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Austin has a lot of great neighborhoods, but deciding on the best ones depends what you are looking for.
The Zilker area is where you will find the expansive Zilker Park, as well as Barton Springs, Auditorium Shores, the Ladybird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, and the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge. Also in this area is the Zach Scott Theatre, Long Center for the Performing Arts, and Palmer Events Center.
The University of Texas campus falls between MLK and Dean Keeton and Guadalupe and IH-35. Of course, the Darrell K Royal Stadium is found on campus, as well as the famous clock tower. Many large events tour through the nearby Frank Erwin Center as well. Outside of that, this section of Guadalupe is known as “the Drag” and home to college-student fare, bookstores, and various shops.
Hyde Park is a neighborhood just north of campus, filled with a mix of beautiful, historic houses and student apartment housing. It’s almost entirely residential, but great to drive, stroll, or bike through just to admire the homes.
North Loop is just north of Hyde Park and, while it’s also mostly residential, it circles around North Loop Boulevard. Once a funky, colorful strip of retro shops, several great bars, restaurants, and food trailers have now made North Loop a destination for food and drink as well.
Cherrywood is adjacent to Hyde Park but east of IH-35. This is another adorable residential neighborhood, consisting almost entirely of houses built in the 1940’s through 1960’s. The tree-lined streets make for a nice bike ride and nearby Cherrywood Coffeehouse is always welcoming.
“The Eastside” vaguel refers to the central east area of Austin from the river up to about Manor (north of Manor becomes Cherrywood). The eastside has become rather “hip” in the last several years and, while affordable housing does still exist, prices continue to rise as bungalows are torn down to build modern, renovated houses. You will find bars and restaurants a-plenty on Manor and East 5th and 6th Streets (and their cross streets). Art studios are also rampant throughout the eastside and open their doors annually for the East Austin Studio Tour.
Though most of downtown really lights up when the sun goes down, the Museum of the Weird and the Austin Museum of Art are centrally located, as well as the Warehouse district, which is a great area for shopping.
Follow Congress Avenue from the Capitol, south of the river, and you will land in the South Congress district, which is always bustling with shoppers, diners, and people-watchers. Soco is surrounded by Travis Heights, which is a beautiful and exclusive neighborhood.
Bouldin Creek is an eclectic neighborhood that still has a lot of Austin flavor, though housing prices have skyrocketed phenomenally in the past several years. South 1st, once home to 24 hour Mexican bakeries and hippie coffeeshops, is now peppered with high end restaurants and boutiques.
Clarksville and Tarrytown are also very exclusive neighborhoods, though they maintain some old school Austin charm. Oyster Landing Marina on Lake Austin Boulevard, you will find several places to dine overlooking Lake Austin.