Searching for the right urban Austin Neighborhood that is within walking distance to all of the amenities and not having to rely on your car is something that many seek out these days. In the last ten years, Austin has become much more of an urban core and currently ranks as 30th in the country on the walk score. This is in part due to the actions of the city to bring more businesses into downtown Austin. Austin has also worked to adapt its streets to become more bike-friendly, adding biking lanes on many of the central Austin neighborhoods. The best walkable neighborhoods in Austin are the areas surrounding the University of Texas and Downtown Austin.
In this blog, we've listed down the Walk Score and Bike Score of each neighborhood. To guide you with measuring the walkability, here are some helpful details:
Now, here is our list of the top 10 walkable neighborhoods in Austin, TX:
1. Downtown Austin Walkability
Downtown Austin, Texas is an extremely walkable city. Its vibrant streets are filled with pedestrians and cyclists alike, making it easy and enjoyable to explore the area on foot. The downtown core is filled with exciting attractions like the State Capitol, Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs Pool, ZACH Theatre, Sixth Street Entertainment District and so much more - all within a short distance of each other. The streets are well-maintained and lined with trees, while many sidewalks and bike lanes have been added in recent years to make getting around even easier. In addition to these amenities, there are plenty of public transportation options available throughout downtown Austin including buses, trains and taxis. With all of these benefits combined, it's no wonder that downtown Austin is one of the most walkable cities in the United States!
Within the last 15 years, the downtown skyline of Austin has morphed into a collection of high-rise condos and commercial towers. Residents that occupy these buildings have the benefit of enjoying craft cocktails at the numerous bars and restaurants that are located within walking distance to this area, and with the fairly recent addition of Trader Joe's grocery store, they now have an option other than the Whole Foods market that was the sole source for groceries in Downtown for many years.
Living within the neighborhood makes it accessible for its residents to enjoy nearby activities and commercial establishments. Plus, walking has plenty of benefits such as reducing the risks of heart diseases, obesity, and it helps your mental health by keeping your stress level low. Bike programs are improved and the lanes on the streets are protected which makes it safe for the residents to bike to work, run some errands, or walk to bus stops.
2. West University
Also known as West Campus, this is the heart of off-campus living from UT. Around more than 17,000 are living in the area and most are undergraduate students. It is one of the densest neighborhoods in the state. West University is the second most bike-friendly area in Austin. There are ample sidewalks, especially on the popular Guadalupe Street which serves as a gateway to UT’s main campus.
This lively neighborhood is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Austin. Faculty, staff, graduate students, and ACC students also reside in the area although if they prefer a more quiet neighborhood, they opt to live within the nearby neighborhoods of North Campus and Hyde Park.
3. The University of Texas - Austin
The huge student population influences the neighborhood environment and the local businesses around it. Most residents in the area don’t have vehicles instead, walking, public transportation, and bikes are the way to go. Shops, restaurants, entertainment options such as live music venues, and performance halls are only within walking distance. No need to go far to grab lunch or dinner, there are casual, ethnic dining, and even fine dining restaurants that are close to homes.
To the south of UT are Downtown Austin and South Austin which gives more choices for entertainment and nightlife! Residents that live in the area, especially students, get to save more when walking compared to owning a medium-sized car that can cost up to $12,000/year from gasoline to maintenance. Living in one of the walkable neighborhoods in Austin can help you become not just healthier, but also saves you some cash.
Located below are areas that house many of the university students that attend UT.
4. North University
North University or North Campus, is the second most sought-out neighborhood among UT students. Plenty of students in the area bike or walk to UT since it’s only about a 6-minute bike ride and a 20-minute walk to the campus itself. North University is Austin’s most bike-friendly neighborhood. The bike streets that lead to UT are Duval, Speedway, and Red River. Bikes are also great when it comes to the benefit of the environment since it lessens the greenhouse gas emissions that are usually caused by the transportation sector. North University is filled with trees and green spaces which makes it desirable to live in.
The historic area is also known for its walkability with a walk score of 84/100. This is because of the convenient access to shopping, and dining districts as well as public transportation and green spaces since the area is filled with trees and is quieter compared to West University. To the south of the neighborhood is a football field and other athletic venues.
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5. Central East Austin
Not that far from the University of Texas - Austin is a neighborhood that has always been known for its walkability. Central East Austin’s walkability has a walk score of 84/100. Residents can easily access restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and shopping areas. The neighborhood itself is abundant with sidewalks, public transportation is available and quick access to major highways making it easier to commute to other parts of the city.
With a population of over 4,000 residents, the area is consists of a diverse mix of young professionals, couples, longtime residents, and the old. Residents within this growing neighborhood are also friendly. Many retirees have lived within homes in Central East Austin for decades, but due to the influx of people moving in the area, new homes and condos in Central East Austin are being built. Because of the walkability, you get to know the area more that also helps strengthen your social ties bringing a sense of belonging between you and your community.
