Where To Stay in Austin [5 BEST Neighborhoods!]

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Austin is a cool, off-beat city with an artistic and liberal vibe. It’s home to the young student population of the University of Texas and a multitude of techie start-ups.

Austin isn’t as prominent on the radar for tourists as other North American cities, so you might feel unsure about where to stay.

That’s why we’ve put together this insider guide for where to stay in Austin to help you get to grips with the various neighborhoods of the sprawling Texan capital.

Written by our travel experts, we break down Austin by interest to help you plan the best possible vacation and not miss a single landmark. And of course,  we will guide you to find the best hotel for your stay!

So, no matter what you’re looking to do in Austin, you’ll be able to find a hotel that’s right for you. Without further ado, here are our top picks for where to stay in Austin.

Table of Contents

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Austin

Where to stay in Austin the first time – Downtown
Where to stay in Austin on a budget – Central Austin
Best area to stay in Austin for nightlife – East Cesar Chavez
Coolest place to stay in Austin – East Austin
Best neighborhood in Austin for families – Zilker

Where to Stay in Austin

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Austin.

Best Budget Hotel in Austin – Firehouse Hostel

Firehouse Hostel

Firehouse Hostel is the best budget hotel in Austin

This cool and friendly hostel features 11 comfortable rooms that are ideal for backpackers on a budget. Travelers can stay in a mixed or single-sex dorm or book a private room such as the Penthouse Suite. The hostel provides a complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and 24/7 reception.

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Austin – The LINE Austin

The LINE Austin

The LINE Austin is the best mid-range hotel in Austin

This 3-star hotel allows guests to easily explore local attractions and see what the local nightlife has to offer! Chic, airy rooms feature a private bathroom equipped with a bathtub and shower. They all offer Wi-Fi, heating and a living area. There is an outdoor pool and gym.

Not sure where to say? We’ve put together a list of Austin’s best hotels!

Best Luxury Hotel in Austin – Omni Austin Hotel Downtown

Omni Austin Hotel Downtown

Omni Austin Hotel Downtown is the best luxury hotel in Austin

In the heart of Downtown Austin, this 4-star hotel is an excellent base to explore the city. It offers a sauna, spa, outdoor pool and a rooftop terrace with a bar. Rooms have TVs and movies-on-demand. The hotel is pet-friendly and staff are available 24/7.

 

Austin Neighborhood Guide

Austin

Austin

Austin is the capital city of the state of Texas and is the 11th most populous city in the United States (the second most populous state capital). Modern-day Austin incorporates eight districts which cover an area much larger than the original town plan.

The city is fed by a broad stretch of the Colorado River and the city is spread over a series of waterways and gentle valleys. The city blends splendid historic architecture with modern skyscrapers and a generous blessing of open green spaces.

It’s also home to the world’s largest urban bat colony, which you can watch take flight daily at dusk!

Downtown Austin is where you will find the famous landmarks of the city. There’s so much to see in this neighborhood, so plan accordingly to cram in as many museums and attractions as you can!

Central Austin is a large neighborhood which is essentially ran by the university and its students.  Among the student digs and dive bars you’ll find the cheapest places to stay in the city.

East Cesar Chavez is a lively part of Austin, with a vibrant nightlife erupting each night over these historic streets. Stay here if you want to party!

East Austin is another gargantuan area which covers a few smaller neighborhoods, and is where you’ll experience Austin’s up-and-coming, cultural face.

No visitor to Austin should miss a visit to the sprawling park of Zilker, and we recommend that families stay in this neighborhood. It’s full of family-friendly outdoor activities to beat the boredom.

Austin’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in:

Let’s take a closer look at the best 5 neighbourhoods that Austin has to offer.

Neighborhood #1 - Downtown

(Where to stay in Austin the first time)

Downtown

Downtown is our pick for where to stay in Austin the first time

Downtown Austin is the best neighborhood for first-time visitors. Lose yourself among the iconic landmarks and major tourist attractions of the Texan city.

With so much to see, we encourage visitors to explore Downtown on foot. Tour the historic buildings and dip into museums along the way.

There plenty of restaurants to refuel and coffee shops to perk up your energy. This neighborhood is always alert – the streets are dotted with life 24/7. By night Downtown is lively and full of fun, unusual bars!

