Moving to Austin, TX? Read Our Ultimate Moving Guide
Moving to Austin means you’ll live in a big, bustling city with a growing tech sector, plenty of small businesses and artisans, and no state income tax. You’ll navigate traffic while also being able to enjoy outdoor recreation, including in gorgeous green spaces—and, of course, oodles of sunshine and warmth. People are friendly in Austin, and you can enjoy a wide variety of restaurants (including animal-friendly ones) and live music events.
This moving guide shares even more information and, if you’re ready to move to this Texas city, Suddath® has all of the Austin residential moving services you need.
Austin is a vibrant, active place—so, if you want to live in the heart of what’s happening, it makes sense to move to the city of Austin. Plus, some of the fastest growing cities in the United States right now are suburbs of Austin.
Using U.S. census data, three of the top fifteen fastest-growing cities are right by Austin, Texas:
- Cedar Park: This major suburb is ranked #7 in speed of growth, located just 16 miles southwest of the center of Austin. Reasons for its popularity include outstanding tech (and other) employers, excellent schools, and nature trails and gardens.
- Round Rock: Located 15 miles or so north of Austin and ranked #13 in growth, major tech companies are located in the area, attracted by the pro-business environment. Residents of Round Rock can also participate in a range of outdoor activities.
- New Braunfels: Located between Austin and San Antonio, this city is ranked #3 in growth. People enjoy its historic downtown, gorgeous parks, hiking and biking trails, and natural bridge caverns. This city is well known for its Germanic heritage and culture.
Whether you prefer a big city or suburban living, if these descriptions appeal to you, then moving to Austin, TX is likely right for you.
Getting Around Austin
You can travel throughout the city on Capital Metro, Central Texas’s public transportation provider. This system consists of a network of buses and routes to get people around the downtown area as well as in other parts of the city. To buy passes and plan your trip from wherever you are at the moment, download the CapMetro App.
Another option: Capital Metro’s Rail Line. This also includes MetroRapid and MetroExpress routes.
If you’re just arriving at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport or people will visit you in your new home in Austin, there are plenty of ground transportation options to use.
Here’s information about parking downtown when you drive, and you can also find current parking information, including how full a parking lot or garage is; whether you can reserve a spot; and how much parking will cost. Plus, there’s a parking app available.
Like to bike? This is a practical way to get around Austin, and the Austin B-Cycle app provides plenty of resources. The City of Austin also offers useful information, including a map that will show what areas may be affected by special events.
Other options include taxis, Uber, Lyft, rentable scooters, and more with Austin also being a walkable downtown. In short, plenty of choices exist to get around the city of Austin.
Historic Clarksville is located just minutes from downtown Austin with beautiful homes and parks, plus unique restaurants, bars, boutique shops, and a quirky vibe. This eclectic community is walkable, making it easy to enjoy your surroundings, and generationally diverse. Schools are excellent. This neighborhood is pricier than some, though, so budget appropriately.
Looking for something quieter? Rosedale also has restaurants, shops, parks, and more while also being walkable— but it’s traditional rather than funky. It can be more affordable than Clarksville, ideal for a first homeowner or for retirement years.
Environmentally conscious young professionals may appreciate Franklin Park while young families can benefit from its affordability. Plus, University of Texas students looking for off-campus housing can take advantage of its accessibility. As the name suggests, the area is known for its parks. Mostly residential, there aren’t as many shops and restaurants.
If you’re looking for a middle ground in the atmosphere, Allandale has a suburban feel while being located just minutes to busy city life. Like with many other Austin neighborhoods, restaurants, shops, parks, and more are close.
North Loop holds onto its bohemian vibe as the main street winds throughout the neighborhood’s center. More laidback and less pricey than some Austin communities, this walkable neighborhood contains coffee shops, vintage stores, a bookshop, and more, besides restaurants and bars. The area includes a mix of smaller traditional homes, multi-family dwellings, and more.
This is just a smattering of Austin neighborhoods—and the one that’s right for you will depend upon your lifestyle, interests, and budget. If you’re interested in learning more about Austin neighborhoods, check out our deep dive into the Best Places to Live in Austin.
Things to Do for Families
You aren’t going to run out of activities for kids in Austin even if you just focus on playtime in the city’s many parks. It’s seldom too cold to be outdoors with January, the coldest month, averaging lows of 41 degrees. The hottest months are July and August with average lows of 74 degrees and highs of 96.
