9 Reasons Why Austin Texas Is The Best Place To Live

January 05, 2020

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9 Reasons Why Austin Texas Is Voted The Best Place To Live In America

Howdy & welcome to Austin, Texas! Austin has been voted the best place to live in America for three consecutive years by the U.S. News & World Report for the quality of life, job market, and a city’s desirability. Do you live in Austin? Do you want to live in Austin? Why do you think Austin has been voted the best place to live?

Koko here from A Taste of Koko (Instagram: @atasteofkoko) – I’m an Austin-based food and travel blogger that’s been blogging since 2010 on Austin Texas. As a local resident since 2007 (basically an Austinite), I’ve been reporting on everything on Austin Texas so much since I’ve been voted two years in a row as the best local blogger by the Austin Chronicle. I moved to Austin TX in 2007 to go to school at the University Of Texas at Austin and back then Austin was just a college town. In the past decade, Austin has changed dramatically with all the new restaurant openings and big tech companies that have opened offices here.

SEE ALSO: 45 Things To Do In Austin Texas

In 1850, the population in Austin was 600. In 2000, the population was 656,562. From 2010 to 2017, the population in Austin grew by an average of 55,500 people a year (about 152 per day). The 2018 Census showed that over a million people live in Austin Texas.

In the past four years, we’ve had so many people from New York and San Francisco move here. So why does everyone want to live in the fastest growing city in America right now?


1. Best time to visit Austin, Texas

You can visit Austin Texas really any time of the year since we don’t have the arctic cold but our summers are impossibly hot and humid. The best times to visit Austin is the end of March to early June, and September to November.

I would avoid visiting Austin during major events unless you’re coming for them:

  • South By Southwest (SXSW) – March 13-22, 2020‎
  • Austin Food & Wine Festival – April 24-26, 2020
  • Austin City Limits (ACL) – Oct. 2-4 & Oct. 9-11, 2020
  • Formula 1 (F1)


2. Austin Airport transportation

You can take Uber or Lyft from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport but you’ll have to walk to the pick-up zone that is two garages across from the airport.


3. How bad is the traffic in Austin?

Bad – it’s bad and it’s getting worse. Peak traffic time is in the morning from 8am to 10am and then in the afternoon from 4pm – 6pm. 


4. Is Austin walkable?

It depends on where you’re staying. South Congress, downtown Austin, and some pockets of East Austin are walkable but you’ll still need rideshare or a car to get to different neighborhoods around town. Only public transportation in the city is the bus system.


5. What are the best neighborhoods?

I currently live in Central Austin and I love being so close to downtown and East Austin. Unfortunately, the housing market in Austin has exploded due to the popularity of the city so the cost of living has increased and affordability has decreased. Some popular neighborhoods include:

  • East Austin – 30+ years old, median home price for single-family homes is $400k
  • Mueller – 30-40+ years old, median home price is $500k+, 10-minute commute to downtown Austin, family-friendly 
  • Windsor Park – 30-40+ years old, median home price is $500k+
  • Westlake/West Austin – 50+ years old, median home price is $600k+
  • South Congress – 25-35 years old, median home price is $500k+
  • Downtown – 27-35+ years old young professionals, median rent price is $3000/month 
  • Cedar Park / Round Rock – 45+, family-friendly area with lots of school districts 

If you’re a renter and looking for areas in Austin with affordable rent, I recommend South Austin and North Austin. 

SEE ALSO: Best Coffee Shops In Austin, Sorted By Neighborhood

Ultimate Guide To Austin Texas

With a booming economy, an awesome eclectic culture, and an array of incredible things to see and do, it’s no wonder that Austin, Texas is becoming a popular place to work and live.

If you’re thinking about moving to Austin, there are several things you need to know before you make the journey.

From a burgeoning music and arts scene to incredible food and fun activities, read on for the ultimate guide all about Austin, Texas that you need to know before you make your move.


Barton Springs Pool in Austin Texas

1. So many things to do in Austin Texas

Austin is a haven for people who love the outdoors and want access to plenty of green space – we are consistently voted one of the fittest cities in America.

