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Best neighborhood to stay in Austin?

My girlfriends and I are going to Austin, but none of us have ever been there before. What neighborhood should we stay in and what makes them different. We'd like to be walking distance to restaurants and bars, but are open.

8 Answers

top answer by
Sean from Austin (Texas)

I would suggest near to the Downtown Austin or South Congress area. If you're planning on going out, those places are both the most popular nightlife destination and are within walking distance of residential areas so you wouldn't have to worry about driving, or taking a long cab ride if you decided not to walk. Enjoy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown Austin (attraction)
  2. South Congress (neighborhood)
10 thanks

answered by

You definitely want to be in south central Austin..  the heartland is between Congress Ave and S Lamar Blvd (east to west).. and south of Riverside, north of East Riverside - Oltorf. Here is a map of the area i would recommend.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. S Lamar Blvd (attraction)
  2. Riverside (attraction)
  3. East Riverside - Oltorf (attraction)
  4. Congress Ave (attraction)
6 thanks

answered by
Kira from Austin (Texas)

Austin is a small city but it is fairly spread out. As far as hotels go, anywhere in the downtown area is very convenient, catering to a variety of budgets. Some of the newer hot spots are The W Austin Hotel and the JW Marriott Austin

Also, anywhere on the SOCO (South Congress) strip north of Ben White Blvd. is great - Hotel Saint CeciliaHotel San JoseSouth Congress Hotel and of course the super kitschy staple the Austin Motel...

A lot of the 'action' in Austin happens downtown (6th street, 4th street, 2nd street, Rainy Street) - Zilker ParkLady Bird LakeBarton Springs Pool, the "East Side" - hipster dive bars like Shangri-La and Yellow Jacket Social Club. South Congress and South Lamar are great for walking/shopping. Areas of town on the north side of downtown would be the UT Campus area, North Lamar and North Loop.

If you're looking for a great Texas experience don't forget to check out the Broken Spoke, the oldest honkey tonk in Austin for a great live band, cheap pitchers and country dancing.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The W Austin Hotel (hotel)
  2. JW Marriott Austin (hotel)
  3. Hotel Saint Cecilia (hotel)
  4. Hotel San Jose (hotel)
  5. South Congress Hotel (hotel)
  6. Austin Motel (hotel)
  7. Zilker Park (attraction)
  8. Lady Bird Lake (attraction)
  9. Barton Springs Pool (attraction)
  10. Shangri-La (restaurant)
  11. Yellow Jacket Social Club (restaurant)
  12. Broken Spoke (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Alyssa from Austin (Texas)

Hotel San Jose is a super cute spot and perfect location on South Congress. Tons of "austin" spots walking distance. Hotel Ella is a bit north of downtown near UT campus but is stunning. Not sure what your budget is, but Austin Motel is on South Congress and is a quirky staple of Austin culture.. its a bit run down and there are no frills about it, but its a true "hipster" experience :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hotel San Jose (hotel)
  2. Hotel Ella (hotel)
  3. Austin Motel (hotel)
2 thanks

answered by
toby from Austin (Texas)

Hotel San Jose on S. Congress. Cool little place in the heart of SoCo. Great rooms, great bar, can walk anywhere.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hotel San Jose (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
melanie from Austin (Texas)

South Austin is by far the best or Downtown Austin. What I mean by South Austin is the 78704 zip code. Hotel San JoseAustin Motel are both on South Congress and very walkable. Hotel Saint Cecilia is in the Travis Heights neighborhood and walking distance to South Congress (SoCo) where all the shops and restaurants are. Plenty of great places to eat and live music in SoCo. Downtown, I would stay further West of I-35, between Trinity St and Lamar Square Dr is good. Very walkable. The closer to 35 you get the less there is and 6th St (Dirty Six is what long time Austinites call it now) is not a great place to be. The only exception to that is Parkside. The Second Street area Downtown is a great place to be by (It is where the W is located). Be sure to visit Zilker ParkBarton Springs Pool (if it's open, we recently had some major flooding), and Blues on the Green (in Zilker Park). 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown Austin (attraction)
  2. Hotel San Jose (hotel)
  3. Austin Motel (hotel)
  4. Hotel Saint Cecilia (hotel)
  5. Travis Heights (neighborhood)
  6. South Congress (neighborhood)
  7. Trinity St (attraction)
  8. Lamar Square Dr (attraction)
  9. Parkside (restaurant)
  10. Zilker Park (attraction)
  11. Barton Springs Pool (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Christine from Austin (Texas)

