The Taco Street Guide to Living in Southeast Austin

Welcome to the Taco Street Guide to Living in Southeast Austin!

Lady Bird Lake (which is a river)

This one is going to be extra special since I lived here for two years. You’ll get to learn about my old stomping grounds, and what it’s like to live here. The good stuffs, The bad stuffs. All the stuffs. It’s going to be great. By the end you’ll be all like “I totally want to live here!” Or “F That! I’m going elsewhere!” “But I’m still totally hiring Taco Street to help me find a place to live!”

Imagine a circular loading bar. The kind you find on the internet. Imagine that bar is about 80% complete. Imagine “completeness” is a proxy for gentrification and modernization. Using Downtown as the center of this is downtown. Each area around Downtown, the 80%, has developed very quickly. That last 20%….not as much. That last 20% is Southeast Austin.

Southeast Austin (also known as Riverside) is a mixed bag. Part of the neighborhood is beautiful tree lined streets along the river with brand new fancy things. The other part is a poor-ish neighborhood with cheap strip malls and questionable looking streets.

Compared to neighboring South and East Austin, it’s a few years behind in development, personality, and general appeal. It’s far from a culinary paradise. Your best options are found in cheap strip malls. Nobody will be excited about going out there either.

Despite all of this, I think Southeast Austin is the best deal in town.
No other neighborhood offers such a wide variety of affordable housing near downtown than Southeast Austin. Don’t worry, this isn’t the crime ridden crack-den style of affordability. While it is lower end compared to other parts of Austin, it’s still a safe neighborhood.

Proximity to the river means you have super easy access to running & biking trails, and kayaking access. The local Roy G. Guerrero Park is highly underrated, and always ignored by people who go to Zilker instead. Even cooler, the criminally underrated McKinney Falls State Park is only a 15 minute drive South.

Southeast Austin is developing rapidly. Oracle recently built a giant mothership looking office building along Lakeshore Boulevard. A slate of new modern apartments are popping up everywhere. Soon, I expect the food and social options to catch up.

Cost to rent an apartment in Southeast Austin

  • Studios: $900+
  • 1 Bedrooms: $1000+
  • 2 Bedrooms: $1200+
  • 3 Bedrooms: $1600+

Traffic & Commuting

Other than Lakeshore Blvd and Riverside Drive, Southeast Austin is not very walkable. Nor is there any serious public transportation outside a few bus routes. However, compared to South & North Austin, Southeast Austin has mercifully nice traffic.

The neighborhood itself rarely gets clustered and flows fairly well. From most points, it’s rarely more than 15 minutes to get into South Austin, East Austin, and Downtown since you can avoid I35. The recently upgraded Highway 183 takes you through South Austin, and into Northeast Austin easily.

Overall Pros & Cons


  • Easy access to Downtown, South Ausin, and East Austin
  • Very good prices for the location
  • Great cheap Latino & Asian food


  • Not pretty, other than the river
  • Lot’s of strip malls
  • Not many interesting places to go. You’ll most like hang out in East or South Austin
  • Feels low end, and occasionally sketchy.

Where to eat & drink

Don’t think you’re getting away from my spectacular food recommendations now.

  • 888 Vietnamese – This is a big soupy oasis in a food desert. It’s a cheap and delicious culinary salvation. I love this place. It’s cheap, opens late, and is super tasty.
  • El Taquito – Absolutely delicious tacos. Nothing fancy. Just easy.
  • Buzzmill A super funky and coffee shop and local dive bar with a music venue, and huge collection of infused vodka.
  • Frazier’s Long and Low– Brand new yet wonderfully divey bar, Very cool spot.
  • Pho Please – Solid and fast vietnamese
  • Comida Hondureña – Want to feel like a legit local? Come here. it’s an unsexy food truck located at a crappy gas station. The food is absolutely wonderful though.

My overall thoughts on Southeast Austin?

For me, It was a great place to not have a lot of money! I lived here while I was still in the “figuring shit out” mode of my career. While not having money sucked, living here wasn’t bad at all. I could still hang out with my friends downtown or nearby without having to pay too much to get around. My quality of life was still fairly high. While I wouldn’t want to move back there, it was a good place to be for a little while. The value is great.


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