  • paddleboard or kayak on Lake Bird Lake
  • watch a UT longhorns football game
  • hike and bike trails like the Greenbelt
  • watch the bats fly out from the Congress Avenue Bridge during the summer
  • visit the Texas state capitol (this is the capital of texas after all) 
  • walk around the LBJ Museum (this history museum is free!)
  • swimming in Barton Springs (see all the swimming holes of Austin)
  • hang out at Zilker Park, Lake Austin, or Lake Travis
  • weekend trip to San Antonio
  • eat all the Texas barbecue
  • eat all the tacos
  • drink all the margaritas
  • bar hopping on Rainey Street (versus 6th street/sixth street nightlife) 
  • listen to live music at one of the live music venues

SEE ALSO: 45 Things To Do In Austin Texas


Damn Good neon sign at Torchy's Tacos in Austin Texas

2. We love our local restaurant scene

Food defines the culture of any place, and ATX is no exception. This dynamic city features an array of delectable goodies that span anything from the classic taco dive and food trucks to exotic fare.

Austin used to have only burgers, pizza, and a couple of barbecue spots but just in the past couple of the years the food scene has exploded thanks to restaurant entrepreneurs like Chef Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko that have made headlines in Bon Appetit and James Beard. This duo has also opened their own restaurant together called Loro on South Lamar.

  • Veracruz – best authentic tacos that started as a food trailer in East Austin
  • La Barbecue – popular barbecue spot that started as a food trailer in East Austin
  • Uchiko – an innovative Japanese restaurant that has made headlines
  • Suerte – a popular new restaurant in East Austin that makes their own masa
  • Fresa’s – colorful Tex-Mex restaurant with sharable tacos and margaritas
  • Ramen Tatsuya – popular ramen shops with several locations and different concepts
  • Contigo – a farm-to-table restaurant with outdoor dining and a great spot for brunch
  • Clark’s Oyster Bar – a cute spot for seafood but I love their burger that is half off during happy hour
  • Garage – cool secret bar hidden in, well, a garage. This is Drake’s favorite bar in Austin.

Full list of my favorite Austin restaurants

Austin Beerworks brewery in Austin Texas

Of course, like any city worth its salt, Austin, Texas is also packed with unique craft beers and breweries. Make sure you ask for a local beer list whenever you dine in of the city’s many restaurants. You’ll find everything from IPA to lager all brewed locally to give you a bit of Austin flavor.

After your delicious meal, make sure you catch one of the awesome happy hours throughout the Austin area.


Live music in Austin Texas

3. Music is the Heart and Soul of Austin, Texas

Every location has its own unique music scene, but in Austin, it’s the lifeblood of this bustling city. Similar to the deep roots of Nashville, the music played and recorded in Austin dates back decades.

This part of Texas is filled with unique venues like the Moody Theater and the Continental Club, each offering its own spirited list of performances that range from country to alternative and beyond. You’ll also find plenty of music festivals here, mostly thanks to the famed television show Austin City Limits.

Austin, Texas is known as The Live Music Capital of the World due to its bold and dynamic music scene. In fact, the city hosts more concerts than anywhere else in the United States! From indie rock to jazz and rockabilly, there is something for everyone here.

Whether you’re planning to visit or move here (the real estate scene is really hot), you’ve got to check out some of the live music venues in Austin. Check the recent schedules to find a live performance that you’ll enjoy, and you’re guaranteed to be hooked.

Fun fact: The Driskill Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Austin, Texas and is supposedly haunted.


View from Facebook Austin

view from Facebook Austin in downtown Austin

4. Great companies to work for

Several big companies have opened offices in North Austin, Northwest Austin, Central Austin, and South Austin offering competitive pay with both benefits and perks like complimentary breakfast and lunch, and really good health care. This also attracted talent from around the nation and world to move to Austin to live and work here.

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Indeed
  • Apple
  • Dell
  • Dropbox

Compared to other cities in the nation, Austin has one of the lowest unemployment rates. 


Barton Springs Pool in Austin Texas

5. It’s a Nature Lover’s Paradise

When you imagine Austin, Texas, you probably envision tall buildings and busy streets. And while this is certainly part of what Austin has to offer, there’s also plenty of nature to enjoy and to explore.

The beautiful Lady Bird Lake offers you an incredible view and lots of outdoor recreational activities including fishing, kayaking, rowing, and more. Make sure you visit Mount Bonnell where you’ll be able to see the city and Texas hill country from its highest vantage point. And when it comes to sunrises and sunsets, you’ll be in awe of the gorgeous blue and purple light that covers the downtown area almost every day.

