Are you headed to Texas soon? Congratulations, Longhorn-to-be! Not only will you be attending one of the best state universities in the country, but you’ll also be smack-dab in one of the most incredible cities in the US!
However, when compared to the size of its student body, The University of Texas at Austin’s main campus is relatively small, presenting some challenges for incoming students looking for housing that’s both affordable and close to class. Learn more about what to expect when looking for off-campus housing near UT Austin, which neighborhoods are among students’ top picks, and what the different living set-ups look like for students like you.
What to Expect When Looking for Housing Near UT Austin
Limited On-Campus Housing and Parking Options
Although UT Austin encourages incoming students to live on-campus, the school’s student-run newspaper reports that there aren’t enough dorms to house all students who want them. Accordingly, over 86% of the student population lives off-campus!
Additionally, because of the university’s location in central Austin, parking is extremely limited, with many students participating in lottery-style sweepstakes for the chance to buy a pass.
Competitive Off-Campus Student Apartments
Given the low availability of housing on-campus and the difficulty of commuting to school, it’s no surprise that most students have no option but to find privately-run off-campus housing to live within walking, biking, or bussing distance to class.
In turn, the university works with several major apartment complexes to offer alternative privately-run dorms and other relatively affordable living solutions for students. Most of these living arrangements are located in one of three neighborhoods surrounding the school — West Campus, North Campus/Hyde Park, or East Riverside.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished Housing for UT Students
While some on-campus housing options come furnished, off-campus student apartments tend to be unfurnished, leaving the expensive — and burdensome — furnishing responsibility to students. Luckily, CORT Furniture Rental offers flexible furniture subscriptions for the school year, giving students a discounted rate to furnish their off-campus apartments. It’s the perfect solution for roommates to split the cost to furnish their entire place! The best part? Students don’t have to employ the help of their parents or friends on move-in day. CORT delivers and sets up the furniture for students. Then, when the lease is up, CORT removes the furniture so students don’t have to worry about lifting a finger.
Which Austin Neighborhoods Are Popular for UT Students?
West Campus is the go-to spot for most undergraduate students, particularly those involved in student organizations like sororities or fraternities! Thanks to its student-focused zoning and development, West Campus boasts various apartment communities tailor-made for the college lifestyle. For instance, many properties in West Campus feature multiple pre-furnished bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Additionally, many buildings offer student meal plans, dedicated study rooms, and excellent recreation facilities.
The neighborhood is dotted with restaurants and sports bars such as Plucker’s and Cain & Abel’s, famous for their inexpensive food and cheap drinks. Plus, since West Campus is located only a few blocks away from downtown Austin, residents are just a short rideshare away from the city’s nightlife.
Undoubtedly, life in West Campus puts its residents smack dab in the middle of the action, which is great if you’re up for it, but not so great if you just want a quiet place that’s close to campus. Additionally, due to West Campus rental properties’ newer construction, premium amenities, and proximity to UT, rent prices are relatively high compared to other Austin neighborhoods.
In addition, West Campus residents who need parking will be hard-pressed to find it, with many car owners opting into expensive parking contracts that run anywhere from $100-250 per month. On the flip side, due to the neighborhood’s lack of essential conveniences (like pharmacies and grocery stores), carless students in West Campus often have to rideshare, bike, or ride the bus to get necessary items.
West Campus Pros:
- Walking distance to UT Austin and most sorority/fraternity houses
- Easy access to sports bars, fast food restaurants, and downtown Austin nightlife
- Amenities made for students like meal plans, recreational facilities, and more
West Campus Cons:
- Relatively expensive rent
- Lack of access to essential conveniences like pharmacies and grocery stores
- Costly and limited parking options
- It tends to be louder than other popular neighborhoods.
North Campus/Hyde Park
North campus is the preferred neighborhood for graduate and doctoral students, with many pre-med and law school students congregating in the area. Also known as Hyde Park, North Campus is a historic Austin neighborhood with beautiful mid-century homes and towering oak trees to show for it.
Due to the area’s history and zoning laws, rental properties in North Campus tend to be older and less student-friendly, with fewer amenities and dated finishes. However, thanks to its relatively low rent prices and overall charm, students flock to the neighborhood. Plus, Hyde Park properties make up for their lack of fancy features with free parking, proximity to parks, and quieter residential vibes.
Lastly, unlike West Campus, Hyde Park is home to various grocery stores, delis, and pharmacies, meaning its residents can easily walk or bike to get their daily essentials.
North Campus Pros:
- Relatively quieter
- Many properties offer free parking.
- Easy access to neighborhood grocers, pharmacies, and restaurants
- Charming, historic residential neighborhood
North Campus Cons:
- Rental properties tend to be older and offer fewer amenities
- Farther away from campus and nightlife
- Lack of student-focused amenities such as furnished apartments
East Riverside is the unsung hero of UT students on a budget. Many of the properties in the area offer West Campus-like amenities and leases at a fraction of the cost. However, East Riverside is farther away from campus than the other two student-preferred neighborhoods in this guide, meaning its residents mainly depend on their cars to get to and from class. Additionally, since East Riverside is also a popular neighborhood for non-student residents of Austin, traffic and crime are more problematic here than in West or North Campus.
On the bright side, UT students who choose to live in East Riverside enjoy proximity to East Austin’s booming brewery and live music scene along with convenient access to big box stores and supermarkets. For the budget-minded student, life in East Riverside is the way to get the best of both worlds — affordability and accessibility.
East Riverside Pros:
- Student-focused amenities like individual leases and furnished apartments
- Relatively affordable neighborhood
- Easy access to grocery stores, essential conveniences, and nightlife
East Riverside Cons
- Relatively higher crime and traffic
- Car-dependent for getting to and from UT
Finding Housing Near UT Austin
Now that you know more about the popular neighborhoods for UT Austin students, it’s time to find the perfect apartment for your lifestyle! Whether you choose to live in West Campus, North Campus, or East Riverside, you can turn any house into a home by renting furniture in Austin for the duration of your apartment lease.
With CORT’s variety of student furniture rental packages, you can quickly and flexibly get everything you need for your apartment for only as long as you need it! We’ll deliver and set it up upon move-in and come pick it up at the end of your lease! No moving trucks or heavy lifting needed.