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Do we need to really talk about downtown living? I mean, the stereotypes are right. You live downtown for convenience and the entertainment. And they really go hand in hand.
Let’s start with the entertainment. I think most people are aware of the nightlife (and cocktail options) available all along all three parts of 6th St (east, west, and dirty). You also have to include Rainey St as well. And you can’t talk about Austin at all without mentioning the live music venues along Red River. What fewer people might be less aware of is the comedy venues downtown like Hideout Theater, Fall Out Theater and Velveeta Room.
And after a night out, being able to walk home may your best, and only legal, alternative. While it is great to be able to stumble home, living downtown means you can live a whole lot of your life without a car. There are even groceries stores now throughout the city center. Some of them are even affordable!
The biggest surprise about living downtown is you still don’t have to give up access to nature. There are a number of parks dotting the area. And they often host things like farmer’s markets on the weekends. You also have ready access to the Hike and Bike trail and Zilker is a pretty easy walk if you’re already into hiking. You don’t have to give up anything, except lots of rent money, to live downtown.
Our apartment locating services are very well versed in the situation there. There are a lot of good reasons to live north of 45th St. Assuming you work downtown, traffic is much better going north to south than the alternative.
For families, you can’t ignore the schools available up north. For starters, Anderson High School, has been named one of the nation’s best high schools by several national magazines, including Newsweek and The Daily Beast. There students have also won many awards for academics, athletics, and the arts. They have built the Applied Technology Center. This meant they were named a Texas STEM academy. Impressive in its own right, but even more so when you realize it is one of the few in in Central Texas.
If you are looking for a different, but valuable, high school experience, you will have access to McCallum High School. McCallum is known for its booming arts program. Its focus on inclusivity attracts students from all over town. Many alumni swear by the school’s ability to help them find themselves in a way that many don’t get until college.
If you are into retail therapy, you used to be out of luck when it comes to living in North Austin. There have been two radical changes that mean you no longer have to sacrifice your sense of style if you want to be above the river. The first is the explosion of the Burnet and North Loop area. You can do enough vintage shopping to make you forget about South Congress. And if you have slightly more expensive habits, you, of course, now have the Domain up north. While certainly controversial to some, the south has absolutely no answer to the collection of high end stores that have set up shop there.
You have options if you like to commune with nature as well. The north would probably lose a direct competition if this was your only criteria, but the fight would closer than many people think. There are a number of great neighborhood parks like Brentwood, Wooten, Northwest District Park, and Quail Creek. And Walnut Creek is a 293 acre oasis with lots of fields, courts, and 15 miles worth of trails.
For everyone that bleeds 78704, we can locate an apartment there better than anyone else. When most people think about Austin and keeping it weird, they are thinking about life south of the river. That may be one of the reasons that traffic is so much worse. (assuming you work in the city center)
If you have children that have their hearts set on college, it’s hard to go wrong on the south side. James Bowie High School has received multiple Gold Performance and Recognized School Awards from the Texas Education Agency. William B. Travis High, Austin’s first high school south of the river, has also won numerous awards. So many, in fact, it is in the top 8% of state high schools. Even more interesting, as an Early College High School, students can actually earn an associate degree while still in high school.
Fashionistas can’t go wrong south of the river. I think if anyone asked a local where to go shopping almost all of them would start with South Congress. It’s iconic Austin at this point and all the vintage and kitschy stores you can handle. Between, First Thursday’s, Lucy in Disguise, or Uncommon Objects, even the non-fashionistas can have a good time on SoCo.
And if you like living near some fresh air, it’s really tough to do better that south Austin. North Austin is better than many think, but you just can’t compete with Zilker Park, Barton Springs, and the Greenbelt. The new Violet Crown Trail will eventually extend to the Wildflower Center even. Only the Unabomber had more access to nature.