Feature Article: Austin Neighborhoods

neighborhoods austin tribeza riverside

Neighborhood Perspectives
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side

Compiled by Anna Andersen
Location photographs by Danielle Chloe

For our annual Neighborhoods issue, we reached out to a bunch of people to learn what, in their words, is best about the neighborhood they call home. When asked if they could see themselves living in another neighborhood, some could (trees and proximity to downtown were big draws!), but most seemed more than content to be just where they are, enjoying their favorite neighborhood hangouts and hidden gems—which they have graciously shared with the rest of us.
 
 
mikey trafton neighborhood tribeza austin

Mikey Trafton

Part-time watermelon farmer living in Bouldin Creek

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
It’s a quiet hamlet in the shadow of downtown Austin.

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
The High Road (formerly Elks Lodge, with the best pool in the city).
austin high road tribeza

Hidden gems?
Peter Pan Mini Golf, the city’s best BYOB mini golf paradise.

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
There are four Torchy’s Tacos locations within five minutes of my house. Bouldin Creek must have the highest taco demand in the known universe. We are surrounded by tacos!

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
No way—I’m afraid of social contact. I’m the guy in the neighborhood who turns all the lights off on Halloween and pretends I’m not home.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Probably Travis Heights or Zilker—our neighboring neighborhoods to the east and west. They have almost as many taco joints as Bouldin Creek.
 
 
anna fagan tribeza neighborhood austin

Anna Fagan

Category analyst living in East Riverside

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
It is close to the trail around Lady Bird Lake and I have an affordable one-bedroom apartment.

Favorite neighborhood hang-outs?
The Lady Bird Lake boardwalk, Buzzmill, Mour, The Jackalope.

Hidden gems?
The new Jackalope bar has surprisingly great food and a good atmosphere. Buzzmill has free stand-up comedy every Wednesday.
jackalope austin tribeza

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
That the new Jackalope exists.

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
Not in my apartment complex, but I have met a lot of people walking at the trail that live in nearby complexes!

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Clarksville. It’s close to downtown, but still has the neighborhood community feel. It’s very safe, has a lot of trees, and is within walking distance to the trail.
 
 
michael portman tribeza austin neighborhood

Michael Portman

Co-founder of Birds Barbershop living in Zilker

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
The best part about Zilker is the proximity to the park, Barton Springs and especially the hike and bike trail. Zilker keeps my family healthy.

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
I like going to Zilker Elementary on the weekends to toss around a baseball with one son while the other one skateboards the outdoor hallways with his first-grade thrasher crew. The Bluebonnet Food Mart down the road is our neighborhood bodega, making it so that I can go days without leaving the Zilker Bubble.
bluebonnet food tribeza austin

Hidden gems?
Ford Street on Halloween sums up the Zilker spirit well. The street is closed to cars and every neighbor goes all-out — think front yard mazes, DIY haunted garages, and freak flags flying in every direction.

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
When the first Birds Barbershop opened on South Lamar in Zilker eleven years ago, I spent a lot of time getting to know the nooks and crannies of the place I’d eventually call home. What clinched it was the corner of Folts and Treadwell, where neighbors have set up a Frisbee golf course across several front yards. Only in Zilker.

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
Definitely. If I forget to cancel the newspaper before a trip or a package gets left out when we’re gone, someone will stop by and keep the house looking occupied. When there isn’t an outdoor tie-dye party going on, I like that Zilker folk tend to keep to themselves, but always look out for their own.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Barton Hills, because it’s next to Zilker.
 
 
annie stubbs tribeza neighborhood austin

Annie Stubbs

Mom living in Great Hills

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
The diversity! On any given day, I can hear three or more languages being spoken at the grocery store. It makes me feel like Austin is truly becoming an urban center.

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
Northwest Family YMCA, Garbo’s Lobster.

Hidden gems?
There is a red sauce Italian restaurant called Reale’s that I love. It is family owned and operated, a bit kitschy, and I always feel happy when we go there.

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
When we walk out our back gate, we walk straight into the Bull Creek Greenbelt and a mile-long trail with water crossings that ends at our neighborhood park.

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
Yes! The kids play together in our front yards and the adults all stop to chat while walking their dogs.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Probably Pemberton Heights because the houses and trees are dreamy and we do miss being “in town.”
 
 
jesse stowell tribeza austin neighborhood

Jesse Parker Stowell

Publicist living in Travis Heights

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
Travis Heights is a truly residential neighborhood where you can say hi to your neighbors as you climb the hill from Riverside towards the creek. With South Congress just a few blocks away, a late-night snack at June’s feels like a neighborhood block party.

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
I’m a huge fan of Larry McGuire’s (McGuire Moorman Hospitality) and Liz Lambert’s (Bunkhouse) properties as they create elevated spaces that still feel like Austin. I go to June’s All Day often for a delicious salad lunch or late night glass of wine picked out by June Rodil. If I have celebrity clients in town I recommend they stay at Hotel Saint Cecilia, mostly as another reason to have drinks poolside. For breakfast meetings I’ll go to Café No Se for coffee and their perfect kouign amann pastry. If I want no frills beer in a relaxed environment I’ll go to the Whip In.
whip in tribeza austin

Hidden gems?
I don’t think people visiting Austin get to see the beautiful homes on Newning and Academy Drive with their green yards and Blunn Creek nearby, just minutes from the hustle and bustle of South Congress and across the lake from downtown.

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
I feel New India Cuisine on South Congress isn’t appreciated nearly enough. A Goan twist on Indian food, this fish-heavy restaurant serves a lunch special that gives you a little taste of everything.

