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Hey guys, I'm wondering if anybody can advise me about the cost of living in Austin? I got accepted to UT-Austin and got my funding package through, but as an international student I have no idea whether it will be enough.

How much do you think it costs to live/rent/eat/travel/drink in Austin per year, roughly? In total? $15k? $20k? $50k???

Any insights would be really welcome.

Thanks,

LN

I'd like to know also, since I might end up there. I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-20K?

I was checking out one bedroom apartments on craigslist and on average it was $500/month. Very affordable, especially compared to LA, NY, SF and other big cities.

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Apartments, the decent ones are around 600-800 for 1 bedrooms depending upon size, location, and how nice. A $500 apartment is probably over in the ghetto (East side). Luckily UT has buses that run around a fair amount of the city. Bars vary in cost based upon where you go, I tend to like West 6th St. because you deal with less of the undergrads but drinks might be a $1 or 2 more. Let me know if y'all have any other questions.

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Do you mean a one-bedroom apartment, or one bedroom within a multi-person apartment? I'd probably be looking to share.

I'm just wondering if, say, $17k per year is enough to live on? Including rent, food, transport etc...

Also - would you say it's essential to be able to drive in Austin? I can't drive, and doubt I could afford to buy/maintain a car!

Thanks a lot for your help, much appreciated!

LN

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Do you mean a one-bedroom apartment, or one bedroom within a multi-person apartment? I'd probably be looking to share.

I'm just wondering if, say, $17k per year is enough to live on? Including rent, food, transport etc...

Also - would you say it's essential to be able to drive in Austin? I can't drive, and doubt I could afford to buy/maintain a car!

Thanks a lot for your help, much appreciated!

LN

I lived in Austin for 4 years as an undergraduate student and here are my inputs;

1. Buses are free for UT Austin students. I didn't have a car, but found buses pretty useful. A good network with good frequency (in most areas).

2. 17k is more than enough ( depending on your lifestyle though).

3. If you don't have a car, living on Riverside(distant affordable housing) makes no sense. The best bet would be something in the north campus area. West campus is where all the party scene is with all the greek houses etc. Although you can live there, I think it will be tad disturbing to your grad schedule. Keep in mind there are some exotic apartments that get leased out very soon in that area that give you the best of both worlds. Peaceful yet near the undergrad party scene. East is a ghetto and avoid at all costs.

I lived 3 years on North Campus ( not much of a party man), and found it satisfying as well as reasonably priced.

Feel free to ask any particular questions you might have.

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I get by pretty well on around 18k a year. My friends who are TAs make it work at 14k a year, although finances are tight. If you're not absolutely set on living alone I would highly recommend sharing a house in Hyde Park or the east side with roommates. A lot of the cheaper studios/1 bedroom apartments are in crummy drab buildings far from the city center, whereas for $400-500 a month you can live in a really nice big house a few blocks from campus.

Also, don't listen to people who say the east side is "the ghetto." After living here for a year and a half I've come to conclude that such attitudes are just snobbery, pure and simple, perhaps with a little sprinkling of racism. The bad part of the east side is literally a two block stretch of one street. The rest is fine. Most of my favorite spots in Austin are on the east side.

Also, good luck! Austin is a great place to live.

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Also, don't listen to people who say the east side is "the ghetto." After living here for a year and a half I've come to conclude that such attitudes are just snobbery, pure and simple, perhaps with a little sprinkling of racism. The bad part of the east side is literally a two block stretch of one street. The rest is fine. Most of my favorite spots in Austin are on the east side.

Um maybe I said the east side is ghetto because I have had friends get their apartments and cars broken into multiple time and oh yeah two of the ten that I know have also been mugged. So I'm basing my judgement off of reality, not snobbery or racism. I'm also not saying that there are not nice places on the east side (which is a hell of a lot larger than just a two block stretch), it is just not as safe as other parts of Austin.

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Um maybe I said the east side is ghetto because I have had friends get their apartments and cars broken into multiple time and oh yeah two of the ten that I know have also been mugged. So I'm basing my judgement off of reality, not snobbery or racism. I'm also not saying that there are not nice places on the east side (which is a hell of a lot larger than just a two block stretch), it is just not as safe as other parts of Austin.

do the multiple homicides, robberies and break ins in west campus mean that its "ghetto" too?

