Austin Real Estate Neighborhood Profiles: Hyde Park

By: Eric Bramlett

Today one of the most densely populated urban areas in Austin, the Hyde Park neighborhood actually got its start as a streetcar suburb known as Shadow Lawn. In 1891, Col. Monroe Martin Shipe developed the area, introducing a large artificial lake and building a home on the former horse track that had been used by the State Fair of Texas earlier in the century. The rich history of the region can be seen in Shipe's former home, now the The Shipe House and in other museums and historical homes, such as the Elisabet Ney Museum. Although the lake has long since been filled in, the area's huge trees and historic homes hearken back to the nineteenth century.

If you are picturing Hyde Park as a quaint Victorian area, though, stop immediately. The community is just steps from the University of Texas at Austin and downtown, and as a result many professionals, students, and faculty live in the area. In fact, the neighborhood is one of the most diverse - in terms of people and housing - in the entire city. Here, you'll find everything from Victorian mansions to bungalows, apartments, duplexes, and single family homes. From starter homes to showcase mansions, you can find it here. Plus, Hyde Park residents make for interesting neighbors: the community has one of the most artistic and educated populations in the area.

Located north of 38th, south of 51st, east of Guadalupe, and west of Red River, Hyde Park also offers plenty of shopping and recreation for residents and visitors. The area at Duval and 43rd is the community center and the business area of the neighborhood. Here, you'll find many of the shops and companies where you can run errands, find a job, or enjoy great dining. The area is known for Mother's Café, a great vegetarian eatery popular with celebrities, Quack's coffee shop, Asti, and Hyde Park Grill. All are great places to eat and relax.

Shipe Park and Pool is another great place to meet friends and enjoy an afternoon. The Parlor is popular on Friday nights, with its live music offerings and its food. Hyde Park tends to stress independent stores, so that you can do your grocery shopping at Avenue B Grocery and Fresh Plus and get personalized service when you rent your movies at I Luv Video.

Perhaps one reason why Hyde Park residents support so many independent, local businesses is because there is truly a community spirit in this neighborhood. In 1980, a group of residents on 37th street established a Christmas Lights tradition that lasts to this day, and Hyde Park homeowners enjoy chatting and catching up not only when admiring Christmas lights, but also when meeting up on porches or under the shade trees that dot the neighborhood.

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