The Austin Zoo has more than 300 animals, including ones native to Texas. The mission of this zoo is to help wildlife in need, which is a real bonus, with most of them being rescue animals. The entire family can enjoy seeing monkeys, big cats, foxes, and more and appreciate the zoo’s conservation efforts. You’ll need to buy tickets ahead of time (pricing and ticket sales here) and then show the zoo your receipt when you arrive.
If looking for an indoor activity, head to Thinkery, an interactive children’s museum with an age-appropriate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) focus. A non-profit organization, Thinkery offers on-site exhibits and programs along with outreach activities, including summer camps. Across the street is a playground with ducks in Mueller Lake.
From April through October, families in Austin can watch more than one million Mexican free-tailed bats in motion. Watch them at sunset at the Bat Bridge or from a paddleboat on the water. There’s even an annual Bat Fest where children aged eight and under get free admission when they’re with an adult.
Here’s one more idea (among many others we could mention). If you’ve ever wanted to play miniature golf under the watchful eye of a T-Rex dinosaur, head to Peter Pan Mini Golf. In business since 1948, the course is filled with “characters, obstacles, and surprises” and is considered to be an Austin landmark.
Education in Austin
Texas contains independent school districts, meaning that they’re separate from governmental oversight with their own taxing authority. When two or more systems combine, this becomes a “consolidated” district. Currently, there are more than 1,200 Texas school districts with many of them considered to be exceptional according to the Texas Educational Agency. Ratings are based on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, College Board AP scores, and the like. When considering a move to Austin, it’s best to look at the specific district where your child would attend school.
Higher education institutions in Austin include the following:
- The University of Texas at Austin: public four-year university
- St. Edward’s University: private, non-profit four-year university
- Huston-Tillotson University: private, non-profit four-year university
- Concordia University Texas: private, non-profit four-year university
- Gemini School of Visual Arts: private, for-profit four-year university
Sports in Austin
When you think of Austin sports, the University of Texas Longhorns may be the first team that comes to mind—and for good reason. They’ve won fifty-one national championships since 1940. Plus, when it comes to Big 12 Conference titles, they’ve won more than any other school. Hook ‘em, Horns!
Additional Austin sports teams include these:
- Austin Blacks Rugby: The first rugby club in the southwestern portion of the United States
- Austin FC: This Major League Soccer team was the city’s first professional sports franchise
- Austin Gamblers: This team is part of a new league, the Professional Bull Riders
- AG Rugby: This professional team competes in Major League Rugby
- Austin Huns: This semi-professional rugby team won the U.S. Division 1 National Championship in 2017
- Austin SOL: This franchise is part of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL)
- Austin Spurs: Owned by the five-time NBA world champions, the San Antonio Spurs, this is the franchise’s Gatorade League team
- Austin Valkyries Women’s Rugby: This team frequently reaches the level of national championship competitions
- FC Austin Elite: This team is part of the United Women’s Soccer League, a second-division professional league
- Round Rock Express: This baseball team is the Houston Astros’ AAA minor league affiliate
- Texas Roller Derby: This team has been entertaining fans since 2001
- Texas Rollergirls: This amateur sports team is a non-profit organization that promotes women’s flat track derby
- Texas Stars: This hockey club is an affiliate of the NHL Dallas Stars
What to Do in Austin
This city is known as the Live Music Capital of the World—and for good reason. From festivals to coffeehouses and from concert halls and bars—even at groceries stores—talented musicians are strumming strings, tapping rhythms on drums, and singing songs that make you snap your fingers. The city is home to more than two hundred and fifty live music venues, keeping your calendar filled all year long.
Speaking of music, you can now enjoy live jazz at Magic’s Theater in Southwest Austin. On Friday nights, you can witness an up-close magic show and, on Saturdays, a full auditorium-sized one. The accompanying museum features pieces that belonged to Harry Houdini and, if you’d like, you can bring your own wine to drink (small corkage fee charged).
Is the weather too perfect to be indoors? Go tubing! Locals love to float on the San Marcos River and Guadalupe River, relaxing in the waters. Check out companies that offer transportation (and parking) and chill out with fellow tubers.
You can also canoe, paddleboard, and kayak at Lady Bird Lake (1820 S. Lakeshore Blvd. in Austin); walk the paved boardwalk; hike and bike on trails surrounding the lake; and take a cruise. This lake and surrounding property is one of the loveliest places to visit in the city. Note: No motorized boats are allowed.