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Not developed enough + much inferior bus network + unkempt houses + less places to eat out + economically downtrodden (being on the other side of the I -35) = Ghetto/Trashy in my dictionary

Not an ideal place for an international student to come in and settle the first year. That is what I wanted to imply.

No snobbery, no racism.

Edited by mathamathick

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Not developed enough + much inferior bus network + unkempt houses + less places to eat out + economically downtrodden (being on the other side of the I -35) = Ghetto/Trashy in my dictionary

Not an ideal place for an international student to come in and settle the first year. That is what I wanted to imply.

No snobbery, no racism.

Sorry if that sounded accusatory, I'm not trying to insinuate anything about anyone personally. But after living here awhile I have noticed a kind of knee jerk reaction to living east of I 35 that is often not warranted, and in some cases at least has to do with lingering class/race issues in the city.

Manor Road and e 6th for instance are literally lined with restaurants, bus routes, nice houses and places to go out. The Manor Road/Cherrywood area in particular is a great place to live if you go UT. Anyway...

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Thanks everyone, this is all great stuff. And please don't go for each other's throats on my account ;)

It looks like I should be able to make things happen with my funding package and limited savings. I don't drive (and don't much want to drive) so will research a place to stay that's as well connected as possible in terms of buses. From what you've all said, that shouldn't be impossible. I'd also definitely prefer to share a house/apartment, as living alone sounds a bit anti-social as well as being expensive.

And yes - I'm currently living in the East End of London so I know a thing or two about places that are, shall we say, less well-off than others. I'm sure I'll manage!

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No one is mentioning South Austin. I've never been to Austin, but from what I've read, it's a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood for artsy folk. Is this true, or more travel guide rubbish? I have a car, so I can get around, but I'd rather take the bus if it's free and reliable. And I'd be living with my roommate, who I wouldn't want to force to live in a college-y part of town on my account.

Thoughts on South Austin?

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Hey all!

To piggyback off that last post, I've been offered what sounds like near-identical funding to historycubicle and am a little nervous that $13,000 isn't going to cut it. What are apartment costs like? I'm specifically interested in areas that tend to cater to graduate students, are within walking distance of campus (I'm not sure how sprawling campus is; I'm talking about the English department specifically, if that helps), and are, also, within walking distance of shops, bars, restaurants, etc.

On that note, just how "walkable" a city is Austin? While I'm open to the idea of getting a car between now and the fall (though that $13,000 stipend doesn't exactly bode well for this project), it's important to me to feel that I could walk to and from classes, shops, bars, restaurants, etc. if I wanted/needed to.

Thanks so much! I've heard nothing but great things about Austin and I want very badly to believe that I can make this work; I'm visiting in about a month but would love to get some preliminary feedback now.

All the best

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I moved to Austin in June from Philadelphia so I thought I'd offer my opinion as someone who'd NEVER been here before moving.

I'm an AmeriCorps VISTA, so I make 900/month. Fortunately I have savings, bc I really wanted to live in a nice area without a roommate. My current apartment is slightly east and south of I-35 and Cesar Chavez. This is the 'eastside', and a really great place to live, I think, for people in their 20s, be they grad students or young families. I also work near Manor street on the eastside. Yes, there is crime- but then again downtown there has been a huge problem with people being punched in the face after the bars close.....so yeah. Coming from a city like Philly, though, I have all but laughed off the 'danger' of east austin. All I can say is drive by 12th and Chicon and that will be the most 'dangerous' part of the city. That one corner.

My rent is 690 month plus utilities. I live on a residential street, so there's parking, and I'm literally right downtown. It's the upstairs of a 100 year old house, with it's own entrance, a shared washer with the landlord, etc. It's probably 800 square feet? I can walk to the infamous 6th street in 10-15 minutes, or the eastside up-and-coming bars in 5. There are a ton of local markets within walking distance, I can walk to south congress, I walk from my house to north of campus (about 3 1/2 miles)....obviously I really like walking. And I have never felt 'unsafe' because of where I live. In fact, I often say hello to the homeless people under I-35 when I walk by, or I'll smile at the mexican family with 5 dogs barking at me through the mess of a backyard. Austin is really diverse, but I think for the most part people love living here and therefore coexist happily.

That being said, I'm moving on for school this fall, so if you need a place, send me a message and you can check mine out. I'd be happy to talk to anyone who's nervous about moving down here because I remember how hard it was- I mean, I'm from Seattle originally and it's TEXAS.

