Top 10 Best Neighborhoods in Austin for Families
Surrounded by Texas Hill Country, Austin suburbs are a gateway to outdoor and urban adventures. Beautiful homes, great schools and convenient commuting times are three reasons they are the preferred destination for families on the move. We’ve rounded up a list of the 10 best places to live in Austin. The list is based on home price, property tax rates and how family-friendly they are. Take a look at our Austin neighborhood map and choose the one you like the best!
Median home prices vary between communities. Property tax rates vary per school district and MUD, check with your taxing office, Realtor or builder for the exact rate.
Median Home Price: $535,000*
Up-and-coming Leander routinely makes the lists of the top suburbs in the Austin area. In 2021, the fast-growing city was named the No. 5 Best U.S. Suburb to Move To by Homes.com. Niche ranks it in the top 10 for best suburbs, best place to raise a family and best public schools in the Austin area.
Leander is becoming increasingly popular with developers. Award-winning Bryson recently won back-to-back Master-Planned Community of the Year awards from the Texas Association of Builders and then the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin for its combination of homes and amenities.
Leander is located 27 miles from Austin. While many residents drive to employment centers in Austin, others catch CapMetro Commuter Rail.
Leander ISD has a lot to boast about. Leander ISD was named one of the top 25 best school districts in the state by Niche. Twenty-three Leander ISD schools received coveted A grades from the Texas Education Agency.
State parks are conveniently located near the city, offering many opportunities to camp, hike and swim at Lake Travis, Inner Space Cavern, Pedernales Falls State Park, Longhorn Caverns State Park, McKinney Falls State Park and Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife.
Shopping and dining are convenient with residents easily accessing boutiques and antiques in historic downtown Leander as well as 1890 Ranch and The Parke. Designer discounts can be found at Round Rock Premium Outlets. The city is hard at work on Northline, a mixed used destination for shopping, dining and retail.
Median Home Price: $525,000*
Home to tech giants Apple, Dell Computer Corporation and Samsung Round Rock attracts families by the score. Venerable master-planned communities such as Forest Creek offer luxury homes in a country club atmosphere.
Families spend weekends at Old Settlers Park, a 645-acre complex with 20 baseball fields, five softball fields, five soccer fields, two football fields, a multi-purpose field, disc golf course and more.
The commute to Austin is approximately 40 minutes which makes it easy to enjoy the city’s attractions on weekends.
Round Rock ISD was rated one of the top 10 school districts in the Austin area. A strong commitment to the arts resulted in the district being receiving a Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.
Shopping and dining are never far away. The Round Rock Premium Outlets offers designer duds at discounted prices. La Frontera, Round Rock Crossing Shopping Center and Round Rock Town Center are available for day-to-day shopping. Favorite restaurants include the iconic Round Rock Doughnuts as well as High Country Market & Café and Hoody's Subs.
Median Home Price: $585,000*
Located just 17 miles from downtown Austin, Cedar Park is a thriving community with plenty of activities for families.
Cedar Park has the feel of a small town and the amenities of a large city. It is the home of the Austin Spurs and the Texas Stars. Both can be cheered on at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. The center also hosts more 150 events, including concerts and family-oriented entertainment. The Splash Shack is an indoor micro waterpark boasting six big slides, two smaller slides, a splash pad and tipping buckets. Brushy Creek Lake Park is where families go to hike, bike, kayak and play.
Nearby, residents can explore numerous state parks including Inner Space Cavern, Pedernales Falls State Park, Longhorn Caverns State Park, McKinney Falls State Park and Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife.
Two shopping centers entice Cedar Park residents. The Parke is anchored by Whole Foods. 1890 Ranch has a Cinemark theater as well as a bookstore, Target and Petsmart. Lakeline Mall boasts favorite retailers.
There are many dining spots in Cedar Park. The original Smoky Mo's BBQ can be found here. Whitestone Brewery crafts delicious pilsners, IPAs and stouts that can accompany food truck fare. A healthy meal at home can be prepared with ingredients purchased at the Texas Farmer's Market.
Median Home Price: $826,452*
Idyllic, upscale Lakeway is a town worth the investment. Home prices are high, but the return in quality of life is higher.
Celebrated Lake Travis ISD attracts parents seeking the best education for their children. The district ranks at No. 35 on the Niche list of best school districts in Texas. Lake Travis High School earned recognition as a 2021-2022 Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for providing broad access to transformative learning experiences for students in computer science, biomedical science and engineering.
