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Can You Live in Austin Without a Car?
The short answer is yes, you can live in Austin without a car. The more realistic answer is that most people will likely need a car to live in Austin.
The few people who live in the center of downtown Austin or near the UT campus are the most likely to be capable of living in Austin without a car.
The reason being that there are way more options for transportation in these areas such as walking, biking, and taking transit.
What Can You Do in Austin Without a Car?
If you are in the Downtown area – the possibilities are endless! Downtown Austin has much to offer within walking distance.
One of the most popular things to do around Austin is the hike and bike trail by Zilker Park. Walk the trail, or bring your friends (and dogs!) for a picnic at Zilker park.
This is a great way to enjoy some of the best things Austin has to offer: a genuine, scenic environment, outdoor activities, and diverse, spirited people. Additionally, check out the Boardwalk trail over at Lady Bird Lake.
This trail is personally one of my favorites. Great views of the lake, as well as checking out the skyscrapers that create this wonderful city.
Another popular activity in Austin is to explore Rainey St. Rainey St is an entertainment district tucked away in a corner of Downtown Austin.
This historic street is lined with hotels, live music venues, and bars with crafted cocktails. The bars are older homes that have transformed with neon signs and string lights. If you visit Rainey St, be sure you don’t have a car.
A day here means an Uber back home after those crafted cocktails!
South Congress, also known as SoCo, is a wonderful spot to visit on a beautiful day. South Congress draws a lot of foot traffic to its unique stretch of boutiques, bars, and eateries.
This district is a great place to visit for a day of leisure and fun. No plan is needed, as you can walk up and down this street and stop anywhere you like.
Big bonus for how pet-friendly it is here!
As I said before, the activities without a car in Austin are endless. Here are a list of a few other popular options around town:
- Terry Black’s BBQ
- Zilker Botanical Garden
- Museum of the Weird
- Kayaking/Paddleboarding at Barton Springs
- UT Football Game
- Tour the Texas Capitol
- Watch the bats from Congress Bridge
- Visit Austin EastCiders
Where to Stay in Austin TX without a Car
The best place to stay in Austin, TX without a car is the Downtown area.
Whether you are visiting for a weekend, or looking to move – downtown is the most accommodating for those without a car. It is the most convenient location.
You will be located in the middle of everyday activities, and within walking distance to many attractions. Being in downtown brings an array of food, music, and endeavors to your doorstep.
Best Hotels to stay in Downtown Austin:
- The Driskill
- The Fairmont Austin
- Aloft Austin Downtown
Best Apartments to live in Downtown Austin:
- The AMLI on 2nd
- Gables Apartment
- The Catherine
Areas of Austin that are Most Walkable
Austin, Texas has many areas that are great for walking! Below is a list of the most walkable areas in Austin:
- West University (also known as West Campus)
- University of Texas
- North University (North Campus)
- Central East Austin
- Holly District
- East Cesar Chavez
Should You Live in Austin without a Car
Most people would not recommend living in Austin without a car. Unless you plan on living in Downtown or near the UT campus, living without a car would be difficult.
Austin is quite expensive, especially if you are looking to live in the Downtown area. This is a high demand area, with lots of luxury and convenience.
Even living in the downtown area, it can be difficult without a car. Running errands can turn into hours without the convenience of your own vehicle in this city.
If you are planning on moving to Austin and won’t be in the downtown area – a car is essential. The commuter traffic is atrocious.
Long-story short – if you don’t have a car, Austin may not be the best place to live for you.
How to get Around Austin Without a Car
Public Transportation, shuttles, taxis, Uber, ride-hailing, scooters, bikes, and walking are all ways to get around Austin without a car.
Public Transportation in Austin
Austin is the Lone Star of transportation. With 140,000 rides per day, Austin is the highest rideshare per capita in Texas.
The most commonly used service is Capital Metro, the regional public transportation services. Capital Metro runs the city’s bus and rail lines.
Bus and trains are available on a variety of routes.
MetroExpress buses offer services between outer suburbs and downtown Austin.
MetroRail is the rail service that has nine stops between downtown and Leander.
Check out the following rideshare apps available to you, here, in Austin.
Fetii, is an affordable option great for large groups of people. Trips average at about $5 per person.
Fetii can shuttle up to 15 people while also being environmentally conscious. This company is aiming to be all-electric by 2025.
Uber, obviously. Uber is a household name for ridesharing in the US. Riders choose nearby drivers through a free app to get them to their next destination.
Additionally, here are some more rideshare apps to check out:
When to Consider Getting a Car
You should seriously consider a car when moving to Austin.
Unless you are here for a quick visit to the city, living in Austin without a car would be incredibly difficult.
Not impossible, but difficult. You will likely need a car for small trips, errands, work commutes, and more.
Plan on making your life easier when you move here, and get the car.
You can live in Austin without a car, but it will be hard.
The best way to do this would be by living downtown or near the UT campus. These areas provide more convenience to walk, bike, and take transit.
For the average person, living in Austin would require a car.