Howdy, and welcome to Downtown Austin, the capital of the Lone Star State and live music capital of the world. It is so much more though; it’s a dynamic business and innovation center, major technology hub and world friendly meeting place made possible by great people who embrace the full speed ahead, future forward culture.
This all requires a lot of fuel and Austin’s diverse and amazing restaurant scene is second to none. They say you never truly know a place until you've tried the food, so make sure to sample the local fare while you’re here.
Austin, home of Tex-Mex, breakfast burritos and savory barbeque has something for everyone and is a foodie’s dream. Some quick Austin History: The earliest record of European settlers in present day Austin is 1730, when a group of Spanish friars arrived in the area from East Texas. After Mexico gained independence from Spain, Anglo-American settlers began to come and increase the population of Texas. These settlers reached the central Texas area by the 1830’s.. Austin built its first Capitol building in 1853. In the 1870s, the railroad's arrival acted as the catalyst for a second population and building boom.
In 1883 Austin became a college town with the establishment of the University of Texas at Austin, which sprawls out across the city blocks on your right. Make sure to keep an eye out for Lamar Boulevard.
You’ll be taking the exit and continuing right to take Lamar up past Pease District Park on the left and West Campus on your right. Pease District Park stretches across 42 acres along Shoal Creek.
This park is a chock full of activities and is a social hub for both everyday Austinites and UT students. The park is famous for its art installments, massive amount of playground equipment, Splash Pad, volleyball and basketball courts.
Enter Pease Park through Kingsbury Commons, equal parts imagination center and water park, it’s a beautiful and very Austin entryway. The interactive water feature was recently updated along with the treehouse observation pod. While there, check out the nature play area, multiple playgrounds and the brand new basketball court.
The park's landscaping is gorgeous and a highlight for all who visit. Pease Park is a favorite for the local community and visitors alike, providing terrific outdoor enjoyment fairly close to downtown. Our main focus today is north central Austin, specifically the neighborhoods of Brentwood, Allandale and Crestview.
The primary reason we started this trip downtown was to give you a feel for the distance between it and the north central neighborhoods – it is a short drive with multiple routes that just might become part of your daily commute.
The first neighborhood we’ll see today is Brentwood, the site of an old cotton farm that was annexed by the city in the late 1940s. The original bungalow-style homes were largely purchased by GIs returning from World War II to start new lives with their families.
Brentwood Elementary and Brentwood park were both opened in the early 1950s to serve the needs of those new families – we will visit both of those locations later on. Right now, Brentwood is one of the best neighborhoods to live in Austin. It provides residents easy access to urban amenities, especially with its closeness to downtown Austin.
Most of the single family home residences are owner occupied, but a large number of newer apartments has brought the overall owner to renter ratio about 50-50.
There is an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks and the area is very walkable. Brentwood is a neighborhood that has something for everyone. The location is excellent being extremely close to highways that lead to downtown and other local hotspots. It’s also quiet and safe. It’s a quintessential Austin urban/suburban neighborhood: as communal or private as you make it.
Koenig Ln is one of the main streets that run through the neighborhoods of Brentwood and Allandale. Nearby Burnet Road and Koenig access most of the neighborhood’s businesses and commercial amenities, Koenig also has easy access to the Metro bus service that connects commuters to downtown.
Look to the left and you’ll see The Pearl, a new luxury apartment building that is beautiful and has every amenity. They offer both rentable one and two-bedroom apartments that are pet-friendly. The top amenity offered is the rooftop pool, with its palm trees and stunning view of downtown, it feels like a tropical oasis.
Their health and fitness club has a yoga studio for finding your center after a stressful day. Cold towels are on-hand to help you cool down after your moment of Zen.
The apartments themselves are state-of-the-art, with modern appliances, bathroom fixtures, and lighting. Their premium apartments go one step further, adding Italian marble kitchen and bathroom wall tiling, under-counter wine fridges, and sweeping views of the hills to the west.
If you want to be close to great dining, shopping, and entertainment, The Pearl is a great place to live. Proximity to restaurants, proximity to Life, proximity to adventure. The local restaurants alone will make you feel at home.
Continuing down Koenig will take you to its intersection with Burnet Road, where you’ll find the central shopping and dining hub of Brentwood and Allandale.
Burnet Road forms the border between Brentwood and its next-door neighbor Allandale. The H-E-B here at its intersection with Koenig is the central grocery store for both neighborhoods. In addition to standard supermarket offerings, they have a daily bakery, deli, and pharmacy.
The shopping center is loaded with businesses that provide vital community services. This is where you’ll find the pet food supply, local dry cleaner, the liquor store, a chiropractor, and other necessities.
