Living in Austin, TX
A crown jewel of the Lone Star State, Austin, Texas, is also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Founded in 1835, the community serves as the state capital and has about 1 million people. That makes it the 11th largest city in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the state. However, close to 2.3 million people live in the metropolitan area.
As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, more people move to Austin almost every day. To keep up, the development of new construction homes in Austin is ongoing. From peaceful suburban estates to swanky condos in the downtown Austin neighborhood, the real estate market has something for everyone. With a little bit of research, people quickly feel right at home.
Read up about the most important things to know about moving to Austin in the list below.
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Austin Cost of Living
Using an index where the cost level in the average U.S. city is treated as 100, Austin's cost of living receives a score of 119.3. That means Austin residents pay about 19.3% more for goods and services. However, these costs are not borne equally across expenses. For example, utilities and miscellaneous costs like car repairs will run about the same in Austin as the average American city. Additionally, groceries and health care costs are between 3% and 6% cheaper than in most cities.
There are two areas where people may notice higher expenses. Transportation costs are generally about 9.9% more expensive on average. Housing costs, including rent and mortgages, are about 59.6% greater within the community. That said, the most affordable neighborhoods in Austin offer greater flexibility when it comes to budgeting.
A studio apartment within the city costs about $1,017, while a similar residence would cost $931 in the suburbs. A one-bedroom within the city limits is about $1,186. Add a second bedroom for $1,437 and a third for $1,897. The largest four-bedroom homes will cost about $2,294 per month. The national average for four-bedroom rentals is about $1,791.
The price of a single-family home can range between $360,000 and upwards of $2 million. This range produces a median cost that is higher than the state and national averages. When looking for housing, it's important to understand the pros and cons of renting or buying in Austin.
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Austin Job Market
Austin is consistently named as the best city for jobs by Forbes. As expected from the regular growth over the last few decades, Austin has a strong roster of large employers. The world-famous Apple technology company provides about 7,000 jobs in the city. Situated in multiple facilities, job types include customer service, manufacturing, and computer programming. The company already plans to expand to as many as 15,000 employees in the area in the next few years.
Dell Technologies is another firm in the city producing computers and other equipment. They have about 13,000 people working in the community. Meanwhile, IBM has an estimated 6,000 people operating in the region. The IBM facility in Austin is focused on research into software development, artificial intelligence, and cloud-computing systems. Other area tech companies include Samsung, Applied Materials, and General Motors.
Those interested in the medical field might be interested in Ascension Seton. The organization is a full-service hospital and clinical network providing more than 10,000 jobs in the area. The public service field is also rich with opportunities. The City of Austin government has an estimated 13,800 people providing a wide variety of civic services. Local colleges, including The University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward's University, and Austin Community College, provide staff and faculty positions.
Tech Moves to Austin
The city earned the nickname Silicon Hills as many tech companies have established their headquarters and are building their campuses in the area. The tech industry in Austin is thriving, and it is even expected to grow 15% between 2020 and 2025. From entry-level jobs to senior positions, there are many career possibilities. As a result, the community is also at the forefront of many emerging innovations. Several local entrepreneurs are working in clean-energy technologies like wind turbines and solar panels.
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Things to Do in Austin
There's no shortage of exciting things to do in Austin. New residents might want to start by taking one of the many historical tours. Walking routes covering the Texas State Capitol area are a great way to connect with the city's history and present politics. Food lovers will want to check out one of the 1,500+ food truck vendors in Travis County. Austin's original food truck park, The Picnic, is conveniently located across the street from Barton Springs Pool.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the area is easy. For water recreation activities in Austin, there are lakes and swimming pools nearby, such as Zilker Metropolitan Park. Barton Springs Pool is another local favorite swimming hole located in South Austin. The 3-acre swimming hole has a temperature of 68 to 70 degrees all year round. Going for a run? There are more than 220 parks in Austin that accommodate biking, walking, and running. To the north, Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park offers 293 acres of open space, including hiking trails and leash-free dog parks. Those looking for more structured activities will love the playground, swimming pool, and sports fields. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy watching Congress Avenue Bridge bats. More than 40,000 bats living in the vicinity take flight around sunset, providing a stunning spectacle.
Restaurants, Breweries, and Bars
Food and drink connoisseurs will also find many wonderful experiences in Austin. Visit Bartlett's for high-quality lunch and dinner menus. Try the 100 Hour Marinated Rib-Eye, flavored with pineapple and sesame ginger marinade. A wide variety of fine dining restaurants are also available such as Uchi, Odd Duck, and Barley Swine. Loro Austin is a casual dining restaurant by James Beard Award winners Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi/Uchiko and Aaron Franklin of Franklin's Barbecue. Whisler's provides the best in bespoke mixed concoctions. Enjoy the Scarlet Envy with house-infused strawberry and bell pepper gin, Aperol, honey, and citrus.
