As one of the most diverse and unique neighborhoods in the city, East Austin’s eclectic, trendy vibe makes it quintessentially Austin. The young professional who’s looking for a hip and vibrant neighborhood full of things to do will find themselves right at home in East Austin.
Located east of downtown and I-35, East Austin offers easy, quick access to all that downtown has to offer, as well as the Austin International airport. This culturally diverse and highly walkable area hosts some of the best restaurants in the city and some of the most popular music venues.
In this neighborhood guide, you’ll discover what makes East Austin a unique and popular place to live in the city.
Classic Austin Bungalows, Mid-Century Modern, Contemporary New Builds
As the “Brooklyn of Austin,” East Austin is a walkable, urban community that’s home to many creatives and hip professionals. With an abundance of fantastic restaurants, music venues, and more, this area offers an authentic taste of Austin while still being close to popular areas like downtown.
Before you start looking for your dream home in East Austin, here’s what you should know about the neighborhood and its real estate.
Unique, creative, hip, and vibrant are just a few words that come to mind when describing the vibe of East Austin. With a lot to do and see (and eat), this neighborhood always has something fun to offer. With a large community of creatives and young professionals, it’s also got a strong artistic and youthful feel.
While this neighborhood doesn’t have the fanciest restaurants and boutiques in Austin, its unassuming nature makes it ideal for people who prefer a casual, laid back atmosphere. East Austin is where you’re going to find the most authentically Austin hidden gems.
East Austin has a rich history that’s evident in the mix of historic homes and buildings throughout the area. In fact, the French Legation Historic district is home to one of the oldest houses in Austin, built in 1841. Huston-Tillotson University, a private historically Black university in the area established in 1875 was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In this neighborhood, you’ll find older bungalows and narrow bungalows with rooms that are directly connected without hallways, called shotgun style homes. However, you don’t have to go far to find a sleek and modern new development either. The blend of old and new is part of what gives East Austin its unique charm.
With no homeowners’ associations in the area, you’ll also find a variety of expressions in the paint colors of homes and paintings of murals. (How Austin of them!)
East Austin is a highly desirable area for young professionals (and those young at heart) who want to live centrally. The average home closing price in East Austin is $1M or an average of $705 per square foot.
East Austin is highly walkable with a Walk Score of 84. In fact, central East Austin is the 6th most walkable area in the city. With so many dog-friendly bars and restaurants in the area, you can easily walk to grab a cocktail or a bite to eat and bring the pups with you. It’s also very bike-friendly.
The East Austin neighborhood is part of the Austin Independent School District (AISD). East Austin is home to many public school campuses, including Campbell Elementary, Govalle Elementary, Matthews Elementary, Sanchez Elementary, Zavala Elementary, Martin Middle School, Kealing Middle School, Eastside Early College High School, and East Austin College Prep (K-12).
Some areas of East Austin are also zoned for Austin High School, which is located outside of the neighborhood.
Featured Property in the Neighborhood
Whether you’re looking for a light bite with your cocktail or you want to stuff yourself with the best barbecue in the country, East Austin is where it’s at for restaurants in the city.
Franklin’s Barbecue is a must-go for every Austinite. Aaron Franklin, the co-owner and chef, is a James Beard Award recipient and has his name in the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame for 2020.
What started as a small barbecue trailer on the side of the interstate in Austin is now a place that people stand in line for hours just to get a taste of what is inarguably the best brisket in town. (And maybe the whole world!) Make sure you go early as they close once they are sold out. And plan to make a day of it as you will likely have to wait for hours before you can order.
Don’t want to wait at Franklin’s? Try women-owned La Barbecue on East Cesar Chavez instead. La Barbecue also makes a mean brisket that’s a must try.
And if you’re not a brisket fan…Don’t tell anyone. But also, you can pick up some pulled pork or sausage and all the sides at La Barbecue.
Birdie’s is a new neighborhood restaurant and wine bar with a simple, seasonal menu featuring French- and Italian-inspired American dishes. The food menu changes daily with a wine list that offers a mix of wines from new and classic producers. The wine list also changes based on the food menu and the weather.
Birdies only accepts walk-ins and has a dog-friendly patio if you want to bring your pup.
Located on busy East 6th Street, Suerte serves Mexican-inspired meals that are uniquely East Austin. Executive Chef Fermin Nunez and his team use local ingredients from nearby farmers to create fresh Mexican flavors you can’t find anywhere else. We recommend the Suadero Tacos, which feature confit wagyu brisket and black magic oil—a mouth-watering combo.
