Austin Texas Dwellers/Former Dwellers

Alright, I will be moving to Austin within the next 3 months (to attend UT). I need information. Where exactly is the university located? Let me be specific: what would you call the area in which it is located (choices are south, central, etc.)? I need to know where to look for an apartment. I have never lived in Austin so I have no frame of reference. Please tell me what you would call the area in which UT is located (and any easily accessible areas).
Additionally, if you have any recommendations/caveats, I’d appreciate those too.

I believe it’s central Austin, but you might want to wait on one more guess before you sign a lease.

Well, essentially, the school is located in the central part of the city. It’s a big campus, but the heart is generally considered to be the Drag. The Drag is the other name for a section of Guadeloupe Rd (Street? Ave.?). I strongly suggest you get a map to orient yourself. The Drag is usually defined as Guadeloupe between 15th and 30th, roughly speaking.

However, there’s free buses that will pick you up all over town called the Armadillo. The Dillo takes you everywhere. There’s also the regular city buses. You’d be more likely to find affordable rent the further you go from the school. South Austin, or East Austin has cheap rent, with the proportional increase in crime and dodgy neighborhoods. East Austin is primarily Hispanic. Don’t let that concern you. This just means billboards in Spanish, and delightful taquerias, where they don’t always speak English. Don’t bother looking up north. It’s not the cool part of Austin, and it’s expensive. All the bars and fun parts of Austin are downtown. This means around 6th street, around Congress. South Congress is a neat area, as is South First Street.

Students really live all over. On the south side of the River, along Riverside Drive, there are a lot of apartment complexes.

I wouldn’t recommend going much further south than rt. 71. Below that, it gets rather rural. If you don’t mind living near strip clubs and industrial parks, though, knock yourself out.

Right off the top of my head, there are a lot of apartment complexes around Riverside, Oltorf, Stassney, and all along Lamar. You can always find a room in a house all over the place. Check out the Austin Chronicle (local alternative weekly) for lots of rooms in houses.

Don’t know how familiar you are with apartment searching, but there are dozens and dozens of apartment locator services around town. These are free to you. Tell them what you want, and they drive you around to look at the apartments. Saves a lot of time, but they don’t take you to private homes, just apartment complexes.

Good luck! You’ll love Austin.

Oh, and the area between MoPac (rt. 1) and I-35 is considered central. East Austin is east of I-35, and West Austin is west of MoPac. South Austin begins as you cross the river. There’s a lot of debate about where North Austin starts, but try and use 2222 as a rough guide.

Hugh Jass pretty much nailed it.

The campus area is the only place rents haven’t dropped recently. UT’s shuttle system runs all over the city.

You didn’t mention if you’re coming to UT for undergrad or postgraduate work. Lots of students live in the Riverside area, and there are plenty of “student living” complexes that offer individual leases, meaning that each roommate in an apartment pays their own rent and doesn’t have to worry about anyone else’s. Given they’re geared to students, these can be incredibly loud, but the tradeoff can be worth it.

Unless you want to be really close to UT, the University has student shuttles (not the Dillo buses) that are free to students (Well, all Austin buses are free bu the shuttles are between residential districts and campus). Check out the Cap Metro site to see where the buses go. Look under UT Shuttles. The Austin Chronicle is a good idea, too, because it’ll give you a taste of what’s in store for you in a city that gleefully refuses to acknowledge even for an instant that it is in one of the most conservative states in the Union.

Undergrad, Fionn

Thanks a lot, Hugh Jass. I have asked people who have/are going to ut and no one seems to have any idea how the city is divided up by sections. You have been most helpful.

I have been warned away from the riverside area by a law student I know there. Apparently traffic is just unbearable. I plan on making use of the free buses, but an area not ridden with traffic would be nice.
I am not a partier, so I am not real concerned about being near the action.

UT is just north of downtown, and is pretty much central. The city’s changed a lot since I went to school there (1970s) and the West Campus area where I lived (19th to 29th, the Drag to Lamar) I’ve gathered of late is too expensive for most. I also lived out west on Enfield (15th turns into Enfield where it crosses Pease Park) and the busses made that a pretty easy commute to school.

Hook 'em.

Traffic isn’t what would keep me away from the Riverside area.

I lived over there and the traffic wasn’t so bad. The real problem is that the area hit an ecomonic depression in the 80s and never really recovered. It’s not rough-and-tumble, but it’s not really someplace I’m comfortable going to the store after 11:30 at night.

But the rents are cheaper. Which is why I and most students live there.

May I also suggest the West Campus area (b/w Lamar and Guadalupe and MLK and 29th) or the North Campus/Hyde Park Area (from about 27th to 51st b/w Guad. and IH35). These places are very popular and rents are high, however. If you plan to pledge a Greek organization, (almost?) all are located in West Campus.

Also nice, but farther away (with the expected traffic problems) is Far West - along Far West Blvd west of MoPac in the north part of the city.

Hugh Jass is pretty much correct about where E, W, and S Austin begin, but there is a lot of debate about N Austin. Being a native southside bubba my whole life, I tend to think of anything north of about 35th or 45th as North Austin. But, since so many people live in the northern suburbs of Leander, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Georgetown, and Pflugerville, there is a growing notion that North Austin doesn’t begin until somewhere north of US 183 as it runs between MoPac and IH35.

