The University of Texas is big… Really big. In total, over 51,100 students study there every semester, and the university employs over 3,000 teachers and faculty members. It is among the top 75 universities of the world, and as of the 2017-2018 school year, it is the 7th largest in the US.
The University of Texas at Austin has a massive campus. It covers 434 acres of urban space, yet only about 18% of enrolled students live on-campus. When you are a student and looking for place to live, it is important to stay as close to campus as possible for a variety of reasons, but dorms are expensive, and put limitations on the kind of lifestyle you can have as a student. Living in a dorm is a unique experience, but loses its charm after the first semester, or two. Trust the students have been here a while, to study freely, work in your spare time, and enjoy Austin, living off-campus is the best option.
1. Cheaper than a Dorm
The lowest price listed for a dorm is $1,250/mo. Don’t believe me? Look at UT’s price sheet for housing. Keeping in mind that this includes room and limited board, this still does not explain the exorbitant price on a shared studio dorm with a community bathroom. Compare this to a one-bedroom with The Westside Group apartments that you can have to yourself for under $1,000/mo, and it’s a no-brainer.
2. Experience the Wonders of the City
Living on campus can isolate students from the larger city, and who wants to do that in a city like Austin? West Campus has its own community and charm where you are sure to find something to do on any given night. As far as North Campus goes, what’s better than having the activity of a city and the scenery of a suburb? Not to mention, living in these areas will allow you to have that pet you can take on hikes (more on that later).
3. You Get Easy Access to All of the University’s Resources
Living in apartments close to campus means you have the opportunity to experience university life to the fullest, without being bound to a tiny cramped room of a dorm. The University of Texas’ library is the best in the area, with resources that are necessary to help you succeed. It has several fully functioning computer labs, a large library, and Wi-Fi access all across campus. Living near campus gives you the ability to access all these resources.
4. You Can Get Away With Not Having A Car
Austin is not known for great public transportation, and because the city is so large, taking one of the buses isn’t always a sensible option. Car2Go, Ride Austin, Uber, Lyft and a plethora of bike trails all around town fill this need for affordable transportation. For example, Car2Go is a service that allows you to rent/pick up a car from where it is parked, drive it to where you need to go, and then leave it parked somewhere else when you are finished.
Although, when living in West Campus, or North Campus, sometimes the quickest mode of transportation is walking! Nothing compares to going from A to B and not paying a cent, having to find parking, or sitting in traffic. This is the luxury of living close to campus as a student.
5. Dorms Don’t Love Man’s Best Friend
Austin has a multitude of dog parks, walking routes, vets and other amenities needed for pet health and happiness. Austin is also home to multiple pet-themed festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Golden Retriever Zilker Meet Up and Weiner Dog Races. In addition, you’ll find no end to the amount of walking trails surrounding your new off-campus apartment. Try out some of our famous dog-friendly restaurants. Don’t leave your pup behind or miss out on the opportunity to enjoy having your little companion in beautiful Austin.
6. Live In Your Home Year Round
Dorms generally close up during the summer semester, as well as during winter break. This leaves students who want to remain in the area for a job or to take summer classes without many options. Living in an apartment gives you the ability to study all year, and not have to move so often. There will be far fewer upheavals to interfere with your education.
Learning, working and living in your own apartment in Austin is an amazing opportunity for students. Not only is the University of Texas one of the top schools in the nation, but there is no end to the benefits of living near campus. The joys of Austin, Texas are boundless, as are the benefits of studying and living in this wonderfully diverse and thriving city.
Photo courtesy: Culture Map Austin
We all love coffee. It’s the lifeblood of the nation and it’s easy to see why. The fresh brew in the morning before a long day of working, studying or even having the motivation to swing your legs out of bed. Most of us live, drink and breathe coffee. Forget that our bodies are 70% water, try 70% coffee. So it’s essential that you know the best places to go to get the best coffee. Here are the three best coffee shops in Austin to satisfy your caffeine kick.
