If you enjoy Tex-Mex, a city with a skyline, natural beauty and live music serenading every street corner, Austin might be the city you never knew you needed in your life (trust us, you do).
One of the joys of being a travel nurse is that you can fulfill your dreams of living in your favorite city while also working at a job you’re passionate about.
Whether you’ve always had your heart set on moving to Austin or the idea of living in the musical heart and soul of the United States has recently piqued your interest, we’ve compiled a helpful guide chalkful of the best neighborhoods, restaurants, and attractions to help you get acclimated.
Where to Live: Austin’s Top Neighborhoods
Wondering how to find housing as a travel nurse in Austin? If you’re interested in moving to Austin, Texas, it’s important to find a neighborhood that complements your lifestyle. There are plenty of districts to choose from, so we’re here to help narrow down the list with some of our top picks:
South Manchaca (pronounced “man-shack” if you want to sound like a true Austin resident) is the ideal neighborhood for anyone interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.1 With local parks that are perfect for people-watching and cardio and a variety of dining options nearby, you can find your new favorite restaurant, chow down, and walk it off as you stroll through Garrison Park.
Some of South Manchaca’s other benefits include:
- Convenient location (only a few minutes from downtown Austin)
- Family friendly, with local parks and highly-rated schools for families with children
- Walkable to a slew of dining options—from brunch spots to food trucks, plenty of scrumptious foods are yours for the taking
Hyde Park and North Loop
If you’re interested in finding a cozy place to rest your weary head (and feet) after a long shift, this neighborhood will surely give you the relaxing vibes you seek. The streets are sprawling with trees and historic bungalows.
When you’re not using your front porch to enjoy the breeze and a good book, take yourself on a walk to the center of the neighborhood where you’ll quickly sense the community feel in the form of:
- A small local grocery store, perfect for grabbing any last-minute dinner essentials
- A cozy coffee shop to support your love for lattes
- Multiple dining establishments that will come in handy when you want to treat yourself to something tasty after a long day of work
Be in the center of it all in the neighborhood of Clarksville, featuring historic homes and landmarks galore. With entertainment around every corner, you can plan a picnic at McGregor Park Riverwalk followed by a stop at one of the quirky shops or cafes that keep the phrase “Keep Austin Weird” applicable.
While you’re here, check out some of Clarksville’s highlights:
- Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or the best of both worlds (brunch), the Galaxy Cafe is the place to get it.
- Find your perfect taco fix at Taco Flats. Wash them down with one of over 30 craft beer options on their extensive drink menu.
- Visit one of the district’s impressive art venues, including Davis Gallery, Wally Workman Gallery, and more.2
Cost of Living in Austin, Texas
Before settling in, it’s helpful to know how much you can expect to spend on typical expenditures:3
- Rent – If you’re thinking of living downtown in the heart of the best city, the average rent price of one bedroom costs approximately $1,598. However, in a quieter part of town, Austin renters will have a lower housing cost. The average rent price of a one bedroom will set you back significantly less, about $1,146.
- Groceries – Try as you might to enjoy the taco trucks everyday, you’ll probably want to stock up on a few grocery essentials. Typically, a quart of milk in Austin costs about a dollar, bread about $2.24 per loaf, and a dozen eggs will be $3.05.
- Utilities – In Austin, utilities for a single individual (electricity, heating, and water) will cost about $115.
- Childcare – Daycare and preschool prices are a bit steeper than the national average, at approximately $1,076 per month.
Explore Austin: Must-See Places to Visit
Whether you enjoy sipping on a cocktail listening to live music, or getting in your 10,000 steps while you shop til you drop, there are so many tantalizing places to explore while you’re in Austin. If you are truly interested in finding yourself with travel nursing or learning how to make new friends as a travel nurse in this city, here’s where to go:
Rainey Street is the place to go for a rootin’-tootin’ good time on a Saturday night (or any night, really). With houses turned into bungalow bars, an endless supply of live music, and an entire street devoted to food truck cuisine, there’s plenty to eat, drink, and do here.
Domain provides the ultimate shopping and dining experience. After you meander through the streets and see all the delectable eateries, bars, and ice cream shops to choose from, Domain will quickly become a constant in your life while you’re living in Austin, Texas.
Here are a few of the places you can expect to see while you’re there:
- Beard Papa’s – Take a bite of the “world’s best cream puff.” We dare you to have just one.
- Valencia’s Tex-Mex Garage – Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas galore! Oh, and let’s not forget the delicious, refreshing margaritas to go with.
- Shopping, shopping, and more shopping – From Aldo and All Saints to Waikiki and Zara, Domain boasts dozens of some of the best name-brand stores that will exceed all of your wildest shopping dreams.
Try a Taste of Austin’s Favorite Eateries
While you’re living in Austin, TX, you can’t go wrong when it comes to the food scene. After exploring some of the local haunts on your own, check out some of our personal favorites:
You may have had an el pastor taco, but we bet you’ve never had a Velvet Taco. They specialize in combining a fusion of flavors with some of your favorite food pastimes. By the time you’ve tried them all, every taco will have a special place in your heart.
