Ever been out on the town and wondered how much it'd cost to live in those towering skyscrapers? Austin is full of renowned party districts with housing all around—you might just need a well-endowed wallet to get you started.
It's no secret that Austin is starved for housing because every neighborhood in the city is growing exponentially, according to Austin Apartment Association Executive Vice President Emily Blair, but especially those that are close to jobs, like downtown.
"We're seeing the occupancy increase in all parts of Austin, honestly," Blair said. "Finding accessible rates based on whatever your income is always a challenge in a really hot housing market."
So before you start packing up your current place with plans to move to a fresh neighborhood, Blair has some advice: "don't." She says if the prices of your dream area are a bit too much to bear, give it 12 months and try again.
Here is what rent in Austin's nightlife districts will run you from least to most expensive.
Lovingly dubbed Austin's "second downtown," The Domain has been a city staple since its first phase was completed in 2007. While you'll sacrifice the proximity to downtown's cluster of night districts living at The Domain, you'll make up for it in savings. The Domain falls in the North Burnet neighborhood, where most people pay around $1,465 per month.
The closer you get to the shopping center, the more expensive apartments get, though you can find highly desirable complexes just a stone's throw away. Living at The Domain is about 51% cheaper on average than living downtown and 10% lower than the city-wide average, with a similar array of amenities: high-end shopping, whimsical bars, proximity to Q2 Stadium, restaurants for any and every occasion, groceries, nature trails and apartment complexes. Plus, the Domain is one of the safest nightlife districts in Austin, just shy of West 6th Street and Rainey.
What you can expect to pay on average based on apartment size at the Domain:
- Studio: $1,524
- One bedroom: $1,918
- Two-bedroom: $2,573
- Three-bedroom: $4,627
Depending on where you're living on South Congress—right on the bustling strip or closer to Ben White Blvd.—average rent fluctuates between $1,571 and $1,724 per month. Historically a low-income area, South Congress has become one of the pricier areas to live in but still hovers right around the Austin average of $1,619.
No matter where you choose to live on the central street, you'll be surrounded by local legacy restaurants, like Home Slice, Guerro's and Trudy's South Star; iconic shopping from businesses like Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, Kendra Scott's flagship store, Prima Dora and Music Lane's new development; and skyline views that rival many other hotspots. Studios and three bedrooms are much more affordable on South Congress than The Domain, though the price makes a steep jump at the one-bedroom mark. South Congress falls right in the middle of the pack for crime, the most common report being vehicle burglaries.
What you can expect to pay on average based on apartment size on South Congress:
- Studio: $1,132
- One bedroom: $1,957
- Two-bedroom: $2,677
- Three-bedroom: $3,777
East 6th Street
East 6th Street has been gaining traction as a boozy strip for a while now, and so have its rent prices, coming in 27% higher than the citywide average. The average East Austin renter pays $2,060 per month but you can easily spend a lot more if you're looking for anything bigger than a studio—prices in East Austin are rising so fast that it's forcing lifelong residents out.
On top of its longstanding affordability crisis, East 6th Street tends to be one of the higher crime nightlife districts, behind "Dirty" 6th and Red River Cultural District, with high theft and assault with injury reports.
What you can expect to pay on average based on apartment size near East 6th Street:
- Studio: Between $1,800 and $2,710
- One bedroom: Between $2,010 and $3,707
- Two-bedroom: Between $3,060 and $5,136
West 6th Street
If you want to stay in the downtown area, this is the cheapest party neighborhood to choose from but it will still put a big dent in your wallet because it costs about 74% more than what Austinites pay on average. Living near West 6th will give you access to a less chaotic but equally fun bar scene compared to its eastern counterpart—Star Bar, The Roosevelt Room and Green Light Social all adorn the strip.
Beyond that, you can expect to feel pretty safe walking along West 6th because it is the second-safest nightlife district in the city. Be careful on the roads though—the most common reports are of theft and DWIs.
What you can expect to pay on average based on apartment size near West 6th Street:
- Studio: Between $1,550 and $2,489
- One bedroom: Between $1,550 and $2,914
- Two-bedroom: Between $2,998 and $4,142
Red River, Dirty 6th Street and Rainey Street
All falling within less than three miles in the downtown area, living near the live music haven of Red River, the party at Dirty 6th or the colorful Rainey Street will cost you around $2,981 per month—downtown renters pay 84% more on average—though the neighborhood offers much more wiggle room in terms of price than the likes of East 6th.
The price will get you some of Austin's most famous music venues in your neighborhood, like Stubb's, Antone's and Mohawk; ready access to Lady Bird Lake, walkability to dozens of diverse restaurants and some of the oldest bars in the city.
You'll find the most crime between Red River and Dirty 6th, which have high theft and assault cases, but Rainey Street is the safest night district of them all with less than 150 theft reports from the last five years.
What you can expect to pay on average based on apartment size in the downtown area:
- Studio: Between $1,367 and $8,263
- One bedroom: Between $1,987 and $5,946
- Two-bedroom: Between $2,993 and $9,017
- Three-bedroom: Between $1,367 and $9,540
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If you are a committed, grunge-wearing resident of the Pacific Northwest, it is easy–almost automatic–to look at Texas as an extraordinarily dry, hot and culturally oppressive place that is better to avoid, especially in the summer. Our two granddaughters live with their parents in Portland.