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Rachel, thanks for all of the extremely helpful info. I'm also an AmeriCorps VISTA right now, and my stipend is about $820/month, or about 10.5k/year, and I do absolutely fine out here in Sacramento on that stipend, though it helps that I have a girlfriend to split rent with. From what I hear, things are generally less expensive in TX compared to CA, including rent--would you say that's true?

Does your apartment only have one bedroom, or two?

Edited by lachanga

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I spent 5.5 years at UT for undergrad and lived in three different areas. Here's my take:

West Campus - I agree with the above poster on all points. It is definitely overpriced, especially with all the new development. On the other hand, it is extremely convenient to get to campus.

North Campus - This was by far my best housing experience. I lived down on 51st street and then on 30th. It certainly was cheaper than west campus and I found the students much more tolerable. I also enjoyed the walks to campus when I lived on 30th. Its walkable from 33rd or 34th street on in, probably a little further out too.

Riverside (east of I-35) - It is certainly cheap, I'll give it that. The big student complexes are convenient but I think they tend to get a bit rowdy. If you do consider this, I would only look at the complexes that are on the UT shuttle routes. I believe the area south of Riverside (Oltorf street) may be a little better in terms of the roughness of the area, but I don't think they have a UT shuttle. In my opinion, this area isn't that far away from campus. Far West, now that is far.

Some other suggestions - Many students who don't live on a shuttle or live far away drive and park on one of the shuttle routes. If I could do it all over again, I would probably like to live along Enfield or Lake Austin shuttle routes. Then again, those areas are more expensive.

South Austin (Manchaca area, not too far south), enough said. :-P

-it's cheap, farther away from undergrads, and transportation=bus (not like you'll be able to find parking anywhere near UT anyway), and minutes away from Town Lake (running trail along the river).

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Rachel, thanks for all of the extremely helpful info. I'm also an AmeriCorps VISTA right now, and my stipend is about $820/month, or about 10.5k/year, and I do absolutely fine out here in Sacramento on that stipend, though it helps that I have a girlfriend to split rent with. From what I hear, things are generally less expensive in TX compared to CA, including rent--would you say that's true?

Does your apartment only have one bedroom, or two?

I would say yes, although the fact that your stipend is slightly less than mine tells me that the US govt thinks that Austin is more expensive. The great thing about Austin is that the town itself is incredibly awesome with great deals, free shows, 1$ margarita's on those 30 days last summer when it peaked above 105 degrees.....

The other thing is that Austin is incredibly compact. The different buroughs of Austin are mostly very close to each other. Downtown 1 bedroom apartments easily go for 1300/month, but .2 miles away it's half that. My bf lives at Congress and Riverside, which is essentially downtown, and pays 700/month with electricity included- the newer complex literally across the street has the same size 1 bedroom (albeit with nicer appliances) at 1400/month. I'm a proponent of the eastside (east of I-35) because it has those great apartments and is practically downtown, plus there's a ton of great local business on east 6th and 7th, 11th, manor, etc). But because historically it has been a poorer neighborhood, the real estate market hasn't caught on that it is literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from the much more expensive areas of town.

The 2 places I've lived were on the eastside- near cesar chavez and I-35, and i-35 and 11th street (Robertson Hill Apartments). At 11th I was living in a newer complex, with a gym and pool, restaurants down the street, and the room was complete with w/d in unit, full kitchen, 2 bedroom 2 full baths, 1400 sq feet, and the total cost was 1400 a month plus utilities. Now i live on the second story of house, 1 bedroom, kitchen with a fridge and gas stove (but no dishwasher), washer downstairs (no dryer- but man do clothes dry fast in this heat), about 800 sq feet and it's 690/month plus utilitites. Oh, and there's no central air....it's been in the 80s and very cold in my apartment, but I don't know how well the ac units will work when it hits 100 and I'll need to turn them on. so far I've had no complaints.

I would warn that you stay completely away from riverside east of i-35. There are a ton of big ugly apartment complexes crawling with undergrads and sketchy types. It's very cheap (700/month for a 2 bedroom easy), but it's often shoddy, unsafe, loud, cockroach infested, etc. No atmosphere. I'm not saying ALL places will be that way in the area, but it definitely caters to those who want a cheap place and reflects that. I have 2 friends that live in that area and I would never do it.

