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Sixth Street | © Ann Baekken/Flickr
Sixth Street | © Ann Baekken/Flickr

A Practical Guide To Austin From A Local's Perspective

Picture of Aubrey Cofield
Updated: 23 August 2016
Austin is a city relished for its obvious weirdness, foodie scene, live music, and much more. However, like any city, Austin has its everyday constraints, or particular features only locals know. Whether you’re visiting Austin for the weekend or moving to the city permanently, here are some things you ought to know about this rapidly growing city.

Austin Traffic

Due to poor road layouts, lack of public transit, and the growing Austin population, bad traffic in Austin is the one daily thing you can count on. It’s important to be weary of moments when traffic is a regular headache as opposed to when traffic turns into a massive migraine. Watch out for when UT is in session and when large events are taking place. Of course, accidents are always a major cause for holdups, but there are some online databases you can follow to potentially avoid congested highways. You can go to for regular updates, or follow @TotalTrafficAUS on Twitter for more traffic updates.

Beware of Allergies

While Austin isn’t the worst city in Texas for allergies, the high pollen count in Austin certainly takes an annoying toll on your body. If you struggle with allergies, make sure to consult your doctor for a prescription to prevent the runny noses, itchy eyes, and congestion. There are also some effective natural remedies to prevent allergies like apple cider vinegar, probiotics, and local organic honey.

The Truth About 6th Street

The 6th Street nightlife is frankly not for everyone. Often known to locals as the hangout for college students, 6th Street often seems bombarded with drunken callow individuals. For a more laid-back classy experience, try Rainy Street, a row of houses turned into chic bars.

Cost of Living

Depending on where you’re coming from, Austin is either fairly affordable or pretty expensive. Compared to most cities in Texas, Austin’s cost of living is fairly high, but compared to cities like San Francisco, Austin is rather reasonable. To save money, head north to the Austin suburbs, far south, or the up-and-coming east side of Austin. Expect to pay between $1300 and $1800 for rent. Truthfully, the rent is guaranteed to skyrocket the closer you get to downtown.

Austin Neighborhoods

Austin has very specific neighborhoods with good and bad qualities connected to each. Austin Downtown is ideal for the young working individual; rent is usually very high compared to the rest of Austin, but your proximity to popular restaurants, coffee shops, live music, and various office buildings makes downtown a desirable place to live. North Central is a great medium between city and suburban living. South Central is laid-back, mostly expensive, and has some of the best restaurants. East Austin is an up-and-coming neighborhood making it a great place in which to possibly invest. Cedar Park is popular with families and is currently a very affordable Austin suburb.

Austin People

Y’all, Austenites are some of the nicest people you’ll meet. Expect warm embraces, long conversations, and deeply rooted friendships. Locals pride themselves on acceptance for all and good old Southern hospitality.