Living within walking/rolling/biking distance to shopping, restaurants, and parks is difficult to find in the suburbs, but Austin has plenty of neighborhoods where you can go for days or even weeks without hopping in a car. Here are some of the most easily navigated Austin neighborhoods that you don’t need a car to get around.
The Allandale neighborhood is what many people think of when they reminisce about what Austin was like before all the people moved here. Hugging the northbound lanes of MoPac Expressway from Anderson Lane to the north and 45th Street to the south, this mature neighborhood has easy access to many of Burnet Road’s best eateries such as Top Notch Hamburgers, Barley Swine, The Peached Tortilla, and Lucy’s Fried Chicken.
It’s easy to catch a movie from the Allandale neighborhood. There’s an Alamo Drafthouse location just north of the neighborhood across Anderson Lane.
Shoal Creek runs down the middle of the Allandale neighborhood. On the eastern side of the creek sits Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park, which is a hidden gem of a picnic spot. Get in some exercise swimming in the outdoor pools.
9. Hyde Park
The Hyde Park neighborhood is directly due north of the University of Texas campus. Like Allandale, this part of town oozes old Austin charm. In fact, it is home to the Elisabet Ney Museum which showcases the works and homes of its namesake, a 19th-century sculptor.
If you’re a golfer, you can swing your sticks at Hancock Golf Course. This city-owned course is made up of the front nine holes of the original Austin Country Club. There’s a shopping center built where the back nine used to be. This challenging course is just a block east of the Hyde Park neighborhood’s southern portion.
The Rosedale neighborhood is situated just north of Seton Medical Center, but that isn’t the only hospital bordering this neighborhood. Plus, it has a large number of doctor’s offices. If you get sick, there’s someone nearby who can treat you.
As far as food goes, the Rosedale neighborhood contains several great restaurants including Pinthouse Pizza, Upper Crust Bakery, Santa Rita Cantina, and Pacha Organic Cafe. Pinthouse Pizza is also a great central Austin happy hour place. When you need groceries, there’s a large Central Market store at Lamar Boulevard and 40th Street.
7. West Campus
Though living among college students isn’t for everyone, the West Campus neighborhood provides residents with quick access to Austin’s public transportation system, local restaurants, unique shops, and some of the best people watching in town. Walk down the stretch of Guadalupe Street known as The Drag to find all these things in a concentrated area.
Living in West Campus will definitely take you back to your college days. Whether you’re heading to class at UT, to the University Co-Op to buy books, or to Freedmen’s for a bite to eat, you can leave your car keys at home.
The quaint Clarksville neighborhood is situated between downtown to the east and MoPac Expressway to the west. It is a perfect place to live for folks who work downtown, provided they can afford it. You definitely pay for location, location, location.
Along Clarksville’s major streets, you’ll find iconic Austin restaurants like Z’Tejas, Clark’s Oyster Bar, Counter Cafe, and 24 Diner. Tucked into the neighborhood on West Lynn Street, Josephine House, Zocalo Cafe, and Galaxy Cafe are waiting to satisfy your hunger.
If you want to live the lifestyle of a New Yorker or San Franciscan but don’t want to put up with super cold winters, living in downtown Austin is where you want to be. Your apartment or condominium will be just a few blocks away from Sixth Street, the Warehouse District, and Rainey Street. You have your pick of some of Austin’s best known bars, live music venues, theaters, and restaurants.
Enjoy a weekday afternoon sampling one of many downtown Austin happy hour spots including The Driskill Bar, Lucille Patio Lounge and Icenhauer’s. Downtown is the epicenter of what makes Austin the live music capital of the world. Hopefully, you don’t mind loud music late at night!
Get in some exercise by running the Waller Creek Greenbelt Trail. It runs north and south basically along Red River Street.
If you live in the Tarrytown neighborhood, you’ve made it financially. When you take a walk around this neighborhood, you may nod and wave to some of Austin’s most famous residents. Winding streets and small parks make for an enjoyable stroll around this walkable Austin neighborhood. Sip a coffee on the outdoor patio at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, or chow down on some fajitas at Hula Hut.
Be sure to visit the peacocks and peahens at Mayfield Park, but don’t get too close to them! If you’re a golfer, make sure to play Lions Municipal Golf Course as many times as you can before it gets torn down and overrun with mixed use development.
3. Travis Heights
Exercise enthusiasts will enjoy life in the Travis Heights neighborhood. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail creates the neighborhood’s northern boundary, and there are several access points to the trail from neighborhood streets.
The western edge of the neighborhood is South Congress Avenue. Here you’ll find legendary music venue The Continental Club and outstanding food at Guero’s Taco Bar, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Perla’s, and South Congress Cafe. Perla’s also has a great outdoor Austin happy hour.
If you’re a man or have a man in your life, you need to visit Stag Provisions. They’re the ultimate guys store. You’re bound to find something cool you want to take home.
The Bouldin neighborhood has similar access to the Butler Trail and the food and fun of South Congress. Bouldin also has is South First Street which runs parallel to South Congress Avenue bisecting the neighborhood. Along South First Street you’ll find delicious restaurants like Lenoir, Alcomar Mariscos Y Mas, and Fresa’s Chicken Al Carbon.
Get yourself some culture at The Long Center. They have a wide range of performances and events throughout the year.
If you need your first pair of cowboy boots — or even just your next pair in a closet full of them — stop by Allen’s Boots. Their staff know how to fit boots to your feet and your personal style.
East Austin is no longer a secret spot for up-and-coming real estate. The gentrification has happened, and the Holly neighborhood is as happening as any other part of East Austin. This neighborhood on the northern bank of the Colorado River is situated between Chicon Street on the west and Pleasant Valley Road on the east. Seventh Street creates the northern border.
If you find yourself shopping for real estate in this part of town, make sure you stop at Cesar Chavez Street restaurants La Barbecue or Juan in a Million for lunch. When you’re tired from looking at houses and condos, stop by Lustre Pearl East for an East Austin Happy Hour. If you move to the Holly neighborhood, you’ll always know the shortest walking route to these places. And if you don’t already have a picnic blanket, you’ll want one for beautiful days at Festival Beach on the northern bank of the Colorado River.
Feature photo: Flickr user Alejandro De La Cruz, creative commons licensed.