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Possibly a stupid question:

How long is the average lease? Can one get 3 or 6 months, or only 1 year? I'm an international student and won't be able to visit before school starts. My plan is to just move into anywhere as a roommate when I get there, and then do a proper search for somewhere that suits my preferences in the winter break. But if I'll have to be in the first place for a full year, then I'll definitely take more care.

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I'm definitely Austin-bound in August, and very much looking forward to it.

The info on this thread has been really useful - but, as a more general question, what are the best ways to go about finding a shared place in Austin? I know at some universities it's pretty easy to pick up adverts for house-shares around campus. Or then, I suppose websites like Craigslist are big in the US? In the UK we have Gumtree...

I'm gonna investigate the possibility of university accommodation when I get some time, but the best option for me would be to find a nice house/flat to share with one or two other people!

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How long is the average lease? Can one get 3 or 6 months, or only 1 year?

I've found that taking out a lease for less than a year, while possible, raises your rent significantly. For example, I had to take out a 9 month lease this year because I will be leaving in the summer and my lease began in the fall, and it raised my rent by almost $30 a month.

The info on this thread has been really useful - but, as a more general question, what are the best ways to go about finding a shared place in Austin? I know at some universities it's pretty easy to pick up adverts for house-shares around campus. Or then, I suppose websites like Craigslist are big in the US? In the UK we have Gumtree...

There are fliers all over campus if you can find time to get here and check them out. Some people post them in the restrooms, but more often they are stuck to information bulletin posts that are situated all around campus. Craigslist is also a great resource for finding housing in Austin, especially if you need to find a roommate. There is a search feature on the website that specifically looks for "roommate wanted" ads. Also, I don't know how common this is among grad students, but I know Facebook marketplace is pretty popular among undergraduates looking for roommates. And don't forget the Daily Texan classifieds, which have less postings but are geared specifically to UT students: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/

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I'm a proponent of the eastside (east of I-35) because it has those great apartments and is practically downtown, plus there's a ton of great local business on east 6th and 7th, 11th, manor, etc). But because historically it has been a poorer neighborhood, the real estate market hasn't caught on that it is literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from the much more expensive areas of town.

I would warn that you stay completely away from riverside east of i-35. There are a ton of big ugly apartment complexes crawling with undergrads and sketchy types. It's very cheap (700/month for a 2 bedroom easy), but it's often shoddy, unsafe, loud, cockroach infested, etc. No atmosphere. I'm not saying ALL places will be that way in the area, but it definitely caters to those who want a cheap place and reflects that. I have 2 friends that live in that area and I would never do it.

Damn, thanks again for all this amazing info. We are really interested in living on the eastside--so you're basically saying, riverside underneath the river/lake is not cool, but Central East Austin close to I-35 is cool, right? Sweet. I couldn't seem to find any UT shuttle routes that ran around there (weird), but I'm guessing if I'm not too far east or south, the bike commute to school will be negligible. Now I just have to manage to get a place sight-unseen for August...

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Damn, thanks again for all this amazing info. We are really interested in living on the eastside--so you're basically saying, riverside underneath the river/lake is not cool, but Central East Austin close to I-35 is cool, right? Sweet. I couldn't seem to find any UT shuttle routes that ran around there (weird), but I'm guessing if I'm not too far east or south, the bike commute to school will be negligible. Now I just have to manage to get a place sight-unseen for August...

Yes, Riverside east of I-35 (and south of town lake). East side north of town lake (up to around Manorish) is super nice, and very close to downtown.

It's not surprising actually that shuttle routes may not run through the east side- again, it seems the city is just starting to realize that there is prime real estate over there. I have a hard time getting sandwich shops to deliver a catering tray to east mlk because most delivery cut-offs are I-35. But that's definitely changing. And anything between town lake and airport (the street!) is close relatively close to I-35

There's also a brand-spanking new metro line that runs from the convention center through the eastside (east 5th, and then MLK around airport) and goes to north austin (not necessarily campus).

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Don't rule out Manchaca (or Manchac in Austin vernacular), it's a little further south but there are decent and quiet apartments there in a residential neighborhood. It's adjacent to Lamar which will take you all the way into DT - if you take the bus, one way (free) ticket to campus. There is a shopping center nearby with a Target and a host of other shops and even a ... not Kroger, but an Austin equivalent nearby off 290...not to mention you're a little drive from the best Chinese buffet in Austin, BUFFET PALACE (near westgate)! I have to go there every time I travel to Austin.