Top things to do in Downtown:

  • Marvel at the Texas Capitol which has stood within its beautiful lawn since 1888 and houses the state legislature
  • Tour the elegant First United Methodist Church of Austin
  • Support emerging Latino artists at the Mexic-Arte Museum
  • Take a break in the Waterloo Neighborhood Park
  • Watch the bats above the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk
  • Go on a scavenger hunt with Austin Scavenger Hunt Adventure – you just need to download the app!
  • Get weird at the Museum of the Weird – home to shrunken heads and mummified mermaids
  • Drink a circus-themed cocktail at Upstairs Circus whilst you craft your own souvenir to take home, such as a piece of jewelry or some quirky wall art!
  • Take a tour of the Texas Governor’s Mansion
  • Wind down with a beverage on the sundeck at Mohawk Austin
  • Munch barbecued meats over live music at Lamberts
  • Brush up on Texan trivia at Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

Where to Stay in Downtown Austin

Best Budget Hotel in DowntownDowntown District by Yourent

Downtown District by Yourent

Downtown District by Yourent is the best budget hotel in Downtown

This contemporary, Downtown property features 3 apartments, all of which are equipped with a variety of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Those staying at the property have access to a terrace, outdoor swimming pool and a BBQ area. All apartments feature a fully equipped kitchen and spacious living quarters.

Are you made of money? If not, our helpful Downtown Austin hotel guide was made for you!

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Downtown – Wyndham Austin

Wyndham Austin

Wyndham Austin is the best mid-range hotel in Downtown

Located right in the middle of the city, this 3-star property makes for an excellent base in Austin. The 20 apartments are fitted with all the essentials to ensure an enjoyable stay, including a comfortable lounge with TV, Wi-Fi and a functional kitchen. There is a swimming pool too.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown Aloft Austin Downtown

Aloft Austin Downtown

Aloft Austin Downtown is the best luxury hotel in Downtown

There are 278 rooms available at this contemporary, funky hotel, each offering all the necessities to ensure a comfortable stay including a spacious private bathroom. There is a delightful outdoor terrace where guests can unwind with a drink from the bar or order a delicious meal. Fast Wi-Fi, professional service!

Excited to visit Austin? Get excited to take an amazing day trip too!

Neighborhood #2 - Central Austin

(Where to stay in Austin on a budget)

Central Austin

Central Austin is our pick for where to stay in Austin on a budget

Central Austin is student turf for those at the University of Texas at Austin. West Campus is packed with student accommodation, casual eateries, coffee shops and live music joints. North Campus is quieter with a sprinkling of chilled student bars.

Central Austin is where you can pick up budget accommodation in small inns and guest houses. The neighborhood is just north of Downtown, but it has plenty of places to eat, drink and cool museums to explore right on its doorstep!

Top things to do in Central Austin:

  • Learn about Texas’s rich music heritage at the Texas Music Museum
  • Start your day the American way with a yummy Rockstar Bagel!
  • Explore the university campus and visit some of its museums, including the Texas Memorial Museum
  • Tuck into ribs and brisket at Black’s Barbecue Austin
  • Hang out at the Spider House Cafe and Ballroom – an eclectic bar with a patio which hosts regular live music and stand-up comedy acts
  • Do some sprints in the Hancock Recreation Center and follow the course of the Waller Creek
  • Drink cheap beer and watch live music any day of the week at alternative venue The Hole in the Wall
  • Visit the Elisabet Ney Museum, the former studio of a German artist who fled Europe’s anti-intellectual movement
  • Learn about the early development of Austin at the Greek-revival style Neill-Cochran House Museum Have a signature iced-coffee at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
  • Buy limited-edition pop culture poster and tees a the Mondo Gallery

Where to Stay in Central Austin

Best Budget Hotel in Central Austin Days Inn by Wyndham Austin University Downtown

Days Inn by Wyndham Austin University Downtown

Days Inn by Wyndham Austin University Downtown is the best budget hotel in Central Austin

This hotel has 61 modern rooms that are equipped with all the essentials to ensure an enjoyable stay. There is an outdoor pool and the hotel provides a 24-hour reception. Rooms are comfortable, clean and there are family-room options. The rate includes breakfast. A cheap and cheerful option!

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Central Austin – The Quarters at Hardin House

The Quarters at Hardin House

The Quarters at Hardin House is the best mid-range hotel in Central Austin

This homely guest house offers a range of rooms including single occupancy, family and apartment suites with kitchenettes. There is a gym for guests to use, and a beautiful garden where you can relax. The guest house has free parking and provides a continental breakfast, and fresh coffee 24/7!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Central Austin – Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street

Austin's Inn at Pearl Street

Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street is the best luxury hotel in Central Austin

This 4-star bed & breakfast has an outdoor swimming pool, spa and golf course. With only 4 individually-decorated rooms, the inn is cozy, quiet and intimate. Rooms come with a private bathroom, a TV/ DVD player and wireless internet access, plus all the essentials required for an enjoyable stay.

