets, in the south by West 39th Street, and in the west by Guadalupe Street, which turns into one of the main drags at the edge of the UT Austin campus. Its affordable rents and walkable charm make Hyde Park a highly sought-after Central Austin neighborhood for students, professors, and staff who wish to be close enough to campus to commute by bicycle or a short bus ride, but far enough away to enjoy a little more affordability.
It’s no secret that Texas covers a huge amount of land, making even the most highly populated urban centers very spread out because, well, they can be. This fact alone makes cars, trucks, motorcycles, and to some extent ebikes, a true necessity for convenient and reliable transportation. Accessing other parts of the Austin metro area is easy, too, because Hyde Park is located mere blocks from Interstate 35E, one of the major north-south thoroughfares through the state. Most of the smaller neighborhoods within Hyde Park are highly walkable and never more than a few blocks from cafes, bakeries, bars, and markets. Bike lanes are readily available in much of this part of Central Austin, and on-demand bike and scooter rentals provide easy access to cycling and non-traditional modes of transport. Capital Metro offers bus stops within Hyde Park with quick access to the University of Texas at Austin in only a few minutes. A dedicated UT shuttle bus also has a stop in Hyde Park, making it one of the most convenient and perhaps only free ways to get to campus in a temperature-controlled setting. Nationally known rideshare companies also have a large presence here, along with several smaller and exclusively local options, including a rideshare business that offers its passengers rides in electric vehicles. Thanks in no small part to Tesla’s Austin-based factory, electric cars are hugely popular here and make it easy for owners to find charging stations easier than most other U.S. cities.
The greater Austin region is served by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, with approximately 350 daily flights offering nonstop service to more than 70 destinations, making it a gateway to many domestic and international cities. A luxe, small-occupancy bus service called Vonlane features nothing but first-class seating, onboard Wi-Fi, on-demand entertainment, food/beverage service from a dedicated bus attendant, and a spacious restroom unlike any bus you’ve ever been on. With multiple trips per day and a handy pickup/drop-off point in nearby Downtown Austin, the service connects people between Austin and San Antonio, Houston, or Dallas at affordable rates.
In a neighborhood as storybook charming as Hyde Park, it’s no shocker that bars and restaurants in Hyde Park have an abundance of charm as well. Located within Hyde Park and a few blocks in any direction, you’ll discover some wonderful Austin eateries and watering holes. Among them: Home Slice for pizza and drinks; New World Deli for sandwiches, salads, and soups; Plow Burger for beefy (and plant-based) handhelds; JuiceLand for fresh juices, smoothies, and noodle bowls; Mongers Market & Kitchen for seafood; Uncle Nicky’s Italian Specialties for a great happy hour and weekend brunch; and both Julio’s Café and Curra’s Hyde Park for classic Mexican fare (and a great avocado margarita at the latter). Elsewhere on the cocktail front, local residents can be found at The Parlor Pies for cold beer, pool, pinball, and jukebox filled with post-punk and hard rock tunes. Hyde Park Bar & Grill is equal parts bar and restaurant, but one of the locals’ go-to spots for happy hour. Other happening spots nearby include Workhorse Bar, DrinkWell, and Foreign & Domestic.
For early morning (or anytime) coffee and bakery treats, check out Flightpath Coffee or Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery. And for stocking the home pantry and fridge, you can find a variety of tasty savories at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, as well as full-service grocery offerings at Plus Hometown Grocers on the east side of Hyde Park and Central Market just a couple of blocks beyond the western edge.
What you can’t find at one of the Hyde Park grocery stores or Walgreens, you’ll discover at one of the handful of local stores selling a wildly diverse array of goods. Both Cycle Progression and The Peddler Bicycle Shop offer bikes and accessories for sale, as well as repair services. Texas Standard Men’s Clothing Company specializes in quality shirts, bottoms, and accessories for well-dressed dudes. Yarrow & Sage is a fully stocked, self-identified witch’s market for herbs and botanicals, magic art, candles, books, and other ritual tools. And only a few blocks north of Hyde Park, Room Service Vintage offers antiques and retro merchandise, whereas old-school vinyl is the product of choice at Breakaway Records.
Among the top attractions in the relatively tiny Hyde Park neighborhood, local residents seem to enjoy the neighborhood’s parks the most. Central Park at the edge of the area has a small paved trail for some quick exercise and a pond in the center for added scenery. Shipe Neighborhood Park has a bit more to offer, with both basketball and tennis courts, as well as a playground and splash pad for kids in the summer. The 9-hole Hancock Golf Course is the oldest in Texas and a public par-35 option for golfers. The small Hyde Park Gym offers services to both exercise beginners as well as the most serious weightlifters on the fitness scene.
One of the main destinations that bring people to Hyde Park is the Elisabet Net Museum, which allows visitors to tour the grounds and the castle-style home, as well as a large collection of the artist’s sculptures and other works. Another arts venue in the neighborhood is Hyde Park Theatre, where a small community troupe stages a variety of productions and events, including the annual Frontera Fest, all featuring local talent. And The Rosette Theater is a Hyde Park hotspot for live music experiences and the home base for Austin Classic Guitar, a nonprofit dedicated to the art of classic guitar in the U.S. This neighborhood also has Game Republik, a business that appeals to gamers with PC, Xbox, and PlayStation gaming, private gaming rooms, and space for parties, as well as game console repair and other services.
The main university attended or worked at by Hyde Park residents is the sprawling, 437-acre University of Texas at Austin, which on its own dwarves the size of Downtown Austin by 154 acres. More than 50,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff members make up the population of the multi-block campus, creating a city-within-Austin of sorts. Divided into 13 different schools and colleges, it’s only a couple of miles away from Hyde Park and the home to some of the most sought-after degrees in higher academia.
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