Some of the especially crafty tacos they offer include:
- Spicy tikka chicken
- Chicken and waffle
- Nashville hot tofu
- Shrimp and grits
Jester King Brewery
Picture all of your favorite things rolled into one humongous package for your entertainment:
- Event hall
Jester King has all of that and more tucked away on a beautiful 165-acre ranch. What else could you possibly need? How about live music, tours of the brewery, and an opportunity to pet dwarf goats (goats that will perpetually look like adorable cuddly babies their entire lives).
No, this is not a drill. Run, don’t walk to this down-home good time—and don’t forget to have a slice of their mouthwatering pizza before you pet the goats!
Can’t-Miss Attractions in Austin
There are plenty of attractions to add to your to-do list once you’re here. Better yet, round up some of your favorites now so you can start checking them off as soon as you’ve got a day off.
Here are some of our top suggestions:
Take a Dip at Barton Springs Pool
Sitting at a consistent crisp temperature of 68 to 70 degrees, this spring-fed three-acre pool is one of Austin’s most prized natural attractions. Lounge on the grassy banks and then take a dip in the crystal clear waters to cool off.
Watch the Bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge
Did you know that Austin’s nickname is Bat City? It’s not because the people are loco (they’re wonderful). In fact, it’s because thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats live under Congress Avenue Bridge and are a sight to see when they make their nightly ascent from their nest while prowling for food.4
If you’re interested in seeing this once-in-a-lifetime show, you can come to Congress Avenue Bridge around sunset and wait for them to take flight anywhere from 7:30 to 9:45.
Know Before You Go: Tips When Living in Austin
Before you begin packing your bags, here are a few tips to consider:
- Austin is the live music capital of the world, and as such, it knows how to throw down when it comes to music festivals. From the iconic South by Southwest to Austin City Limits Festival, be on the lookout for upcoming music festival dates. They will not disappoint.
- Texas is known for its toasty summers, and Austin is no exception. Take advantage of some of its natural accommodations to cool off. Go paddle boarding or kayaking at Lady Bird Lake or float down the Colorado River in your own innertube.
- Austin is a big city full of bustling districts, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the city’s public transportation system. This’ll help easily get from place to place. You can use the public buses that run over 80 routes or the metro rail, which runs 26 miles between Leander and Downtown.
Find Your Next Travel Adventure with Host Healthcare
From the hustle and bustle of downtown life to artsy coffee shops along the city’s tree-lined streets, there’s so much to see and do while you’re living in Austin.
As a travel nurse in Texas, Austin may be the first stop on your travel journey, or it might be one of many stamps you add to your growing list of cities. That’s the beauty of working as a travel healthcare provider with Host—you do what you love while seeking out new adventures in cities all over the country.
Once you’ve been matched with a variety of travel nurse jobs, you can expect continuous care from your personal career consultant. With 24-hour support, you’ll have all the assistance you need to make your next travel experience everything you dreamed it would be—and more.
Are you ready to make your nomadic dreams come true? Browse our extensive list of travel healthcare jobs today!
Ashleigh Murray, BSN, RN
Nursing Specialty: PACU, Emergency Trauma, Post-op, Pre-op, ICU float
After completing an emergency trauma nurse residency at a level-one trauma center and teaching hospital in Washington, DC, I dove hard into emergency trauma nursing. I absolutely loved everything about working in the heart of DC with my emergency room family. After some time, I decided I wanted to grow my knowledge base and see how the rest of the US handles emergency trauma, so I became a travel nurse. I absolutely loved it! I loved learning how different places handle different situations or how different parts of the country prefer certain medications over others to achieve the same outcome. Traveling made me want to learn other nursing areas, so after gaining the needed experience, I took some cool travel jobs in Pre-op, Post-op, PACU, and PACU with ICU floating. Many of these travel jobs turned into long-term staff residencies because I couldn’t help falling in love with each city, the hospitals’ staff, and the knowledge and skills I obtained in each place. Being a nurse has enriched my life, filled my cup by allowing me to help others, and provided me with so many adventures. I can’t wait for the next one!
- “South Manchaca Neighborhood Guide.” Austin Texas – An Insider’s Tell-All Guide, https://www.austintexasinsider.com/austinneighborhood-southmanchaca.html.
- “5 Galleries to Visit in the Clarksville Historic District: Austin Insider Blog.” Visit Austin, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, 30 Oct. 2017, https://www.austintexas.org/austin-insider-blog/post/5-galleries-clarksville-historic-district/
- “Austin, TX: Cost of Living, Salaries, Prices for Rent & Food.” Livingcost.org, 23 May 2022, https://livingcost.org/cost/united-states/tx/austin
- “Bat Watching in Austin: Visit Austin, TX.” Visit Austin, https://www.austintexas.org/things-to-do/outdoors/bat-watching/
- “The Jester King Brewery Farm.” Jester King Brewery, https://jesterkingbrewery.com/farm