Across Burnet road, many other shops help entertain the entire family. Might we suggest the Sunset Canyon Pottery or Austin Pets Alive!, a thrift store that donates its proceeds to animal rescue efforts.
Walgreens is also across the street from the H-E-B for quick stops. We’ll come back through this intersection after a quick loop through Allandale, and I’ll tell you a little more about the shopping on Burnet Road then.
You should now be in the parking lot of the Northwest Community Center, located in the Allandale neighborhood. What's so great about Allandale is that it's a family-friendly neighborhood. The streets are quiet, and the homes are largely updated from their mid-twentieth century origins.
The Community Center is along Shoal Creek and the Beverly S Sheffield Northwest District Park. The park offers courts for sports, a pool, and a lovely duck pond.
The Northwest Community Center is just another thing that makes this neighborhood desirable. Patrons comment on how this is a beautiful place to work out, and the staff is extremely friendly. They offer classes and events for the whole family, from workouts and sports to free art classes.
The fitness facility maintains a clean environment and a friendly and comfortable atmosphere. The recreation center also has after-school programs for the community. The goal of the after-school program is to foster Youth Development in a caring and safe environment. The after-school programs include four primary components: a healthy snack, active play, enrichment, and homework help. The program runs Monday through Friday from 2:45 to 6 p.m. except on City of Austin holidays and school holidays.
In addition to after-school programs for kids, the rec center also hosts a “Teen Turn Up” series. The Teen Turn Up series is for teens ages 11 to 17 and happens monthly. These events take place so teens from across the city can come together to socialize and enjoy music, delicious food, games, and special activities centered around the event’s theme.
Leaving the parking lot, you’ll turn right, heading back the way you came and making an immediate right on Shoal Creek Boulevard. This road runs alongside Shoal Creek, which I mentioned earlier while talking about Pease Park. These two spots are connected by the Shoal Creek Greenbelt, a 5.5-mile trail that runs alongside the creek through 81 acres of parkland and provides a great running, walking, or biking path for North Austin residents.
You’ll turn left at the corner onto Loop Boulevard – the same corner where you’ll find our next location. Austin is famous for its Tex-Mex cuisine. Fonda San Miguel was founded in 1975 and is known for embracing and celebrating Mexico's cuisine and colorful history. Including its influence on restaurants across the United States.
Unlike many restaurants in Texas that focus on northern Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex, Fonda San Miguel highlights Mexico’s interior. They're one of the first to introduce America to the more culturally complex dishes of other regions of Mexico.
Monday through Thursday, they have a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., including half-price appetizers like quesadillas and tostada compuestas, plus a dollar off all Tequila and Tequila cocktails.
When you go, think about what you want to experience. They are sure to have something on the menu you are truly bound to enjoy. Their specialties include rellenas, a dish from Puebla that consists of roasted stuffed chiles and patrons rave about the Cordero; an appetizer serving of four lollipop lamb chops served with salsa de Morita.
Other regional dishes include Carne Asada from Tampico, and Yucatan-style pork, baked in a banana leaf. Needless to say, the cocktail menu is loaded with delicious margaritas and other tequila cocktails, perfectly paired with a serving of fresh guacamole or a traditional enchilada.
I’ve made myself hungry just talking about it! Take another left to head north on Burnet.
The first few places we’ll pass as we head up Burnet are also great spots to grab a bite to eat. Folks in the mood for tacos will love the quick, delicious offerings of El Tacorrido, a local chain.
This stretch is also the home of Allandale and Brentwood’s local bars. The Little Longhorn Saloon and Little Woodrow’s are the neighborhood's favorite watering holes, with the former hosting live music and bingo nights.
Now we transition from food to shopping as we continue on our way. The shops at Burnet Road are sure to bring some variety to your life. A-town Is a large boutique shop featuring items such as clothes, accessories, jewelry, and other gifts.
The best part is that local artists handcraft many of the items they sell. One-of-a-kind items that match a one-of-a-kind experience add a personal touch to your shopping spree.
Further up the road, you’ll pass Amy's Ice Creams. The ice cream shop is a local chain and such an integral part of Austin culture that they offer nationwide shipping to cheer up homesick former residents. Their fun atmosphere makes it an excellent place for everyone.
Don't feel like going out? Amy's offers home delivery. Their menu is curated monthly, including an extensive list of specialty flavors and vegan ice cream options. That’s right, those with vegan or dairy-free diets or food allergies can still enjoy the wonders of Amy's Ice Creams!
Along with ice cream, this road also has a couple of sweet shops and bakeries, such as Cumberbatch Sweet Tater Torte and Baked by Amy's. They offer freshly baked goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth. From cakes to cupcakes to pies, you are sure to find something for you.
Snobowla is a particular gem. This permanently-installed food truck uses dyeless flavor syrups to create delicious shaved ices that cool you down on hot summer days. You can even have your shaved ice flavored with essential oils for flavor with just a touch of sweetness and without the added sugar.
