Texas has one of the nation’s premier economies, and its capital of Austin is at the helm of unprecedented growth and opportunity. Round Rock, Texas, sits just 20 miles north of Austin and maintains a family-oriented neighborhood feel despite rapid growth and easy access to the bustle of the city. True to the official Texas motto, the Friendship state welcomes all – whether you’re a young professional relocating for work in the growing clean energy, tech, or life sciences industries – or are a growing family lured by the high quality of life and exemplary schools, Round Rock is for you!
Nestled in the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country, Round Rock offers abundant outdoor experiences in beautiful environments. During the hot summers, you can hike local trails to natural springs, and enjoy year-round events and festivals at beloved venues like Centennial Plaza, a public lawn and amphitheater. All of your hard work and play will be sure to build an appetite, and you can look forward to menus based on locally sourced ingredients at fabulous restaurants that feature flavorful seasonal dishes plus classic Texas Southwestern fare.
Living in Round Rock, TX: What to Know Before Moving to Round Rock
Gorgeous sunsets that span the horizon, friendly Southern charm, and opportunity at every turn – this is life in Round Rock, Texas. A previously sleepy suburb of Austin, Round Rock is now booming with economic, commercial, and residential development, all while maintaining an exceptional quality of life that continues to draw new families and young professionals. The population hovers at 125,000, with a median age of 34 years old. Wonderful schools prepare students for bright futures while emphasizing community life, growing companies provide no shortage of employment opportunities, and delightfully designed parks and recreation offer adventure that begins at your doorstep.
Pros and Cons of Living in Round Rock
You’ll want to prepare for your new life in Round Rock by learning about some of the major upsides and downsides of the area:
- Bustling economy – As Austin grows, increasing opportunity takes root in Round Rock as well. Major companies, including Dell, health care, and institutions of higher learning continue to grow their campuses in Round Rock, meaning the opportunities for employment and the room for professional mobility are plentiful.
- Exemplary schools – Round Rock Independent School District is recognized across Texas for its competitive schools, which prepare students at every level with a quality education.
- A sense of home – This city centers on family values, and it’s apparent that family is important in the way the community designs its parks, pools, and playgrounds. Abundant programs keep little ones entertained in every season.
- Suburban life – Though bustling, Round Rock is still a suburb to Austin. As such, it lacks many of the cultural institutions one might expect from a larger city such as performance halls, museums, and nightlife.
- Traffic – With development comes population booms, and Central Texas is still accommodating the influx. Though many road plans are actively under development, getting around the city and into Austin can be a traffic challenge.
- Hot, hot heat – Some may love the temperate winters and hot, humid summers, but for others, including sensitive groups, the extreme seasonal heat may be a health hazard – or downright unpleasant.
- Property Tax: Round Rock property tax is 2.170%, slightly higher than the national average of 1.211%, and the state average of 1.931%. Property tax on a home with a median value of $250,000 would be $5,425.
- Sales Tax: The combined sales tax rate for Round Rock is 8.25%, a total of 6.25% Texas state tax and 2% Round Rock tax. The US average sales tax rate is 7.3%.
- Income Tax: There’s no income tax in the State of Texas, a major perk for Lone Star residents.
Most who move to Round Rock opt to purchase a home, and a wide variety of home types are available, from smaller models built in the 1970s and 80s that have been recently renovated, to large new builds of four and five bedrooms. As of September 2019, the median price for currently listed homes is $300,000, according to Zillow.com. And Zillow reports the housing market is currently “very hot.” Renters make up 38% of Round Rock’s population and pay an average rental price of $1,650, slightly lower than the Austin metro area median rent price of $1,700.
Cost of Living
According to bestplaces.net, the Round Rock cost of living is about 15% higher than the US average. While groceries, health care, and miscellaneous costs are lower than the national and state average, other amenities such as housing, utilities, and transportation are higher. The median household income is $70,952 compared to the US average of $53,482 annually. The Economic Policy Institute reports the average family of four in Round Rock, Texas, needs to earn $80,000 to meet the cost of living expenses.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Round Rock, Texas, sits in a unique transitional zone between the dry southwest and the lush, humid southeast. It exhibits characteristics of both climates, though it is officially classified as a humid subtropical climate. The summers are hot, with temperatures peaking in July and August at an average high of 97 degrees, while nights drop down to 75 degrees. The winters are mild. December and January usually are the coolest months, with highs of 62 degrees and average lows of 42 degrees.
