Are you thinking about moving to Austin?
We’ve been fortunate enough to call this city home and wanted to provide a comprehensive list of the honest pros and cons of living in Austin, Texas for anyone considering living here.
“Keep Austin Weird” is the mantra of this quirky city and it’s no surprise that the cat’s out of the bag — folks love living in Austin, Texas and are moving here in hordes.
Make no mistake, there’s a lot to love about life in Austin, but is this the right city for you?
Read on to learn about the honest pros and cons of living in Austin from a local’s perspective. Hopefully the list below answers some of your questions, if not, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help!
As you read this, keep in mind that these pros and cons of living in Austin, Texas are based on my personal experience, not everyone feels the same way. With that said, let’s jump right in!
Pros & Cons of Living in Austin Texas
Pros of Living in Austin
#1. The locals are genuinely friendly
The warmth of the people is hands down my favorite thing about living in Austin, Texas. Some of the happiest and genuinely friendliest people I have ever known I met in Austin.
With a population nearing 1 million, Austin is by no means a small city.
And yet, Austinites have a way of making you feel welcome and included – a true testament to southern hospitality.
There’s a lot of city pride in Austin and locals love telling you how great their city is, making it easy to strike up positive conversations.
Of all the cities my husband and I have lived in to date (Portland, New York City), we’ve never found it as easy to make friends as we did in Austin.
If you’re open to striking up conversations and coming out of your comfort zone, you will find that Austin, Texas is a very friendly city.
#2. Austin is a great city for millennials
Millennials make up 31% of Austin’s population and the number is still rising annually
COVID shifted priorities for most and many people chose to relocate to start fresh somewhere new. Turns out moving to Austin, Texas was high on a lot of millennial’s lists.
A 2021 study found that Austin, Texas was the 4th most desirable city for millennials, with a net migration of 5,686 millennial residents in 2019.
It’s not hard to see why! Austin offers many of the perks of big city living (great food scene, nightlife, cultural activities, outdoor recreation) and reasonable housing prices, to boot.
#3. There’s no shortage of outdoor recreation
Nature and Austin go hand-in-hand. Miles of hiking trails, biking trails, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, there really is no reason to stay indoors while living in Austin, Texas. It’s a great place to raise a family in that regard!
The remarkable Colorado River cuts through the heart of Austin, ensuring ample recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
But the water is not where the fun stops — there’s a great diversity of outdoor activities to choose from and since the weather is agreeable year-round, there’s seldom a bad time to enjoy yourself oudoors.
What’s more, since Austinites know the value and necessity of the great outdoors, they tend to be more environmentally-conscious, it’s easy to take pride in a city that cares about the environment.
Make sure to bring your reusable bags to grocery stores and limit your use of plastic water bottles by investing in one of these.
#4. The food scene is incredible
Austin is consistently ranked as one of the most notable food cities in America.
The name of the game is Tex Mex and Barbeque, and thankfully Austin excels at both.
Austin is known as being one of the food truck capitals of America and locals LOVE this unfussy restaurant alternative.
Some of the best meals can be found as the numerous food pods stretched throughout the city, so don’t make the mistake of overlooking them!
If you’re moving to Austin and want to get a head start on the (often overwhelming, but in a good way!) food scene, I highly recommend this book.
#5. There’s constant sunshine
Averaging 228 days of sunshine annually, Austin is known for being one of the sunniest cities in America.
The spring, fall and winter seasons are downright heavenly because of the mild temperatures and glorious sunshine.
As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to enjoy the great outdoor recreation most of the year thanks to the sunshine.
There’s something about living in a sunny place that improves my mood, which made moving to Austin a no-brainier with the opportunity presented itself.
#6. Austin’s music & cultural scene lives up to the hype
Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World and boasts more live music venues than any other city (per capita) in the country.
You can bet that there’s no shortage of great music venues to explore and that’s one of my favorite things about living in Austin — there’s always a good time to be had!
In fact, Austin is home to one of the most highly-regarded music festivals in the country, the SXSW (South by Southwest) festival, which offers a plethora of film, art and music to the community over the span of a week.
#7. No state income tax
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of moving to Austin from New York City was the lack of state income taxes. Your take home pay will be much higher if you live in a state without state income tax (for us personally it was a savings of 10%!).
