Barton Hills – Austin, TX

Located on the south edge of Austin's urban core, Barton/Zilker/South Lamar exhibits all the old, funky charm that Austin became famous for. With an eclectic mix of local shops and restaurants, Barton/Zilker/South Lamar has something to appeal to anyone, whether you're looking for trendy new establishments or traditional Austin favorites. Home to a mix of families, students and retirees, this neighborhood feels like a genuine melting pot of cultures, and its far south placement makes Barton/Zilker/South Lamar an affordable option for those who still want to stay in the middle of the city action. If the traditional Austin vibe draws you to the city, Barton/Zilker/South Lamar has plenty of "weirdness" to go around, but still enough space to enjoy a quieter evening as well.

Schools in Barton Hills

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

With an almost staggering number of restaurant and bar options along South Lamar Boulevard, Barton/Zilker/South Lamar has options that can satisfy any cuisine craving in almost any price range. You can't go wrong simply strolling up and down and stopping in any establishment that strikes your fancy. In fact, bar-hopping forms an important part of the nightlife in Barton/Zilker/South Lamar, and residents commonly pop into several bars in a night. One bar you shouldn't miss is Gourdough’s Public House. Although boasting an impressive draft selection on the seasonally rotating taps, Gourdough’s catches most attention for its kitschy but tasty menu concept. Everything at Gourdough’s is served with either a sweet or savory doughnut. Whether you're enjoying a tasty burger with two savory doughnut buns or simply a sweet doughnut pudding for dessert, you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy your tasty, albeit heavy, meal. For a slightly lighter but no less flavorful meal, visit the Papalote Taco house and fill up on gourmet tacos. Whether you're looking for something a bit different such as mushroom and hominy tacos or a more traditional taco with carnitas or lengua, Papalote delivers with powerful flavor. Vegetarian or not, make sure to taste Papalote's famous Tortas de Coliflor (cauliflower cake) taco, which has been named the best vegetarian taco in Austin by the Chronicle several times. If you're looking for a rowdier night, head to the iconic Austin dance hall, Broken Spoke. Enjoy traditional country dancing to old-school country music. If you don't already know how to dance to that style of music, you can come a bit earlier for the lessons and be set for the night.

History & Culture

Once an industrial expanse filled with used-car lots, Barton/Zilker/South Lamar evolved in the 2000s into a trendy up-and-coming neighborhood filled with local businesses. The quick development of the neighborhood has led to an eclectic mix of old honky-tonks and repair shops juxtaposed against gastropubs and fashionable boutiques. With the influx of new businesses, the Austin arts scene has pervaded the neighborhood. Always known as one of the best places to hear gritty classic country in the city, Barton/Zilker/South Lamar now has become host of all sorts of eclectic music. Listen to some of the most out-there sets at the yearly Fun Fun Fun Fest in December, which hosts mostly experimental music.

Transportation

Served by a number of major Capitol Metro bus lines, public transportation makes it easy to get around the neighborhood and from Barton/Zilker/South Lamar to the rest of Austin. A popular area for cyclists, Barton/Zilker/South Lamar also hosts several bike-friendly paths. If you prefer to walk, you won't be alone as many residents choose to walk around the neighborhood's highly walkable zones. Don't worry about getting stranded without a ride late at night either. You can easily call a taxi or a rideshare through Uber and Lyft. If you prefer to drive, you can easily access the rest of the city by following South Lamar Boulevard or heading out on Highway 290. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding free parking in residential areas, but it may be a bit of a challenge along South Lamar Boulevard, depending on your destination.

Cost

While there are many affordable housing options available, the growing popularity of Barton/Zilker/South Lamar has increased the cost of living to about 5 percent above the average in Austin, but residents argue that lower cost options for food and necessities can easily be found as well. An average one-bedroom apartment costs approximately $1,032 per month, and a beer costs about $4 or $5 dollars. Gas here is priced slightly lower than the city as a whole, and about 10 percent lower than the national average.

Shopping

Specialty stores selling all sorts of wares populate South Lamar Boulevard, making it worth a stroll at any time. Plenty of local shops and high-value stores sit along this main thoroughfare. Sprouts Farmers Market marks the closest grocery store along Lamar, just south of the neighborhood. Head to the South Austin Farmer's Market or the Barton Creek Farmer's Market for great selections of locally grown produce. Two Hills Studio along Lamar Boulevard contains hundreds of lighting combinations and designs for your home's custom design. Whether you need wall sconces to brighten up a wall or a chandelier to serve as the centerpiece of your great room, employees at Two Hills Studio help you create the perfect home lighting solution for you. This store also sells vent hoods for your kitchen, mailboxes and cabinet door panels in addition to tons of decorative lighting fixtures. Bring out your inner child at Anna's Toy Depot, where kids and adults can get lost in vintage toy heaven. Peruse used Transformers, doll houses and preschool toys looking for a new home. Staff at Anna's Toy Depot regularly purchase used but not broken toys to add to the store's inventory, so the selection normally changes from one week to the next.

Parks

For a relaxing day outside, visit the Tom Lasseter South Lamar Neighborhood Park, or Del Curto Park as it is more commonly known. With several trails looping through the property, you can get in an energetic run or a leisurely stroll with your dogs. Feel free to bring the kids along to play on the several playgrounds or basketball court. Plenty of benches and picnic tables sit nearby for parents to relax on while watching their children. You can even barbecue at the park on one of several free public grills, so long as you clean up afterwards.
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