You’ll soon pass right by the H-E-B that we discussed earlier – this time, you’ll go straight through the intersection, where we’ll see the north side of Brentwood and the Crestview neighborhood.
Having turned off the main road, you’ll get a sense of the quiet suburban setting that makes Brentwood such an attractive place for families. Brentwood Elementary School, to your left, prides itself on offering art-based education for pre-k through fifth grade. Students learn through creative actions and projects to embrace learning throughout life. The school focuses on “developing the whole child”, and strives for an inclusive and warm environment where a student can achieve academic and social success. The school also offers art-based aftercare programs for busy working parents.
Next to the elementary school is Brentwood Neighborhood park. You’ll be taking a left on Justin after passing it, so keep an eye out. The park is a green space with a pool, playground, and picnic areas. If your student needs to get out their extra energy after school, this is a great spot for them to run and play. The park also has a walking path and a small athletic field.
The park is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, which is great for morning walks and nighttime strolls. The park also hosts community events such as music festivals, which are great opportunities to meet and interact with your neighbors in a friendly atmosphere.
Justin Lane takes you back to Burnet road, where you’ll turn right. Along the way, you’ll pass Love Wheel Records, a local music shop with bargain bin sales for as low as fifty cents. You’ll also see Lala's, a small bar done up with year-round holiday decor, including an unmissable Santa Sleigh adorning its roof.
Now we're in the Crestview neighborhood, another area for highly desirable Austin real estate. Living here gives their residents a chance to live in an urban-suburban area that's extremely close to the Domain, the primary shopping mall in the area and a central social location for Silicon Hills, a nickname northwestern Austin has earned for its exploding tech sector.
Whether you decide to use the Domain as a place for work or play, its proximity to Crestview is a major selling point. In fact, to prove how easy it is to get there, we’ll start making our way up to that area now – just stay on Burnet! While we’re headed north, let’s chat about Crestview itself.
Consisting of the area between Brentwood Park and Anderson Lane, Crestview’s main commercial area lies on its northern edge. As we cross over Anderson, you’ll notice the abundance of bars, restaurants, and shops that make up Anderson Plaza.
Although the majority of the households in Crestview are single occupants or childless couples, the neighborhood is still filled with amenities that would benefit any family. In addition to the single-family bungalows common to this part of Austin, Crestview features more apartments than the other neighborhoods we’ve seen today. That’s because Crestview is built around a commuter rail station, giving it the quickest possible access to downtown and other spots along MetroRail’s red line.
As for eateries, Crestview has plenty of restaurants that will make your mouth water. The Little Deli and Pizzeria Was established in 1992 and is a community staple. Although inside dining is small, they offer their patrons outer space and picnic tables that allow them to enjoy the weather and the views of the neighborhood.
If your best friend has four legs and a wagging tail, you need to check out the Yard Bar. More than just a dog park, this social establishment has a full Bar & Kitchen and is a great way for the neighborhood’s dog lovers to meet and hang out. Although dogs have to be on a leash while at table with you, they can enjoy the freedom and wind in their fur in the dog park.
Food and drink are served by Fat City, a restaurant that has partnered with the dog park to create a unique dining environment. The hours are Monday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 12 to 9 p.m.
Crestview’s shopping centers keep the locals entertained and well-stocked. With barbershops, grocery stores, and a selection of cafes and restaurants, you can enjoy yourself even when running errands.
Top Drawer Crestview is the local thrift store where you can peruse for vintage apparel. Tabletop gamers and comic book lovers will enjoy the Dragon’s Lair, with special-event nights and new releases in tons of genres. By now, you’re probably well on your way to the Domain. I’ll let you know when we get there!
Welcome to The Domain, one of the hottest places to live, work, and play in Austin, Texas. The Domain, located in Northern Austin, possesses landscaping and features that make you feel like you're in a park while enjoying hundreds of upscale and mainstream retail stores and restaurants.
The shopping area is large, perfect for that after-work treat yourself, or to get your steps in while enjoying some retail therapy. Its development concluded in 2007, and it’s been a central location for entertainment and dining ever since. Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in America – its population increased by a full third between 2010 and 2020.
Tech companies have been opening regional headquarters, and even moving their global headquarters to Austin for years, and now the northern and western sections of the city are referred to as Silicon Hills, a nod to the San Francisco Bay’s famous Silicon Valley area.
The Domain, and the mass of shops, restaurants, and new apartments that surround it, make this a great spot for the young professionals that make up the majority of the technology workforce.
Well, now that I’ve plopped you right into the middle of the action, this is where I’ll say goodbye! I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know northern Austin’s suburban and residential neighborhoods.