Lack of state income taxes is the big reason why so many people move to Texas in retirement, your money goes further.
#8. Austin has a booming job market
With companies like Google and Tesla moving in, job growth in Austin is predicted to grow by 47% over the next 10 years.
What’s more, Austin was recently ranked as having the second hottest job markets in the country.
Cons of Living in Austin
#9. Austin is a car-centric city
Make no mistake, you will absolutely need to have a car for daily life in Austin. The lack of public transportation is an absolute pain.
I mean sure, there’s a bus line but it’s not efficient. It takes way too long to travel around the downtown core even without traffic.
You’ll need a car while living in Austin, no doubt. If you’re moving to Austin car-free, I suggest scouring Craigslist for used cars.
We have a Toyota and love the thing to pieces, very reliable car and seldom needs service.
But hey, at least Texas gas prices are some of the cheapest in the country!
#10. The summer heat is a bear
Austin’s summer heat is a hard adjustment for transplants from cooler climates.
It’s not uncommon for summer highs to reach above 100°F several days in a row and the average summer temperature clocks in around 96°F from June – August. Ouch.
The hottest temperature on record was on August 28, 2011 when thermostats hit 112°F. Imagine!
My advice? Don’t make plans that don’t revolve around water during the hot summer days. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of lakes, rivers, pools and water parks within short driving distance.
All this to say, you probably won’t tolerate living in Austin without this bad boy, it’s a necessity in this city.
P.S. Allergies are rampant during the hot and muggy summer months, heads up if you struggle with allergies.
#11. Austin is one of the most gentrified cities in the country
Austin is 72% white and is considered the 6th most gentrified cities in the country. Moving to Austin from New York City was a hard transition because of the lack of diversity.
You can find pockets of diversity on the outskirts of the city but seldom do differing cultures mingle, in my experience.
#12. The housing market
The housing market in Austin is hot! Average home prices are currently around $540,000, an increase of 30% over the past year — the highest increase in the country.
If helpful, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,400 per month.
#13. The traffic
The best piece of advice I received before moving to Austin was to live within city limits or choose a neighborhood close to work because traffic will take up too much of my time otherwise.
Some Austinites try to tell you that the traffic isn’t as bad as other cities, which is true if compared to L.A. or New York City.
However, considering that Austin is the 6th fastest growing city in America as of 2020, it’s safe to say the road infrastructure can’t keep up with the influx of new residents.
The constant traffic (which is not just confined to the interstate, mind you) is one of the biggest cons of living in Austin. So give yourself plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B.
#14. You won’t have 4 seasons
You can bid a fond farewell to winters when moving to Austin, Texas.
Now, the lack of winter could be a con or pro of living in Austin depending on your personal preference.
Personally, I missed chilly and snowy winter months– there’s something magical about the snow during Christmas! My husband, on the other hand, LOVED the lack of winter weather and the short winter season altogether. To each their own!
But it’s safe to say you won’t be experiencing all four seasons when moving to Austin.
#15. Locals may not LOVE your moving here
Like with any recently discovered popular city, locals aren’t too keen on transplants.
The unexpected popularity of this incredible town comes with growing pains, to be sure.
Most Austinites are incredibly kind and welcoming and live up to the hospitality the south is known for.
However, some locals will give you the cold shoulder and blame you for the uptick in traffic and housing prices.
This con is not unique to life in Austin. This mentality is prevalent in many growing cities across the country. Try not to take it personally, we’re all merely chasing the best version of our lives and it’s okay to move around.
Pros & Cons of Living in Austin Texas (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the HONEST pros & cons of living in Austin Texas
- The locals are genuinely nice
- Austin is a great city for millennials
- Tons of outdoor recreation
- Incredible food scene
- Constant sunshine
- The music and arts scene
- Job market
- No state income tax
- Lack of public transportation
- The summer heat
- The housing market
- Austin is a gentrified city
- Lack of 4 seasons
- Locals may not love your moving here
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Until next time!
I don’t see how #3 applies.I wish it did. Not sure how far I’d have to go for a 2 or 3 day backpacking trip. Drive to NM? CO? Not much nature open to the public anywhere near Austin. Maybe out near the “zoo”, but that’s just a day hike area. I may have to move there in the fall and am really struggling to feel a genuine connection to the area. It’s just such a huge suburban sprawl that makes me feel short of breath.