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
The original Austin neighbors are friendly and many of the transplants know each other from similar social circles in their previous hometowns of San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
I love East Austin, the houses going in are modern but the neighbors are probably too cool for me.
 
 
lauren robertson tribeza austin neighborhood

Lauren Robertson

Speech pathologist, mom, potter, and musician living in Highland

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
It’s close to Metro Rail, fairly walkable, and community oriented.

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
Black Star Coop, Michi Ramen, AFS Cinema, Galaxy Highland Theater, Stiles Switch BBQ, Barrett’s Coffee, Kula Sushi.

Hidden gems?
We have a great new park in the works in St. Johns.

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
The story goes that the streets are named after girls who lived in an orphanage where Highland ACC now stands.

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
Absolutely.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Maybe Hyde Park? I used to live there in the ‘90s and I loved being able to walk or bike to everything (didn’t own a car back then).
 
 
Cameron Lockley tribeza austin neighborhood

Cameron Lockley

Restaurateur living in Mueller

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
I personally enjoy the farmer’s market on Sunday mornings underneath the old airport hangar. I also love that I get to avoid any and all highways on my short commute to work in north-central Austin.

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
Mueller Lake Park. My dog Rafa and I take a walk around the lake every morning before checking the mail. The squirrels keep us entertained along the way!

Hidden gems?
Everything in Mueller is new (well, at least new-ish) since the entire neighborhood has been built on the site of the old Austin airport. Just across 51st Street (the northern border of Mueller) is a locally owned Tex-Mex dive called Paco’s Tacos. Good tacos and always friendly service.
pacos tacos tribeza austin

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
It’s not finished! There are still dozens and dozens of acres of land being developed for homes and possibly even a new elementary school.

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
I borrow eggs and power tools from my friend Ashley and her family who live around the corner … we went to junior high together in Dallas! I also co-hosted a meet and greet for then mayoral candidate Steve Adler with my neighbor Josh around the other corner.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Clarksville. I love the old trees, proximity to downtown, and some of my favorite restaurants are there … so probably best for my pocketbook that I don’t!
 
 
gertie wilson tribeza austin neighborhood

Gertie Wilson

Founder/CEO living in Western Trails

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
Our incredible community. We have an architect, a World War II veteran and jet pilot, tech gurus, a real estate agent, an engineer, an APD officer, retired teachers, professors and so many more. We all help and watch out for each other!

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
The private greenbelt on the creek in our backyards where we regularly get together. Central Market for after-dinner gelato runs, weekend breakfast tacos and live music. The farmer’s market at the Toney Burger Center, a quick three-minute bike ride away. South Austin Gym, a place where you feel Rocky Balboa may have worked out. Radio Bar for local craft beer, hot coffee and yummy food truck grub.

Hidden gems?
I love stopping by the Summer Moon Trailer down the road on Manchaca and William Cannon. I also like Joslin Park where you can play tennis, throw a Frisbee or run around the track.
summer moon tribeza austin trailer

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
Williamson Creek runs through our neighborhood, making our backyards a small “greenbelt” which you would never know just by driving by! We all leave an open area in the back with no fencing so that all the neighbors can enjoy the open space. Our 90-year-old retired vet neighbor looks forward to hopping on his mower and cutting the grass for everyone weekly!

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
Absolutely! In addition to being able to ask our neighbors for anything, we meet up nightly in back by the creek to let our pups play and visit with each other.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
I would not trade our neighbors, creek and community for anything! We are SO LUCKY!
 
 
lauren ross tribeza austin neighborhood

Lauren Ross

Lawyer, mom, and wife living in Hyde Park

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
I like the fact that I can walk to restaurants, bars, coffee shops (Quack’s!) and I can get downtown in less than 10 minutes (barring traffic). I also like my friendly neighbors.

Favorite neighborhood hangouts?
Drink.Well, Quack’s, Vino Vino, Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Shipe Park.

Hidden gems?
I don’t know if it’s hidden, but the Flag Store at 45th and Duval has EVERYTHING you could ever want and never knew you needed.
flag store hyde park market tribeza austin

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
Our post office workers still walk door to door to deliver mail all year long!

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
Absolutely, especially since one of my neighbors is a professional baker.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Rosedale — it’s close by and has a great park (Ramsey).
 
 
saro mohammed tribeza austin neighborhood

Saro Mohammed

Education researcher, wife, and mom living in Winding Prairie/Trailside Estates

What do you like best about your neighborhood?
It’s so peaceful, quiet, and green. It’s close enough to downtown that we don’t feel like we’re far away from the action, but it’s far enough away that we leave the hustle and bustle behind.

Hidden gems?
The whole neighborhood! Villa St. Clair and Decker Lake (Lake Walter E. Long) are definitely highlights. Decker is great for fishing, triathlons, and even the Austin Iron Man qualifier!

Favorite hangouts?
The Travis County Expo Center—home to the rodeo and fair during spring break — is a favorite. (Where else would you get front-row seats to Johnny Depp playing as Willie Nelson’s guest bass guitarist for $35?!)

What’s something most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
That it exists and, honestly, I think we love it that way!

Are you on a sugar-borrowing basis with your neighbors?
With some of them, yes. Although we don’t have formal get togethers, I’ve certainly hosted and been hosted by my neighbors, and everybody knows everybody here.

If you could live in any other neighborhood, which one would it be and why?
Nope. This is the perfect place for us!


Read more from the Neighborhoods Issue | June 2017


Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search