A Guide to Living in East Austin

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East Austin is an incredibly diverse area with a creative community atmosphere and a major emphasis on supporting local business and living sustainably. You can find bungalows with hip cocktail bars on every corner. The food scene is eclectic and you’re bound to discover some of the city’s best street art! Whether you’re looking to rent or own, there are a variety of new properties popping up all the time.

When it comes to finding a new home you always want to work smarter not harder. Work smarter with Smart City, it is a totally free, hyper-personalized apartment locating service. You tell them what you want in an apartment, and they’ll give you a custom list of places that tick your boxes. Once you land on that perfect spot, they’ll help you navigate the leasing process and connect you with utility, internet, renter’s insurance, and other services once you move in.

Moving is a big decision. Getting to know the area you might call home is really important. To get the full East Austin experience we’ve broken down where to eat, drink, shop, enjoy, and live!

Here’s everything you need to know about living in East Austin.

Eat and Drink Like a Local

Next time you plan to eat out, we dare you to try one of East Austin’s top restaurants or food trucks. The Eastside food scene can be overwhelming for noobs. Whether you’re into BBQ, Asian, Southern Style, gastro pubs, or anything else, you can find some of the best the East side has to offer in this post.

East Austin also offers a myriad of kitschy and cool bars and breweries. You really can’t do wrong by wandering down East 6th Street or Cesar Chavez and popping into any and every spot you see!

If coffee is more your drink of choice, you’ll come across Cuvee Coffee Bar on East 6th and Cenote on East Cesar Chavez. We also recommend Quickie Pickie on East 11th.

Shop Local

While strolling through the East side, keep your wallet handy. You never know when you might encounter that perfect painting to hang in that accursed blank space in your living room. You might fall in love with a pair of Hey Murphy earrings at Olive or discover a dress that you wear fabulously at eco-friendly Raven + Lily. Experience the magical world of Soul Studio, Austin’s first public natural dye studio and showroom. And Take Heart totally has you covered for trinkets. Guys, don’t count yourselves out either. If you enjoy wearing classy shoes, you will really get a kick out of HELM Boots. Obsessed with succulents and other pretty plants? Check out East Austin Succulents and Tillery Street Plant Company to get your fix.

Keep It Weird

If you’re ever feeling anxious about Austin becoming less and less weird, then you need to take a trip over to Eastside’s Singleton Ave to visit the home of longtime Austinites Jen Hirt and Scott Webel. The front portion of Hirt and Webel’s residence doubles as an eclectic dime museum of oddities called The Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata. There’s no telling what you’re going to find included in MNAE’s delightfully unconventional permanent and traveling exhibits, which have been known to display artifacts such as Marilyn Monroe’s lipstick-stained cigarette butt, a tuft of Elvis’ hair, and yes, an entirely legitimate stuffed jackalope. MNAE operates entirely off of donations, so for those of you who lament Austin’s dwindling weirdness, here’s a way for you to keep that train rolling.

Catch a Show and a Vibe

Not surprisingly, there are a number of amazing live music venues east of the usual downtown spread. Sahara LoungeHistoric Scoot Inn, and Hotel Vegas are all easy East Austin favorites and host a wide variety of hot and up-and-coming musical talent. To hear boot-stomping honky tonk and two-step the night away, stable your ride at The White Horse on the corner of East 6th and Comal. Skylark Lounge brings in bands from many different genres, but nobody does the blues quite like them. 

Keep It Fresh

Austin is serious about buying and growing organic, local produce and East Austin is a major hub for this. This part of town is home to roughly half of the city’s community gardens and at least four urban farms: Green Gate FarmsJohnson’s Backyard GardenBoggy Creek Farm, and Springdale Farm. So go dig up some ‘taters on Sunday mornings at 5604 Manor or buy some at one of the farms mentioned above. Your body will thank you and East Austin gardeners and farmers will too.

Living in East Austin

East Austin is a vibrant, walkable area of town with close proximity to Downtown, Rainey Street, Riverside, and the Airport. It’s the perfect location to move to if you’re looking to get a taste of all Austin has to offer, and don’t want to take a 15-minute Uber to get there. This area has exploded in the past five years, meaning a lot of the apartments are newer with modern finishes and appliances. With that in mind, plus East Austin’s desirability and closeness to so many ATX hotspots, apartments in this area are significantly more expensive than those in the suburbs. Studios start around $1600+, 1 bed/1 baths start in the $2000s, and 2 bed/2 bath units start anywhere from $2500-$3000. The farther East you are from Downtown, the lower those starting rates go — for example, closer to the Airport, studios and 1 bedrooms can start as low as $1400. 

When it comes to amenities, expect large pools, impressive gyms, and turf-based dog parks. Expect to pay a parking fee monthly as most of these complexes have on-site parking garages, since street parking in the neighborhood is quite limited. 

If you’re looking for an apartment in East Austin, Smart City can help you navigate the search and leasing process for FREE. You give them a list of wants and needs in an apartment, and they will create a custom list that ticks your boxes. With over 230,000 apartment units in Austin, let Smart City help you find the perfect space to be yourself. Visit SmartCityLocating.com or DM @SmartCityATX on Instagram for more info on this apartment, or to get your custom search started!