Just about any water activity residents are interested in is 20 minutes away at Lake Travis. It’s also a destination for concert lovers and foodies. Thrill seekers should book an adventure with Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. Hamilton Greenbelts are a series of trails winding along Hurst and Yaupon creeks. The Lakeway Resort & Spa is popular with families due to three swimming pools, a swim up bar, spa and state-of the-art fitness center.
Lakeway is 22 miles from Austin. The commute time is approximately 45 minutes.
Lakeway Village Square provides nearby conveniences. Oaks at Lakeway is a town center where residents shop, dine and find urban entertainment. Numerous restaurants dot Lake Travis with favorites including Vincent’s on the Lake, The Oasis and Beachside Billy’s. In Lakeway, Santa Catarina and Nik’s keep the locals satisfied.
Median Home Price: $480,000*
Approximately 17 miles from downtown Austin and still relatively affordable, Pflugerville is popular with tech workers given its proximity to Apple, IBM, 3M, Abbott Labs, State Farm, Dell, AMD, Motorola and Samsung.
The city is known for its small-town vibe. Locals call the many events and festivals Pflugerville hosts “Pfestivals.” Deutschen Pfest celebrates the town’s German roots. Library Con hosts comic authors and artists, cosplayers, voice actors and more. Outdoor activities are plentiful with families splashing at the Gilleland Creek Park and Pool, taking to the track at Capitol City BMX or spending the day at nearby Lake Pflugerville. Typhoon Texas Waterpark features water slides, a lazy river and a wave pool.
Pflugerville ISD makes the grade as the No. 10 best school district in the Austin area according to Niche. The district serves approximately 25,300 students in 20 elementary schools, six middle schools, four traditional high schools and two alternative schools.
Stone Hill Town Center has a variety of big box stores, including DICK’s Sporting Goods, Target and Best Buy. Residents looking for unique clothing, gifts and furniture can stroll Pflugerville’s historic downtown.
Median Home Price: $665,500*
Liberty Hill is a hidden gem full of small-town charm and plenty of wide-open spaces. Commuting to downtown Austin for work or pleasure is a convenient 35-minute drive.
Outdoor activities predominate. Liberty Hills residents enjoy spending weekends taking advantage of recreational opportunities on Lake Buchanan. Lions Foundation Park offers a pavilion with picnic areas, a soccer-football practice field, a 0.8-mile walking track, two ball fields, a volleyball court and library. Thirsty Mule Winery is the perfect spot tasting your favorite vintages.
Liberty Hill ISD is one of the top 100 best school districts in Texas according to Niche. It also took the No. 7 spot for best teachers in the Austin area. Students score above average on state-mandated tests.
Liberty Hill is convenient to the Round Rock Premium Outlets. Wolf Ranch Town Center in Georgetown features a Target, Best Buy and PetSmart. A Whole Foods 365 is located in Liberty Hill. When they want to eat out, the locals head to Dahlia Café, Fratelli Pizza and Major’s Burger Company.
Median Home Price: $515,000*
Nestled between the Middle and North forks of the San Gabriel River, Georgetown is the perfect home for nature lovers. Georgetown is located along the Interstate 35 corridor providing easy access to Austin tech employers Dell, Apple and National Instruments. The commute is less than 45 minutes.
By far the biggest attraction in Georgetown is Inner Space Cavern. One of the best-preserved caves in Texas, it features beautiful formations, large rooms and prehistoric animal bones. During the summer, Georgetown residents cool off at Blue Hole Park, a lagoon bordered by limestone bluffs along the South Fork of the river. Lake Georgetown provides opportunities for camping, fishing, boating and skiing.
Georgetown radiates small-town vibes but packs a punch with big-city amenities. The Downtown Square is considered the most beautiful in Texas. Lined with wineries, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques, the historic square rivals those found in bigger cities. Georgetown festivals are famous, with the annual Red Poppy Festival attracting approximately 30,000 visitors each year.
Georgetown ISD is well known and well regarded. The district boasts 13 athletic programs, 16 fine arts programs and five GISD schools that offer dual language programs. The district was rated No. 21 on Niche’s list of the Best School Districts in Texas.
