12 December . 2019
Your Guide to North Austin Neighborhoods
North Austin is one of the fastest-growing parts of the Austin metro area, thanks to a growing cluster of technology companies in mixed-use “new downtowns” such as Domain North, and new roadways such as SH 45 and SH 130 that make it easy to commute to downtown and other parts of Austin. There’s also an old-fashioned emphasis on quality of life ingredients such as parks, historic preservation and highly regarded public schools.
Affordable new homes are another big part of North Austin’s appeal. For a fraction of what it would cost to buy a similarly sized home in central Austin, homebuyers can purchase a new home in a master-planned community such as Rancho Sienna priced from the low $200,000sand have access to amenities including parks, trails, dog parks, and resident events that create a strong sense of community.
If you’re new to the Austin metro area, or thinking about moving here, here’s a quick guide to the major suburbs and small cities that make up the North Austin area.
The county seat of Williamson County, Georgetown ranked as the 7th fastest-growing city in the U.S. in 2019, which is hardly surprising. Located about 30 miles north of downtown Austin, Georgetown blends quality of life and exceptional public education with forward-looking growth and proud preservation.
Georgetown Town Square is proudly billed as The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas. It’s surrounded by a notable range of well-preserved Victorian era buildings, and is the heart of a thriving downtown mixture of shops, restaurants and nightlife.
Georgetown has worked hard to preserve its natural environment as well as its historic buildings. Along with the iconic Blue Hole, Georgetown is home to San Gabriel Park, Lake Georgetown, San Gabriel Park, and Inner Space Cavern. Georgetown’s newest natural space is Garey Park, a 525-acre green oasis that is primed to be the city’s flagship park.
Georgetown loves to celebrate, with live music concerts and holiday events around the Square. The biggest annual event is the Red Poppy Festival, which takes place each spring.
Georgetown’s major employers include Southwestern University, St. David’s Georgetown Hospital, Airborn Inc., Williamson County government, and Caring Home Health. Georgetown is the first Texas city to operate entirely on renewable energy.
Niche gives Georgetown an overall grade of A, and the Georgetown Independent School District has a Niche grade of B+.
Rancho Sienna is proud to be part of Georgetown, and to offer our residents easy access to everything this great city has to offer.
Best known as the home of Dell Technologies, which employs about 14,000 people in Central Texas, Round Rock is located along the I-35 North corridor, about 20 miles north of downtown Austin. Round Rock shares a border with Austin along the SH 45 toll road.
More than 20 other major employers, including IKEA, Round Rock Premium Outlets, Dresser, Hospira and TECO-Westinghouse also have major operations in Round Rock.
Once a quiet bedroom community, Round Rock has grown into a self-contained “super suburb” over the past decade. A major education and healthcare hub has emerged along University Boulevard, with the Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas State University, Austin Community College, Scott & White Healthcare, Seton Medical Center Williamson and Saint David’s Round Rock Hospital all opening along this thoroughfare.
Round Rock is known for its quality of life. Niche gives Round Rock an overall grade of A+, with additional A+ grades in categories for Public Schools, Good for Families, and Diversity.
Round Rock ranks No. 5 on Niche’s Best Cities to Buy a House in America list. Niche ranks the Round Rock Independent School District as the No. 2 Best School District in Williamson County.
One of the leading communities in Round Rock is Teravista, which is now built out and was developed by Newland. And yes – there is a “round rock” in Round Rock. It’s located in Brushy Creek along the historic Chisholm Trail cattle drive route, and was a convenient marker for low-water crossings.
Pronounced with a silent “P,” Pflugerville is located about 14 miles northeast of downtown Austin, with access from I-35 North as well as from the SH 45 and SH 130 toll roads. Pflugerville is located mostly in Travis County, with a small portion in Williamson County. “Pfluger” is German for ploughman, a hint that this thriving North Austin suburb was named after the original German settlers who farmed this area.
In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Pflugerville as the 3rd fastest-growing city in the country. It has attracted major corporate relocations and new startup businesses. Prime business zones include the 170-acre 130 Commerce Center master-planned business community along SH 130. This development is now built-out, but the city has earmarked an additional 2,000 acres of land along SH 130 for future commercial growth.
Pflugerville’s major shopping destination is Stone Hill Town Center, which offers Home Depot, Best By, SuperTarget, At Home, Office Depot and many other stores, restaurants and entertainment venues such as Cinemark Theatres.
Pflugerville turned lemons into lemonade when the huge Hawaiian Falls water park ceased operations, recruiting Katy, Texas-based Typhoon Texas to take over the park and invest $4.5 million in upgrades.
