Austin, TX Neighborhood guides

Balcones Woods, Austin: Live the Downtown Lifestyle Without the Downtown Rents

Balcones Woods, Austin is an attractive and friendly community in the northwest side of the city that is also close to some of the area’s biggest tech employers. With both single-family homes and apartments available, this neighborhood is both an easygoing place to raise a family and a convenient home base for exploring all that Austin has to offer. 

Where is Balcones Woods?

Balcones Woods is located in northwest Austin, about 17 minutes from downtown. It’s situated between Hwy 183 and the Mopac Expressway, making travel into and out of the neighborhood easy. 

Balcones Woods Austin Map

Just across Mopac from Balcones Woods sits The Domain, an extensive mixed-use development with plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options. The Domain is considered Austin’s “second downtown”, so quick access to the area is a star feature for most Austinites. 

History

The Balcones Woods, Austin area was mostly agricultural until it was developed in the 1970s and 1980s. The first to build single-family homes in the area was local firm Nash Phillips Copus, a major home builder in Austin from 1945 through the 1980s. 

Although Balcones Woods was not within the Austin city limits when it was first developed, the city now extends far north past the neighborhood’s borders. Apartment complexes like Balcones Woods Apartments and Estate on Quarry Lake Apartments were added in the 1980s and 1990s as the city continued to push north. 

With the recent addition of The Domain, the area has become a sought-after neighborhood for those seeking a downtown lifestyle without the downtown rent.

Living in Balcones Woods, Austin

Life in Balcones Woods can be as sleepy or as vibrant as you like. While the residential neighborhood is relaxed, the close proximity to shopping and dining means you can enjoy plenty of entertainment and nightlife.

Things to do 

Just northeast of Balcones Woods sits Balcones District Park, a 51-acre park with hiking trails, a bubbling creek with a waterfall (after it rains), a playground, tennis courts and a public pool. 

 

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Another place for outdoor fun is The Quarries Park. A membership to this facility includes access to a jogging track, rock wall, fitness center, tennis courts and lake for kayaking. 

A short drive east of The Domain, visit TopGolf for a fun day of snacks, drinks and golfing in your own private bay with a dedicated server. 

 

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Within The Domain, you can stay fit with yoga, Orangetheory Fitness, and pilates classes. Go window shopping at luxury stores like Coach, Kendra Scott, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. Or catch a movie at iPic, with leather reclining seats and craft cocktails. 

Where to eat and drink

Foodies rejoice, because there are plenty of tasty treats in the Balcones Woods, Austin area!

 

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Local restaurant Provision serves elevated comfort food and high-end cocktails in a modern space overlooking Quarry Lake. And just across Hwy 183, Poke House makes delicious Hawaiian poke bowls full of rice, fresh fish and Asian-inspired toppings. Add on whatever you like to make your poke bowl just how you want it. 

 

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In The Domain, there are myriad restaurants and bars where you can find a splendid meal. Wine lovers should visit Crú, an unfussy wine bar with an impressive 30 wines by the glass and 300 by the bottle.  

There’s also a Shake Shack here, with their famous burgers and milkshakes. Or for healthier fare, try True Food Kitchen. Seasonal treats like butternut squash pizza or summer corn & tomato flatbread provide bold flavors that highlight fresh ingredients. 

 

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For a party vibe, visit Punch Bowl Social. With their own brand of “eatertainment,” this restaurant/arcade provides plenty of opportunities for fun. Video games, karaoke, 9-hole putting and bowling are all available, along with a from-scratch kitchen and craft cocktails.  

And it wouldn’t be Texas without tacos! Also in The Domain, Velvet Taco offers inventive tacos like Buffalo chicken, spicy tikka and beer-battered cauliflower.

Moving to Balcones Woods, Austin

Real estate snapshot

 

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Balcones Woods is a diverse neighborhood that offers plenty of housing options for renters looking to enjoy its vibrant lifestyle. Almost half of the neighborhood’s residents are renters, so you have plenty of apartments to choose from. The best part about this lively and easily accessible area is that rentals go for well below the national average — prices for apartments in Balcones Woods circle around $1,297 a month. 

Transportation

Balcones Woods is pedestrian-friendly within the residential parts of the community. To access nearby neighborhoods or get downtown, you can easily access the Mopac Expressway to the west. 

There is a bus line to Balcones Woods, connecting the area to downtown Austin. A light rail stop in The Domain also makes commuting easy. The route connects The Domain to both downtown and the suburb of Leander to the north.

Education and employment

Balcones Woods is served by three high-quality schools in the Austin Independent School District. 

Davis Elementary has a focus on world cultures and exposes students to Spanish, German, French and Latin. Murchison Middle School continues the focus on language development and includes Pre-AP classes and high school credit courses. 

Anderson High is an International Baccalaureate school, which challenges students with a rigorous curriculum. It has also been named a T-STEM academy and serves students with a specialized Applied Technology Center. 

The University of Texas’ J.J. Pickle Research Campus is also nearby. The campus includes computing centers, a Bureau of Economic Geology and a Microelectronics Research Center, among other departments.

Many of Austin’s major tech companies can be found in northwest Austin, making Balcones Woods popular with the tech community. IBM and Texas Instruments both have campuses in the area. 

And in The Domain, there are offices for major international companies like Facebook, Amazon, HomeAway and Bazaarvoice.

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About the author

Irina Lupa

Irina Lupa is a creative writer for RENTCafé, where she covers market trends and topics relevant to today’s renters. Before developing a passion for real estate, she focused on fields ranging from automotive electronics to digital business development, digging into tech news from a critical perspective. Irina holds a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication. You can connect with Irina via email.

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