Relocating to Austin? Here's What You Need to Know
Austin is the capital city of Texas, and it is also a location where culture and education thrive. The city can be found on the Balcones Fault and the Colorado River. Many people who visit Austin might say that they've stepped inside a whole other country. It has been said multiple times in the past from many individuals that this city is "Larger Than Life." The city is the political and geographical center of the Lone Star State.
This city is also the home of the University of Texas, and it supports a populace that's constantly politically charged while inhabited by a rich culture. Furthermore, it's trendy, high-tech, and trendy. Also, almost the entire population of Austin are health-conscious, and you will most likely find people walking the 100 miles of trails found throughout the metropolitan complex.
Austin, Texas is also known for its Town Lake, and this is also complete with 10 miles of biking and hiking trails. Here, joggers, cyclists, runners, and water trail users can be found at just about any hour of the day.
The information posted above is but a brief introduction on what to expect when you move to the capital city of Texas. You might be feeling excited right about now, but before you're consumed by your enthusiasm, you should know and understand more pieces of information to get your fully prepped-and-ready for the big move.
- Austin Weather
- Austin Culture
- Cost of Living in Austin
- Austin's Popular Jobs and Industries
- The Various Neighborhoods of Austin
- Cost of Owning a Car in Austin
- Austin's Public Commute System
- Walking and Biking Around Austin
- Austin's Real Estate
- Sights to See in Austin
- Other things to know about Austin, Texas
If there's one word to define the weather in Austin, it's hot. In fact, experiencing the summer weather here can be brutal. You might experience 30 straight days of nothing but heat, and more of it. It is even recommended to go swimming everyday in the summer (if you can) because showering or dipping in your bathtub for a couple of times in the day might not be enough. You can enjoy lots of natural swimming spots in the city, so that's not much of a problem.
As for winter season, Austin's weather is pretty mild. Hence, if you're not a big fan of experiencing piles-and-piles of snow, then this is the city to live. Snow will come in about once every two years, but the snow won't stick. Residents of Austin who do love snow, on the other hand, will go nuts at the first sign of a snowflake.
As for the spring and fall seasons, it looks and feels fabulous in Austin, Texas. During these times, it is an absolute treat to go biking, camping, or hiking. These seasons are also when a lot of festivals happen, and it might even be difficult to go to work because the outside sceneries are positively breathtaking.
As mentioned in a previous section, Austin, Texas is a city where culture thrives. It is known for its deep roots in music and history. It is even nicknamed as the "Live Musical Capital of the World" because many artists, both international and local, will express their many talents in the musical arts through many live shows within the city's borders.
There is always something in Austin for everyone, whether you're just strolling around its downtown area to marvel at the many artistic accomplishments of people, or when you're cheering for your favorite Austin sports teams.
It is an excellent city to express your love for culture and arts. The streets are filed with many types of inspiration and imagination.
Love for Barbecues
If you head down to any food joint that serves good barbecue food in Austin, you're sure to be met with long lines. Many residents and tourists in the city love Austin's famous barbecued food. This thought is not a mere urban legend, but an absolute reality, especially when you go to these places during meal times.
You'll see that famous places, such as Franklin Barbecue, are jam-packed full of people. Austinites will take their barbecues seriously, and it is in your best interest to try it out. Who knows, you might get hooked at first bite.
Swimming is Common
Austin's weather can get blisteringly hot during the summer as you might even get to experience temperatures that can go over 100 degrees. When this happens, you'll see that many Austinites will flock to the local swimming areas such as Barton Springs. This place has a pool of spring water, and the best part about this is it's completely free for swimmers during off-peak hours.
There is a small charge for supervised swimming between the hours of 8 AM to 8 PM, however. While the waters in Barton Springs might not be the cleanest, but it won't hurt your spending allowance as well, especially if you want to cool off during the intense heat of the summer weather.
Live Music Festivals
As mentioned above, Austin is a place where live music thrives. In fact, live music is quite huge in the city. You can even go to at least one show every night if you wanted. Just choose your favorite music genre, and there's bound to be a band having the same musical tastes as you have.
Serious About Staying in Shape
When it comes to fitness and health, Austinites are very serious about these two topics. Whether you like jogging along the many trails within and around the city, or perhaps you're into competitive swimming, or you're just a gym rat who likes to spend hours-and-hours inside a health and fitness establishment pumping weights, the metropolis has your needs covered in these departments.
