In a word, East Austin is hip. Ranking number seven on Forbes’ inaugural list of America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods, East Austin fared well in walkability, coffee shops per capita, food trucks, number and frequency of farmers’ markets, and those working in artistic occupations.
Bittersweet to its longtime residents, East Austin has experienced a construction boom. New families and young professionals live among residents who have lived here for decades, in an area with homes dating back to the 1920s. Consequently, you can find some of the city’s least expensive homes here, as well as restored Victorians, condos, and newly built homes.
There’s a definite urban vibe this close to downtown, and studios buzz with local artists, musicians, and other creative talent. Under the shadow of Ebenezer Baptist Church, you’ll find a yoga studio, the European-style Blue Dahlia Bistro and Franklin Barbecue—as well known for the long line alongside the building as it is for the brisket that makes the wait worthwhile.
Head north on the East Side and you’ll uncover several more distinct neighborhoods, all close to the city center and each with its own flavor.
Close to downtown and just a hop across the interstate from Hancock Center, Cherrywood has a definite sense of community, and its convenient location is starting to get more attention from homebuyers in Austin. The landscape is dotted with cool coffee shops, including Cherrywood Coffee House and Thunderbird, as well as eateries, El Chilito, East Side Café, and Hoover’s. The Vortex Theatre and Butterfly Bar bring a hip energy to the neighborhood, which are located on Manor Road and bookend Cherrywood with the easy-to-spot Fiesta Mart grocery store on Interstate-35.
This mixed-use urban village, built on the 700- acre site that was vacated when Austin’s airport relocated in 1999, is well on its way to becoming home to approximately 10,000 people, more than 4,900 homes, and 140 acres of public, open space. Soon to include a relocated Austin Children’s Museum, this community vibrates with active young families and retirees alike, many of whom put the 13 miles of new hike and bike paths to good use. Housing ranges from apartments to condos to detached homes. If you have a job at Dell Children’s you can walk to work or catch your connection to public transportation here, too. Farmer’s markets, front porches, and a spacious park encourage people to get out and meet each other here.
Just north of Mueller is the genteel neighborhood of University Hills. The homes here were built in the 1960s and ’70s and many have been updated over the years. Residents enjoy the swimming pool, basketball court, picnic and play areas, tennis court, and walking trails at the 11-acre Dottie Jordan Park and Pool area. With its easy access to I-35, the urban center, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, this neighborhood is getting more attention as the city’s population continues to grow.
The above neighborhood descriptions are from the Austin Newcomer’s Guide, Winter 2013.