Living in Austin, Texas: Pros and Cons

Dig deeper into the positive and negative aspects of the Texas capital.

Kevin Crain

By Kevin Crain

Aerial view of Downtown Austin

Austin is weird. That’s not a good or bad thing, it’s simply how the city markets itself. From its funky attitude to the music that can be heard day and night, the Texas capital offers a unique experience. Like any city though, living in Austin, Texas has pros and cons. 

In this article, we’ll go over the positives and negatives. Whether you want more details on the food, live music, cost, and general feeling or the traffic and makeup of the neighborhoods, we’ve got it covered.

Pro #1: Delicious food

Mexican street corn in Austin

You could live in Austin for your entire life and still never taste all of the delicious food here. Though chophouses, tacos, and barbeque get lots of love, there’s an insane variety of cuisine in the Lone Star State’s capital. That includes classic deli-style sandwiches at Avenue B Grocery, Tex-Mex at El Patio, and fine French-American dishes at Jeffrey’s

Sit-down spots aren’t the only thing available in Austin either. The food truck scene deserves plenty of praise, too. No matter if you’re getting together with friends or want a casual date night, Austin’s food truck parks give you lots of options right next to each other. A few of the best food truck parks in Austin are The Picnic, Thicket, and Night and Day Food Park

Many of these dining establishments offer up global flavors and sweet treats, so you don’t have to settle for just one thing. You can sample different trucks during your meal. The more choices, the happier your taste buds!  

Pro #2. Live music

Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” The variety of tunes and big festivals are a big part of what makes Austin one of the 7 best places to live in Texas. Whatever the time of year, taking in a performance (or 10) is a must! 

There are so many great music venues around the city that you’d be hard-pressed to visit them all in a short amount of time. You may want to start in hip East Austin. There’s a thriving nightlife scene that includes live music venues like the Sahara Lounge, where you can hear live bands and enjoy signature cocktails.

Two Austin music festivals are can’t-miss events for locals: Austin City Limits and SXSW. This year, ACL takes place in the famous Zilker Park on October 4-6 and 11-13, while South by Southwest is happening on March 11-16. At both festivals, music lovers get to hear emerging talents, legendary acts, and everything in between — in a wide array of musical genres. Trust us, your ears will be ecstatic that you’re living in Austin, Texas. 

Pro #3: Affordability

real estate agent commission cash calculator pen spreadsheet and orange paper house on a table

The low cost of living in Austin is a major draw. It’s incredibly affordable to live here, especially in comparison to large East Coast or West Coast cities. For instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment in Austin is 40% less expensive than in New York City.  Even basic necessities, like groceries, are cheaper in Austin than they are in a city like Los Angeles, where you’d expect to pay $14 more per $100

Living in Austin, Texas, the pros and cons lean heavily positive in money matters. From eating at restaurants and watching movies in theaters to securing childcare and buying clothing, most expenses are extremely affordable. In short, your dollar goes further. Much further. 

Pro #4: Laid-back lifestyle

austin, tx

What puts the “ahh” in Austin? Known for its “Keep Austin Weird” motto posted throughout the city, Austin is totally cool being different. The Texas capital embraces creativity, individuality, and a relaxed pace. Unlike the frenetic energy of some larger US cities, Austin’s residents seem content to slow down a bit. That might mean paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake or slowly climbing Mount Bonnell to get a 360-degree view of the city. 

This laid-back lifestyle is embedded in Austin’s cultural fabric. Residents enjoy outdoor activities, live music sessions, and time spent at the city’s numerous green spaces. It’s a welcoming atmosphere that invites you to explore Austin at your own pace. Take your time while escaping from the hustle and bustle of urban living!

Con #1: Gentrification

View of Congress Bridge in Austin, TX

Because of the city’s rapid economic growth and booming population, some of the most desirable areas in Austin have been transformed in the past couple of decades. The result? Austin is one of the most gentrified cities in the US

This trend changed the character of many Austin neighborhoods drastically in the past 10 to 20 years. Homes and apartments near downtown or with easy access to dining, groceries, and other attractions have been flipped to take advantage of the hot housing market. A byproduct of this shift is that Austin is far less diverse than other similarly sized cities, with 63% of its residents identifying as white

Con #2: Transportation issues

a line of cars in a parking lot

Love bumper-to-bumper traffic? Neither do we. Unfortunately, living in Austin, Texas means dealing with it regularly especially if you’re driving on I-35. 

While this major interstate has plenty of lanes, parts of it near Austin seem to always be under construction. And if I-35 isn’t a headache, Downtown Austin probably will be. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving to work at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday or going out to 6th Street on a Friday night. The car culture in Austin can drive a person crazy. Pun intended. 

Sadly, there aren’t many better options. The bus system is weak due to the sheer size of Austin and too few (or infrequent) bus routes. The same goes for the Capital MetroRail, which is improving, but still not a practical solution for most people. 

Because getting around by car here is so frustrating, many Austin residents are determined to make the Texas capital one of the most bike-friendly big cities. Currently, MetroBike, the city’s affordable bike-share program, features 77 stations with over 800 total bicycles available to borrow for a short trip.  

For commuters who don’t mind biking to and from work, the Lance Armstrong Bikeway offers more than five miles on mostly shaded concrete and asphalt. It’s a fantastic way to trek near Downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake.   

Bonus point: the weather

Field of bluebonnets against a blue cloudy sky

Yes, it can get hot in Austin. There’s no avoiding the fact that summer temperatures often soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But during the 300 days of sunshine each year, there are lots of pleasant days as well. Plus, in the summer, there are spots to cool off, like Barton Springs Pool

In particular, the weather in spring, fall, and winter lets you explore inside or outside comfortably. Due to its location in the “Texas Hill Country,” Austin has mild winters and cool springs and autumns. Expect year-round activities in the fresh air!  Even better news? Austin is south of Tornado Alley and near the Gulf of Mexico. So the effects of severe weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes are rare. 

Looking for accommodation in Austin? Enjoy all the pros

Austin Blueground apartmentLike any city, living in Austin, Texas has pros and cons. Want to take advantage of all the positives of this energetic Texas city? Blueground offers flexible leases for fully furnished apartments in the most sought-after locations. 

Stay for as long as you want — a month, three months, a year, or longer. Each modern home in Austin gives you access to the city’s delicious food, live music, affordability, and relaxed vibe. Reserve your home today! 


Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain is a writer from Dallas, Texas. He’s dedicated to helping every Blueground guest live like a local and make their apartment feel like home. His favorite topics include active experiences, bucket list essentials, and hidden gems in cities around the world.