Please do me one favor before you move here and learn the correct pronunciations for the following streets:

Burnet == BURN-it (NOT bur-NET)
Manchaca == man-SHACK (NOT man-CHA-ca)
Guadalupe == gwad-uh-LOOP (NOT gwad-a-loo-pay)

I graduated UT in 1999…

The Riverside area ain’t so bad, and it has the advantage of a) low rents, b) multiple UT Shuttle routes (in addition to the regular buses, which last I heard were free to students), and c) actual proximity to campus in case you need to drive there. I don’t recall traffic being particularly horrible, but, then, traffic is pretty bad all over this town. The buses, shuttle & 'Dillos are a godsend, as you can comfortably snooze or read until you get where you’re going. Also, it’s the one concentration of offcampus bookstores and such.

Other advice: befriend the wierdos (say “Hi” to Leslie), ignore the evangelists (both right and left), enjoy the Texan comics and the Travesty, visit the Alamo Drafhouse as often as is financially feesible, and take advantage of any and all commitmentless freebies.

Otherwise, find maps of townhere, bus routes here, the Daily Texan here, the Texas Travesty here and the indespensible Chronicle here.

Leslie was sporting a women’s one piece bathing suit down on Congress when I was up there last weekend.

You might as well give the strange pronunciations of local towns as well:

Bastrop == BASS-drop (NOT BAS-trop)
Elgin = = EL-gin (g sound is hard g, not j, as in EL-jin)
Buda == BYOO-duh (NOT BOO-dah)

Then there’s Pflugerville, pronounced “Hell on Earth”

HeartofGold, I lived on E 30th Street, in a little duplex, and found that the East side of campus, off 26th street, was a lot quieter than behind the Drag…where all the frats were located, and all the parties went on. The East side had a lot more grad students and was generally very quiet. (Or at least it was five years ago.)

I never took a bus b/c I lived so close to campus, but if you have a car, I’d either take a bus or do like I did, and find a place from which you can walk. NEVER try to park on campus. Just give up right now. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and utterly pointless unless you have the Earliest Class On Campus. They don’t even guarantee you a spot, b/c they sell more spaces than they actually have. I cannot stress this strongly enough. DO NOT TRY TO PARK ON OR NEAR CAMPUS.

Also, Austin is very bicycle-friendly, so getting a place within biking-distance of campus is also a great option…and UT is covered with bike racks.

Cave Man is right; BUY A MAP. Austin streets, particularly around UT, make absolutely no sense…there are several streets with the same name–or slight variations thereof–that have nothing to do with each other, and you can get wildly confused if you’re not paying attention. (I won’t tell you how many times I did get lost, even with a map, but then again, sense of direction was never my strong point.) Several streets also change names within the campus’s vicinity, and then change back once you’ve left the perimeters of campus…26th Street is called Dean Keeton, for instance, but only while you’re near UT. :shrug:

So buy a map and be prepared to be confused anyway. (Hell, I’m kind of confused right now, just trying to remember all of the confusion.)

Oh, and as far as pronunciations go:

Bevo, the mascot, is pronounced BEEVO, not BEV-O.

[sub]My duplex, btw, was called Park Avenue Place…and it was a bunch of tiny efficiencies for $450 a month, all bills paid. Can’t beat that with a stick, especially so close to campus. I’m sure it’s gone up in rent after five years, but it’s worth looking into anyway.[/sub]

Oh, and congratulations. It’s a beautiful city and a fabulous school; you’re going to have a hell of a good time. Stop by MoJo’s on the Drag and have an Iced Mojo for me. slurrrrp

And if your name is pronounced “He-bert” where you are, it’s going to be “A-bear” here. Yeah, the people in this town really don’t know how to pronounce.

I’m going to be one of those who will go ahead and recommend Riverside as a good place for undergrads to live. Sure, it’s not the nicest part of town, but if you avoid I-35, traffic ain’t that bad, and it puts you pretty much fifteen minutes from everything. The apartments off of Wickersham are all pretty nice, and the College Park/University Commons areas are tailored to college students, so you’ll be bound to make friends.

Carry a lighter. Even if you don’t smoke, you’ll find it’s a great way of meeting friends (so long as you don’t mind hanging out with smokers).

North Austin ain’t all that bad. We’ve got two Alamo Draft Houses now, plus Lakeline Mall, a few movie theaters, and some nice bars (maybe that will be for later).

Other great places to check out: Half Priced Books for discounted, used books; Book People for the newer stuff (great selection, locally owned, amazing place); I Luv Video for all your at-home movie needs (people also seem to like Vulcan video, but I find I Luv to be vastly superior…just an amazing selection of pretty much anything and everything). Kerby Lane is pretty good food, but really terrible service (but that’s actually part of the charm). Magnolia is another Austin favorite (I recommend the voodoo chicken sandwich).

Another, very important, pronunciation:

Loop 1 == MO-PAC

Never, ever take IH35 when you can take Mopac. Trust me on this.

If you’re coming from up north, bear in mind that it’s 900 degrees outside during the summer.

Bring a swimsuit- Barton Springs is one of the main reasons I originally moved here. You’ll love it, especially when it’s 900 degrees outside.

If you see a bike painted yellow, feel free to take it for a spin. It’s a “Yellow Bike”, and that’s what it’s there for. When you’re done with it, just leave it lying around like you found it.

See the Congress Bridge bats. We do this occasionally at the Austin Dopefests, which we call BatDopes. See the bats right at dusk- it’s quite a sight.

If you like Vietnamese food, make sure you go to Kim Phung. If it’s sushi/korean food you like, hit Korea House. If you like to watch movies while you eat, go to the Alamo Drafthouse (we’ve got three now!).

Welcome. You’ll like it.