Day-to-day shopping is available at Wolf Ranch Town Center. Republic Square Shopping Center offers an eclectic mix of shopping and dining spots. More unique shops can be found in historic downtown Georgetown. Fine dining is available at Union Merchant and City Post. Other favorites include Catfish Parlour, Firo Fire Kissed Pizza and Jimmy Vega’s Smokehouse.
Median Home Price: $437,000*
Hutton is a unique Texas town where homebuyers can find great homes, family-friendly activities and plenty of hippos.
According to legend, a hippo escaped from the circus in 1915 and found sanctuary in a nearby creek. Today, the town boasts more than 3,000 hippo statues, including Henrietta, a 14,000-pound concrete statue that stands in Hutto’s Old Town.
Hutto’s merits extend beyond water-loving beasts. Master-planned communities have begun to spring up promising an advantageous lifestyle for residents.
Hutto is 30 minutes from Austin and even closer to Round Rock, Georgetown, and Pflugerville. Day trips include summer visits to Typhoon Texas Waterpark, talking to the animals at Wild Things Zoofari, enjoying the indoor pool at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions and all Austin attractions.
Quirky Hutto offers self-guided tours of their hippo statues, but by far the best place to hang out is Old Town. Hutto Lake Park features 39 acres of picnic spots, sports courts, walking trails and a lake.
Hutto ISD teachers strive to prepare students for the 21st century. District high schools offers Advanced Placement and honors courses, dual credit programs and a Career and Technical Education program featuring numerous certifications. Hutton ISD has won national recognition for its art and music programs.
For hungry tummies, the award-winning Texas Café and Pie Shop offers a pie “happy hour.” Southside Market & Barbecue has been serving up Texas barbecue for nearly 140 years. The Downtown Hall of Fame is where the locals go to watch the big game, hear live music and chow down on a juicy burger.
Hutto is two minutes from SH 130 so it’s easy for fashionistas to head to the Round Rock Premium Outlets. In nearby Pflugerville, Stone Hill Town Center offers several big box stores such as Home Depot, Target and DICK’s Sporting Goods.
Median Home Price: $371,000*
Home to Texas State University, San Marcos is one of the hippest cities outside of Austin. The town trades on its natural amenities and college-town vibe.
San Marcos attractions are myriad. Water sports rule with stand-up paddling, kayaking, tubing and surfing the falls on the San Marcos River favorites. Glass-bottom boats are a fun way to explore Spring Lake. Wonder World Cave & Adventure Park offers fully guided tours of an earthquake-created cave as well as gem mining, a train and an anti-gravity house. San Marcos has a rich history that can be explored in its many museums. Don’t miss Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos or the Calaboose African American History Museum. Unique to San Marcos is the Unicycle Football League. You read that right. It’s the only such league in the world.
If you love the nightlife, you’ll love San Marcos. The San Marcos Downtown Square can’t be beat for live music, bars, breweries and restaurants. Middleton Brewing is dog-friendly and known for picturesque views and delicious brews. The storied Cheatham Street Warehouse has played host to George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughan and more.
Most students attend schools in the San Marcos CISD. The district is ranked in the top 15 for districts with the best teachers in the Austin area. High school students have access to Advanced Placement and honors classes.
Shopaholics will be in paradise with a move to San Marcos. , the city’s two outlet malls — San Marcos Premium Outlets and the Tanger Outlets — combine to form the largest outlet shopping center in the nation.
Median Home Price: $400,000*
The Pie Capitol of Texas is also a great place to raise a family. Located along the Interstate 35 corridor, the town offers a convenient downtown commute, friendly neighbors and a relaxed lifestyle.
Kyle is 20 minutes south of Austin, but you would never know it due to its rural, small-town feel. Kyle Market Days offers an abundance of fresh produce, homemade goods and more from April to September. Free movies at the lake attract families to Lake Kyle in August. Young athletes team up at G-C Sports Complex. The entire family can enjoy a night out at EVO Entertainment.
Hays CISD is responsible for educating young Kyle residents. The district’s 26 campuses serve more than 20,000 students. A rigorous curriculum complemented by strong arts and athletic programs prepare students for life in the 21st century.
When it comes to food, Kyle offers an abundance of choices, but most people come for the pie served at The Texas Pie Company. Big Rob’s Burgers offers up hefty portions of the best burgers in South Austin. Ilario’s Italian Cuisine is the place to go for authentic Italian dishes.
*Median home prices vary between communities and are based on 2020 data.