Austin, Texas is not just big on culture and the arts, but it is now also a thriving location for the tech scene. Many people are looking to get a job in the tech industry in this city, which might even be one of the reasons why you're moving to this place.
Cost of Living in Austin
If you've experienced moving to another city before, then you know the importance of understanding the cost of living for each location. This thought still holds true when you're about to move to Austin, Texas. If you're used to affordable grocery bills, reasonable mortgages and rent, and inexpensive health care prices, then you're about to spend just a bit more on these when you move to the capital city of Texas.
Upon comparison with other cities, you'll most likely pay less for utilities, healthcare, transportation, and other vital goods and services while you're in Austin. Some things are slightly more expensive in this city as compared to other metropolises in the nation, but the good news is that relocating to the capital city of Texas still ranks as amongst one of the most affordable places to live, do business, work, and play.
Austin Home Prices
Are you planning to purchase a home in Austin, Texas? Then know that it's not going to be cheap, but it's not going to be as expensive as compared to other large metropolitan areas in the US. According to realtor.com, the Austin housing market has a median listing price of $455,000. This number is just slightly above the median listing price for houses found in Houston.
However, the price has been seen to have grown over the past few years, so if you intend to purchase a residential property in Austin, then you better do it fast.
Renting an Apartment in Austin
Renting an apartment in Austin is a similar story to owning a house. Rent prices are indeed the highest in the entire state, but it is still lower as compared to other large metropolitan regions in the US, such as New York City or San Francisco.
In a 2014 report by culturemap.com, Austin's rent prices just fall behind slightly from that of Houston. The median listing price for renting out a one bedroom apartment is $910 during this year, and a two bedroom price is listed as $1,040. If you compare Austin's price to that of Dallas, then the latter city will cost you about $750 for renting a one bedroom apartment, and two bedrooms here will cost you approximately $910.
Cost of Utilities
Unlike other cities in the states of Texas, Austin experiences all four seasons. As such, utility prices are different as compared to other Texan cities.
For instance, if you look at a single person living on their own who runs the dishwasher once a week, then taking a shower every day, as well as doing two loads of laundry once per week, then you'll get a water bill of about $35 per month. That's not too bad, especially when you compared it to other large metropolitan cities in the nation.
However, when it comes to air conditioning and heating, that's a different story. It is because Austin has blisteringly hot weather, especially in the summer. Therefore, your electricity bill might skyrocket during this season as you might not go a day without turning on the AC. If you set the thermostat to have a reading of 75 degrees for the entire year, then you're looking at spending approximately $100 per month.
Austin's Popular Jobs and Industries
As per the Austin Chamber of Commerce, there is a diverse range of jobs and employees in the city. It's because Austin has an assorted array of employment opportunities to assist the populace, as well as the metropolis itself, to get ready should any financial setback may occur. Major industries found in the city are the following (in no specific rank or order):
- Health Care
- Business and Administration
Austin is thriving with tech companies, and many enterprises within this sector are setting up offices within the city's walls. These businesses include Dell, 3M Company, IBM, Apple Inc., AMD, Hewlett-Packard, Cirrus Logic, Cisco, Hoover's Inc., and even Google. Other influential employers include The University of Texas, the State of Texas, and the Seton Healthcare Network.
The following are the major business sectors found in Austin according to Business Journals:
- Computer and Mathematical
- Architecture and Engineering
- Healthcare and Technical Practitioners
- Business and Financial Operations
- Life, Social Science, and Physical
- Arts, Entertainment, Design, Sports, and Media
- Education, Library, and Training
- Community and Social Service
The list above is ranked by average annual pay. To see the entire list, you can go ahead and click here.
The Various Neighborhoods of Austin
The entire city of Austin can be divided into different major areas, them being:
- Central Austin
- North Suburbs
- West Austin
- North Austin
- South Austin
- 78704 - South Austin
- Easy Austin
- Southeast Austin
From these major areas, there is a total of 61 neighborhoods in Austin, Texas. If you're looking for the best places to live in the city, Area Vibes mentions the following neighborhoods in that category:
- Barton Hills
- North Shoal Creek
- West Gate
The list above is in no particular rank or order.
There are some places to note when looking for a place to stay in Austin. For example, the downtown area is excellent if you're looking for a place that's easily accessible to all the coolest events within the metropolis. This area is known to have an exceptionally high livability rating, and you'll find a lot of nice apartments to rent as well.
