Bouldin Creek in South Austin is one of the city’s first residential neighborhoods, perhaps most famous today for its iconic and Instagram-famous “Greetings From Austin” mural, inspired by a 1940s era postcard. The colorful area is populated by historic homes, brightly-colored restaurants, like the beloved Bouldin Creek Cafe, as well as shops and art galleries. Named after a local creek, the area is also a nice urban spot to experience nature: Hikers can walk The West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt and East Bouldin Creek Greenbelt or bike down to Barton Creek.
Downtown Austin & Rainey Street
Downtown Austin is bustling on weekdays, with corporate workers walking and riding electric scooters to high-rise offices. Though primarily a zone for commuters, Downtown Austin is worth visiting for a slew of new buzzy restaurants and bars, attracting after-work crowds eager to get in on the hype (and avoid rush-hour traffic). Streets are numbered and easy to navigate and home to destination-worthy new construction like the FareGround Food Hall and architecturally intriguing Austin Public Library. Several blocks east of downtown, Rainey Street boasts bars built in converted homes, rowdy every night of the week, with partiers fueled by fare from food trucks parked outside.
Those in search of cool head to East Austin, where local mainstays and new independent businesses co-exist in this walkable neighborhood. Outdoor and street art celebrates the neighborhood’s Chicano, African American, Native and queer communities, as do small businesses like Resistencia Books, which curates literature for marginalized groups. Young Austinites have recently made East Austin one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, with plenty of development and housing supporting the trove of restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Tourists and locals alike flock to this iconic Austin neighborhood, named for the busy street that runs through it. South of the Congress Street Bridge, this shopping, dining and hospitality district is home to hoards of local shops, like South Congress Books, Big Top Candy Shop and the cowboy boot emporium, Allen’s Boots. Restaurants with sidewalk cafes, like June’s All Day and an outpost of Torchy’s Tacos offer plenty of good people-watching and a nice respite between shopping and snacking along the wide street. Just blocks away, more residential streets are lined with green yards and colorful bungalows housing Austinites who want to live close to the action.