La Tazza Fresca
Cozy and relaxing experience with great wi-fi speed for your study pleasure. Located on the 37th and Guadalupe Streets, a coffee shop to hang out while waiting for your laundry or getting your car oil changed nearby. What a multi-task to make use of student time! They have variety of hot and cold drinks, selection of bakery products. Their pie is a local favorite.
Located in two locations, one on E MLK and the other on South Congress. Covering the regions, this coffee shop has a rich tradition and an even finer tasting cup of Joe. Known for creating an environment that grabs you almost immediately, Bennu Coffee is frequented by Austinites from all parts of town.
Located a few bus stops away from West Campus and a stone’s throw from Downtown at South Congress, Bennu Coffee is the perfect place to stop off after a morning run. Known for creating coffee concoctions seasonally, Bennu is always something new just in time for the holidays. If you’re not in the mood for French Press especially on a hot Austin summer day, enjoy a cold beverage of equally-parallel quality. Best part is that you can get your fix at any time of the day with twenty-four-hour service.
Strutting off from Guadalupe, Lucky Lab is a quaint venue that has an efficient indoor and outdoor serving system. If you’re not looking to fight queues indoors, you can stand in line outside and receive a similarly-friendly experience.
Known for their fresh and crisp coffee selection, students especially rave about Lucky Lab. Reasonably priced and less busy than Starbucks across the street. It’s a win-win situation. Their logo is a dog which is a sticker attached to the side of every cup, anyone with that in their hand knows where good coffee is made.
A short drive from West Campus UT area is Lake Austin. A picturesque location where you can enjoy coffee by the lake. A great study spot for students or an awesome place to hang out with friends, Mozart’s has it all.
Christmas time is the best time to visit. They hold a lights show around the area and as you enjoy a late-night brew you can lose yourself in the artistic nature of the lights. The ambience and coffee combination make this a killer choice.
Wherever you enjoy your brew, you’ll need it to last you — Austin is a great place for brilliant coffee, don’t miss out!
City life gets more expensive by the month. Now it’s the New Year and you’re short for cash. You’ve paid your credit card and apartment bills and now you’re counting the pennies. Texas, especially Austin, is becoming a place for the rich and not the poor. Trying to figure out how to live the high life on a budget is an age-old question. Luckily, students are the masters of this art, they have to be. Here is how to live in Austin on a budget.
Learn the Secret Menu at Fast Food Chains
No-one really wants to have to eat fast food, unless you’re yearning comfort food. It’s convenient and comparably cheaper than a sit-down restaurant. However, the secret menu at these institutions could actually spare you some dimes too. Note: not all branches participate but there is no harm in trying.
Located not far from West Campus and Downtown, near the Perry-Castañeda Library on the UT Austin Campus, is Wendy’s. I know the secret menu works here for sure, and it is very convenient for students. The secret menu item is known as ‘4 for $4 or four for four’, it gives you chicken nuggets, a choice of a chicken sandwich or a burger, fries and a drink. It’s really good value as a filler meal. This has saved me those precious pennies so I recommend you do the same.
Subscribe to Store Loyalty Programs
This is an amazingly simple way to save some money. Oftentimes, for example in CVS, there is a different price for whether you have a card or not. Sometimes the discounts might not seem like a bargain, but it all adds up.
Additionally, as a side-note — most of these grocery stores have reduced zones where you can buy food near expiry. Mostly, these items aren’t perishable and can be eaten days after expiry. Try those stands to save on the biscuits or cleaning supplies that otherwise would be too expensive.
Avoid Eating Out
As tempting as Pluckers might be on West Campus, or any of the Downtown or Drag restaurants might be — they will undoubtedly shrink your bank balance. For the health of your pocket and your body, cook more. We all use the excuse that we haven’t got any time, the answer to that is simple — meal preparation.
On the weekend, cook all the meals for the week and freeze them so you can just reheat and consume.
That was my take on living in Austin on a budget, there are definitely more ways but these are the basics to get you started.