Suerte recently opened its coastal Mexican restaurant, Este. Celebrating fresh seafood, Mexican cuisine, and charcoal cooking, this spot features plenty of fresh seafood dishes and coastal-inspired cocktails. The indoor decor is very hip, and the spacious outdoor deck brings a little bit of the vibrant energy of seaside towns to central Texas.
Justine’s Brasserie is a cozy French brasserie with a dark, yet romantic ambiance. With moody lighting, rich red walls, and gilded, antique mirrors, it’s definitely a decadent yet accessible place to go with friends or a date. The food is classic brasserie fare like French onion soup, escargots, and steak tartare.
We recommend Justine’s if you’re hungry after midnight (kitchen closes at 1:30 a.m.). But it’s also a hip, unique place to go for a classic cocktail or a glass of French wine or champagne.
Salty Sow is an American Gastropub that serves farmhouse fare with fresh ingredients that are sourced mindfully from local vendors. While the setting is laid back, the food is anything but simple.
We recommend stopping by for their happy hour from 4:30-6:30 p.m. There, you can grab delectable small bites like the triple-fried duck fat fries or the truffled deviled eggs as you sip a craft cocktail.
The founders of Kemuri Tatsu-ya designed the restaurant to be an Izakaya—a Japanese tapas bar where people gather to eat, drink, and get comfortable. And that’s the exact vibe you get when you stop by. It’s a laid back atmosphere with great cocktails and even better food.
Kemuri Tatsu-ya does Japanese classics with a Texas twist, often fusing together Japanese flavors with southern food staples. The cornbread taiyaki and smoked brisket pair well with the Kaizen 2.0, which brings together Austin-made whiskey, genmaicha (Japanese brown rice tea), and ginger for a refreshing cocktail that goes down easy.
If you’re looking for a café vibe that offers global dishes, Launderette may be your new favorite spot in East Austin. They’re open for dinner and lunch, but their brunch is our favorite. Here, you’ll find elevated brunch classics like buttermilk pancakes and biscuit sandwiches alongside different dishes like Salmon Gravlax and Salad Nicoise.
Old Thousand brings together an eclectic and inventive mix of flavors for a Texas interpretation of American-Chinese recipes. Our favorite classics are the Brisket Fried Rice and the Mapo Fried Tofu. They also often have unique special dishes that you have to grab before they’re gone. (We’re still thinking about the Cuban Egg Roll.)
The restaurant space itself is hip and modern with a chill atmosphere that you’d expect when dining in East Austin. As for cocktails, they have lots of fun, original options like the “Pow! Right in the Kisser,” which features intense flavors like Mezcal, tequila, and habañero balanced with lime, apricot, pineapple, passion fruit, and clarified coconut milk.
Lustre Pearl East is another quintessentially Austin space with sister sites on Rainey Street, in South Austin, and even in Denver, CO. When you step into the space at the east location, a certain southern charm floods the senses. This location features a fully restored 1895 original home with a small new construction space that houses a kitchen.
In the Austin tradition of drinking on patios, locals love Lustre Pearl for its spacious, dog-friendly outdoor patio where you may find people playing ping-pong or cornhole (and even some hula hoopers!). It’s a fun, laid back atmosphere with simple yet tasty food and signature cocktails that are uniquely Austin. We recommend the Matthew Pecanaughey or the Lustre Lemonade.
Tillery Kitchen and Bar is a great spot for those who want to dine outdoors with a view of the river. The seasonal menu features a mix of dishes with fresh ingredients. You’ll find everything from burgers and salads to chicken liver mousse and coconut curry.
Austinites love Tillery for the spacious patio with a view, which makes it a popular spot for dinner and brunch. We recommend making a reservation ahead of time.
Dining at Dai Due is about more than just great food. The restaurant only uses ingredients that can be found in the region that are produced in a fair and equitable way. The result is fresh foods that represent local culinary traditions while supporting farmers and ranchers who care about quality.
Due to the scarcity and abundance of seasonal ingredients, their menu changes as their access to local ingredients shifts. They also do a lot of drying, canning, pickling, fermenting, smoking, and freezing to preserve just like the pioneers.
If you’re looking for tamales, you’ve got to stop by Tamale House East, one of East Austin’s hidden gems. Though not always in the same location, this authentic Mexican spot has been a neighborhood favorite since 1958. If you stop by, you’ve got to try Mom’s Migas, an award-winning dish you’ll be thinking about long after you leave.
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