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Austin Neighborhood Feature: Downtown

May 19, 2018
Local Insights

There’s so much to love about each neighborhood around Austin. Whether you’re trying to Keep Austin Weird or take in the food, art, and outdoors, there is a place for everyone in Austin. But where does it all culminate? Downtown. When you think of Austin, you think of quirky places, trails to hike on, and… well, unfortunately, traffic. Downtown Austin checks off all these boxes (yes, even the traffic), so let’s take a look at the heart of our city and decide how you can best enjoy it.

Have you ever considered living Downtown? It might sound stressful, but we’re here to tell you that it can be a lot more relaxing than you realize. With all of Austin’s greatest happenings just outside your doorstep, you’ll find that there are more opportunities than you realize to kick your feet back and enjoy life.

One myth about Downtown life is that it’s always hectic. While that may be the case during rush hour, it’s actually pretty mellow the rest of the time. Instead of the morning rush of people bulldozing to work, you’ll see folks strolling along, picking up groceries, and casually grabbing dinner. Being out of traffic really slows things down and makes for a more relaxing lifestyle. It’s hard to appreciate downtown when you’re staring at it from your car on I-35, right?

When you think about it, living anywhere but Downtown forces you to constantly be in your car – driving to the Domain or sitting in traffic on Mopac. Excessive driving is isolating and has been scientifically proven to have negative effects on mental and physical health. But living Downtown is a different experience. You can walk anywhere! The walkability of Downtown Austin is incredible. Take a stroll to the Farmer’s Market on a sunny Saturday. Walk over to BookPeople to see a speaker on a Tuesday. Stop by The Hideout Theater for an impromptu improv show. The possibilities are endless. When you’re walking everywhere you can take in all that Austin has to offer and stumble upon random shows and events that make for some epic memories. Plus, walking saves on gas AND gives you a mini-workout. The best part about living Downtown, however, are the bonds you develop with your neighbors. You get to be a part of a community. Then, you’ll start to recognize faces and say hi while going on your daily coffee run, and that’s always a pleasant way to start off your day.

Speaking of coffee, Downtown has brand new eateries popping up all the time, so you’ll never get bored with the food around you! In fact, 6th and Lamar have everything anyone could ever want, including one of Austin’s favorite breakfast staples, 24 Diner. Then, right beside it is the always fun and quirky Waterloo Records, perfect for cruising around once you’ve eaten a giant portion of waffles. These are just a couple of the best Downtown places to hang out and meet interesting people. The place that really takes the cake on the interesting radar is Speakeasy, a bar on Congress that’s inspired by the olden speakeasies from Prohibition times during the 1920s. It always has very interesting events going on that are worth scoping out.

And if you want a more relaxed way to spend your evening, you can take a casual stroll on a bike or a scooter that rents by the minute. Being in Austin, you’ll notice how much folks LOVE to bike around. So if you’re ever feeling like a stroll but not quite a walk, check out those bikes and scooters. Just remember to be safe!

This wouldn’t be a true ode to Downtown if we didn’t mention the star of the show, the Texas Capitol itself. You can admire it from any spot on Congress Ave, but it can be more intimately enjoyed by strolling through its walking grounds. It has a beautiful garden decorated with many memorial statues. Not only can you get a scenic break from the chaos of your day, but you can also learn about Texas history in the process.

Walkability, accessibility, freedom. Downtown Austin life sounds like a dream. Did we miss your favorite Downtown spot? Tell us about it in the comments below! Until then, Keep Downtown Weird.

Updated August 2018

About the Author
Liza Dovgish

Liza is highly skilled in the art of writing and editing content of all varieties, including real estate articles, social media posts, academic essays, and humor pieces. She is currently studying Writing and Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University and acting as Jovio’s All-Purpose Super Intern. In her free time, she binge-watches HGTV and performs improv theatre.