In the mood for nostalgia? Head to Pinballz Arcade to play retro games that will trigger fond memories and create modern-day fun. The lighting is dimmed, making the pinball machines stand out. If it’s an adult night out, you can bring your own beer and, depending upon the night you go, it may be karaoke time!
Once you’re done, you can visit adjacent Pinballz Lake Creek to engage in laser tag, crash into others with bumper cars, and participate in virtual reality simulations.
Dining, Nightlife, and the Arts
From ethnic eats to casual dining and from Southern fare to funky food trucks, Austin has it all.
Austin eateries to consider include these:
- Franklin’s Barbecue: Their website shares a snippet from a review, declaring that they serve the “best barbecue in the known universe.” If the lines that form, especially on weekends, are any sign, this review may not be hyperbole/
- Koriente: This pan-Asian treasure was, ironically enough, founded by a woman who hated to cook. So, she opened a restaurant that serves deliciously nutritious meals at affordable prices. This includes but isn’t limited to vegan and gluten-free dishes.
- Veracruz All Natural: This food truck offers second-to-none tacos that are served on handmade tortillas with fresh salsas. All six of the locations include outdoor seating with two of them also having indoor dining.
- Emmer & Rye: For finer dining, Emmer & Rye features a menu designed by executive chef/co-owner Kevin Fink—a James Beard Award finalist. Ingredients are locally sourced with executive pastry chef/co-owner Tavel Bristol-Joseph making a mighty fine sweet potato cake.
If you’re in search of nightlife, the Rainey Street District is uniquely Austin. After Lustre Pearl was opened in an old home, serving ice cold beers and specialty cocktails, plenty of other entrepreneurs transformed older homes into bars. This transformation began in 2009 and, since then, a row of bars each has distinct personalities and ambiances. Other spots worth stopping at along this strip include Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden, Icenhauer’s, and Javelina.
Another popular spot is the Austin Beer Garden and Brewery, which serves homemade pizza and award-winning beer with live music to enjoy. At Buford’s, multiple bars and dance floors exist in a three-story building where you can also play a few indoor and outdoor games.
Austin is also home to numerous art museums and galleries, performing arts theaters, orchestras, art festivals, and more. Here is an in-depth listing.
Shopping in Austin
Shopping malls include The Domain, a tree-lined outdoor shopping experience with luxury brands; Domain Northside with indie shopping venues and nearby establishments where you can sip cocktails; as well as the Arboretum and Barton Creek Square Mall.
Shopping districts of choice include South Congress (SoCo), South First Street, the 2nd Street District, 6th and Lamar, North Loop, and East Austin.
The city is also home to dozens of farmer’s markets, artisan flea markets, and offbeat local shops. One-of-a-kind shops include Allen’s Boots (recognizable by the boot on the awning) where people buy cowboy boots, leather belts, and Stetson cowboy hats; Uncommon Objects, which markets itself as the “emporium of transcendent junk”; Awkward Auntie, a home decor shop; Fortress of Inca where you can get fair trade handmade goods from Peru; Sunroom, an indie boutique; and more.
Important Austin Links
Once you’re in your new home or apartment in Austin, here are links to help you get settled in:
- Driver’s licenses: If you’re new to Texas, you’ll need to get a driver’s license, and you may qualify to handle this online. The Texas Department of Public Safety provides these guidelines. If you need to go to an office, you’ll need to make an appointment. Driver’s licenses stay current for eight years.
- Voter registration: You’ll need to be registered thirty days before an election to vote in it. Here’s voter registration information and details about elections.
- Trash pickup: This is handled by Austin Resource Recovery with curbside trash collection taking place weekly for single-family homes, duplexes, and triplexes. Here is a more specific schedule.
- Emergency preparedness: Austin’s Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness provides resources for residents.
- Here is a link to City of Austin utilities along with where to report power outages and water leaks.
Are You Moving to Austin, TX? Our Austin Movers Can Help!
When you’re looking at moving companies in Austin, TX, we invite you to contact us for a free moving quote. There’s plenty to do when you’re planning a mover: from packing to loading, transporting to unpacking, and more. Fortunately, Austin movers at Suddath have everything you need for a smooth move, including storage units.
When you’re moving to Austin, TX, you can have our experienced movers handle everything or you can pick specific services you need—and whether you’re making a local, long-distance, or international relocation when moving to Austin, we’re happy to help.