With some of the most expensive rent in the country, a $1,500 rent budget in Austin won’t get you nearly as far as if you settled down in the Midwest, the South or a smaller Texas city.
According to a RentCafe study comparing how much apartment space $1,500 will get you in the top 100 cities, Austinites can reasonably find a 753-square foot apartment within city limits. Austin ranked 71 on the list with major California cities, New York City and Miami coming in more expensive per square foot.
Venturing to suburbs like Georgetown, Round Rock or Kyle, square footage per dollar is a different story.
So how much apartment space will $1,500 or less get you within Austin city limits? Austonia gathered listings from apartment locators Smart City Locating to curate this list.
$1,179-1,469 | The Violet | 409 East William Cannon Dr.
A $1,500 budget will get you pretty far at The Violet, with much more square footage than the city-wide average, and even more if you have an extra $100 to spare. Though there are smaller and cheaper options at the complex, $1,469 per month will get you an 847-square foot two-bedroom, one-bathroom unrenovated apartment with in-unit laundry and walk-in closets. Just an extra $40 monthly bumps the unit up to two bathrooms.
$1,343-1,500 | Griffis Southpark | 8515 S I-35 Frontage Rd.
If you’re prepared to sign on for a 15-month lease in Southpark Meadows, Griffis Park can get you a studio or larger-than-average one-bedroom. The best option to get the most bang for your buck is the Zilker II floor plan, a one-bedroom and one-bathroom, 868-square foot apartment that you can secure for $1,497.
$1,352 | Flats on San Felipe | 7920 San Felipe Blvd.
Four floor plans fall into the budget at the McNeil-central Flats on San Felipe, ranging from studio to single bedroom options. No matter which you choose, you’ll come in below the city-wide square footage average from 432-646 square feet.
$1,395 | Summit Hyde Park | 5200 N Lamar Blvd.
Coming in with the smallest area at 450 square feet, this one-bedroom, one-bathroom Hyde Park apartment is in a great location for the price. Signing for 15 months will get you the best price, several hundred dollars off per month. For an extra $28 monthly, a 645 square foot apartment enters the budget.
$1,185-1,400 | Monterey Ranch | 4701 Staggerbrush Rd.
A $1,500 budget will get you access to five floor plans at the Sunset Valley complex but the most floor space can be found in The Brodie Classic, with a modest 697 square feet. With one bedroom and one bathroom, the unit is pricier than some of its other counterparts but comes with in-unit laundry and a large balcony with outdoor storage.
$1,417 | Highline | 13201 Legendary Dr.
You won’t find an apartment for less than $1,500 at Highline but with one month free prorated across the whole year, you can live in either The Carnegie or The Chrylser floor plan. The McNeil-area apartments are on the small side, ranging from 668-750 square feet, but come with in-unit laundry and large balconies to enjoy.
$1,410-1,475 | Bell Southpark | 10300 S I-35 Frontage Rd.
This Southpark Meadows complex, located far south with easy access to I-35, has several floor plans that fit the budget. Ranging from 587-672 square feet, Bell Southpark’s apartments fall below the average size but if you’re willing to shell out an extra $35, you can land a unit at 768 square feet.
$1,445-1,475 | Agave South Congress | 625 E. Stassney Ln.
Located far on South Congress, Agave’s A1 and A2 units fit the budget and can get you the space you need. From 700-789 square feet, the one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments fall right around the average, but an extra $70 monthly brings the space up to 898 square feet. Agave is currently offering $500 off the first month of rent!
$1,485 | Henley Riverside | 6107 E Riverside Dr.
Centrally located along East Riverside, Henley has only one floor plan that fits the budget and it’s one of the smallest on the list but closest to Central Austin. With one bedroom, one bathroom and in-unit laundry, the complex is currently offering $500 off the first month of rent at this 591 square foot apartment.
- Where to rent: Top neighborhoods for apartments in Austin - austonia ›
- Trendy micro apartments are coming to East Austin - austonia ›
- 10 apartments in Austin with specials saving you hundreds - austonia ›
- North Austin apartment fire injures four, destroys complex - austonia ›
- New micro units are coming to South First St. - austonia ›
- Guide to where to rent in Austin's neighborhoods - austonia ›
With soft sand, plenty of beach bars and the best ceviche, there's arguably only one beach worth going to in Texas—South Padre Island.
You might know this beach as a college student's spring break hotspot, but really, it's the Rio Grande Valley's most secret gem. From someone who has been going to "the island" every year since before I could walk, here's a guide to the best SPI has to offer.
First thing's first, don't underestimate how hot South Texas is. Be ready with plenty of sunscreen. If you thought Austin was hot, you're in for a treat as high humidity will make the Valley feel scorching. Luckily, the water offers some reprieve from the sun's rays—still, be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat.
Driving in: From Austin, you can expect almost a six hour drive. Your navigation will take you either around San Antonio (which is a plus for most people) or through San Antonio, funneling to U.S. 77 until you reach Valley grounds in Harlingen.
- From there, it might be smarter to take the toll roads, which border the Port of Brownsville and will save you going through small towns like Los Fresnos that can get backed up with traffic.
- But if you do decide to hightail it through Los Fresnos, be wary of how fast you are going and the speed limit. Cops are especially on the prowl in those areas, catching out of towners unfamiliar with the speed limit changes.
Still, no matter which route you take, you'll go through Port Isabel before crossing the 2-mile bridge to South Padre. During peak times, such as early afternoon, expect to sit in traffic. Better times to travel are in the early morning.
