3.6 out of 10

St. Johns

Ranked 48th best neighborhood in Austin
30.332273048636 -97.7020442634626
Great for
  • Public Transport
  • Childcare
  • Cost of Living
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
Not great for
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping Options
  • Pest Free
  • Safe & Sound
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Oct 27, 2016

"Has Great Potential, But Still a Long Way To Go"

I moved to this neighborhood this year, and while it's not the most safe, clean, or beautiful neighborhood, you really can't beat the prices of the homes. Long-time residents have told me that the neighborhood has changed a lot in the last 5-10 years for the better, with a good portion of the crime moving more north. Developers are snapping up cheap land and old houses in this neighborhood to build new houses, and in the next 5-10 years this neighborhood is going to look and feel completely different as it becomes more developed and more Austonians look for more affordable housing that is still fairly close to downtown and main freeways. Our house would literally have been double its price if was situated in a better neighborhood just 10 minutes away. A new park is being planned behind the old home depot, and the old home depot itself is going to be torn down and replaced with something new in the next few years. I've been told that the JJ Pickle elementary school has improved greatly in the last few years, and the community center is nice. I think that right now is the perfect time to buy a home in this neighborhood as your property value is likely to skyrocket in the coming years. You just aren't going to find a better deal in as convenient a location.

Many people do keep kind of scary "guard dogs" in their front yards, and there are often loose dogs running around the neighborhood. You might find an open switchblade, loose bullets, and broken glass (I have found all of these and more) on the streets, so it's a bit of an "adventure" trying to walk my dog around the neighborhood, but we've only had to fend off a couple of angry loose dogs, and he hasn't cut his paws yet. Investing in a good security system is key, and being vigilant about bringing in packages right away.

I recommend this neighborhood despite its many flaws because it has character and life, is close to downtown and is great for commuting. It is only going to get better and better in the coming years. It's inevitable.
Pros
  • good investment
  • Cheap rent
  • High community spirit
  • Hope for improvement
  • Near three major highways
  • Convenient location
Cons
  • High crime rate
  • Impoverished areas
  • No nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A Once Downtrodden Neighborhood In Austin Sees Better Days Ahead"

Located in the northeast part of Austin, Texas, the St. Johns neighborhood is one of the most affordable areas of the city, but also one of the most crime-ridden and has many homes in poor condition. Single family homes here can run as low as $55,000 on up to $135,000, but what the area lacks in looks, it makes up for somewhat with residents who are committed to working with the city of Austin to bring much needed improvements to the roads and other facilities. Residents also for the most part work hard to keep lawns and homes in the best possible condition.

It's a pretty good drive to the downtown area, but it is bordered by major thoroughfares so it is easy to get anywhere in the city. This neighborhood has a history that dates back to the Civil War and was for years a predominately African-American community, though a majority of residents today are Hispanic. Still, this is not the best place to raise a family and the Austin Independent School District
which serves the area sees some of its most poorly performing schools here.
Pros
  • Cheap rent
  • High community spirit
  • Hope for improvement
  • Near three major highways
  • Convenient location
Cons
  • High crime rate
  • Childhood poverty
  • Impoverished areas
  • Far from Downtown
  • No nightlife
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Great potential, great community spirit, but great work still needed"

On the surface, St. Johns might not seem like the most savory place to live. Schools have long faced problems, and poverty levels across the area are astonishingly high. However, what St. Johns does have going for it is an incredible, determined community that is actively working, all the time, to make positive changes and elevate the neighborhood and its residents in every way it can. Make no mistake—this is still an impoverished area that faces huge problems in infrastructure, quality of life, and stability, but improvements are being made all the time, and they are the kind designed to be long-lasting and far-reaching.

The area is predominantly Hispanic, and largely comprised of small families. Child poverty in the neighborhood is at the highest rate in Austin, and, despite marked improvements over the past few years, local schools fare poorly. On the flip side, what little the community does have, it works hard to maintain and beautify, and the neighborhood association has made a point of hosting regular community events. It’s also been recognized and awarded by the Keep Austin Beautiful campaign.

