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Meet the Austin office: The top things to know about living and working in Austin

Meet the Austin office: The top things to know about living and working in Austin

Howdy, partner! Welcome to Austin, the capital city of Texas. In an area where flashy neon lights and desert cacti happily coexist, Austin is a cultural epicenter for all things food, music, and outdoor recreation. From paddle boarding with bats on Lady Bird Lake to two-stepping at a local dance hall, it is easy to lean into the city’s unofficial tagline, “Keep Austin Weird.” This celebration of the unexpected drives the city’s spirit and sense of community. It has also helped EF Education First embrace its weirdness, too. 

EF’s newest North American office is just a short walk down South Congress. Opened in 2020, the EF Austin office was designed to reflect its environment by incorporating locally sourced materials and community artwork into the interior design. Hand-painted murals on the office walls depict modern versions of regional plants, while a hot pink “Howdy” sign pays tribute to the neon signs visible from the office terrace. PET plastic acoustic panels and chair swings divide the office into collaborative spaces where EFers can connect, brainstorm, or meet up for after-work tacos.  

Austin is a food city – tacos being the menu item of choice and food trucks the best location to order them from. With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, many of the city’s restaurants, communal spaces, and activities center around the outdoors. On the weekends, many EFers can be found kayaking at Lady Bird Lake or biking at Zilker Park.  

In the evenings, Austin lives up to its other famous tagline, the “Live Music Capital of the World.”  Along one street, you’ll find a jukebox of venues featuring live performances for every music taste. Cowboy boots stomp across wooden floors to country tempos set for line dancing; jazz lounges boast brass quartets playing for candle-lit tables; and famous bands headline the longest-running music television show in American history, Austin City Limits. If one musical act doesn’t suit you, there’s another world-class performance next door. 

Life in the second largest state in America can move faster than a Texas rodeo. So to help corral the best advice, we asked EFers to share their favorite tips and tricks for navigating Austin. 

Alicia, EF Educational Tours 

Neighborhood Recommendations:  

The best neighborhoods are East Austin, South Lamar, South Shore, or South Austin. 

What is the commute like?  

I usually walk! It is a 40-minute walk on the boardwalk, which means I get to see the water and skyline as I get closer to South Congress. The trail in the morning is also full of people walking their dogs, which is the best way to start my day before I get to the office. 

Favorite things about Austin?  

Before moving to Austin, I would never go out to eat. But the food here is SO good that you will find me trying a new spot at least once a week. You can’t go wrong between the amazing food and the vibey restaurants. I also love how active Austin is. With great weather year-round, it is so easy to get outside. My first purchase after moving down here was a paddleboard. It’s one of my favorite ways to get out on the water!   

What do you love about your EF office?  

Almost everyone comes in person and loves chatting. The office is collaborative across teams and products which makes it easy to get to know everyone.

 

Hannah, Office management

Neighborhood Recommendations:  

I live in South Lamar, which makes it convenient for shopping and running errands. Riverside is right along the water for those that enjoy the walking paths, or paddle boarding on Ladybird Lake. South First Street, near the office, has a ton of restaurants and food truck parks for the EF foodies out there. It all depends on what you’re looking for! When I discovered I was moving, I replied to a few roommate posts on the Austin Roommate’s Facebook page. Some were looking for a roommate to apartment hunt with, while others had a room they were looking to fill. 

What is the commute like?  

I drive to the office, so it takes me about 20 minutes door-to-door to get to the office each day. Nice and easy! I’d never been to Austin before I decided to move here to work at the new EF office, so I’m glad someone told me early on that the main method of transportation is driving.

Favorite things about Austin?  

My favorite thing about the city is how many amazing local restaurants, cafes, and shops there are. I love going to weekend farmer’s markets & maker’s markets and then grabbing a breakfast taco at a nearby food truck. I follow a few Instagram accounts, which are great for updating weekly events and new spots to check out!

What do you love about your EF office?  

I love being a part of a new, smaller office because it’s been easy to build connections and get to know more people at EF! Having moved to a brand new city where I didn’t know anyone, it’s nice having other people in the same boat to explore with. I also love how the design of the office is both reflective of EF and the artistic nature of Austin. Last spring, I was able to sit out on one of our balconies and listen to the live music from the SXSW festival during my lunch break which was such a unique experience!

 

Andrea, EF Explore America 

Neighborhood Recommendations: 

East Austin has little shops, restaurants, bars, and cute neighborhoods. Plus, it’s only a 10-minute drive from the office. South Austin is up-and-coming with breweries, restaurants, and new developments. There are also a variety of houses for rent when you travel further South and East. 

What is the commute like?  

My commute is a very easy 10-minute drive! I will say you most likely need to have a car to live in Austin. Everything is spread out in terms of grocery shopping, activities, etc. But the commute isn’t long when you live within the city limits. 

Favorite things about Austin?  

There’s never a shortage of things to do! Whether it’s getting a smoothie and walking along the water, joining a free workout class, or brewery hopping on a Saturday, I’m never bored. The weather is hot in the summer, but the beautiful winter months make up for it. I was completely overwhelmed with the number of things to do and people to meet, so my best advice is to take it one day at a time. 

What do you love about your EF office? 

My favorite part about the Austin office is the people. Whether you’re making an afternoon coffee or eating lunch on one of the balconies, someone will always strike up a conversation and ask how you’re doing. It’s made it so much easier to relocate from Boston to Austin when I didn’t know anyone. 

 

Molly, EF Educational Tours 

Neighborhood Recommendations:  

I love living in the Arboretum/Domain area. It’s a safe and slow-paced neighborhood with lots of shopping and hiking trails. When I moved, I joined the Facebook group “Moving to Austin” for neighborhood advice.

What is the commute like?  

I drive to work! You can get anywhere in the city within 20 minutes.

Favorite things about Austin?  

The food is amazing – you can’t go wrong at any restaurant. Plus, you can always find a concert to go to. I also love going to small watering holes for swimming. Bull Creek or Turkey Creek is usually less crowded than Lady Bird Lake!

What do you love about your EF office?  

I love how many people I’ve met from working in the office! The open space and office events provide a lot of opportunities to get to know your colleagues in different positions/products!