Nancy Cotton says
We lived in Austin and the surrounding cities (round rock, leander) for 40 years. After retiring, we moved to Georgia. Why? Because although there is no income tax, property taxes are OUTRAGEOUS. We had a large home and were paying nearly $24,000 a year in property taxes! And water was running nearly $300 a month!
After a final summer of no rain for over 60 days and days and days of 100 temps, we couldn’t handle it anynore. Now we pay about 2k a year for property tax and although we have an income tax here, most of our income, as retirees, is exempt. In short, you have to do the math for your own situation. Just because Texas doesn’t have an income tax doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheap.
Look at the total tax and see what works for you. Also, I would add, I think Austin is good for younger people looking for jobs. Most of the things to do are geared toward younger folk. We are enjoying the four seasons and mountains of north Georgia now and all of the trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But we do miss Tex Mex 🙂
Bob M. says
Yes, All of Texas has snakes…
Fewer in the urban areas,
as Mr. rattlesnake is a shy guy.
An unlucky pup got bitten in a Manchaca neighborhood a few years ago. Between the fire ants and the scorpions, it’s not recommended to go barefoot in Texas.
I completely agree with this!
Amy Hines says
Friendliness cannot be overemphasized in Austin, in my opinion. One Saturday, a friend and I spent two hours in the West Elm store in downtown Austin. We made one friend while sitting and checking out a sofa for 45 minutes, and another friend later, who had brought in a dog and we bonded over that, and car clubs, and travel, and things to do around town. I’ve been chuckling to myself for weeks.
Native Texan says
Great article. As a long time Austin resident, a lot has changed over the years, many of them for the better. We actually have a professional sports team now!!! I’d say another pro would be the various cultural destinations for a city our size. It’s not NY or Houston but we have the Austin Ballet and Symphony along with some interesting cultural places like the Mexic-Art museum, Blanton Museum of Art and the Austin Nature & Science Center to name a few. Another pro would be Austin’s location within the state being close to many other cities. We’re only a short drive to several vineyards and breweries too.
No Winter? Where were yall when we had the week long ice storm/snowpocalypse last year? The temps go from single digits in Winter to triple digits in Summer.
Hah, might have put 13 in the wrong category. When I read gentrified, I hear “everything is nicer than it used to be”. How is this not a selling point?
Antonina Pattiz says
Because it comes at the expense of someone else.
I’ve lived in Austin for 5 years. A couple of pros/cons not mentioned. Town Lake (Colorado River) can grow algae in the summer which will make humans and pets sick/die. The pace of life is too fast/intense for me. But I came from New Braunfels (growing and changing quickly) and Maui. Both are much more laid back.
Check the summer weather. It is getting hotter due to climate change. I’m retired and stay indoors (as my friends do) for months as the temps are dangerously high. I agree it suits millennials much better. Food trucks (plentiful on the east side) make for fun casual dining. Homes on the greenbelts get snakes and scorpions.
Multiculturalism is designed by who to separate who? To add to your comment, the fact that places like say Little Italy and Koreatown exists in cities like NYC is not an indication of culture separation. Rather, a testament of their historic and (or) unique positioning within the City. NYC is one of the few places in the world where you’ll see what resembles the United Nation (in terms of representation) living within the same apartment complex. Sure, people tend to operate within/around those with shared culture due to familiarity of that shared factor.
What you grew up with i.e. melting pot actually separated individuals because it essentially tried to force everyone to adopt a single identity and a uniform culture all in the name of Americanism. In recent years however, more countries including the US are using terms like salad bowl to describe cities like NYC because it’s a more accurate description. Why salad bowl? Because people from different backgrounds can integrate different cultures while maintaining their respective identities – much like a salad bowl where you can identify the different ingredients used in making the dish i.e the salad.
Antonina Pattiz says
Nic, this is a well thought out comment — thank you for taking the time to share that.
We do have rattlesnakes in Texas, but they are seldom seen in the city.
J Colacino says
You may not see them downtown but they are around trails and neighborhoods.