If you enjoy hiking and biking, there are plenty of trails to choose from throughout the Austin area. A large trail surrounding Lady Bird Lake is one of the city’s most popular options with about 1.5 million visitors every year. The trail is 10 miles long and features an abundance of trees along the beautiful Colorado River.

There’s also no shortage of gorgeous parks throughout Austin, Texas. Take a picnic lunch with you to enjoy a relaxing view, or grab your bike and head out to a local nature trail. Spending time outdoors is good for the soul, and you can certainly take advantage of it if you move to Austin, Texas.


6. Speaking of Nature, You’ll Love the Weather (Sometimes)

If you’re concerned about moving to Austin because of the climate, don’t fear. This area is known as a humid subtropical climate which means Austin typically has long, hot summers and mild winters that usually don’t last as long as other parts of the country.

The springs in Austin tend to be short, but they’re beautiful and filled with the famous bluebonnet flowers. Autumns have very little color change, but they’re also mild. If you enjoy warmer weather, then Austin, Texas is the place for you.

In terms of severe weather events, strong thunderstorms and the occasional tornado may strike. Otherwise, the sunshine is quite abundant throughout most of the year. Many residents take advantage of this fact and enjoy swimming, hiking, and spending time outside almost every day, even in winter.

The average temperature during fall is around 69 degrees, making Austin a comfortable place to live in terms of climate. In fact, the average winter temps only dip to around 59 degrees so if you’re not a fan of cold winters, Austin is your place. But the summers can peak at 110 degrees with a humidity of 60%!


Ultimate Guide To Austin Texas

7. Best city for artists and creatives

With a friendly and diverse population, it’s not surprising that Austin, Texas attracts creatives from all over the country and the world. The inclusive feel in Austin encourages people to come out of their shell and practice some self-expression through art, music, and more.

You’ll discover plenty of arts here including music, fashion design, writing, and photography just to name a few. Thanks to the warm vibe, every artist is welcome here. Look out for art shows and exhibitions at one of Austin’s many fascinating museums.

The art expands into the food scene, too with delicious brunches and amazing beverages. Artists in the Austin area certainly want to sell their wares, but there’s also a spirit of community that seems to overtake the spirit of competition. You can meet all kinds of creatives here, and the art scene welcomes people with open arms.

SXSW is one of the most famous events in Austin, Texas. Once known as strictly a music festival, today it hosts all kinds of unique events that cater to technology, science, and engineering in addition to the art scene. The famous festival is something you definitely can’t miss if you plan to visit or live in Austin.


Noah Marion in Austin Texas

Noah Marion in Austin Texas

Noah Marion shop on South Lamar

8. It’s all about the local small businesses

Recently, Austin, Texas has been named the best place to live in the USA, and it’s easy to see why. This ranking looked at a combination of the job market and the quality of life for its citizens.

Although Austin is host to plenty of large businesses like Amazon, Apple, and eBay, it still differentiates itself from other Texas metropolia like Dallas and Houston. The big tech and other businesses are certainly welcome, but the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” refers to the desire to focus on local and unique businesses, too.

Because the job market in Austin is so abundant, it’s become a popular place for many different types of people to work and live. Whether you’re single and focusing on your career or you have a young family, Austin is proud to maintain its welcoming vibe and small-town charm.

The people who live and thrive in Austin take pride in their diversity. They want to maintain a healthy economy while never losing focus on the importance of community, family, and uniqueness that makes Austin such a special place.

Speaking of business, there’s also plenty of excellent shopping to be had in Austin. Large retailers and small businesses alike offer you a plethora of shopping experiences to choose from. Local boutiques selling clothing and jewelry are located aside major department stores.


Magnolia Cafe in Austin Texas

9. Super friendly locals

Now that you know more about the city of Austin, Texas, it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing to make this Texas city their home. Whether you love the music and art scene or you’re just looking for a great place to raise a family, Austin has it all.

Explore their diverse culture and be sure to experience some of the delicious food and beverages that Austin has to offer. Visit the local parks, hike a few trails, and check out some museums to soak in some of Austin’s incredible culture.


What’s your favorite thing about Austin?

Koko's Guide To Austin Travel Book

P.S. If you’re looking for more things to do in Austin, I also recently published a pocket-sized guidebook on Austin Texas!


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Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.