Another neighborhood worth mentioning is Barton Hills, and it is located southwest of the city's downtown area. It has lots of green spaces, and it makes for an overall pleasing experience if you decide to live here. You can select this neighborhood if you don't want too much of the hustle-and-bustle found in the downtown district of the city.
Education System in Austin
If you're seeking for the best schools in Austin, Texas, then it depends on what major factor you're looking for in the city's many educational facilities.
For instance, if you're looking for the schools that have high ranks in test scores, then you ought to direct your attention to the west portion of the city. Schools in this location have been seen to have the highest test scores in the city. Other places to look for regarding excellent test scores are schools located in the suburbs to the north, such as Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Northwest Austin.
If you're still looking for schools that have high test scores but don't like the suburbs, then you can opt to go to schools located at 78704. But if you're on a tight budget but still want to get a decent education either for you or your kids, then you ought to direct your attention to East Austin. Here, you will find the University Hills or Windsor Park neighborhood, and they have schools that are easy on the wallet, but their test scores aren't that high as compared to other locations within the city.
Cost of Owning a Car in Austin
Austin, Texas is known for its constant live music festivals, which also means that nightlife is thriving within the metropolis. Therefore, if you don't have a car, then you might be considering getting one while living in the city. One thing to consider when purchasing an automobile in Austin is insurance rates.
Car Insurance Rates in Austin
It is part of US law to get insurance coverage for your vehicle, and Austin is not an exception to that rule. Therefore, if you have a car (or are planning to get one), then you need proper coverage for your vehicle. You might even be searching around for information about various policies right about now.
As per Quote Wizard, the average auto insurance rates in Austin is $1,272 per year for males and $1,333 per year for females. When the figures and other data are tallied, it amounts to an average of $905.64 for both men and women. For comparison's sake, the national average is $866.31.
However, your total cost of getting an insurance policy for your car still depends on some factors, such as driving record, gender, the make and model of your car, your current age, policy limits, total coverage, and the number of points on your driver's license. Another factor to consider when searching for good insurance prices is the total number of claims filed in the zip code where you'll be residing.
Gas Prices in Austin
Like with other cities around the US, gas prices in Austin are reasonable enough. Regular gas will cost you an average of $1.95 per gallon, $2.17 for Midgrade, $2.35 for Premium, and $2.11 for diesel fuel.
Austin's Public Commute System
The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority is the public transportation agency controlling the city's public transportation system. The entire system consists of public buses, shuttles for the University of Texas, as well as a commuter rail. The city's public commute system serves the majority of the city's east, south, and central regions. It also serves some parts of the northwest suburbs.
Since the year 2014, Capital Metro has begun supplementing its fleet of public basis as they add MetroRapid vehicles into the mix. These new buses have more space and are longer than the regular fleet. Furthermore, they have lesser emission diesel engines, and they also have certain features to add to the convenience of its passengers, such as onboard Wi-Fi and more air conditioning units.
With the addition of these new buses, they also serve to keep the traffic lights to be green for a few more seconds longer as compared to before. This will allow the vehicle to pass when it's already running behind schedule. The system keeps updating itself as the same thing will occur with the next traffic light.
As for the MetroRail, it has been criticized due to its rather limited area of service. You can take it just between the northwest corridor and the downtown area. It is partly the reason why it has a relatively low ridership as compared to people riding the buses around the city.
Walking and Biking Around Austin
According to Walk Score, Austin is ranked as the 33rd most walkable large metropolitan city in the US. It was given the score of 39 for its walk score and 52 for its bike score. Therefore, the city is also somewhat bikeable; you just need to know where to ride your bicycle and which neighborhoods to avoid.
Austin's Real Estate
It has been reported by Fortune Builders that the real estate market for Texas has been booming since 2016, but it is more apparent in Austin than in any other city in the state. Here, investors and homeowners alike are treated to a mix of rising costs of homes and rent, while there is still some signs of expanding appreciation rates in some areas of the city.
Home prices in Austin, Texas are on a continuous rise, and it doesn't seem like the trend will die down soon. It denotes a positive outlook for the city's economy, but if you're still searching for a place to stay, then you need to act fast if you want to save up on your hard-earned cash.
Fortune Builders also reported that homes that were purchased in the city in 2015 have appreciated. The costs have risen by $22,672 as compared from 2015. For comparison's sake, the national average was $14,963 during the same period.
The real estate market of Austin continues to thrive with investor activity in the year 2016. Equity gains and home prices have been achieved in the first half of the year, and it is with this piece of information that it doesn't come as too much of a shock why real estate investments have blown up regarding popularity.
