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The Next Hot Hoods

In the shifting landscape of growing Austin, neighborhoods are reimagined (and grass fed burger joints are built) everyday. Here are five on the rise—put a stake down while you can.

For a long time, the Austin you knew had boundaries. They weren’t set in limestone exactly; they would move a couple miles north or south, but rarely far enough to make an impact on your life. But in recent years, the Austin landscape has been shape-shifting faster than a late-model Terminator. It’s as slippery as a garter snake.

Austin is the fastest-growing city in the United States. A hundred and fifty people move here every day. They have to live somewhere. Because of that crazy influx, seemingly every neighborhood, from low-income central areas to older middle-class neighborhoods to upper-middle-class ring communities, is being remade by the city’s extraordinary boom.

We’d be naive to say all these changes are for the better. The traffic is a mess, and public transportation sits somewhere between limited and laughable. Longtime businesses, places that helped make Austin such a fun place to live, are shuttering, and longtime residents are leaving, forced out by higher taxes, higher rents, or just because they received an offer on their bungalow that they couldn’t refuse. Not everyone benefits when a city gets hot.

That said, growth and change have benefits as well. There’s been a restaurant explosion unlike anything the city’s ever seen. The city’s hangout penumbra has expanded as fast as its festival roster. Suddenly, not everyone lives in the same five neighborhoods. Our geography is changing fast. “You live where?” is quickly being replaced by “oh, you live there.”

With that in mind, we present a brief and selective guide to Where We Live Now. These neighborhoods aren’t new, but for now, they’re new to you. Drive over and check them out—and get in while you can. By 2020, “It’s only a 15-minute drive to downtown. On Sunday morning,” will sound like heaven.

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Barrington Oaks

Where it is: Northwest. South of the 183, east of Spicewood Springs Road, west of Oak Knoll.

Why it’s hot: Stately, tree-lined streets, well-maintained (and often updated) 1970s and 1980s ranch homes, easy access to tech jobs, particularly at the ever-expanding Apple complex, hiking in St. Edward’s Park, and the highly rated Round Rock School District.

Who’s moving there: Families with ambitious high schoolers who want to go to Westwood, people with more than two cars, techies.

Where to hang out: Retail is still developing and is overly dependent on going up to Lakeline Mall or back down to the Domain or Burnet Road. Sriracha and lemongrass devotees love the excellent Asian and Indian markets tucked into the same run-down strip mall as the much-loved Asia Cafe (try the wok-fried pea shoots there, trust me).

Newly opened: A Soup Peddler for commuters on Research, in the same new retail area as a Phil’s Icehouse and an Amy’s. And farther south, a new P. Terry’s. So not much, yet. But Whole Foods at The Domain is only five minutes away.

  • NEIGHBORHOOD FAVORITES...
  • Lakeline Mall | 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr
  • The Domain | 11410 Century Oaks Terrace
  • Whole Foods at the Domain | 11920 Domain Dr
  • Asia Café | 8650 Spicewood Springs Rd
  • Soup Peddler | 13219 N. Hwy. 183
  • Phil’s Icehouse & Amy’s Ice Cream | 5620 Burnet Rd
  • P. Terry’s | 12018 N Research Blvd
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Windsor Park

Where it is: Central Northeast. Bounded by 51st Street, I-35, US Hwy 290, and Manor Road.

Why it’s hot: Incredibly central. Cool midcentury homes. Tight community feeling fostered by genuinely creative people. Great old Austin businesses.

Who’s moving there: Artsy two-income families. Grad students pushed out of Hyde Park.

Where to hang out: The new Bartholomew Pool on 51st Street has generated almost as much excitement as the Mueller H.E.B. The Carousel Lounge is as old-school Austin as it gets, with local bands almost every night and owners that prefer a more “mature” crowd. Nomad Bar is slightly younger and hipper, but still gritty enough.

Newly opened: The Blue Starlite Drive-in on East 51st features vintage speakers, cult favorites, and old-time movie candy.

  • NEIGHBORHOOD FAVORITES...
  • Bartholomew Pool | 1800 E. 51st St
  • The Carousel Lounge | 1110 E 52nd St
  • Nomad Bar | 1213 Corona Dr
  • The Blue Starlite Drive-In | 1901 E 51st St
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East MLK

Where it is: North and east of downtown. Essentially the far northern edge of the east side boom.

Why it’s hot: Central location, an easy bike ride to the UT Campus. Both an artsy reputation and a great arts community. Affordable houses on large lots.

Who’s moving there: Young families priced out of traditional central neighborhoods. Unscrupulous speculators and flippers. People with lots of roommates. Bike activists.

Where to hang out: For music and drinks, The Sahara Lounge. For exercise, the new Walnut Creek Trail, just completed.

Newly opened: Country Boyz Fixins, at the previously unheard-of intersection of Springdale and East 12th, serves fried shrimp, po’ boys, and alligator. Dharma Yoga on Manor for coconut water–sipping vinyasa devotees.

  • NEIGHBORHOOD FAVORITES...
  • The Sahara Lounge | 1413 Webberville Rd
  • Walnut Creek Trail
  • Country Boyz | 4140 E 12th St
  • Dharma Yoga | 3317 Manor Rd
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North Allendale

Where it is: Between Anderson and Steck, Burnet and MoPac.

Why it’s hot: The housing stock isn’t the greatest, but it’s the last neighborhood to the north before things start getting suburban.

Who’s moving there: People a little late to the gold rush.

Where to hang out: Hopdoddy, Cover 3, Bartlett’s, the Alamo Drafthouse at the Village take your pick. Top Notch Hamburgers. Easy access to revitalized old-school Austin bars like Lala’s Little Nugget, Poodle Dog Lounge, and Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon.

Newly opened: Approximately 18 new restaurants open on Burnet or Anderson every week (Lucy’s Fried Chicken, Noble Sandwiches Central, Peached Tortilla). Possibly the best neighborhood in the city for fun, family-friendly dining options.

  • NEIGHBORHOOD FAVORITES...
  • Hopdoddy’s | 2438 W Anderson Ln
  • Bartlett’s | 2408 W Anderson Ln
  • The Alamo Drafthouse | 2700 W Anderson Ln
  • Top Notch Burgers | 7525 Burnet Rd
  • Lala’s Little Nugget | 2207 Justin Ln
  • The Poodle Dog Lounge | 6507 Burnet Rd
  • Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon | 5434 Burnet Rd
  • Lucy’s Fried Chicken | 5408 Burnet Rd
  • Noble Sandwich Company | 12233 Ranch Road 620 N #105
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Western Trails

Where is is: Southwest of Ben White Boulevard. Your new zip code is 78745.

Why it's hot: Adjacent to 78704 but not as expensive. Great midcentury modern housing stock.

Who's moving there: Dwell magazine subscribers. Reasonably successful music-industry families.

Where to hang out: Walk to Yoga Yoga at Central Market at Westgate. South Lamar is just a pebble's throw. The South entrance to Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Newly opened/coming soon: The Casino Southside Lounge on Ben White is a nice taste of Dirty Sixth, but without the massive crowds. St. Philip, the forthcoming Italian bakery and restaurant from Tyson Cole and Philip Speer, will open this fall.

  • NEIGHBORHOOD FAVORITES...
  • Yoga Yoa | 4477 S Lamar Blvd #420
  • Central Market | 4477 S Lamar Blvd
  • The Greenbelt | 3755-B S Capital of Texas Hwy
  • The Casino South Side Lounge | 1502 W Ben White Blvd
  • St. Philip | 4715 S Lamar

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