Pflugerville has 28 parks, with 500 acres of developed park space, 528 acres of open space, and more than 40 miles of trails within the city limits. Lake Pflugerville is a 180-acre lake surrounded by parkland. It offers fishing, non-motorized boating, jogging and recreation, along with providing drinking water.
Pflugerville’s newest place to play, 1849 Park, is a recreational paradise, with three football fields, three multipurpose fields, 10 miles of trails and more within a 320-acre master plan.
Pflugerville has an overall A grade from Niche, and it’s included on Niche’s top 10 list of the Best Suburbs to Buy a House in the Austin Area. The Pflugerville Independent School District has an A- grade from Niche.
Some of Pflugerville’s most popular annual events celebrate its German heritage, including the Deutschen Pfest in spring and the Pfall Chili Pfest in the fall.
Cedar Park is a major Austin suburb located about 16 miles north of downtown Austin. U.S. Route 183 bisects Cedar Park, and the 183A toll road offers an alternate route to and from this booming bedroom community.
Sports are a way of life in Cedar Park, home to the Texas Stars, an American Hockey League team, and the Austin Spurs, an NBA G League team. Both teams play at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, an 8,700-seat indoor arena that also hosts many concerts and other entertainment events.
Most of Cedar Park’s homes are located in the Leander Independent School District, ranked as the No. 1 Best School District in Williamson County by Niche, with an overall Niche grade of A+. Some neighborhoods in the southern and easternmost parts of Cedar Park are served by the Round Rock Independent School District.
Cedar Park is also home to Austin Community College’s Cypress Creek campus.
Cedar Park’s quality of life is highly rated by Niche, which gives it an overall grade of A+. Niche ranks Cedar Park as the No. 2 Best Place to Live in Williamson County.
Major parks and trails in or near Cedar Park include Brushy Creek Skate Park, Brushy Creek Trail, Champion Park, Elizabeth Milburn Park, and the Cedar Park Sculpture Garden. The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge near Cedar Park offers seven miles of trails and is home to more than 245 bird species.
Leander is one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Texas, located about 22 miles north of downtown Austin, at the intersection of U.S. Route 183 and RM 2243. Leander is about five miles west of Georgetown along RM 2243.
For residents commuting to jobs in downtown Austin, Leander is the northern terminus of Capital MetroRail’s Red Line. The Leander rail station and Park & Ride facility also offers express bus lines and 600 parking spaces.
Leander has an overall Niche grade of A, with A grades for Public Schools, Good for Families and Diversity. Niche also gives Leander an A- for Housing, ranking it No. 3 on its Best Suburbs to Buy a House in the Austin Area list.
Niche ranks the Leander Independent School District as No. 1 in Williamson County and No. 2 in the Austin Area. The district has an overall Niche grade of A+, with an A for Academics, and A+ grades for Teachers and College Prep.
One of Leander’s most famous citizens is Leanne, the Leanderthal Lady, whose exceptionally well-preserved skeleton dates back 10,000 to 13,000 years. Leanne’s burial site near Leander was one of the oldest intact burials found in the United States.
Brushy Creek is a census-designated place in Williamson County, located roughly equidistant between Round Rock and Cedar Park, along its namesake Brushy Creek.
With a population of about 20,000, Brushy Creek is a relatively small area, but it ranks high for quality of life. Niche ranks Brushy Creek as the No. 1 Best Place to Live in Williamson County, with an overall grade of A+, and additional A+ marks for Public Schools and Good for Families. Niche also gives it A grades for Housing and Diversity. Niche describes the area feel as “sparse suburban.”
The Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District provides an array of recreational amenities for local residents, including a community center and 16 parks, trails and greenbelts.
Most of Brushy Creek is located in the Round Rock Independent School District, with some parts lying within the Leander Independent School District.
Located about 29 miles northwest of downtown Austin, Liberty Hill combines the vibe of a thriving suburb with that of a historic small town.
Rancho Sienna is proud to be part of Liberty Hill ISD, which has an A- overall rating from Niche. Niche also ranks Liberty Hill ISD and the No. 1 School District for Athletes in the Austin Area, and as the No. 3 Best School District in Williamson County.
Liberty Hill is home to the Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park, a collection of larger-than-life sculptures created by 25 artists from six countries in 1975. The park is home to annual events such as the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival. Liberty Hill’s historic downtown offers unique homegrown attractions, including shops, boutiques, restaurants and a craft beer brewery and distillery.
Learn more about Rancho Sienna’s location on Ronald Reagan Boulevard near SH 29, and how it puts residents within easy reach of all of North Austin and the greater Austin metro area.
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