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What, no love for Far West? I'm sad. :(

Here's my overview on Austin's student housing, based on my 4 years here. The rule of common sense does apply, as in don't leave your GPS in your car. Please take my crime stories with a grain of salt, I am just trying to make the point that Austin is not the safest place in the world, although it's safer than big cities like NYC. Just have common sense, travel in a group when going home late at night, and may good luck be with you. Also, I am bored and the stories are sticking out in my head. The crime happens VERY RARELY, think once a year, and to very different people in different neighborhoods in Austin. I have never had any car break-ins or anything in my 4 years here.

Those with (*) means having a car will be very beneficial, in some cases.

West Campus:

+ Pros: Don't need a car - you can just walk (under 10 min, depending on the building) to school and back! Of course, there's a shuttle too (WC).Very easy access to get to UT, 6th street (can take the e-bus) and the drag. Lots of restaurants on the drag. Seems pretty pet friendly. Big undergrad scene. There are quite a few new apartment complexes built recently, with pretty sweet amenities. You can take the bus downtown to Whole Foods.

- Cons: There's no big supermarket (sorry, I like HEB). Of course the obvious: wild partying, loud undergrads, lots of frat and sorority houses. Pretty expensive just for location. If you are a deep sleeper, this might work. If not, sorry. There may be some petty crime (car break-ins, apartment break-ins etc.) but again, use common sense. I remember some friends really not liking some realty properties, but I'm not sure which ones.

North Campus/Hyde Park:

+ Pros: I love this area. Many grad students I know live here, it's very quiet, pretty affordable (although costs keep going up each year) and easy to get to campus, just bike or take the IF bus. Pretty pet friendly. Safe neighborhood.

- Cons: Again, no HEB (supermarket), can't get there unless you have a car. (*) There are a few little convenience stores around that are walkable, but I haven't been to any, so no knowledge on that. Don't get an apartment facing directly on Speedway, the traffic is loud because the walls can be paper thin. Apartments can be pretty old, and newer apartments are more expensive.

Red River: I only know the region up to the HEB at 41st. The rest I don't know, sorry.

+ Pros: It has a 24 hour supermarket/HEB. AWESOME. It's on the shuttle route (RR) too, so you can do the whole get off at HEB, take shuttle home with groceries. Very close to the law school and music school. Very close to campus, you can bike there or even walk, especially to the law school. Pretty quiet neighborhood. Oh, just FYI, there is St. David's hospital nearby. I consider it a safe neighborhood.

- Cons: Like many places near UT, you really do pay more for location. If you can find an affordable gem, that's great, but my personal experience was paying good money for a crappy place. I think many apartments are a bit more run-down compared to other places, but of course, YMMV.

Far West: I love Far West. Of course, I'm biased, but who cares.

+ Pros: Getting to HEB is very walkable, especially if you live on the earlier stops on the shuttle (FW). I've seen people who get off at the 1st stop of the UT shuttle, go to HEB, and come back with bags to take the shuttle again all the way to their stop (near the end). Housing is actually pretty affordable, with studios starting at around $550 (my friend looked around for a new lease last month, that's how I know, but she said the cheaper they are, the tinier.)One bedrooms probably around 650-700, if you can haggle, great. If you have roommates, price goes down. Pet friendly, lots of dogs around. Very quiet neighborhood, very little partying, mostly grad students and families I think. Safe neighborhood for sure, unless you do stupid things like leaving valuables in your car (yes, my neighbor had his window smashed in so they could get his GPS and satellite radio).

- Cons: Pretty far from UT campus, you can't go to school on weekends unless you have a car (Saturdays - no shuttle, Sunday - VERY infrequent shuttle), takes about 20-25 minutes by bus. Going downtown/6th and coming back (without a car) will be extremely hard unless you have friends who can drive you back or let you stay at their place. I think you also have to pick a good apartment complex. From what I've heard some of them are pretty awful (rats, bad management) and some are quite good at doing their job. Please PM me for specific complexes. I don't want to sound like an advertiser, and I really don't know too much about most of them except from word-of-mouth. Apartments are fairly old, but some have done renovations. Mopac is very bad during rush hour.

Arboretum/North Austin: (*)!