6. Old West Austin
Selected as one of the 10 Great Neighborhoods in America by the American Planning Association, Old West Austin is a beautiful neighborhood that is close to West Campus, the University of Texas - Austin, and Downtown Austin. Single-family homes occupy the area as well as apartments and condos that can be found on Enfield Road. Old West Austin consists of three residential areas, Old Enfield, Pemberton Heights, and Bryker Woods.
Green spaces are abundant in the area, and Pease District Park and the scenic vistas in the neighborhood will be highly appreciated by nature lovers. The neighborhoods offer a quieter and more traditional feel compared to West Campus making it ideal for students, families, and empty-nesters who want easy access to Downtown Austin.
Grocery stores and several restaurants can be walked within the neighborhood especially since Downtown is just about a 10-minute walk away. Old West Austin is also a haven for bikers because of the bike lanes that are available in the area.
7. Holly District
Located at East Austin is a neighborhood that attracts young professionals and families due to the large and upscale homes in the area, condos, and apartments. Holly is another growing area that represents Austin's walkability because of its proximity to downtown and Lady Bird Lake, a gorgeous attraction in the neighborhood. Public transportation is very accessible to the area as well as options for restaurants, entertainment, nightlife, and outdoor recreation.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy plenty of recreation areas near the neighborhood such as Pan Am Park, Metz Park, Recreation Center, and Edward Rendon, Sr. Park. Enjoy playing sports, walking your dog, going for a run, swimming, and hiking within the area. Holly has the best nightlife in Austin making it one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city that attracts young professionals, creatives, and entrepreneurs to buy homes.
8. East Cesar Chavez
E. Cesar Chavez is a diverse and vibrant neighborhood to the east of Downtown and Holly. Homes in the area have diverse styles, local businesses are booming, and dining and nightlife choices are plentiful. E. Cesar Chavez is one of the best walkable neighborhoods in Austin because of its close distance to downtown and public transportation is convenient. Residential areas in the neighborhood are home to modest homes and upscale condos.
9. The Triangle
Also known as the Triangle State, the 22-acre urban L-shaped neighborhood appeals to singles, couples, the young, and professionals. The Triangle is a master-planned community located in the north of Central Austin. Homes, luxury condos, and apartments with close distance to many amenities are loved by the residents. Within the center of The Triangle is Triangle Park, the perfect place to take your dog for a walk while there is also a small Central Park located within the southern point of the area. Supermarkets, cafes, bars, and businesses are very accessible to the residents almost everything is just a few steps away from their homes!
10. Bouldin Creek
One of the oldest Austin neighborhoods is Bouldin Creek. Today, it is a quiet and safe neighborhood in South Austin. It is conveniently located close to Downtown as well as to many local businesses, and restaurants. Hike and bike trails are found at Barton Creek Greenbelt and Zilker Park which are close to the neighborhood.
Bouldin Creek’s location is just a walking distance of many of the large attractions in Austin. A lot of families, students, and artists enjoy living in the area because of its distinct character and proximity to many commercial and green spaces.
How Safe is Austin?
Austin, TX is generally a very safe place to walk around. The city has an overall low crime rate compared to other major cities in the United States. In fact, Austin is one of the safest cities in the country for violent crime - it ranks 8th on the list of safest large cities for violent crime. Property crime can be a bit higher in certain neighborhoods, but with common sense precautionary measures such as avoiding walking alone at night and staying aware of your surroundings, most people should feel relatively safe when strolling around Austin.
The City of Austin continually works to make safety a priority through initiatives such as neighborhood outreach programs that focus on community policing, providing emergency response teams with updated technology and equipment, and implementing numerous security measures throughout the city. In addition to law enforcement efforts, the city also hosts several events each year aimed at promoting public safety awareness and educating citizens on what they can do to help keep their community safe. Additionally, there are many volunteer organizations throughout Austin helping to promote safety by actively engaging in activities such as neighborhood watches and organizing safety-oriented workshops or seminars for local residents.
In conclusion, Austin is a largely safe place to walk around due to low rates of violent crime combined with sizable investments from both the City of Austin and its residents into enhancing public safety. With some basic cautionary precautions such as traveling in groups at night and staying aware of your surroundings, individuals should be able to take full advantage of all that this beautiful city has to offer without fear for their personal safety.
Is Austin a Safe City to Walk at Night?
Austin has one of the highest police presence per capita amongst cities with over one million people. This ensures that the crime rate is kept in check and that citizens remain safe when walking in the evening hours. Furthermore, Austin was recently ranked among the top 100 safest cities in America for its low levels of violent and property crime and high levels of safety precautions put into place by law enforcement personnel. It also boasts numerous outdoor green spaces where people can enjoy their walks safely and securely at night. Moreover, there is an abundant number of helpful resources such as personal alarms and apps available for anyone feeling unsafe about taking a stroll late at night.
With close proximity to almost everything that you need near you, walkable neighborhoods especially near universities and colleges are ideal for investment properties.
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First Published: October 5, 2019