Recently we decided to take the older girl, who is 15, to Dallas. Setting aside the summer heat, a Portlander can adjust to the vibes of Austin without effort. So let’s take Texas with all of its excesses straight up. Dallas, here we come.
Our 15-year-old granddaughter and her sister, 12, have spent summer weeks with us, usually separately so that we could better get to know each individually. In visits focused on Austin and Port Aransas, the girls seemed to be developing an affection for Texas.
Houston and Dallas are two great American cities, the 4th and 9th largest, each loaded with cultural treasures, each standing in glittering and starchy contrast to Austin’s more louche, T-shirts and shorts ways.
Three hours up I-35, Dallas loomed before us as a set of gray skyscrapers in a filmy haze, accessed only through a concrete mixmaster of freeways, ramps and exits. I drove with false confidence. Be calm, I said to myself, it will all end in 10 minutes under the hotel entrance canopy. And it did.
The pool at the Crescent Court Hotel in Dallas. (Crescent Court Hotel)
We stayed three nights at the Crescent Court Hotel ($622 a night for two queens), a high-end hotel in Uptown, patronized by women in white blazers, business people in suits, and tall, lean professional athletes, their shiny Escalades and Corvettes darting in and out, and other celebrities like Bill Barr, the former attorney general who shoe-horned his ample self into a Toyota.
Each morning as I walked to Whole Foods for a cappuccino, a fellow identified by a bellman as Billy the Oilman arrived in his Rolls Royce Phantom. Where does he park? “Wherever he wants to. He likes the Starbucks here.”
We garaged our more modest set of wheels for the visit. We were chauffeured for tips by Matt Cooney and Alfonza “The Rev” Scott in the hotel’s black Audi sedan. They drove us to museums, restaurants and past the enclaves of the rich and famous. In Highland Park, The Rev pointed out the homes of the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman along with the family compound of the Hunts, oil and gas tycoons.
The Dallas Museum of Art’s “Cartier and Islam” exhibit (until Sept. 18) attracted an older crowd; the nearby Perot Museum of Nature and Science was a powerful whirlpool of kids’ groups ricocheting from the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the oil fracking exhibit. Watch your shins.
A Geogia O'Keeffe oil painting called "Ranchos Church, New Mexico" at the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art. (Rich Oppel)
For us, the best museum was the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, a 50-minute, madcap drive away via a 75 mph toll lane along I-30. Don’t try it during rush hour. The Carter has an exquisite collection of Remington paintings and sculptures and an excellent array of 19th and 20th-century paintings as well. Pick one museum? The Amon Carter. Peaceful, beautiful, uncrowded, free admission and small enough to manage in two hours.
The Fort Worth Stockyards, a place of history (with a dab of schmaltz), fun and good shopping, filled one of our mornings. The 98 acres brand the city as Cowboy Town, with a rodeo and a twice-daily (11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) cattle drive. We shopped for boots, drank coffee and watched the “herd” of 18 longhorns. So languid was their progress that if this were a real market drive the beef would have been very tough and leathery before it hit the steakhouse dinner plate.
The cattle drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards. (Rich Oppel)
But we could identify: the temperature was 97. “I saw a dog chasing a cat today,” said the emcee, deploying a very old joke. “It was so hot that both were walking.”
With limited time, we chose three very different restaurants:
- Nobu, in the Crescent Court Hotel; Jia, a modern Chinese restaurant in Highland Park; and Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth. Nobu’s exotic Japanese menu set us back $480, with tip, for four (we had a guest), but it was worth it.
- Jia was an ordinary suburban strip mall restaurant, but with good food and a reasonable tab of $110 for four.
- Joe T.’s is an 85-year-old Fort Worth institution (think Matt’s El Rancho but larger), a fine Mexican restaurant where a meal with two drinks was $115.
Sushi at high-end restaurant Nobu. (Crescent Hotel)
It was all a splurge for a grandchild’s visit. Now we will get back to our ordinary road trips of Hampton Inns, where a room rate is closer to the Crescent Court’s overnight parking rate of $52. And to corner cafes in small towns.
Did Dallas change our 15-year-old’s view of Texas? “Yes. I think it’s a lot cooler than I did. The fashion, the food.” So, not only Austin is cool. Take Texas as a whole. It’s a big, complex, diverse and wonderful state.
Giga Texas, the massive Tesla factory in southeast Travis County is getting even bigger.
The company filed with the city of Austin this week to expand its headquarters with a new 500,000-square-foot building. The permit application notes “GA 2 and 3 expansion,” which indicates the company will make two general assembly lines in the building.
More details about the plans for the building are unclear. The gigafactory has been focused on Model Y production since it opened in April, but the company is also aiming for Cybertruck production to kick off in mid-2023.
While there is room for expansion on the 3.3 square miles of land Tesla has, this move comes after CEO Elon Musk’s recent comments about the state of the economy and its impact on Tesla.
In a May interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Musk said the gigafactories in Berlin and Austin are “gigantic money furnaces” and said Giga Texas had manufactured only a small number of cars.
And in June, Musk sent a company wide email saying Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10%, then later tweeted salaried headcount should be fairly flat.
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