Sights to See in Austin
Even though your main purpose for relocating to Austin, Texas is to continue with your profession, or perhaps you're looking for a new job, don't just work all the time and forget about the many leisurely activities that you can do while you're in the city. Here are some of the many great examples that you can see and do while you're in Austin.
The Austin State Capitol and Visitors Center
It doesn't matter if you've been around living in Austin for quite a while or if you're still new to the city, one of the places that you shouldn't miss is the State Capital and Visitors Center. This landmark was completed back in the year 1888, and it is where the office of the State Governor, as well as the Chambers of the Texas Legislature, reside. It is a very large place as it covers 22 acres of lands and monuments.
While you're here walking around and marveling at the vastness of the establishment, you can head to the first-rate visitor center to get more information about the Capitol building. It is also in this area where tours of the Capitol can be arranged. If you're interested, the restored Texas Governor's Mansion is accessible via a free guided tour. However, if you want to participate in that tour, reservations are required.
Bullock Texas State History Museum
Another place that you shouldn't miss while you're in Austin is the Bullock Texas State History Museum. In here, many exhibits tell about the state's history with the use of interactive displays. Some of these exhibits include audio-visual displays, and there are even films of which you can enjoy. It even boasts an on-site IMAX Theatre.
You'll not only learn about the state's history, but you can also get to know more about the natural landscape, ranching, famous Texans, and Native Americans that have been part of its past.
Texas Memorial Museum
If you're still not satisfied with learning more about the state, then you can head down to the Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History. Here, you can find a large collection of exhibits that represent the cultural and natural history of the Lone Star State. There are many areas of science covered here, including geology, herpetology, ichthyology, entomology, and biology.
There are over five million species found in the museum's expansive collection of exhibits, so if you're planning to do some extensive learning here, then you might want to book your entire day just for this trip.
The French Legation
This building was first built in the year 1841, and it was made for the chargé d'affaires as they represented the government of France found in the Republic of Texas. This building is one of the most important old buildings in all of Austin, Texas. In this modern age, this building has been fully restored as furniture and décor have been replaced with newer models. Nonetheless, this location serves as a beautiful backdrop towards a broad array of activities and events.
Zilker Metropolitan Park
The Zilker Park is considered to be Austin's most popular green space. It is a favorite recreation spot for many, tourists and residents alike. It is filled with some tourist attractions of which you can enjoy, such as the Zilker Hillside Theater, as well as the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. Many people enjoy different outdoor activities in this park, including walking, picnicking, and the occasional jogging.
The main highlight here, if you do decide to visit, is the Zilker Botanical Garden. It is 30 acres of exquisite gardens and plants. It even includes the majestic Japanese Garden and its many waterfalls, ponds, and streams. There's also a herb garden, rose garden, and the Hartman Prehistoric Garden of which you can take a look if you so desire.
Other things to know about Austin, Texas
Embrace the Unique
If you've been living in a location where everything is "normal," then Austin might give you a bit of a culture shock. It is because there's always something unique, or weird, or uniquely weird going on within the city. You might find a riding a bike with a thong, or perhaps you might even gaze upon a cathedral that's made entirely out of trash.
Hot Weather is the Norm, But Not Without Sudden Rains
Austin, Texas is blessed by the hot rays of the sun for most days of the year, but there will come the occasional rain. When this weather does decide to drop by, don't be surprised if you're going to hear a lot of people complaining about it. Many Austinites are already accustomed to the hot weather of the city so that a little rain might cause them to gripe, a lot.
With a city that's named the "Live Music Capital of the World," along with a lot of events, amenities, and activities, you're not going to get bored with Austin, Texas anytime soon. In fact, the city is always expanding, and its growth is not seen to be slowing down in the near or far future. According to US News, approximately 50 people are moving to Austin every day.
People are drawn by the city's love for music, culture, outdoor spaces, and barbecue (let's not forget about barbecue). Even if you're going to move to this metropolis because of work, you're bound to find something that will be worth your while, whether it's a local band, or perhaps cheering for one of Austin's local sports teams.
Before you do relocate to Austin, let this be your guide to help you get started in the capital city of Texas. The information posted here might look extensive, but it is but an inkling of what you can experience in the metropolis. The only thing left is to experience life in Austin for yourself. One thing's for sure, however, is that once you get a taste of Austin's barbecue, you might not look at other barbecued food the same way ever again.