For years, Austin has been steadily climbing the charts as a popular destination for many young professionals and families to call home. Located in south central Texas, Austin offers unapologetic quirkiness and authentic charm. Situated against a picturesque backdrop of hill country and the Blackland Prairie, the Colorado River flows through the heart of the city, merging with a series of glistening lakes that stretch for over 100 miles. There’s a lot to love about Austin, which is why we’ve put together some key information that will have you feeling like a local in no time!
Overview & History of Austin
Austin emerged from the Great Depression by carefully planting the seeds of a growing technology hub. Many research laboratories and think tanks were founded in Austin during the 1950s, and diverse cultural groups have been attracted to Austin throughout its history – contributing to a rich cultural and civic life, including its more recent reputation as a mecca for music lovers.
Austin is the largest city in the Central Texas area, and the fourth largest city in Texas. Altogether, Austin encompasses 258 square miles. About 1.4 million people reside in Austin’s greater metropolis area, with nearly 700,000 located in Austin itself. Today, Austin is known not only for its nightlife and concert halls that drew the likes of Willie Nelson and David Rodriguez, but its overall creativity in food, culture, outdoor fun, and eclectic hospitality.
Cost of Living in Austin
The National Association of Home Builders estimates that 60.1% of homes sold in Austin are affordable to households earning Austin’s median family income, which is close to the nation’s affordability rating of 61.6%. Austin’s housing expenses are 2% higher than the national average; however, utility prices are 12% lower, and transportation prices 7% lower. Likewise, grocery prices in Austin fall 12% below the national average. While it may not be the most affordable in terms of housing, moving to Austin could provide cost-savings in some other crucial areas of expense.
The Job Market in Austin
The job market plays an instrumental role in determining whether a new city is the right fit. Fortunately, Austin’s job market is booming! It was rated No. 1 by the Wall Street Journal for 2020’s hottest U.S. job markets, making it the second year Austin has topped this list. The average annual salary in Austin is $51,840 with a job market index score of 7.4/10. The majority of employment opportunities fall into one of three categories:
- Accommodations and food service. This is no surprise given Austin’s reputation for prevalence in music, dining, entertainment, and the arts (Total employment: 114,200).
- Professional, scientific, and technical sales. It’s no secret that Austin is a booming tech hub and is continuing to grow in that arena (Total employment: 107,900).
- Health care and social assistance: With the population growth that Austin continues to experience, it’s no wonder that the number of health care workers is increasing as well (Total employment: 102,600).
Locally known as “Silicon Hills,” Austin is among the top areas for venture capital investment in the entire U.S. With Google’s recent expansion of their downtown Austin office, and the nearby employment opportunities at University of Texas, jobs are sure to continue flourishing in Austin.
When it comes to the beloved capital of the Lone Star State, Austin has a number of excellent neighborhoods with something for everyone. Whether you’re a hippie, techie, foodie, craft cocktail connoisseur, animals advocate, outdoor enthusiast, artist, musician, or a little bit of everything, Austin’s unique and diverse neighborhoods do not disappoint. Austin’s neighborhoods are very easy to delineate via their relation to downtown, including:
North Central Austin: These are neighborhoods located just north of the downtown area, without venturing too far into the suburbs. Proximity to the various entertainment and cultural activities downtown, while also boasting an affordable cost of living and a variety of locally sourced goods and food, make this area a great place to grow your small business.
East Austin: This area is extremely walkable and has been growing tremendously over the past several years. It has been voted #7 as the Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods by Forbes Magazine, making it a top choice for artists, foodies, and those who are looking to keep things a little weird.
Downtown Austin: As the most expensive neighborhood in Austin, downtown Austinites are surrounded by virtually any food and entertainment they could want. Driving downtown can be tricky, as there is often a lot of traffic and less than ample parking, but the area is very walkable and affords the opportunity to enjoy a walk to Congress Bridge or watch the sun set over Town Lake.
South Austin: This neighborhood truly keeps Austin “weird” with its hip charm and family-friendly atmosphere. Rivaling downtown as one of the most expensive areas to live, South Austin provides ample entertainment and foodie icons such as Jo’s Coffee, Continental Club, and Home Slice Pizza. There is also a variety of small businesses such as restaurants and pubs that make this part of town unique.
West Austin: If you enjoy scenic drives and hill country, then West Austin might be the neighborhood for you. Renters can find decent prices, despite West Austin being known as the more wealthy part of town. Schools and sports programs are top-notch, and the area provides a serene reprieve from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Entertainment & Culture
Austin truly has no shortage of entertainment and culture, from hip and trendy restaurant scenes to creative arts and music venues. Whether you’re searching for craft beers and cocktails along Rainey Street, diving head first into the young party scene on 6th Street, wanting to cruise around Town Lake via paddleboard, or looking to get a run in along the Barton Creek Greenbelt, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Austin provides an unmatched arts, culture, and music scene as well, with multidisciplinary exhibitions at The Contemporary Austin’s two locations, along with the Red River Cultural District, which offers top-rated music venues like Stubbs, Mohawk, and Cheer Up Charlies. It’s also worth noting that Austin hosts a handful of nationally renowned music festivals each year, such as SXSW, ACL, and Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Moving to Austin
Austin has an unquestionable charm and offers locals numerous opportunities to grow professionally, socially, and personally. While it’s not perfect, there’s certainly enough to love despite any minor flaws. We hope this Austin city guide has allowed you to get to know Austin a little more – and perhaps you’re ready to make the move and become the next full-time Austin resident! Wherever you may be moving from, Black Tie Moving is standing by to help make your move to Austin an unforgettable VIP experience! We offer comprehensive concierge moving services and can even supply quality packing and supplies to make your transition super easy!
Thinking of moving to Austin? Give our team of local, industry-leading movers a call today at (512) 640-2403 and get a FREE quote on your moving costs! We would love to help with your move from start to finish, and treat you like a rock star along the way!