I have lived in the Hill Country on acreage for 10 years and I haven’t seen any rattlesnakes . Scorpions yes!
What about snakes?
I’m in the process of moving to Austin with our whole family! My husband is there now and just started his new job there yesterday. I’m in the process of decluttering our house in Pennsylvania while we get it on the market here.
MN-I do not agree. The people moving here who are liberal can eventually really help this state-I am a liberal too. The reason why they leave the other cities is because those cities grew too fast, like Austin is now doing. Restrict growth, don’t allow the greedy to take over and let’s consider a state income tax since we can no longer afford our prop taxes with so many folks moving here! PLEASE-DON’T MOVE HERE!
#11 is a fallacy, different cultures don’t mix in NY either, that simply does not happen. What you are referring to is what I grew up with called the melting pot. That has been replaced by multiculturalism which is designed to separate.
Lack of diversity West of I35 made me settle East. I’ve been happy here for 28 years, but watching the gentrification of East Austin as it unfolded up close has been eye opening. There’s a loss of culture for sure. But there’s a vibrant new growth vibe here too.
Olivia Vale says
Hi Kristine! I just saw your response here. There are a ton of great neighborhoods here in Austin, but all of them are soooo different! I’ve lived here for a decade, and would be happy to answer some of your questions about best places to move to in Austin!
John O’Brien says
Hi, we are in our middle sixties and young at heart, looking for a neighborhood that is not isolated and easy to drive to local bars and restaurants, must be safe in terms of crime plus not HOA aka living in a community.
Betty Buy says
True there is no state income tax but if you are a home owner you will be making up the difference and then some in property taxes that re very high. The food is mediocre at best unless you call barbeque and tex/mex fine food. The cultural scene is nill other than music.
Fair assessment overall!
Using the word notable to describe the food scene is a good choice, but I wouldn’t call it incredible. ATX is known for Tex Mex and barbecue, but are short on authentic, excellent diverse options. For example, many of the Asian or Latin American restaurants should be considered fusion or Americanized versions of that cuisine. This could be due to the lack of diversity you cited.
As a born and raised Texan and a resident of Austin for over 10 years, I am tired of this city. Not necessarily because of the influx of newcomers, but it certainly doesn’t help. I simply cannot afford a house here like I used to dream of – some neighborhoods have seen real estate value increase by almost 100% in just two years. It’s been a rude awakening. I look around this city and have a hard time recognizing the Austin I fell in love with as a little girl. Thinking of leaving for a while.
Kristine Palang says
We are considering to move in Austin, Tx soon but we plan to travel over the weekend next week to check out the area, schools for highschools, and drive to Dallas, to check out that area to where is best to live.
Any recommendations is welcome.
My name is Kristine and hoping me can meet and grab some coffee and tell us more about Austin. I am from Orange County in California. See ya
Karla Brown says
We loved and raised our boys in Allen, Texas, both of Dallas. They have a great high school both of my boys are in medical school so the school must of done something right! Lol
One main complaint of Texans regarding Austin’s growth is the political leanings of the incoming people. Texas rocks because of the minimal amount of govt control and oppressing laws (see Elon Musk/Tesla leaves CA). The new residents tend to escape their cities with higher taxes and other problems only to move to Texas and continue to vote the same way they did in NY, CA or wherever. This voting pattern creates the same problems that they ran from, and once Austin and Texas have higher taxes and a plethora of other problems, they will eventually move to another city, and start the process over again. This is the real reason many locals might not be so friendly. Also, property taxes in TX are super high and offset the state income tax.
Rick Plattsmier says
MORE than offset state income taxes. City, county, school district taxes, etc.
I completely agree with you on all points.
Texas Native says
It sounds like you may have experienced some unfriendliness because of your assumption that people coming to Austin and other parts of Texas are bringing a viewpoint different from your own. Since you didn’t back up any of your claims, the fact is more conservatives are moving to Texas (https://www.texaspolicy.com/new-poll-finds-all-those-people-moving-to-texas-arent-going-to-be-voting-for-democrats/) and it’s not bringing a plethora of problems. As an Austin resident for over 36 years and a Texan for over 55 years, it saddens me when we can’t get past differences and learn to embrace our diversity. The more you know…
Very true,‘and that includes me. See you soon Austin!