 

Neighborhood #3 - East Cesar Chavez

(Best area to stay in Austin for nightlife)

East Cesar Chavez

East Cesar Chavez is our pick for the best area to stay in Austin for nightlife

Southwest of Downtown Austin, this slick neighbourhood brushes against the northern banks of the Colorado River and is part of trendy East Austin.

One of the oldest parts of the city, it borders the Rainey Street Historic District.

The area is brimming with quality Mexican restaurants and taco trucks. Industrial-chic brewpubs, cocktail bars and live music joints put a spring in the neighborhood’s step after dark – East Cesar Chavez is ideal for those seeking a party atmosphere!

Top things to do in East Cesar Chavez:

  • Wake up with French pressed coffee at Cenote
  • Gorge on Mexican delights at the Veracruz All Natural Food Truck
  • Head to the area’s flagship watering hole Whisler’s which is famed for its excellent live music acts
  • Fiddle with the jukebox, play some darts and shoot some pool at hipster hang-out Grackle
  • Get your cat-fix at the Blue Cat Café
  • Make a night of it at the White Horse – an upbeat, sprawling honky-tonk with a taco truck outside.
  • Have a brew and a taco and catch some live music at Lazarus Brewing Co.
  • Go for a run, walk, cycle or picnic in the Edward Rendon Sr. Park at Festival Beach and take a dip in the Martin Neighborhood Pool
  • Stay out late and hit the dance floor at cocktail lounge and live music venue Stay Gold
  • Take your four-legged friend to the pub! Yellow Jacket Social Club is dog-friendly and has a languid patio to enjoy a drink in

Where to Stay in East Cesar Chavez

Best Budget Hotel in East Cesar Chavez – Native Hostels Austin

Native Hostels Austin

Native Hostels Austin is the best budget hotel in East Cesar Chavez

For those seeking a more sociable accommodation option, this hostel provides dorms and private rooms. The hostel has plenty of communal space including a coffee shop/bar, lounge and outdoor terrace. The rooms are contemporary with urban decor – perfect for this trendy end of town. Complimentary breakfast is provided daily.

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in East Cesar ChavezEast Austin Hotel

East Austin Hotel

East Austin Hotel is the best mid-range hotel in East Cesar Chavez

Thos boutique hotel offers chic-but-approachable accommodations inspired by mid-century modern Danish designs. There is a pool and pool-side rooms are available. Contemporary rooms are kitted out with all you need, including a private bathroom and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel even has an awesome rooftop bar!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in East Cesar Chavez Fairmont Austin

Fairmont Austin

Fairmont Austin is the best luxury hotel in East Cesar Chavez

This luxury hotel has an outdoor pool, a fitness suite and a sauna. Facilities valet parking, an express check-in and check-out feature, a 24-hour reception, a concierge, babysitting/childminding services and currency exchange. Rooms are contemporary and private bathrooms have a bathtub and bathrobes. Request a view!

 

Neighborhood #4 - East Austin

(Coolest place to stay in Austin)

East Austin

East Austin is our pick for the coolest place to stay in Austin

East Austin is a large district which is further sub-divided into smaller neighborhoods, including the nightlife hubs of East Cesar Chavez and the Rainey Street Historic District. At the heart of East Austin is Guadalupe-Saldaña and Rosewood.

This entire stretch of East Austin is undergoing gentrification and is home to hipster coffee shops, friendly bars, a huge range of restaurants and some quirky art galleries. Stroll around the streets to clock glimpses of some awesome street art and graffiti!

There’s plenty to do in East Austin but it’s also a place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the vibes.

Top things to do in East Austin:

  • Walk or cycle the 89-acres of the Boggy Creek Greenbelt – great for creekside picnics on the grass
  • Visit the off-the-wall Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata
  • Explore the bars of Webberville Road. Gourmands is great for a tap brew whilst the Lost Well is known for its live music
  • Nibble on tacos and sip coffee at Fleet Coffee
  • Have a poolside punch at the retro Kitty Cohen’s pool bar
  • Check out local contemporary art at Link & Pin
  • Explore groundbreaking sculptures at Dimension Gallery
  • Take a dip in the Rosewood Splash Pad
  • Give your shoulders a work-out at the Austin Bouldering Project or find your inner circus performer with a class at silk-class at Sky Candy
  • Tuck into Detroit-style pizza at Via 313
  • Sample a variety of freshly-brewed craft beers at the Friends and Allies Brewing Company

Where to Stay in East Austin

Best Budget Hotel in East Austin – Hostel 512

Hostel 512

Hostel 512 is the best budget hotel in East Austin

Austin is not a normal city, so Hostel 512 can’t be a normal hostel! You will find as much outdoor space as you will indoor comfort. The hostel provides small dorm rooms and private dorm rooms which are suited to those traveling in a group. Built by travelers, for travelers!