Who says the fun has to end when the sun goes down? Austin is great for dancing and music. As one of the first places Stevie Ray Vaughn performed, Antone's Night Club is a famed venue for R&B. Drop in to hear up-and-coming stars and national headliners. Skylark Lounge is a locally beloved hot spot for live music and dancing. And, of course, Sixth Street is one of the most electric entertainment districts in the country. Austin hosts many of the largest events in the state. The nightlife is also something people never want to miss out on. South by Southwest, also known as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Formula 1, and the Austin Film Festival are a few events that are held in the city.
Things to Do With Kids
Austin offers hundreds of places where kids can have fun and learn new things. The Thinkery is a place where kids can have a great time in an educational setting. They also get exposed to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Science Mill in Johnson City is a festive destination that offers interactive learning through exhibits, games, and programs. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has gardens of display of native plants of the Central Texas Hill Country. This encourages kids to protect the environment too.
As a southern U.S. community, residents can expect a warmer climate than most of the country. The city gets about 35 inches of rain a year, three inches less than the national average. The city also boasts 228 sunny days a year, making it a good bit brighter than the average U.S. city. People who prefer clear weather and warm temperatures will definitely love their time here.
July and August are the warmest months of the year here, with temperatures that typically range between 95 degrees and 102 degrees. Between May and mid-September, the weather can be considered hot, with average highs above 86 degrees. On the other hand, the coldest month is January, with lows around 38 degrees. Austin rarely sees below-freezing temperatures.
The best time to visit the city for outdoor adventures is March, April, October, and November. These months have the best combination of pleasant temperatures and clear skies. However, even on the hottest days, the lows can reach the high 60s. It is possible that outdoor activities can be enjoyed year-round in the mornings.
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With 73.8 percent of people commuting to work by themselves, cars are definitely the primary mode of transportation in Austin. Another 9.5% of employees carpool, and 3.9% use some form of mass transit. Even with traffic, the average one-way commute in the city is only about 24.1 minutes, which is notably less than the national average of 26.4 minutes. Nearly 24% of residents actually have a commute shorter than 15 minutes. Slightly over a third of all workers did indicate a drive longer than 30 minutes. For people who work in the city but live in the suburbs, it's worth considering the downtown driving times from Austin suburbs.
Unlike other large communities, Austin only has one major highway that directly encounters the city limits. I-35 runs south to San Antonio and north to Dallas. Residents from nearby areas like the Georgetown community, San Marcos community, and Round Rock community will likely take this route to the city. Texas Route 183 runs northwest to the Cedar Park community and southeast to Lockhart.
Running from east to west are Texas State Highway 71 and Route 290, which converge in the Sunset Valley community. Highway 71 leaves the community going west through Garfield and Wyldwood. Route 290 exits further north near the Manor community and Elgin.
While the average commuting time within the city is lower than national, some situations can still cause delays. For example, the Colorado River runs right through the center of the city, just south of the Capitol building. Three highways (I-35, Route 183, and Loop 1) cross the river south of downtown. Additionally, five surface streets also provide bridges across the water. Depending on work and home locations, it may be wise to get familiar with these avenues.
New residents driving in Austin should also be aware that Austin has several toll roads. 183A, 290, Highway 45, and Highway 71 all have toll fees for use in certain areas. The actual amount of the charge depends on the entry and exit points and the number of axles. Texas Loop 1 has toll areas that charge standard fees.
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Public Transportation in Austin
While most households in Austin do drive, it is possible to get around the city without owning a car. Like every major airport, taxicabs and rental cars are readily available. Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft both operate heavily in the area. Taking an Uber from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to the Texas Capitol Building will cost just over $25. Tourists may also take advantage of bike rentals from Austin MetroBike or hail one of the many Pedicabs in the community.
For those looking for more traditional public transportation, the city has two offers. The Capital Metro Bus System covers more than 500 square miles with 82 routes. Several special routes are available, such as the MetroRapid service with limited stops. Most riders pay $1.25 per trip, but reduced fares are available. Day passes and monthly subscriptions can also help save money.
Another option for travel is Metrorail. This is a regional service providing stops from the city of Leander to downtown Austin. There are nine stops, and the service operates six days a week (Monday through Saturday). Single rides on the Metrorail will cost $3.50 or $7 for a day pass.
Residents with school-aged children will want to contact the Austin Independent School District in advance of the relocation. The district has 125 schools spread throughout the city with a budget of $1.7 billion each year. They educate about 75,000 students with a teaching staff of around 5,484. That leaves a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:15. In addition to the city limits, children living in San Leanna, Sunset Valley, and rural areas in Travis County are also served by this organization.
Colleges and universities also contribute to the quality of life for the students. The University of Texas - Austin is one of the largest schools in the nation and is popular for its engineering, social sciences, business, management, and marketing programs. The university offers 170 fields of study to its undergraduate. Other higher education institutions are Southwestern University and St. Edwards University.
Arriving In Austin
Live music, great food, and warm weather all continue to draw people to Austin, and the strong technology, education, and health care industries provide many employment opportunities when they get here. Plan your trip to Austin today to see why people are flocking here from all around the country.