To me, it seems this would be a perfect place for someone with an activist bent and a strong feeling of community spirit. There’s a lot of work to be done in St. Johns, and slowly but surely, it is being done, but the changes that need to take place are extremely long-term.
Pros
  • Cheap rent
  • High community spirit
  • Hope for improvement
Cons
  • High crime rate
  • Childhood poverty
  • Impoverished areas
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Neighborhood fighting for improvements"

The St. Johns neighborhood is an historically African American community that has roots back to the Civil War. It has been through some struggles over the years as it suffered from neglect and related issues of crime and decay of abandoned houses and buildings. But the community’s ties are very strong, and the residents are committed to working with the city to bring improvements to the area.

Straddling Interstate 35, the boundaries for the St. Johns neighborhood are E. Koenig Lane to the south, Highway 183 to the north, Middle Fiskville Road and Eastcrest Drive to the west and Cameron Road to the east. While many central east Austin neighborhoods have experienced a surge in interest and gentrification, this trend has been slow to come to St. Johns. Inexpensive housing prices have made it affordable for many lower income families, and currently residents are largely Hispanic and African American.

One can’t help but be impressed with the perseverance of the St. Johns community. It was their efforts that induced the city to pave the roads, build a park and clean up the creek that runs through the area. In 2000, the city built the J.J. Pickle Elementary School as well as a community center, which includes the St. Johns branch of the public library system and a recreation center. Also brought into the area was a police substation and health clinic.

Housing prices remain quite affordable in the area, averaging in the mid-$100s, but ranging from $60K all the way up into the high $400s. Area schools include J.J. Pickle Elementary, Metz Middle School and Reagan High School. Because of the spotty reputation of the neighborhood, this is not an ideal area to raise a family. However, those looking for inexpensive housing in a central location will find this neighborhood worth looking at. It is very convenient to downtown and the University of Texas. The area’s proximity to I-35, which runs through the neighborhood, makes all destinations north and south quite accessible. If one is willing to live here while the neighborhood continues to work on improvements, it could be a good investment as well.
Pros
  • Convenient location
  • Inexpensive housing
  • High community spirit
Cons
  • Impoverished areas
  • High crime rate
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Students
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Troubled area making a new start"

This neighborhood has the highest rate of childhood poverty in Austin, as well as high rates of family instability, obesity, and low graduation rates. St. Johns used to be a primarily African American neighborhood, but it is now 75% Hispanic, with many children unable to reach their full academic potential or have their needs met by underfunded schools. Yet those schools are starting to see improvement, and there are strong after-school programs and organizations like Communities in Schools, Boys and Girls Club, the Council for At-Risk Youth, and the St. John Community Center. There are also two Family Resource Centers that help local families find housing, food, employment, and other resources. In 2010, the neighborhood was chosen to be the focus of the Austin Achievement Zone, which will hopefully help residents improve their living and educational situations. There are a number of active churches in the neighborhood, and overall community spirit is high. This is reflected in events like HopeFest, Dia de los Ninos, and Unity Walks. The area does have a branch of the public library, two technical colleges, a police substation, and a medical clinic. As to be expected, there are many Mexican restaurants as well as chain restaurants and hotels along I35.
Pros
  • High community spirit
  • Hope for improvement
  • Cheap rent
  • Near three major highways
Cons
  • Childhood poverty
  • High crime rate
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Out of Sight and Out of Mind"

There is so little regard for the St. Johns neighborhood that most Austinites know nothing about it. Despite being located within the crossovers of three major highways (I-35, 290 and 183), most find little to say about this neighborhood. The housing is dirt cheap with the majority of listing prices going below $100,000, but as can be assumed, there is a reason for it. This community is a rather sketchy one and it is far form any hot spots that speak true to the spirit of Austin.

Not to say this neighborhood has not come a long way. Several decades ago, this area had no paved roads and the sewage system was less than up to code. Community leaders, some of which still live in the houses today, took the initiative to improve standards. That said, St. Johns still has plenty of room for improvement, but it could be much worse. This can accurately be labeled an ethnic enclave as the majority of residents are Mexican Americans with many knowing how too speak only Spanish. The few restaurants and shops that exist are along I-35, but many cross the interstate to take advantage of the Highland Mall area. Having direct access to three major highways causes traffic to feed into the neighborhood during rush hour and can also make getting out somewhat difficult, but traveling in and out is easy during other times of day. Residents, however, do need a car to get around. All in all, St. Johns rarely comes to the mind of an Austinite and those looking for a home close to the center and some remnants of Austin life would do better looking somewhere else.
Pros
  • Near three major highways
  • Cheap rent
Cons
  • Far from Downtown
  • No nightlife
  • High crime rate
Recommended for
  • Singles

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