Nowadays, people want more from their lodging than just a room to lay down for the night, a continental breakfast and good customer service—they want a memory.
This city has an abundance of well known hotels, but with all of Austin's wonderfully wacky residents why not stay in one of their homes? Whether it's a vacation, staycation or get-together, here are seven local rentals you won't soon forget.
Sculptor's Guest House, $121 per night
Located a short distance from Downtown, UT and the airport, this guest house sits on two acres of art studios so you can truly get into character while you walk the sculpture garden. The house itself is decked out in unique architecture and creative interpretations of ordinary objects, like the onyx stone bathroom, natural wood headboard with matching end tables, and cozy kitchen. The guest house accommodates a maximum of four guests with one bedroom, one bathroom and plenty of couches to crash on for an authentic artist experience.
1940s East Austin Bungalow, $164 per night
This spacious bungalow was built in the 1940s, but you'd never know when you walk inside. The wooded, solemn interior paired with black finishes give the rental a clean, rustic look. Although you'll be staying in a home that is nearly 100 years old, the unit comes complete with all the technology of the modern era. The Bungalow comfortably allows four guests with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Mid-century modern home, $202 per night
Nicknamed "The Peach Door" after its fruit-hued front entry, this Downtown-adjacent house is packed with texture, natural light and a comfortable interior that will make anyone feel right at home. Located in the coveted Travis Heights neighborhood, guests are just a short walk away from Austin's picturesque arts and culture strip, South Congress. The stay accommodates up to four guests with two bedrooms and one bathroom.
The Bloomhouse by Lodgewell, $822 per night
Don't look for any straight lines in this house—you won't find any. Designed by two University of Texas architects, this lodge is designed to make you feel like you're stepping into a fairytale with its cave-like interior and secluded location in the West Lake Hills woods. You'll know you've arrived at this one bedroom, one bathroom home for four when you see its fantastical head peeking through the trees.
Colorful Clarksville estate, $847 per night
Each room in this massive 3,200 square foot home is cloaked in its own unique personality, from its two-story graffitied living room to its colorful countertops to the industrial wash basin sinks. Less than a mile from downtown, this space is perfect for entertaining or simply soaking in city living. With six bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and two kitchens in the main house and one bedroom, one bathroom and a full kitchen in the guesthouse, there is room to sprawl out.
Downtown Guest House, $250 per night
This picturesque hippie hideaway sits just two blocks away from South Congress but comes with the privacy of the Hill Country. Built in 1928, the European cottage has exposed ceiling beams, a pebble shower and lush garden filled with large trees on-site. The guest house may be small but with a downstairs bed and loft upstairs, it can still fit four guests without getting crowded.
Historic Casa Cartel, $2,648 per night
Integrating Mexican architecture and art throughout this bespoke villa, the tastefully vibrant interior makes it impossible not to be in a good mood. With natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows, custom murals painted all over the house, a basement theater and a private pool fit for a full summer of lounging, this opulent house is the vacation. The house sits on a corner lot "very close to downtown" and sleeps up to 17 people with nine bedrooms and five bathrooms, so bring the whole crew.
Your perfect stay awaits you!
Temperatures in Austin are projected to reach triple digits nearly every day this week, so strap in for a sweaty summer.
But it doesn't have to be miserable if you have a pool to beat the heat. These homes on the market offer a private oasis much-needed this time of year.
Newly-renovated and back on the market, this 1975 build has been fitted with updated finishes while retaining its retro charm. An open floor plan and high ceilings allow for tons of natural light, the kitchen is complete with all-new fixtures, a focal-point fireplace for the winter months, and a round backyard pool and patio combo for the stifling heat.
4 bedroom, 2 bathroom | 1,844 square feet
According to the Redfin listing, the owners of this house have invested over $200,000 making this house a home. Aside from the spacious resort-style backyard and pool, the inside of the house boasts a media room, game room, wraparound staircase and upstairs deck in sunny South Austin.
5 bedroom, 4 bathroom | 4,390 square feet
In the North Austin Westminster Glen neighborhood, this expansive one-story sits in a cul de sac on a spacious 1.3 acres. With a newly-renovated kitchen, home theater, office for work from home and multiple living areas, the home is a dream. The backyard, complete with a spa, is the oasis.
5 bedroom, 5 bathroom | 4,575 square feet
In the famously luxe West Lake Hills neighborhood, this home features a private zen garden, multiple wings, exposed brick walls and two acres of land to roam. Each of the grand central spaces overlook the infinity pool and basin, with fold-away doors opening to the outdoor kitchen on the ground floor for full indoor/outdoor living.
5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom | 5,725 square feet
Nestled in the Hill Country, this Bee Cave home located in the equestrian community of Madrone Ranch is perfect for the horse enthusiast, complete with a barn on the property. Soaring beam ceilings allow in tons of natural light and stone accents give the home a rustic feel. The home really shines through its gigantic resort pool, with both covered and uncovered patios, and spa with a view.
5 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom | 7,153 square feet
Hidden among the glimmering towers in Austin’s downtown district is a quaint trestle bridge that serves as a window into a bygone era. The bridge, located on Third Street, rests 35 feet above Shoal Creek and was constructed nearly a century ago by the International-Great Northern Railroad.
The trestle facilitated the transportation of goods in and out of Austin’s downtown area for decades of the 20th century before eventually becoming obsolete and left to deteriorate, albeit quite gracefully.
But Austin entities have worked hard to ensure this remnant of the past is not forgotten. On Friday, Shoal Creek Conservancy and the Austin Downtown Alliance held an event in front of Shoal Creek Bridge to celebrate its recent listing on the National Registry of Historic Places. They also discussed plans to revitalize the bridge so it can be used for transportation once again.
“(The plan) calls for the restoration of the trestle as a public plaza and a scenic overlook offering a leisurely route for pedestrians to traverse Shoal Creek or be able to sit amongst the beautiful backdrop,” said Ivey Kaiser, the executive director of Shoal Creek Conservancy.
If their plan is adopted, the bridge would become a public pedestrian space akin to the Pfluger Street Bridge over Lady Bird Lake. The plan also includes a proposal to construct another wider bridge, replacing one already there, next to the trestle for cyclists and faster traffic to use.
“The proposal shows the potential of historic preservation to create a bridge, no pun intended, between the past and the future,” Kaiser said.
The next steps involve finding an appropriate city department to purchase the trestle bridge from Union Pacific, its current owner. Advocacy to transfer ownership to the city is happening now, Kaiser said.
Then the interested parties will start the fundraising process so they can begin construction.
The restoration of the historic bridge is one of the many concepts in the Cypress & Shoal Creek Public Space Strategy project. Among other plans, they hope to revitalize parts of the existing Shoal Creek Trail and create public plazas on Third Street near the creek. If adopted, the plazas will create more space for pedestrians, limit the number of cars and add more greenery.
“With the tremendous growth we’re seeing, there is a need for good public space that’s managed and maintained. It is so important to the health and welfare, not only for us individually but collectively for the community. I think we learned a number of lessons during the pandemic, that open spaces are critical,” said Dewitt Peart, CEO of the Austin Downtown Alliance.
Some of the proposals in the Cypress & Shoal Creek project are intended to serve as an alternative to the Bowie underpass project, a $6.6 million plan that would have provided a link for cyclists and pedestrians to go under the railroad tracks between the Market District and the Pfluger Street Bridge. The Bowie plan was determined to be unfeasible last year.