7.0 out of 10

Downtown

Ranked 20th best neighborhood in Austin
30.2700684025619 -97.7415688643918
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Nightlife
  • Public Transport
  • Internet Access
  • Shopping Options
Not great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  • Pest Free
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Vibrant cultural, economic, entertainment district of Austin"

Living downtown is prohibitively expensive for most people, but even if you don’t live here, you’re likely to spend time downtown if you live anywhere in Austin.

Towering on a hill above the rest of downtown is Texas’s distinctive pink marble State Capital. It looks like a miniature replica of the Capital building in D.C. In addition to the state government agencies and Austin Convention Center, there are also quite a number of business, tech and financial institutions in this neighborhood. For the average Austinite, this translates into are plenty of useful services, amenities, and businesses, which are located here to serve the business people. If you need a printer or a fax machine, you’ve got the Fed Ex store. If you’re looking for coffee & wifi, lunch specials, or a nice restaurant (or a really nice restaurant), Downtown has got your back.

There’s lots of touristy/entertainment options downtown as well. The Bob Bullock State History museum (near the Capital), several art & cultural museums, the swank, artsy Violet Crown Cinema, dance clubs, gay dance clubs, and of course the wild college bar scene on 6th street.

UT students and other drunken visitors take over E6th street every Thursday-Saturday. The police literally block off the street to traffic in order to avoid foolish accidents. It’s super loud. There are lots of live bands playing in the bars, the people who come here get really dressed up, everyone is smoking in the street, there’s a barker at the door of every establishment, calling out drink specials and trying to entice passersby. Maybe that’s what gives it its grotesque carnival atmosphere.

There are more serene parts of Downtown. The waterfront is probably one of my favorite spots. There is a hiking/biking trail that runs along the river on the north and south sides of the Colorado River, making a 10 mile loop. It’s called Lady Bird Lake Trail—which was confusing to me at first, because it’s a river—not a lake. But, “Lady Bird Lake” is a actually a reservoir on/section of the Colorado River.

Downtown is the vibrant cultural, economic, entertainment district of Austin.
Pros
  • Lady Bird Lake Trail
  • Tons of nightlife
  • Art venues
  • Coolness factor
  • Restaurants galore
Cons
  • Crazy college bar scene
  • Noisy tourists
  • Too much traffic
  • Cost of parking
  • Expensive shopping and food
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"The Best Downtown Living Experience in the State of Texas"

Living in the Downtown Austin, Texas neighborhood puts you close to where all of the action is happening. The housing here mostly consists of luxury condominiums that can run over $1,000,000 and upscale apartments that are occupied for the most part by hip urban professionals. There may not be a better downtown living experience in the nation, and certainly not in Texas. Living here puts you within walking or biking distance of the 6th Street Historic District, the State Capitol, and all of the lakes and parks Austin is famous for.

You're also close to all of the best fine dining options in the city, and Capitol Metro bus and rail lines make owning a car unnecessary, because if you had one you would not be able to find a parking space anyway. The crime rate is low and it's a safe area for the most part. The southern border of the area is Town Lake, and there are plenty of entertainment options here, or you can enjoy the beauty of the area and relax.
Pros
  • Tons of nightlife
  • Art venues
  • Coolness factor
  • Restaurants galore
Cons
  • Noisy tourists
  • Too much traffic
  • Cost of parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Right in the center of the action"

When you’re talking about the heart of downtown in any city, it’s a given there will be pros and cons. Like so many people say about New York, in my opinion, downtown Austin is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there—and not only because the million-dollar condos will likely be out of my price range for the rest of my life.

The action absolutely cannot be beat. Sixth Street is where it’s all happening, all the time. From fine dining to dive bars to live music to comedy shows, nearly anything you could possibly want to do on any given night is something you can find with ease downtown. Downtown is also pedestrian- and public transit friendly, which is a plus since driving can be frustrating, with lights on practically every corner, and parking can be difficult or expensive.

Austin has worked hard to make downtown a great place to live, with ample shopping, fitness, and dining options available right in the neighborhood. Still, it takes a particular kind of person to want to be right in the middle of the action with no quiet place to go.

The area tends to be pretty well maintained and policed, and except for the darkest hours of the night, it’s so heavily populated that it feels safe most of the time. Personally, I’d rather save a few dollars, my hearing, and my sanity by living someplace a little less raucous, but for people who thrive on being right at the center of things, there’s absolutely no better place to live than right downtown.
Pros
  • Tons of nightlife
  • Coolness factor
  • Restaurants galore
Cons
  • Noisy tourists
  • Too much traffic
  • Cost of parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
2yrs+

"Ultimate Urban Living"

As recently as the 1990s, Austin’s downtown still retained something of a smaller-town feel. While 6th Street has been famous for decades as a hip clubbing and music corridor, downtown was more about offices and entertainment, but not residential living. But efforts to promote more residential development (condos and apartments) have successfully transformed downtown into a haven for the young, hip, urban professional.