+ Pros: I would say it's a yuppie neighborhood, there's a Whole Foods, the Gateway mall (where they have a movie theater, a Best Buy, a Container Store, etc.) There's a Bed Bath and Beyond, a Petco, a Costco, and Sam's Club in the area as well. Also a Barnes and Noble, a Saks, a Cheesecake Factory and other stores. I've found that prices were quite comparable for more decent apartments (newer, better quality, etc.) I think someone mentioned Riata - that's a pretty nice apartment complex, very new, although expensive if you're living alone. I heard they have an awesome, REAL gym in the complex.

If you work in the JJ Pickle research center, this is great because it's really close. I think lots of families live here too.

If you go up way, way north, to Metric and such (near ACC Stonehollow), I think you can find cheap and nice apartments, but of course, it's really far from campus.

- Cons: There are no shuttles to campus, the only way is to take the 982 bus (or other Metro buses) which takes 40 min to an hour (I think, I'm not entirely sure) to UT campus. If you have a car, you could drive to places where they have a shuttle, park there, and then just take the shuttle. Again, it's really far from campus, so you would probably want a car to go places. Traffic is hell during rush hour on 183.

Riverside: I personally do not recommend.

+ Pros: Cheap, lots of direct shuttles to campus (Shuttle routes are NR, CP, LS, WL), lots of UT students. Somewhat pet friendly.

Shuttle does drop you off at a weird location (next to the stadium) and it takes a while. Especially during rush hour, it's crazy because I-35 sucks.

- Cons: At times, it can be really loud with some parties going on during the weekend, which will leave your hallway scattered with drunk undergrads, red plastic cups, and loud bass blasting next to your wall. Also, there is some small crime (e.g., my friend got her side mirror broken torn off...not sure why.) Sometimes cops show up at night for some illegal activity and whatnot. I had a friend that heard a gunshot in the apartment below him (very rare). I think one time someone had their stuff stolen, but it was probably their fault for not locking the door properly while they were out, I think.

Gated communities, pfft. The gates were almost always broken.

HOWEVER, please take my experiences with a grain of salt, as I have not been here in a couple of years. I did stay over a number of times at friends' apartments and never felt like I was in grave danger. Usually the apartment complexes are quite safe. YMMV

(*): Car is necessary only when you want to go to the supermarket (HEB) and don't want to walk a mile and back with heavy groceries. Most of my friends' roommates had cars, so they'd have to hitch a ride whenever they went.

South Austin: I really don't know too much about South Austin, as I rarely go there and don't have many friends who live there. However, I think it has more of a yuppie feel to it in some places and there is a nice greenbelt, and of course, Barton Creek Mall and Zilker park. Apartment price ranges are all over, but again, I don't know this area too well. I did go to a friend's apartment in that area once and it was very nice and spacious.

(*): Oh, I think a car would be necessary because I think only Metro buses come down there, no shuttle buses. Also, getting to South Austin during rush hour is hell. Especially if you have to take I-35. Mopac is just as bad. I don't know much about Manchaca or Slaughter, but I heard some students with families live there.

Just a thought on some people talking about East Austin/Manor Road.

If you can find a decently safe neighborhood there, then yes, it's affordable, good restaruants, close to campus!

BUT, my friend got mugged there while walking home a few years back. He told me he moved out immediately. I also have a friend who lives in the same area (East Austin/Manor Road) and she has never gotten any trouble, loves the area, has her own house, walks her dog each evening and never gets in any trouble. Really, YMMV!!

School Apartments (Gateway, Colorado, Brackenridge)

+ Pros: VERY affordable. There's a UT shuttle (LA). Lots of grad students and families live there, I don't know too many single people living there. Very safe neighborhood.

- Cons: There's no guarantee you'll get a spot your first year, and you don't get to pick which apartment complex you go to. It's pretty competitive because it's so cheap. There's a Randalls nearby for grocery shopping.

Final Thoughts:

Please, this is just my perspective, I hope you don't find anything offensive. Grammar/spelling...I'm too lazy to think of that, it's 5 am and I can't sleep! I love Austin, I have been very happy these past 4 years, and all my friends loved living here as well. Safety is always a matter of common sense and luck. Also, traffic is ALWAYS bad anywhere during rush hour, but I always feel that I-35 is more jammed for longer periods of time. Housing costs will differ, but if you have roommates, it's always going to be cheaper than living alone.

Hope this helps!

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