TOP AUSTIN NEIGHBORHOODS 2016
Once primarily a retirement and second-home community for those looking to swap hectic city life for the solitude of Lake Travis’ scenic shores, Lakeway has evolved over the decades into a family-centered resort spot. Boasting spectacular lake views, top-notch schools and a smattering of marinas, golf courses and parks, this 12-square-mile community tucked in northwest Travis County offers a laid-back lake lifestyle just an arm’s reach from Austin. 500 acres of greenbelt put the great outdoors at your feet. Mountain bikers and hikers alike gravitate to The Canyonlands, a 20-acre tract defined by spectacular scenery, dense vegetation and steep canyon walls. Explore Hamilton Greenbelt, the first-class trail network featuring several miles of developed and primitive trails along Hurst and Yaupon Creeks. And walk, jog or rollerblade along the trails at the 64-acre City Park.
With green space aplenty, top-rated schools and enviable amenities, Circle C Ranch is a haven for Southwest Austin families. Established in the 1980s, it has grown to include 4,850 homes scattered throughout 21 neighborhoods just 12 miles south of downtown. This enclave is the kind of place where kids can safely ride their bikes and spend hot summer days at community pools. But in recent years, it’s morphed into a playground for grown-ups too, thanks to an ever-increasing mix of local joints.
The community offers craftsmen and traditional high-end, single-family and townhouses for young families, tech professionals and retirees who choose suburban splendor. Cedar Park offers more than 500 acres of parkland, including the Cedar Park Sculpture Garden and the 90-acre Brushy Creek Lake Park with its playground, water playscape, trails, pavilions, a canoe and kayak launch and a fishing pier. There’s also a skate park and the Cedar Park Center, which hosts the Texas Stars and the Austin Toros. The Cedar Park Town Center retail development is a shopper’s dream, featuring big-box stores like Costco and Walmart and trendy eateries like In-N-Out Burger and Verts.
University HillsClose to the center city and major thoroughfares (I-35 and Hwys. 183 and 290), the University Hills neighborhood is booming as part of East Austin’s revitalization trend. There is dining, shopping and nightlife options in every direction, including Tres Amigos Restaurant and Cantina, Cuban Sandwich Cafe, Fran’s Hamburgers and Midtown Live Sports Café. For outdoor-lovers, the Dottie Jordan Neighborhood Park offers a pool, playscape, picnic areas, tennis courts and trails. There’s also the massive Little Walnut Creek Greenbelt, Bartholomew District Park, Davis White Northeast District Park and the Mueller greenbelt and park system nearby.
Teravista has a diverse populace and is an upscale traditional community, featuring spacious homes and elegant, manicured lawns. A big draw for the neighborhood is its excellent schools. There are a number of shopping and dining complexes nearby, including the Round Rock Premium Outlets, University Oaks and University Commons shopping centers, IKEA and the downtown Georgetown shopping district. There are miles of landscaped walking, jogging and cycling trails threaded between Teravista communities, as well as an award-winning golf club with an 18-hole course, three community pools, several playscapes, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts and a Residents Club.
This is a Hill Country haven, where residents build custom estate homes from the ground up or purchase spacious houses in one of several resort-style subdivisions. Minutes from Lake Travis, Crystal Falls is for the homeowner who values tranquility and laid-back Texas nobility. The subdivisions offer residents amenity centers with swimming pools, playscapes, sand volleyball and tennis courts, rec fields and more. There’s also the Crystal Falls Golf Club, with its 18-hole course and restaurant, the 1890 Ranch Shopping center complex, which has more than 80 stores, services and restaurants, and the popular Lakeline Mall, which is about a 15-minute drive away.
Blackhawk and Falcon Pointe
This is a traditional community. There are several community parks in the area, featuring playgrounds, pools and miles of trails, as well as the nearby 180-acre Lake Pflugerville. It offers trails, biking, fishing, a boat launch, beach area and annual family festivals. Residents are also near the newly opened Hawaiian Falls Water Park. And just two miles away, there’s the Stone Hill Town Center, with a smorgasbord of stores (Super Target, Best Buy, Charming Charlie), restaurants (Shogun Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar, Russo’s NY Pizzeria, Morelia Mexican Grill), a kids’ dental office, a sporting goods
Rosedale is one of the city's oldest and trendiest neighborhoods—a dense but cozy community with big trees and colorful renovated cottages and bungalows. It attracts young families and single professionals who prefer an urban setting that caters to pedestrians and cyclists. The community is built around the 5-acre Ramsey Park on Rosedale Avenue, which offers swimming, a playground, picnic areas and tennis courts. And the Shoal Creek Greenbelt has trails that go from Rosedale all the way to Lady Bird Lake. For dining, residents are within walking distance of a host of options, including Uchiko, Tacodeli, The Draught House Pub and Brewery and Central Market. For retail therapy, there are plenty of specialty shops, including Blue Elephant Boutique, Uptown Modern and Francesca's.
FOUNTAINWOOD AND ESTATES OF WESTLAKE, GEORGETOWN
The Fountainwood and Estates of Westlake subdivisions in Georgetown are a mix of families, single professionals and retirees. Spacious and pricey homes, some as much as $1 million, offer Lake Georgetown views and rest on rolling terrain minutes from historic downtown Georgetown. Medical execs and military personnel who live in the subdivisions have an easy commute to Fort Hood, the VA hospital, Scott & White in Temple and other major area employers. Residents are minutes away from Georgetown’s Wolf Ranch Town Center, an open-air community mall that has more than 80 shops and restaurants, and the Round Rock Premium Outlet mall, right down the road on I-35. Jim Hogg Park, on the north side of Lake Georgetown, is great for camping, boating, hiking, fishing and swimming, while Russell Park, on the lake’s west side, offers barbecue pits and a swimming beach.
Cherrywood, also known as French Place, is a densely populated, tree-laden enclave that's great for artists, students and young professionals. Homes here are quaint, single-story brick or wood dwellings built from the 1930s through the 1950s. The neighborhood is ideal for pedestrians and cyclists, who can head to the 9-acre Patterson Park and Pool for swimming, tennis and picnics or visit the smaller Cherrywood Pocket Park. One of the most popular eateries in the area is Cherrywood Coffeehouse, often packed with families sitting on the back patio, listening to live music and eating breakfast tacos. Dining options along nearby Manor Road include home cooking at Hoover’s Cooking, organic fare at Eastside Cafe, Mexican at Mi Madre’s and coffee at Thunderbird. For nightlife, residents can catch a performance in an intimate setting at the Vortex or Salvage Vanguard theaters.
Walnut Creek and Copperfield
Less than a 20-minute drive north of downtown Austin, the Walnut Creek and Copperfield neighborhoods are thriving as semi-suburban communities. Both areas draw a mix of residents, from singles to young families to retirees, running the socio-economic gamut. And there’s an abode for any preference, from large, older homes in Walnut Creek to modern townhomes and apartment complexes east of I-35 in Copperfield. Nearby shopping and dining options include those located in Tech Ridge Center at I-35 and Parmer Lane. There is a 293-acre Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, which is known for its miles of walking and biking trails. It also has a large pool, play area, a sports field, picnic areas and more. The Copperfield Nature Trail on Yager Lane, covering 60 acres of the Walnut Creek greenbelt, is also nearby.