North Austin isn’t just suburbia – though it may seem that way at a glance if you’re coming from Central Austin or South Austin – it’s its own unique mix of new homes, apartments, renovations, and developments. It’s a beautiful melting pot of cultures tucked away in an auntie’s taco truck, a mother’s pho shop, or a popular new restaurant.
I’ve lived all over North Austin and even grew up in the area, so I can tell you for a fact that there is way more than meets the eye!
How To Get Around In North Austin
Let me be super upfront about traveling from point A to B in Austin. You’re going to need a car, especially in North Austin neighborhoods. There are a few exceptions to this rule, like living in the Domain, Downtown Austin, or East Austin, but overall if you want to be able to get around easily, cars are going to be your friend.
The alternatives for getting around include a few bus routes and the dreaded light rail that will take you almost no-where you want to go – though it does drop you off close to E 6th street which is home to some exciting nightlife and live music opportunities. But really, the light rail is only useful for SXSW to avoid traffic and the parking struggle (Ask any Austinite the metro rail is our best friend for all major events, anything to avoid parking in the Downtown area).
Lastly, you could walk or bike, but be careful because motorists in the great state of Texas aren’t too good at watching out for cyclists. Also, more often than not, sidewalks are nonexistent – not a lot of things in North Austin are easily within walking distance of each other. So, walk at your own risk, especially on rainy days.
It’s hard to nail down the exact lifestyle in North Austin, just because there are so many different ways to experience the area. The whole vibe of the area changes so easily depending on where you go, living somewhere like the Domain is very different to living near North Lamar or Burnet. But there are plenty of things to do for the young, middle-aged, and old.
My best piece of advice for living in this area is finding your local meet-ups, hangout spots, and groups that you really enjoy. There are meetups for chess, sports, board games, and even art & crafts. Find community in the area you live, and you’ll find happiness in it!
Things To Do In North Austin
Here are some of my favorite places and things to do in the area. But just a little disclaimer, I am relatively young. So, some of these activities might not be for everyone. If you’re looking for spots to eat or drink look at the North Austin guides for food and bars.
- The North Austin Rock Gym – One of the original climbing gyms in Austin, this place showcases amazing route setting that’s both challenging and puzzling. I spent several years climbing here, and I love just how close-knit the community is there.
- Highland Lanes – A tried and true bowling spot that has been here for as long as I can remember. Bring your friends or bring your family and show them who’s the boss!
- Hiking around the 360 Overlook in Northwest Austin, you can catch some scenic views of Lake Austin and even the occasional firework display. There’s also a boat ramp nearby with easy access to the whole of Lake Austin.
- The Gaming Goat – A recent spot that’s friendly and quaint. This spot, unlike all the others, prides itself on selling games close to internet prices. So, go out and playtest some games!
- Dragon’s Lair – The largest boardgames, comic book, and plushie selling establish in Austin. It boasts a huge amount of games and a live-in cat! If you’re lucky you can pet that glorious chonker.
- Vigilante Gaming Bar – Drinks, Food, and Board Games! What could go wrong except crushing those newfound friendships?
Listen, arcades aren’t just for the kids. There’s fun in games especially, when some of these locations are BYOB and 18+ after 10 pm.
- Pinballz – Now this establishment has two locations. The original location is the one that feels like your old school close cornered arcade. It’s also 18+ and BYOB after 10 pm on Friday and Saturday. The newer Lake Creek location is pretty awesome too with go-karts and some newer style of games.
- Main Event – This is a giant entertainment spot with billiards, bowling, laser tag, put-put, and of course arcade games. It’s a fun spot with plenty to do!
This is such a rapidly growing area with so many different things to do, it needed a space. It may not have as much of that “keep Austin weird” vibe you’d find taking a stroll down South Congress, but nevertheless it’s filled with activities – and a very convenient grocery store to boot.
- Generally, a great place to walk around, hang out in one of the two big green spaces available, and shop, from boutiques to more everyday stores, it really gives you that city feel.
- You’ll find loads of restaurants, coffee shops (including one of those fancy Starbucks Reserve coffee bars), and more specialized eateries from vegan to high-end Thai food.
- Finally, I have to mention the nightlife, it’s definitely not that sort of classic old Austin dive-bar feel, but it’s lots of fun in its own way. I would definitely consider these clubs to be high-end, they’re a little pricey, but it’s worth it for those gorgeous rooftop views and high-quality cocktails. It’s not all clubs though, there’s an excellent Irish pub and even some sports bars.
The Cost Of Rent In North Austin
North Austin isn’t the most expensive place, but there is a large range in apartment prices depending on what neighborhood you’re in. There’s something to fit almost everybody’s budget. So if you’re looking to start searching contact us!
Since we specialize in modern apartment rentals, here’s what you as a renter can expect.
1 Bedrooms: $1100+
2 Bedrooms: $1600+
3 Bedrooms: $2000+
Overall Pros And Cons
- Lower Cost Of Rent – North Austin is cheaper by far compared to the Mueller Area or Downtown.
- Melting Pot Of Cultures – There are literally all kinds of cultures throughout the neighborhoods. You can get Indian food, Dim Sum, Tacos, or Hotpot all around the same area.
- Quiet – Most neighborhoods around North Austin are quiet and the neighbors keep to themselves.
- Need For A Car – You literally can’t get around effectively with a car. This could be a change for someone moving from a city with drastically better public transportation.
- Far From Downtown – If you have social events or a job downtown, it is quite a commute. And Austin traffic is some of the worst.
Final Thought On North Austin
If you’re looking for lower rent, to absorb as much culture as possible, and don’t mind all the driving, then North Austin is for you. This area has it’s quirks and isn’t by any means boring. There’s plenty to do, but sometimes they just might be a bit spread apart.
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