Flying in: For the people that read a six-hour drive with wide eyes, there is a nearby airport in Brownville, a 40-minute drive from SPI, as well as the Valley International Airport in Harlingen, a 1-hour drive away. Be ready to spend $250-$400 a person.
Sights and sounds
Getting to the RGV, you'll be welcomed with palm trees well before you've made it to the beach. And just before crossing the bridge from Port Isabel to South Padre, you'll see a sign that may be blinking, indicating to watch out for pelicans.
As you drive over that bridge, your passengers will want to get their phones out and take the classic video of the the water, boats and parasailers in the bay. It's the best way to let everyone know you're on vacation!
And don't forget to roll down your window to take in the salty smell of the gulf of Mexico.
Resorts: For beach access and the fun amenities that come with that, places like The Pearl, The Palm and The Saphire are where you'll get a resort-style feel.
Affordable: You can still find a Holiday Inn, Ramada and La Quinta along the beach bars.
Airbnb is always an option where you can rent out condos, but you'll want to make sure to book in advance as options may be limited in peak summer.
There are at least 25 access points to the beach, which is on the east edge of the island. Some you can only get to if you're a hotel guest. Here are the most popular ways to reach the sand.
Walking to the beach: Between the bars and hotels, you'll find free access points where you get to just park and walk right onto the beach. You're likely to still find umbrellas and chairs you can rent out.
Beach bar access: Some of the most popular places for beach entry are those that come with a nearby bar. But don't worry, all ages are welcome. You'll want to check these bars' social media pages in the evenings if you're looking for live music.
- Where you're almost certain to not struggle for parking is one of the hottest spots on the beach: Clayton's Beach Bar and Grill. At Clayton's, you're able to get your drink on, get a bite to eat and have access to the beach and volleyball courts.
- A smaller, but just as cool alternative is Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill. With the same amenities as Clayton's, you can't go to Wanna Wanna without trying a turbo, a pina colada with a rum floater—you can get these just about anywhere on the beach, but they just taste better beachside.
Driving on the beach: If you want to try your four-wheel drive on the sand, you can! Access points #5 and #6 allow you to pay a small fee to take your vehicle out there. Click here to see how you might prepare your vehicle for the sand. If you choose to go with this option, you'll want to make sure to pack appropriately as there are no rentals or bars nearby.
If you're trying to make the most of your South Padre getaway, we have you covered with things for the whole family as well as the nightlife scene.
- Watch the fireworks: Catch a fireworks display at the island all summer long. Catch them displayed on the bay in front of Louie's Backyard on Tuesdays and near Clayton Beach Bar on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Beach Park and Isla Grande: The former Schlitterbahn is now a beach park that opened in 2021. The 25-acre waterpark has water slides, a zipline and beach access. (Day passes are $38.99 for children and $10 more for adults)
- Sea Turtle, Inc.: Learn about sea turtles and sea life conservation at the largest state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital. You'll be able to get up close and personal with the turtles! ($4 for children, $10 for adults)
- Gravity Park: For the adrenaline junkies, this park has the tallest reverse bungee in the world ($25), a skycoaster ($25), go-karts ($15-$20), mini-golf ($8-10), a 60-foot ferris wheel ($8), and a climbing wall ($8).
- Sandcastle exhibit: Right next to Gravity Park is a small sandcastle exhibit that is free and about a 5-minute walk to see all the exhibits made entirely from sand by professionals. (Free w/ donations accepted)
- Get in on the water sports: A couple of rental places like Coconut Jacks SPI offer jet skis for rental as well as equipment for parasailing.
- Rent a pontoon boat: Tritoon Charters allows you to rent a pontoon boat for the day perfect for the whole family. The charter offers private snorkeling, shell hunting, up close dolphin and turtle encounters, tubing and sight seeing.
- Party like a local: Escape the beachside and head to the west edge of the island for live music and dancing. Tourists love to flood Louie's Backyard, but there are other bars along the bay worth going to such as Longboard, Laguna Bobs and Tequila Sunset.
You can't leave the island before eating ceviche and fried shrimp. And you can't go wrong by eating at the already mentioned beach bars and bay bars. But here are some other notable places to visit:
- Breakfast: Yummies Bistro and Grapevine Cafe are both places to get your breakfast tacos in the morning.
- Lunch: Cafe on the Beach are good midday options to catch a quick bite without sacrificing quality.
- Dinner: F&B is about as upscale as it gets if you can snag a reservation—Elon Musk has been spotted here. They also offer Sunday brunch.
The pilot of a small plane is now in the hospital after crashing into Lady Bird Lake Thursday afternoon.
The plane, which was being operated by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden, only had the pilot in it when it crashed just west of I-35 in the lake around 2 p.m. Nearby paddleboarders are seen taking the unidentified pilot to Austin-Travis County EMS in a video.
The pilot was then transported to Dell Seton Medical Center with potentially serious injuries.
UPDATE: #ATCEMSSPARTAN drone video showing the aircraft submerged just below the surface. pic.twitter.com/wexI9MqpQS
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) June 16, 2022
Texas Parks and Wildlife said the plane, a 2009 Cessna T206, was on a test flight after routine maintenance when the pilot reported mechanical issues and then crashed.
As of Thursday afternoon, it is not known when the plane will be removed from Lady Bird Lake.
- Seaholm Waterfront project to transform part of Lady Bird Lake into ... ›
- Kayakers see alligator in Lady Bird Lake, TPWD says it's not that weird ›
- Dog-killing algae confirmed in Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake ... ›
- New designs for Lady Bird Lake Bridge revealed - austonia ›
- Photo essay: Austin's 'Party Island' on Lady Bird Lake ›