Zilker is a cool neighborhood for a couple of reasons. Zilker Park is beautiful and is where the Austin City Limits music festival is held (so it South by Southwest).  You also can kayak in the park which is a lot of fun. Make sure you get a shaved ice at Sno-Beach—so good! The Extended Stay Austin is kind of close to here if you need a place to stay.


I’m obsessed with East Austin right now. Do NOT go home without going to Happy Hour at Hillside Farmacy which looks like a bakery but serves some great drinks (especially their Bloody Mary). Also go to Farewell Books—one of the last great bookstores. Also love the East Side Showroom for drinks—a little trendy. I think the The W Austin Hotel is close by.

Definitely check out the South Congress area, too which is, I think a little less hipster. Doc's Bar & Grill is great for drinks and people watching. Bootleg Market is also there which is like a food truck but for shoes. Wish this were in my home town. If you like oysters check out Perla's—love the oysters here. I actually stayed at the Best Western Plus Austin City here once and loved it.

Just perpendicular to South Congress is 1st st which has some great places to eat and drink—my absolute fave is a place called LENOIR Restaurant which has a pretty garden out in the back. Perfect place for a summer night.

If you’re up for a younger scene you might want to check out the area around the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The Cloak Room is a great little dive bar if you’re in that kind of mood. Posse East has great fish and chips and a lovely place to eat outside. There’s a stretch there called “The Drag” that’s kind of fun to walk up and down but just remember it’s a college crowd so don’t expect elegance. Try the Hampton Inn & Suites Austin at The University/Capitol at the University/Capital in that area. Very clean and well located.

Old West Austin a wonderful, really well preserved (meaning old) part of Austin that I just love. Lots of great old streets and homes to wander around and some beautiful old houses to see. Make sure you have oysters at Clark's Oyster Bar and also Nau's Enfield Drug where you can sit at an old-fashioned lunch counter and get a great pimento cheese sandwich! For a totally retro experience I would try The Driskill Hotel for your hotel. It’s a beautiful grand old beauty. At least have dinner at the  Driskill Grill if you don’t stay there. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Zilker (attraction)
  2. Zilker Park (attraction)
  3. Hillside Farmacy (restaurant)
  4. East Side Showroom (restaurant)
  5. The W Austin Hotel (hotel)
  6. South Congress (neighborhood)
  7. Doc's Bar & Grill (restaurant)
  8. Bootleg Market (attraction)
  9. Perla's (restaurant)
  10. Best Western Plus Austin City (hotel)
  11. LENOIR Restaurant (restaurant)
  12. The University of Texas at Austin (attraction)
  13. The Cloak Room (restaurant)
  14. Posse East (restaurant)
  15. Hampton Inn & Suites Austin at The University/Capitol (hotel)
  16. Old West Austin (attraction)
  17. Clark's Oyster Bar (restaurant)
  18. Nau's Enfield Drug (attraction)
  19. The Driskill Hotel (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Shawna from Gallup

North West Austin has the safest neighborhoods. Plus if you get a place off interstate 183 you can catch the metro rail to downtown where all the club's, nightlife, and action is for a small fee. The rail runs late so your DD is covered and no pricy cab rides. I think the site for it is The NW Austin area also has great shopping, top-notch restaurants, live music and more. Come, have a blast and congrats!

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