It has lots of great parks, access to the river, walking and biking trails, good food, great music, and it has a collaborative tech culture that's warm and accepting of people who aren't from here. If you're thinking about living in Austin, Texas, here are nine things to consider first. The taxes here are a bit confusing. Austin has a higher sales tax, compared to other cities, but you can also afford to have a 0 percent income tax, as Texas is one of nine states that don't have an income tax. One of the most expensive cost-of-living items in Austin? That's housing.
And it's 89 percent higher than the national average. Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas It's common for two or three summer months to go by in triple-digit numbers. And for anyone who imagines that the Texan heat is dry and dusty like in cowboy movies, know that Austin actually has a subtropical climate. To cool off, locals take a raft and a cold one and head to Barton Springs or Lake Travis for a community meeting.
Winter here is quick, cold and windy, but don't worry about taking off your parka, as it never snows and rarely drops below 30 degrees (although the weather is increasingly unpredictable). Most of the time, the weather here is sunny, with some clouds hanging over the sky, at a temperature that only makes for backyard gatherings and outdoor adventures. With more than 1500 bus stops spread across the city, ride-sharing companies, a rail system, and a thriving cycling culture, living in Austin, Texas doesn't requires being chained to a car. It has one of the best public transport systems in the country.
In fact, depending on where you live, you might not even need four wheels. Austin loves to learn, and according to US News & World Report, Austin has better schools than what you'll find in similar metropolitan areas. There are 94 public schools, of which 58 high schools are on the list of the best high schools in the country, including the Academy of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which was ranked as the fourth best high school in the state. The city is also home to six colleges and universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, which ranked 32nd out of 100 among the top national universities in the 2024 ranking. What we love most about living in Austin, Texas, is that you can be as sociable or lonely as you want, whenever you want.
Remember that choosing the perfect neighborhood will also determine how close you are to the scene of the action, noise levels, school grades, crime levels, and who your neighbors will be. Living in downtown Austin is perfect for nightlife lovers and people who want to be able to walk instead of driving. The city center is full of bars, cafés, restaurants, food trucks, live music venues, shops and high-rise apartment complexes. It also houses the largest collection of LGBTQ+ bars and clubs in the city in the Warehouse District.
Whether you want to see a live show to satisfy your barbecue cravings at Stubb's or prefer to have a cocktail at The Driskill Bar, there's no shortage of things to do here and, in exchange for the convenience of being in the city center, you'll have to pay twice or more monthly rent and enjoy the noisy atmosphere of a lively city. If you like food, South Lamar will fill your belly with its wide variety of stellar restaurants, plus a good number of decent bars. The shops and cafés of South Congress will keep you busy during the day, while South First is home to trendy boutiques and vintage stores. This part of Austin is popular with tourists thanks to some of the must-see sites, such as the “I Love You So Much” mural and the “Greetings from Austin” mural, and it's a perfect mix of old-school Austin classic with the newest and most modern.
The rent is slightly higher than the city average and is popular with young families, thanks to the excellent schools. Just north of the University of Texas at Austin campus, downtown Austin is often packed with students, particularly along “The Drag.” You can also expect a good range of cheaper restaurants and eclectic but informal trendy bars, cafés and shops and, unfortunately, higher crime rates. There's also a good collection of art and culture venues, such as the Blanton Art Museum and the Linden Baines Johnson Library and Museum. Austin is a diverse city, and East Austin is the culinary melting pot, where you can find restaurants serving everything from South American to South Asian dishes.
In addition, the environment is less frenetic than in downtown or in the southern areas of Austin, making it a good place for people who want a lot of variety without all the foot (and car) traffic in other areas of Austin. The rent is lower than what you'll find in South Austin or downtown. This, together with an informal environment and a diverse mix of cultures, make East Austin an attractive place for students and young professionals who are willing to endure some difficulties to save money. The city's modern and creative attitude (without heavy pretensions) is what led artists and creatives to live in Austin, Texas, right from the start, and it wasn't long before companies looking to take advantage of the city's fashion did the same. Now, Austin has one of the best-performing economies in Texas and one of the strongest labor markets in the United States.
Austin is brimming with outdoor activities, which may not be something that immediately comes to mind when you consider a city in Central Texas. However, Austin differs from typical Texas stereotypes. It is one of the most suitable cities in the country, with great diversity, and it's not all meat and potatoes: there are plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free products available. For those who prefer a different outdoor experience, on Friday and Saturday nights, Austin's famous 6th Street strip (also known as Dirty Sixth, as college students call it) becomes pedestrian-only, making it easy to walk and enter all the trendy spots downtown.
Even so, the city doesn't have to be crazy and bustling. From the city, you can easily access more secluded outdoor adventures, discreet neighborhoods, and even some relaxed visits to wineries. It seems that you may have experienced some hostility due to your assumption that people who come to Austin and other parts of Texas bring a different point of view to yours. It's an ideal place for music lovers who want to invest in the local scene or see their favorite group on tour while traveling; Austin is almost always a stopover.
Many know Austin for hosting some of the country's most anticipated music festivals, such as SXSW and Austin City Limits, but the city offers festivals that cover all kinds of genres.