renting a house in austin
We are a couple with a one year old kid. We're interested in renting a house in Austin, Jan. or Feb. of 2010. Our primary interest is food (street, markets, good restaurants), followed by culture and music. The question is which general area should we be looking?
This is going to be a tuff one and you are going to get many varied replies and opinions. First of all, I would stay "central" which can mean several different things. It partly depends on what you value most. IMO, most of the interesting "stuff" in Austin is from downtown and south. North of the downtown there is lots of shopping but mainly franchise and chain eateries. For the culture, I would remain "central" as well since most of it is at the Long Center or on the UT campus.
I live south of Anderson Lane and north of Koenig Lane, an area that ,imo, is ideal since I can quickly get to UT, the Arboreateum, the Domain and fairly quickly to the downtown area. My area, however, is not as "laid back" at the 78704 zip code area which is central south. The availability and cost of rental probably is a factor too. In my area a 3/2 is probably 1K to 1.5K. There may be some for less. I can't be too certain of the prices I just quoted, but I do no that more south of my house, real estate and rental really start to climb. All of these areas I refer too are east of I35 and west of MoPac. Good luck and welcome to Austin.
This topic interest me too because I am going to be looking for an apartment toward the fall of this year. I work just barely north of the Arboretum and could walk to work if I got an apartment really close, but the central and downtown areas are drawing me. As singlemalt said, however, prices really go up the closer to downtown or south congress you get. I would also have to add transportation (public or private) and parking to the mix, since most downtown apartments do not have parking or else charge a LOT extra. I have never lived in a downtown area before so I don't know what it is like, but it sort of scares me. But the food and entertainment possibilities might be worth it!
Definitely central. I'm a semi-regular on this board, a Realtor and a voracious cook... it's my favorite pastime (with a nice adult beverage).
However, you can find pockets of great food all over but many (if not all) of the suburbs are more chain territory - UNFORTUNATELY - as suburbs are typically more affordable but geared more toward families with kids, IMO.
East central, south central, central, north central are the areas I would suggest. (Since I have no idea of your budget or needs, I won't get into rental pricing). The most unique, local places are in these areas - again, there are interesting finds north east and in the suburbs but not as abundant in number.
There are many great restaurants and cultural venues outside these limits but I think you will find the bulk of what you are looking for by being centrally located.