Thanks to its solid economic growth, a significant tech-industry presence, and a vibrant (pre-pandemic) dining and nightlife scene, Austin has enjoyed a major population boom over the past decade, and growth shows no signs of slowing down.

Of course, this wave of interest results in a crowded housing market within city limits, accompanied by swelling property values. Luckily, Austinites (and aspiring Austinites) in search of higher square footage and access to urban perks like excellent restaurants and shopping need only look to the towns just outside Austin proper. Located just a brief drive from the downtown business district, these five suburbs boast prime real estate, top-rated school districts, and enough entertainment and amenities to satisfy longings for big-city life.

West Lake Hills


Median home sale price: $1,188,800

The affluent West Lake Hills has among its virtues high property values, excellent public schools, and a sub-20-minute commute to Downtown Austin. Luckily for residents, the 78746 zip code also includes a number of celebrated eateries, so there’s no need to drive into the city for a night out. Need a spot for date night? Blue Dahlia Bistro, with its Francophile menu and Left Bank vibe, is a popular West Lake Hills restaurant. Taco aficionados will be glad to know that the city has its own outpost of Tacodeli, the beloved Austin mini-chain famous for quirky Tex-Mex eats.

Don't Miss: Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Residents of West Lake Hills enjoy easy access to Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, a stunningly scenic park area featuring a 2.5-mile hiking trail, waterfalls, flowers and vegetation, and plenty of local fauna (including some of Central Texas’ finest opportunities for bird-watching). The educational visitor’s center is currently closed down due to the COVID pandemic, but the trails and the grounds of the preserve are open to the public.

Round Rock


Median home sale price: $275,800

Professionals in search of more space have flocked to Round Rock for years, making the suburb one of Texas’ fastest-growing cities. While communities like West Lake HIlls and nearby Rollingwood are dominated by luxury homes and high prices, Round Rock still features possibilities for affordable living, making it a favorable option for young professionals who want to stay close to the city (the driving commute takes less than 30 minutes).

In addition to its proximity to Austin, Round Rock has its own downtown area, stocked with plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment venues. Among the highlights, you’ll find Round Rock Donuts, a legendary sweet shop with national acclaim; URBAN {eat.drink}, a chic New American restaurant with a craft beer bar; and an outpost of Salt Lick, a famous barbecue hub known for its brisket and sausages.

Don't Miss: Chisholm Trail Crossing Park

History aficionados head to Chisholm Trail Crossing Park to stand in the location where 19th-century cattle farmers led their flocks from the Texas frontier toward the lucrative livestock markets in the Midwest. Chisholm Trail Crossing Park is home to several bronze sculptures designed to commemorate those early Texans, and the “round rock” that gives the city its name can also be found in the park.



Median home sale price: $257,300

A small city of 46,000 just outside Austin city limits, Pflugerville is a fast-growing suburb strongly rooted in the local tech industry. Its top-notch public schools and convivial small-town energy make it popular with families, but others will find plenty to like about Pflugerville’s dining scene, shopping options, and 20-minute commute time to Austin. Local favorites include Red Rooster, a lively karaoke saloon; Spirit of Texas Distillery, a must-visit for fans of whiskey and rum (and whiskey and rum cocktails); and Wink Boutique, a charming shop featuring personalized clothing, locally sourced gifts, and quaint home goods. 

Don't Miss: Brotherton's Black Iron BBQ

When it comes to the barbecue scene in Pflugerville, Brotherton’s Black Iron BBQ absolutely can’t be missed. This no-frills smokehouse serves up platters of perfectly-cooked brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and ribs, but the Brotherton’s sandwich menu truly sets this spot apart. Here, you can find barbecue spins on sandwich classics, including the “Texas Reuben” and the “Pflugerville Philly.”

Dripping Springs

An aerial view of a subdivision in Dripping Springs, Texas
Dripping Springs is known locally for its breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

Median home sale price: $454,400

The charming Hill Country town of Dripping Springs lies just 45 minutes west of Downtown Austin, and if you’re a fan of local beers, wines, and spirits, then this ATX suburb more than merits a spot on your must-visit list. Dripping Springs sits at the center of Central Texas’ brewing, winemaking, and distilling region, and mega-hit destinations like Jester King Brewery, Treaty Oak Distilling, Deep Eddy Vodka, and Fall Creek Vineyards are just a brief drive away from Dripping Springs’ downtown. The impressive hospitality scene and the warm, lively energy of Dripping Springs makes it an appealing locale for recent Austin transplants.

Don't Miss: Hamilton Pool Preserve

Texans love their swimming holes (a logical conclusion, considering the heat!), and Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs earns particular accolades for its cool water, its pristine landscaping, its plethora of wildlife, and its gorgeous 50-foot waterfall.


Photo by Lacour / CC BY-SA

Median home sale price: $289,300

A Williamstown County city of 47,000, Georgetown is a popular suburb for homebuyers thanks to its 30-minute commute to Austin, scenic views of the Texas Hill Country, and masterful blend of small-town peacefulness and urban energy. Georgetown’s downtown district orbits around South Austin Avenue, with beloved local restaurants like the casual pizza bar The Uptown Social, classic steakhouse Wildfire, and organic tea shop Nancy’s Sky Garden.

Don't Miss: Georgetown Square

Georgetown takes enormous pride in its historic downtown center, which claims to be “the most beautiful town square in Texas.” The downtown area boasts a venerable history, featuring sights like a classic courthouse over 100 years old. In 1977, the National Register of Historic Places designated this area (the Williamson County Courthouse Historic District) as an official entry on its nationwide list.