Everyone needs to de-stress and relax whether you’re a student or a busy city worker. Austin is the best of both worlds in the sense that it has the city lifestyle and ambience but it also has the rolling hills to the West with some of the best scenery Texas has to offer. The Colorado river is spectacle to be seen from vantage points overlooking Lake Austin and Lake Travis. Travis County, the home to Austin — is one of a kind. Here are the best chill spots near UT campus.
Located on Guadalupe Street opposite the University Union and between W 22nd and W 23rd street, Café Medici is the chill spot number one for most UT students. The coffee is good, the vibe is sound and the company is peaceful. If you like to catch up with friends away from your west campus apartment, then look no further than Café Medici.
Some of the best coffee can be found at Medici and it often is frequented by UT Austin students who need a quick but refreshing recharge before heading to class. Anyone is welcome and the opening hours suit any schedule. Monday to Friday and at the weekends. If you like to work in an environment that lends itself to being surrounded by intellectuals who love conversation, then Medici should be your first port of call.
This is the second coffee shop that I recommend, because let’s be honest you can never have enough coffee. Bennu is different and located in two places close to downtown and Hyde Park. The first near downtown area is located on South Congress while the other is located on E Martin Luther King Blvd over the I-35. Both these locations offer some of the finest and most ingenious coffee creations.
They have the most diverse range of cold and hot coffee as well as cold and hot tea. Food is available too. What is most amazing is the layout of the shop, there is power outlets hanging from the ceiling and the lighting is dim enough to create a chill ambience. A short bus or car journey from west campus and Hyde Park as well as downtown means that you’ll be able to escape and enjoy the company of local Austinites.
Austin Central Public Library
Finally, some words about the new downtown library with large book selections, computer access, and modern art. Located on W Cesar Chavez, the library overlooks the Colorado river and has some of the most modern and contemporary architecture Austin has to offer. Downtown have the best accessibility to UT north and west campus neighborhoods providing a short car journey.
Take some advice and chill because everything gets better with coffee.
Austin may be known for its plethora of live music but students and downtown workers are always hungry. Sometimes we’re feeling oriental, brisket or even some good old fashioned southern chicken. Whatever you’re in the mood for, west campus and surrounding areas of the UT campus can offer some quick bites that you will be returning to for years to come. Without any further a due, here are the three best eats near campus.
Pluckers Wing Bar is located in west campus, six blocks from Texas Union and you’re in for a treat. A stone’s throw away from the desirable off campus apartments, Pluckers is a great place to catch up with friends, eat some great food and catch up with the sports of the week. This chicken heaven offers so much at such a small price. The portion sizes are large, but what isn’t in Texas; as they say — everything is bigger in Texas.
From chicken wings to chicken fingers bigger than a banana and some mac n’ cheese to die for, you’ll be leaving twice the size than when you entered. Valued on my review websites as 5 stars, this institution is a favourite of Austinites and was the first main restaurant I went to and have had happy returns to this amazing place.
Look Noodles & More
My first visit was recent but I can safely say that meal will be in my mind for some time to come. It was just authentic and very niche. The location is the Drag or in non-Austin language, along Guadalupe towards the downtown sector. Located on the border of downtown and west campus shows that it’s the prime place to grab a bite between your west campus or downtown apartment.
The Chinese inspired restaurant serves some favourites such as ramen, fried rice combinations and boasts all the choices in vegan options too. What I love about this place is that the service is very much like an old-school Chinese restaurant, order at the counter and the food is brought out to you. Inexpensive and brilliant.
This quaint coffee shop is located in the depths of west campus apartment central. There are signs all around but you want to head straight here, this is the holy grail. I visited there recently and it was perfect for a quick lunch and cup of tea. They have a range of warm paninis and salads as well as sandwiches.
In addition, there is free Wi-Fi and the staff were very attentive to my needs so I will be returning for another Carnivorous panini in the near future.
That’s it, I hope you enjoy munching and thoroughly live through these experiences given their proximity to west campus and downtown Austin apartment complexes.