Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled this extensive Austin moving guide for new Austin transplants. The most important thing to remember when it comes to a move — whether long distance or across town — is to always be prepared.
For ease of access, we’ve split this guide up into several sections:
Picking a Neighborhood | Picking a Place | Nesting | Extra Hands | Getting Around | Getting Delivery | Making Friends
Ready to get started?
Picking a Neighborhood
The city’s world-renowned live music scene, highly respected restaurant culture, well-kept city green spaces, ever-growing tech industry, and funky vibe all draw a steady stream of new residents every year. And don’t forget those temporary residents who fill the dorms and apartments of some of the nation’s best schools like the University of Texas, St. Edward’s, and Huston-Tillotson University.
It can be challenging to keep pace with Austin’s quickly evolving real estate market however, as each ATX neighborhood claims its own distinct charm. To make the city a little more navigable, we’ve mapped out popular parts of town and the characteristics that set them apart of the rest. Whether you’re renting or buying can also help you when deciding on a neighborhood, too — if you’re renting, you might want to start with these Top 5 Neighborhoods for Renting.
We love the quirkiness of Central Austin neighborhoods. It's what "keep Austin weird" is all about. And there's no place where that spirit is more alive than Crestview. Just check out this front yard art I spotted the other day while showing clients. ??? . . . . #crestview #crestviewatx #78757 #keepaustinweird #austin #atx #austintx #exploreaustin #austinishome #lifeinaustin #austinliving #igaustin #igersaustin #atxblogger #austinblogger #homesville #centralaustinhomes #curbappeal #austinrealestate #austinneighborhoods
Living around here isn’t the most wallet friendly way of life, but even if you don’t settle in, you’re still likely to spend a lot of your time here. Downtown Austin isn’t intimidatingly large, but it packs a lot into one space. The housing here mostly consists of luxury condominiums and upscale apartments that are occupied, for the most part, by hip urban professionals. The heart of the nightlife is here on 6th Street, but living downtown allows the ease and flexibility to get just about anywhere in Austin to have a little fun.
University of Texas
This is UT central — where a lot of Austin’s students are. If you’re not a student, you’ll probably want to avoid this area. Parking is limited, as are residential options for anyone that doesn’t classify as a student or a single. However, there are a lot of fun, quirky restaurants and stores along Guadalupe (aka The Drag) and prices here are generally much lower than surrounding areas.
Just north of campus lies Hyde Park, a mostly residential neighborhood known to house students and traditional Texas homeowners. This neighborhood is cool and cozy. It’s got a laid-back, kind of funky, yet clean and stable atmosphere and a strong group of some of the best vintage furniture stores Austin has to offer.
Neighborhoods Include: North Loop, Hyde Park, Mueller, and Highlands
For those who want to take full advantage of Austin’s reputation as an outdoor-lover’s paradise, a South Austin neighborhood is the ideal location. This is the part of the city that really takes the motto of “Keep Austin Weird” to heart and is recognized for hosting the famous Austin City Limits festival in Zilker Park. With the amount of natural springs, bike trails, art, shopping, music, and more, residents have easy access to much of what makes Austin unique.
Neighborhoods Include: South Lamar Blvd, Barton Hills, South Congress, and South First
Recent gentrification has transformed this historically minority area into a hipster hotbed and an expansion of Downtown’s nightlife and music scene. Sadly, this part of Austin more than any other illustrates the widening gap between residents of means and those being priced out. In spite of this, east ATX is still a warm and welcoming place even just to visit. Trendy eateries and watering holes mixed with old homes and jazz clubs call this artistic district home.
Neighborhoods Include: Rainey Street, Cherrywood, Rosewood, East Cesar Chavez, and Holly
With its stately older homes squeezed together by narrow streets and overgrown greenery, it’s little surprise this is the neighborhood of choice for those who can afford the very best, but don’t want to leave their Austin roots behind. Situated perfectly between the urban sprawl and the rolling West Lake hills, there is plenty of fun and quirk to keep aging hipsters ready to settle down happy, and numerous schools, parks, and peace, quiet, and safety for the family.
Neighborhoods Include: Tarrytown, Clarksville, and Old West Austin
Picking a Place
Now that you’ve decided on a neighborhood, the first step to finding a place to live is to evaluate needs and wants in a living space. How many bedrooms do you need? Do you have a pet? All of these factors will lead you to your answer to the house vs apartment debate. And to figure out which of these two options is best for you, you need to analyze each one. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can proceed to the appropriate next steps.
Finding a Roommate
These days, living with a roommate is a financial necessity for many renters. Roommate seekers will likely have to take their roommate search online. There are plenty of commonly used tools out there that match Austin moving newbies with a pool of potential candidates. Roommates and Roomster generate profiles for each downloader by syncing to social media and pre-screening roommates by way of algorithm. Each of the apps allows users to filter by preferred location, price ranges, and personality traits to find their perfect match. Be picky to avoid nightmare situations. Living setup can dramatically shape a transition to a new city.
