Why should I never visit Austin TX
Danger zones in Austin, Texas
I've lived in Austin for about 15 years so I have a pretty good idea of areas that are dangerous. Fortunately, most of the city is pretty safe, especially the places a visitor is likely to walk around. The following crime heat map should be helpful:
However, this map can be a bit misleading. You will find that the highest concentration of crime is downtown (just above the Austin label). But this is also the most densely populated area and the center of nightlife, so it is no surprise that more incidents would occur in this area. In my experience, most of the downtown area is pretty safe. Of course, you want to use common sense as you would in any city (i.e., stay vigilant and stick to areas where other people are, especially at night).
One thing to note in downtown Austin is that there is a homeless shelter at 7th and Neches. Violent attacks by this homeless population are very rare, but they have happened occasionally. (Most likely, they will just ask you to change.) If this makes you feel uncomfortable, avoid this corner. But I wouldn't recommend going too far - some of the best music venues in town are a block away (on Red River Street) and these places are very popular and safe.
Another central Austin crime hotspot that you'll see on the map is north of downtown (between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Dean Keaton Street). This is right next to the University of Texas, so there is a high concentration of college students living in this zone. The crime here consists mostly of car break-ins, party-related incidents, etc. None of this should really affect a visitor, and tourists can't see much here anyway.
Historically, the area east of downtown (on the east side of I-35) was a low-income neighborhood. In recent years this zone has seen a lot of gentrification and is home to a number of new restaurants, shops and bars. There are also many great facilities run by longtime East Austin residents. This area is generally pretty safe, but it pays to exercise some caution if you decide to walk through these neighborhoods. (As you can see, the map has some orange spots around it.)
On the map you can also see some crime spots in the far north and northeast of Austin (around Cameron Rd and Rundberg Ln). These are low-income neighborhoods that can be dangerous in certain places. However, there probably isn't a lot a visitor would want to see in these areas, nor are they very pedestrian-friendly (although there are some great and affordable Asian restaurants in the far north of Austin).
In general, if you stick to the typical tourist areas (which are not very touristy in Austin), you're probably pretty safe. These include:
- Congress Ave south of the river (i.e. "South Congress")
- Downtown around the capital, City Hall, 6th St, Red River, etc.
- 6. and Lamar (for shops etc.)
- University of Texas campus
- The hipster areas east of I-35
- Barton Springs Rd and Zilker Park
- The hiking and biking trails at Ladybird Lake
Good luck and have fun!
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