As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is a favorite place for music lovers on vacation. In addition to a lively music scene, it has dozens of museums, galleries, outdoor spaces, shopping spots and delicious restaurants to round out the trip. Before browsing Austin hotels and booking a room, consider renting a vacation home in Austin to get the most out of your trip. Check out what you get by skipping the hotel and living like a local in an Austin vacation rental.
Experience Austin’s Unique Neighborhoods
Austin is a large city that’s divided up into many neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own personality and different things to offer. For example, South Lamar is a largely residential neighborhood that’s low-key and away from the touristy side of town but still close enough for vacationers. It’s just five minutes from downtown and offers several affordable restaurants, shops and accommodations for those traveling on a budget. On the other hand, South Congress is a lively and vibrant neighborhood filled with music venues, galleries and lots of character. By skipping Austin hotels, you immerse yourself into the local culture and get the full Austin experience, just like a local. Thankfully at VacationRenter we put together a handy Austin, Texas neighborhood guide to help you learn the ropes.
Here Are Six Of Our Favorite Vacation Rental Ideas
- Bungalow in South Congress
Small and cozy bungalows are a charming way to experience the lively personality of Southern Congress — more commonly known as SoCo. This neighborhood is one of the most popular in Austin for visitors and locals alike. It’s known for its vibrant boutiques and shops, live music and unique food options. While South Congress Avenue itself is full of life and excitement, the streets surrounding it are quieter. A vacation rental bungalow on one of these quiet streets puts you close to the action but offers a quiet haven just a short walk away. An intimate bungalow is a great place to enjoy your Austin vacation with friends or family.
- House in Hyde Park
The historic homes in Hyde Park are well maintained and have perfectly manicured lawns, making them the ideal backdrop for all of your Austin vacation Instagram photos. Many houses in this area have the Texas Historical Plaques to cement their place in Austin’s deep history. The quiet neighborhood on the north side of Austin is ideal for families with children or people looking for a quiet vacation. With porches, patios and other outdoor spaces, you can enjoy evenings outside without having to leave the refuge of the house. There are several cafes, shops, diners and bakeries in walking distance from most Hyde Park homes. If you don’t have access to a car during your vacation, Hyde Park has several MetroBus stops throughout the neighborhood.
- Apartment in Zilker
Zilker is another bustling neighborhood in Austin that is home to families and singles alike. The neighborhood is named after its largest attraction — Zilker Park — which is where you might like to spend time relaxing. The park offers 351 acres of land, trails and water for running, biking, swimming, kayaking and any other outdoor activities you enjoy. It’s also close to restaurants, nightclubs, bars and music venues for nighttime entertainment. A vacation apartment in Zilker is an affordable way to stay in one of the most popular spots in town. You might even get to catch a view of Austin’s skyline over the water from your window.
- Townhouse in Clarksville
Clarksville is a quiet neighborhood located close to downtown, giving residents and visitors the best of both worlds. The historic homes have been protected from the growth and development seen in other areas, but it’s still close enough to downtown to feel like you’re a part of the action. A townhouse in Clarksville is a nice spot for a girls’ weekend or family vacation. The quirky neighborhood welcomes all. Nau’s Enfield Drug has been a community staple for decades and is a must-stop destination for milkshakes during your visit. At night, head over to the world-famous Sixth Street to listen to some of the local music. All is within walking distance of a townhouse vacation rental where you can rest after a day of excitement.
- Condo in East Downtown
East Downtown is the artsy and colorful side of town. This area has a long history. Many of the older bungalows where people used to live have been refurbished into shops, salons and other businesses. New condos in East Downtown provide comfortable digs for your stay. The streets are lined with galleries and shops at which you can find vibrant arts and crafts from local artists. Used bookstores, boutiques and thrift shops are the places to find rare gems from generations past. Get your fill of local cuisine and refreshments at the restaurants, bars and food trucks that have set up shop in East Downtown. All are just a short walk from an East Downtown vacation condo.
- Apartment or Condo in South Lamar
An apartment in South Lamar is a great way to stay and play in Austin on a budget. Located right along the Barton Creek Greenbelt, South Lamar has vast outdoor spaces in which you can enjoy the beauty of Austin free of charge. The neighborhood also has several local restaurants and hole-in-the-wall bars offering food and drinks at non-tourist prices. Vacation apartments and condos in South Lamar keep you close to this laid-back neighborhood with its Southern hospitality but put you within walking distance of some of the other lively scenes in Austin.
Privacy for Your Entire Stay
No early morning wake up calls. No “do not disturb signs.” No housekeepers in your space. Austin vacation rentals provide you with a greater level of privacy. Additionally, being in a vacation house, apartment or condo means you’re not surrounded by hundreds of other people on tourist excursions. If you’re here for a quiet getaway, you don’t have to worry about the party in the room next door like you might at a downtown Austin hotel.