Available Apartment Finders
Everything Austin Apartments, RentCafé, Zillow, and Trulia help tremendously in a rental search. While you could also just wind up securing a place by a simple drive and an instant spark, definitely look into all options.
Lastly, never forget about old faithful, Craigslist for both your roommate and apartment needs.
I mean, who doesn’t want Whataburger as a neighbor?
Now for the fun part, filling your home with personal items and new Austin decor!
Thrift and consignment stores can and should play a huge part in your move — especially if you’re starting from scratch, if you hired a top-dollar Austin moving company, or if there are just a lot of expenses in general (those deposits can really add up). Lamps, kitchenware, and accent chairs have proven easy to find across Austin stores. If nothing else, the typically pricey picture frames you can find at Goodwill and The Salvation Army for just a couple of bucks are trip worthy.
Swing by Simply Austin for the lowest delivery fee in town or for a more upscale solution, Five Elements on S. Lamar definitely has you covered. There are plenty of eccentric shops in town, but if you need a few easy assembly items, the IKEA in Round Rock is also ready to help.
Letgo and OfferUp are great apps that connect you with locals looking to get rid of their old belongings. Items range from decorative vases to mid century credenzas. Don’t be distracted by all of the nonsense. Set the appropriate filters to sift through all of the clutter. You can find so many beautiful pieces through these channels. I made out with a beautiful couch and bar cart for under $200. Deals, deals, deals!
Have a long to do list? Check out these resources eager to lend a hand.
Austin Moving and Shipping Help
uShip is an open marketplace that connects shippers to the right service provider for the job, no matter the size. From cars, to kiddie pools, just upload photographs, detailed descriptions, and the dimensions of your shipment in your listing and watch providers flock to your post. If you’re new to the Austin moving game, have no fear. uShip gathers data from similar shipments to provide you with a realistic estimate. Plus, this is a homegrown startup!
Austin Moving Tasks and Errands
There are other apps to be aware of for miscellaneous Austin moving tasks as well. Handy, though most notably known for their cleaning services, offers a variety of assistance including interior painting, furniture assembly, hanging help, and more. TaskRabbit takes errands even further by offering endless aid options. You need it, you name it.
There was once a time when Uber and Lyft decided they did not wish to do business with folks in beautiful Austin, Texas. In their brief absence, Austinites welcomed the nonprofit service Ride Austin into their lives. Now that Uber and Lyft have come back, locals have more options than ever, making Austin moving without owning a vehicle more doable than ever.
Pick up / Drop off
Like most cities in the south, Austin is pretty spaced out. One way this Texas town has solved the problem, is Car2Go. The pay-by-the-minute, on-demand smart car app allows you to pick up and drop off a vehicle in any public parking-spot within a large Austin radius. Just know that there is a 24hour authorization period, so download today so you can start driving tomorrow. For another go-green option, this time on two wheels, check out Austin B Cycle.
Austin traffic is terrible, and that’s just a fact. Avoid highway traffic with the MetroRapid bus system designed to keep Austinites close to downtown or the MetroRail service that stretches out to suburbia. However, the transit system has a lot to learn before it catches up to the demands of this high growth city. We still do recommend a bus or train pass, especially since they can jump through stoplights and they get their own lanes.
Kick quarters to the curb with ParkX, a new pay by smartphone parking application allowing drivers to quickly and conveniently pay for public parking right from their mobile phone. It doesn’t get easier than this. Create a profile and fill in all relevant fields. No registration wait required. Park right then and there.
Lacking a ride? Or just need a night off? Postmates and Favor have your back when it comes to hunger cures. UberEATS is also ready to step in when cravings call. Download any of their apps and select your meal from a series of menus. These guys will have you fed in an hour or less. If you’re looking for a home cooked meal, avoid time in the grocery store and buy with Burpy.
Have a house warming party at the push of a button with Drizly and TopShelf. These two, as well as MiniBar, will have your place stocked with booze before you can check the first name off of the guest list. Learn more about all of your Austin alcohol delivery options here. For a variety of services including gifting, corporate events, and more check out local heroes, Couch Potato ATX.
Let yourself get lost
At first, you have to be okay with hanging out alone. Explore at random. Own it, and worry less about what people think of you. Swing by a local comedy club or that restaurant everyone keeps talking about. The conversations will start themselves, you just have to put yourself out there. Poke your head into interesting stores or discover how all the streets connects. Ask for help, the people here are too nice.
For a more formalized route, check out the local Meetups, or find some fun on the Austin.com calendar. There’s also a fun app called NativX that uses IBM’s Watson to figure out stuff you’ll probably like to check out. Just follow whatever interests you and you’ll be talking like a native in no time. And remember: people lead to other people, so try to be friendly!
Welcome to your new home. We’re sure glad to have you.
Featured photo by Flickr user Ilya Haykinson, creative commons licensed.