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in East Austin – Hotel Eleven Austin

Hotel Eleven Austin

Hotel Eleven Austin is the best mid-range hotel in East Austin

This award-winning 14-room boutique hotel prides itself on being a small place with a big personality. Some rooms come with Juliet balconies and bathtubs. Their lounge serves wine, beer and espresso drinks. The best thing about this hotel is Louie – the black cat who calls the place home!

 

Best Luxury Hotel in East Austin – La vie Boheme- Beautiful Eastside Home

La vie Boheme- Beautiful Eastside Home

La vie Boheme- Beautiful Eastside Home is the best luxury hotel in East Austin

This beautiful, spacious house has three bedrooms and so is ideal for group travelers or families who wish to spend some time in East Austin. There is a large living area with a sofa and TV and a fully-equipped kitchen. The house has everything you need, including fast Wi-Fi!

 

Neighborhood #5 - Zilker

(Best neighborhood in Austin for families)

Zilker

Zilker is our pick for the best neighborhood in Austin for families

Zilker is an expansive, green neighborhood south of Downtown, and across the Colorado River. It is accessible by a series of bridges.

The heart of this neighborhood is Zilker’s namesake park which offers an abundance of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy, across a sprawling 350-acres. Zilker also has lots of dining and entertainment options including theaters, cinemas and casual bars, many with outdoor patios.

Accommodation in Zilker tends to be cozy and intimate, self-catered apartments which welcome families.

Top things to do in Zilker:

  • Explore on foot or by bicycle the Zilker Metropolitan Park which features a botanical garden, picnic areas, monuments, sports areas, running tracks and an outdoor theatre!
  • Enjoy views of the Colorado River from Butler Shores at Town Lake park
  • Check out a concert or play at ZACH, Topfer or Rollins Theatre
  • Explore the bronze sculptures of Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
  • Take a dip in the crystal-clear, super fresh Barton Springs, which maintains a friendly 68ºF temperature year-round!
  • Browse local art and handicrafts at Austin Art Garage
  • Shoot some holes at Peter Pan Mini-Golf
  • Try seasonal, locally made ice cream at Lick Honest Ice Creams
  • Catch the latest (or oldest) flick at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar
  • Hire a boat and cruise yourself along the Barton Creek
  • Chow down on New American dishes at Odd Duck
  • Wind down over a wine tasting and cheese board at chilled out House Wine
  • Visit the Barton Hills if you run out of green scenery!

Where to Stay in Zilker

Best Budget Hotel in Zilker – South Lamar Exclusives By YouRent

South Lamar Exclusives By YouRent

South Lamar Exclusives By YouRent is the best budget hotel in Zilker

This vacation property has 7 apartments, all of which are equipped with a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. The options include two or three bedroom apartments. All are equipped with a full kitchen and a living room. There is an outdoor pool, garden, gym and BBQ area.

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Zilker   Guild Lamar Union

Guild Lamar Union

Guild Lamar Union is the best mid-range hotel in Zilker

This comfortable 4-star hotel features luxurious suites for the family with an outdoor pool, gardens, gym and jacuzzi. The hotel has an express check-in and check-out feature and free Wi-Fi. With only 10 apartments for guests, the hotel feels exclusive an offers a lot of privacy.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Zilker Oak-Shaded House in Bouldin Home

Oak-Shaded House in Bouldin Home

Oak-Shaded House in Bouldin Home is the best luxury hotel in Zilker

This huge vacation home is stylish and contemporary. It has two bedrooms, a lounge area with a TV and a fully equipped kitchen. There is a private bathroom with a bathtub. The garden is expansive and has a seating area. The house is equipped with Wi-Fi – you’ll feel at home!

 

Final thoughts on Austin

Austin is a truly unique city which blends modern magic with opulent history. You’ll love the mash-up of student vibes with artistic flair, languid coffee shops and charged nightlife scene.

To recap our travel guide, East Austin is our top choice for where to stay in Austin. Currently going through gentrification this neighborhood is the coolest part of the city with its coffee culture, street art and local atmosphere.

Our top hotel pick for Austin is the Hotel Eleven Austin. This urban-chic hotel is infinitely cool, thoroughly comfortable and you will fall in love with Louise, the hotel cat! You seriously won’t find a better place to stay in Austin.

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About the Author Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.