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You only need to look upward to know that Southeast Austin is home to a busy international airport. The sight of jumbo jets taking off and landing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is common, with more than 350 flights per day making departures alone. Fortunately, most noise disturbance from aircraft is primarily limited to neighborhoods immediately surrounding the 4,242-acre property. Thankfully, many apartment buildings, especially newer ones, have added some sound-proofing features that help minimize noise. But there’s a lot more to Southeast Austin beyond living really close to the fastest gateway to another part of the state, country, or world. The region’s neighborhoods are popular home bases for employees at some of the largest companies headquartered in this part of Austin. Sections of the area are dominated by older apartment complexes, but new mid-rise apartment buildings and sprawling communities featuring well-appointed apartments continue to pop up as neighborhoods here grow. Rental homes and apartments in Southeast Austin are often priced lower than in other parts of Austin, making it appealing to students and young professionals seeking bargains that are still close enough to the culture and nightlife of Downtown Austin and its surrounding entertainment districts. Reasonably priced apartments in Southeast Austin are most common in Pleasant Valley, but other popular neighborhoods include McKinney, Franklin Park, and Dove Springs.

Roughly defined by Texas State Highway 71 to the north, TX-130 to the east, Interstate 35 to the west, and a jagged southern border defined largely by Williamson Creek, Southeast Austin has plenty of natural beauty to balance out the office parks, industrial buildings, and ongoing construction of new developments. McKinney Falls State Park lies just beyond the southeastern edge where Onion Creek and Williamson Creek intersect. Within and surrounding the park, you’ll find climbing areas, limestone cascades, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, camping sites, fishing, and swimming holes for a welcome contrast.

Getting Around

Even though it would be nice to take a plane or helicopter from nearby Austin-Bergstrom International Airport everywhere you need to go, cars remain the most logical option for a majority of Southeast Austin residents. One benefit of being near the airport, however, is an increased number of public transportation options, particularly in the western sector and close to the airport itself, where Capital Metro has several bus stops and routes. It’s easy enough to connect to the light rail line or other options once you transfer from Downtown or another more central spot within the city. Nationally known rideshare services, plus a number of smaller rideshare companies, can be summoned very quickly due to the frequency of pickups and drop-offs at the airport. Throughout Austin, cycling is a popular mode of transportation, but bike lanes in Southeast Austin aren’t as prevalent, making it more of a recreational activity at the nearby parks and trails. In addition to flights out of Austin-Bergstrom, locals can catch luxury bus line Vonlane from a Downtown Austin pickup point for relaxing trips to San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas with Wi-Fi, in-coach beverage and food service, a large onboard restroom, and other perks.

Food & Drink

Some of the city’s best Mexican and Latin cuisine can be found in Southeast Austin restaurants of the small, no-frills mom-and-pop variety, plus in food trailers and taquerias. Casa Vallarta, Mi Bambuco Colombiano, Gabby’s Tacos, Casa Moreno’s, Taqueria Lopez, Tacos El Paisa, Tacos El Huache, and La Placita are all local favorites. For Asian cuisine, Unbowlievable Addiction is one of the options at a food truck park at the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and Cesar Chavez Streetm, and East Buffet Unlimited Chinese & Sushi gives diners a real bargain if you want to put the all-you-can-eat concept to the test. Elsewhere in the area, Hideaway Kitchen & Bar specializes in Texas comfort food. Some of Southeast Austin’s hotels have notable restaurants, too, including Onion Creek Grille inside the Omni Austin and The Limestone Kitchen Restaurant & Lounge at the Marriott. Similarly, many of the bars in Southeast Austin can be found within hotels. A number of local craft beer-makers fill the gap. Meanwhile Brewing, Starbase Brewing, and Pinthouse Brewing each specialize in different types of beer, while Fierce Whiskers Distillery bottles a variety of whiskies. And both Austin Java and Morsel’s Coffee and Gift shop serve notable cups of coffee.

Shopping

Shopping in Southeast Austin consists mainly of big-box retailers and national chains at destinations such as South Brook Town Center and other outdoor strip malls. Kenny’s Collectibles and JRC & Sons Bootmakers, however, are two local stores worth checking out. Grocery stores in Southeast Austin are also more scarce than in other parts of the city, with smaller convenience stores the easiest places to pop in if you’ve forgotten a common ingredient or need something like milk or bread. But just a few minutes to the east in South Austin, you'll find several stores, including H-E-B, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Target Grocery.

Things to Do

The more limited shopping and non-chain dining options in Southeast Austin can be attributed to both the airport and large greenspaces, primarily McKinney Falls State Park at the region’s southeastern edge. There, you can find your Zen as the tranquil waters of Onion Creek babble over limestone rocks and into deeper pools. Deer and other wildlife are common sights, and you can even explore the remains of one of Texas’ earliest homesteads. Other outdoor options include Dove Springs District Park, the Onion Creek Greenbelt, the Williamson Creek Greenbelt, and the Colorado Greenbelt. When you’re feeling a little competitive, you can putt around the Roy Kizer Golf Course or Jimmy Klay Golf Course, or try your skills at the Onion Creek Soccer Complex. Southeast Austin is also home to the Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park, as well as the Circuit of the Americas, an Americas F1 motor racing track.

Colleges & Universities

Within the actual boundaries of Southeast Austin, there aren’t any colleges or universities, but the graduates of the Public Safety Training Campus and Austin Fire Academy fulfill vital roles within the community. The closest universities are St. Edward’s University, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, and both the Austin Community College: Riverside Campus and Austin Community College South Austin Campus. But even the main campus of the University of Texas at Austin can be reached within 15-20 minutes from most parts of Southeast Austin, making the area a viable option for students looking to rent apartments for less than they’d pay closer to campus.

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