More Space to Live
If you’re in Austin for all 10 days of SXSW or you’ve traveled here with your extended family for a reunion, a hotel room can start to feel pretty small. Vacation rental homes have multiple bedrooms, multiple bathrooms and living areas where everyone can spread out to enjoy some downtime. Vacation rentals offer common spaces to enjoy when traveling with a large group or for an extended stay versus booking a hotel. It is easy to get everyone together for a game of Uno or a shared mea.
Amenities You Love
Don’t give up any of those amenities you look forward to when staying in an Austin hotel. Many rentals have pools, spas and other features that hotels offer. In addition, rentals have full kitchens. Save money by cooking a few meals at your vacation rental home. Try something really unique by hiring a private chef for a special dinner. Or just enjoy a larger refrigerator for storing your leftovers from some of the popular restaurants in Austin.
More Value for Your Money
Lastly, a vacation rental offers more value for your money over Austin hotels. Many houses, condos and apartments in downtown, Hyde Park, Clarksville, Zilker and other neighborhoods are priced comparably to hotels in the same areas. The difference is that you control your accommodations and get to choose the space that best meets the needs of your trip, no matter if you’re in Austin for work or play.
Picking a Great Austin Vacation Rental
Now that you’ve decided a vacation property is the way to go when you’re in Austin. How do you pick one from the numerous listings we have on VacationRenter?
- Choose the Right Austin Neighborhood
Austin is separated into dozens of neighborhoods, and each one has a unique personality and different things to offer. When looking for Austin vacation rentals, learn about the neighborhoods and select the one that suits your family, has the vibe you’re looking for or offers the type of experience you want on your trip. Hyde Park is one of the more popular neighborhoods for families or people looking for a quiet, laid-back vacation. It’s filled with picturesque historic homes, charming coffee shops and markets, and there are fewer crowds. On the flip side, South Congress has a bigger nightlife and trendier scene and is filled with young, artsy crowds and is a bit more upbeat.
- Consider Local, Austin Attractions
If you’re in Austin on vacation, you’ve likely narrowed down a few attractions that you want to see while you’re in town. Choosing a vacation rental that’s near Zilker Park means that you can wake up in the morning to go for a jog and enjoy the beautiful views or kayak out in the waterways in the afternoons. Renting a vacation condo Downtown means you’re right in the center of the action and just a short walk from many of the more popular restaurants and clubs in the city. Determine where you plan to spend most of your time, and select a vacation rental that offers a short commute.
- Think About the Type of Texas Rental You Want
Austin vacation rentals offer comfort and convenience for any size party. If you’re in Austin with a large group and plan to cook meals rather than eat out, renting a large home with a kitchen is ideal. You can enjoy family-style meals around the table. Have fun with it and take turns as chef each night, or plan theme nights. Some even have swimming pools and other luxury amenities to enhance your vacation time. However, if you’re in Austin to experience the local barbecue, two-step the night away in a dance hall or just spend most of the time exploring the city, a smaller vacation loft rental or studio provides a comfortable space that may make more sense.
- Set a Budget and Stick to It
Establishing a price range for your Austin vacation rental has two distinct advantages. First, it helps you narrow your choices by excluding units that don’t fit within your budget. Even more important, budgeting for your vacation makes it more enjoyable because you know you can afford to pay for it. Sticking with the budget also helps you be more deliberate in your choices as you decide where you want to spend the vacation money.
- Make Sure It’s Kid-Friendly If You’re Bringing The Little Ones Along
Choosing a vacation rental that meets your needs is even more important when you’re bringing the entire family. When you see a rental with a swimming pool, you may immediately imagine how refreshing it’ll feel to cool off in the afternoon. However, you should also find out how close the pool is to the unit and make sure there’s a security fence to keep out unsupervised children. If you’re considering a two-story unit, ask if there’s a gate at the top or bottom of the stairs to reduce the chance of a fall. Look for details like the color scheme inside the unit and whether it has a washer and dryer.
- Ask About Pets
With a large selection of restaurants, public parks and stores that welcome dogs along with their owners, Austin is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. That doesn’t mean your vacation rental has the same policy for four-legged family members. If your family vacation is incomplete without your dog or cat, look for a pet-friendly rental. Check the rental policy to make sure your pet falls within the size requirement, and ask about details like where you can walk with your furry friend.
- Get Around Austin Easily
The last thing to consider when selecting an Austin vacation rental is how you’re getting around town. If you have access to your own vehicle, your options are wide open because you have the freedom to go anywhere at any time. Otherwise, opt for a rental that’s within walking distance of the places you need to go or right on the MetroBus line so that it’s easier to move around town.
We know, room service is great, and a hallway to the hottub and gym are luxury comforts. However, you can get that in any city around the world. Enjoy Austin in its authenticity with a Rental property on your next trip to Texas.