This is the neighborhood for those who want the ultimate urban experience from where they live. Not only are you close to all the action in terms of restaurants, clubs and music, but downtown also sits right above Town Lake with its extensive hike and bike trails. One can also rent a canoe or kayak and paddle down the lake, or try out Austin’s latest craze, the stand up paddle board.

Technically defined as the area bordered by 19th Street to the north, Town Lake to the South, and Lamar Boulevard and I-35 to the west and east, the area’s residences are dominated by condominiums. Prices range from the $200s all the way up into the million dollar mark. Not many families chose to live downtown, as there are many fine residential neighborhoods nearby. For those children who do fall within these borders, the area schools include Matthews Elementary, O. Henry Middle School and Austin High School.

Serious efforts have been made to mold Austin’s downtown neighborhood into one that is pedestrian friendly and allow residents to stay within its borders and find everything they need. There are drug stores, dry cleaners, hair salons and a vast array of retail stores. Large department stores have fallen by the wayside, however, but a full-sized Whole Foods is found right in the heart of the area at 6th Street and Lamar Boulevards.
Pros
  • Coolness factor
Cons
  • Cost of parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"6th Street, here we come..."

The heart of the nightlife is here on 6th Street. Students, professionals, locals, hipsters, frat bros—everyone mixes it up here if they’re between a certain age. I have lots of memories from this area (some hazier and less suitable for retelling…). The Alamo Drafthouse is definitely my favorite place here. They show cult classics and serve Guinness. Any other questions? You’ll probably find Harry Knowles of Aintitcoolnews.com here, if he’s in town. Any given night, there’s sure to be a festival or screening of some crazy film. Good times. If you’re not a fan of drinking with movie nerds while you watch films, the Paramount Theater has a great screening schedule too. Emo’s is my favorite place to catch indie music shows. La Zona Rosa, Antone’s, and Stubb’s are great live band venues, as well. And Austin’s got plenty of live music, even when South By Southwest isn’t going on. Soak in Austin’s thriving gay culture at Oil Can Harry’s on East 4th. Even if the night life isn’t your thing, there are plenty of great things here. Book People and Whole Foods is a must, as is the Mexic-Arte Museum. This is where I fell in love with Dia de Los Muertos art.
Pros
  • Restaurants galore
  • Tons of nightlife
  • Art venues
Cons
  • Too much traffic
  • Noisy tourists
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"The Center of it All"

Downtown and its 6th Street is to Austin what Bourbon Street is to New Orleans, filled with rich history but congested with over priced bars and drunk frat boy tourists. Weekends in this area of town are jumping with activity from the lone star happy hours to the prize of local music acts. The downtown area is also the home for major historic buildings, including the Texas Capital Building. The blocks surrounding Congress Ave. have the historic Paramount Theater and Alamo Drafthouse as well as the Austin the top rated hotels in the city.

Due to Downtown being a major tourist destination, the local real estate consist entirely of high rise condos and apartments that are high in price and in demand, but more expensive properties still exist elsewhere in Austin. Top notch museums like the Austin Museum of Art, the Austin Children's Museum, the Mexic- Arte Museum and the Arthouse dot the grey urban sprawl and the lake is just a short walk away. Unless you prefer to be in the center of everything that is cheap advertisement and coercing alcohol consumption, then Downtown is a great place to visit, but not live. The noise of rowdy intoxicated tourists can easily become old when trying to fall asleep. Hence, this area of town is highly unsuitable for families and elderly looking for some peace and quiet.
Pros
  • Tons of nightlife
  • Art venues
  • Many of restaurants
Cons
  • Too much traffic
  • Noisy tourists
  • Expensive shopping and food
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish

Travelling to Downtown?

Find Hotels

Best Streets in Downtown

1

East 6th St

4/5
"Main nightlife street downtown"
30.2666789960228 -97.7378880641032
2

West 2nd St

4/5
"Downtown Austin Is Cleaning Up"
30.2649830929251 -97.7465385267514

Unranked Streets in Downtown

"Fun nightlife street"
30.2708001628037 -97.7417766901177

Neches St

3.5/5
"Worth a detour"
30.2686798428051 -97.73754664495

West 11th St

3.5/5
"Look for the TMI Castle!"
30.2745005187883 -97.7474714362048
"4th Street Is 6th Steet For Adults"
30.2671738680646 -97.7469294699537

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More