Snowfall is very uncommon, but ice storms are somewhat more common, and every two years, on average, the city experiences one. These events are detrimental to driving conditions, and most Austinites find it safer to stay off the road, simply because the vehicles and the infrastructure are not equipped to handle even moderate amounts of frost and ice. The city experiences four marked seasons, with spring and especially fall exhibiting pollen counts that can trigger allergies in prone individuals.
The average annual rainfall is 34.25 inches, and it rains most often in May and June. Thunderstorms, which can occur multiple times per year, bring winds, lightning, and heavy rain and can occasionally pose the threat of floods. Tornados are a peripheral threat as this region of Central Texas lies just south of the United States Tornado Alley.
Visit Ready Round Rock for disaster preparedness information and to subscribe to notifications for emergency events.
Economy & Job Market
With a job market increase of 3.5% over the past year, Round Rock offers a high quality of life for its residents, even as it manages rapid growth. The population has surpassed 100,000, and its annual estimated economic output is $1.3 billion. With a low unemployment rate of 2.9%, it’s a full point below the US unemployment average of 3.9%.
The primary industries are clean energy, life sciences, and tech. These are the sectors job seekers should look to for ample opportunities. Major employers include Dell, Toppan Photomasks, major retailers, the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, and Emerson Automation Solutions. The Round Rock Chamber of Commerce would be an excellent resource for a prospective applicant new to the area.
Traffic and Transportation
Round Rock’s primary thoroughfare is Interstate 35, which runs north and south. US Highway 79 runs through the east of the city, while Highway 45 runs through the southwest corner, providing access to Austin’s Loop 1, and the regional airport. As it’s growing quickly, the city experiences some congestion, but city planners have been proactive in initiating transportation projects. A dozen are currently under construction, expertly designed to optimize the flow of traffic and improve access to developing neighborhoods. Traffic is worse during the morning and evening rush hours, and moderate to clear at other times of the day. Special events, such as Round Rock Express games, can exacerbate traffic, though not very significantly or for prolonged periods.
According to WalkScore, Round Rock is a car-dependent city, with moderate accessibility for bikes. Most errands require a car, and not many bike lanes exist, though, within neighborhoods such as Chisholm Valley South and La Frontera, walking is possible. The walk score is 22, and the bike score is 33. Round Rock isn’t granted a transit score, however the city partners with Capital Metro to offer access to the greater Austin area.
What To Do
The Texas Hill Country has a charm all its own. You can enjoy the wineries in towns just a stone skip away from Round Rock, such as Dripping Springs, Cedar Park, and New Braunfels. You can dance the night away at a rustic dance hall in Luckenbach. You can see for yourself if the stars at night are big and bright from Tres Lunas Resort in the historic Loyal Valley.
Round Rock is the self-proclaimed Sports Capital of Texas, a moniker that makes sense, given the city’s seemingly endless recreational opportunities. Dell Diamond is home to the Round Rock Express, a Triple-A Pacific Coast League baseball team. Settler’s Park is a 640-acre space with courts for baseball, softball, soccer, golf, as well as pavilions to host picnics and barbeques. Seven playgrounds sit throughout the park, as well as 3.3 miles of trails, and even a pier for catching bass, catfish, and perch.
For more outdoor adventure, several stunning state parks are a short drive away, perfect for a day trip. They include McKinney Falls State Park, Pedernales State Park, and Enchanted Rock. Each offers a unique combination of hiking trails, natural features such as canyons, and natural swimming options in rivers and creeks.
When you need to find some great outdoor gear, head over to Round Rock’s Premium Outlets, a beautiful outdoor plaza-style mall, or to the nearby University Oaks Shopping Center.
Schools and Universities
Round Rock Independent School District serves the Round Rock area, with 55 schools spanning grades K-12. Pflugerville ISD and Hutto ISD also serve specific neighborhoods. According to greatschools.org, K-12 students perform at a proficiency rate of 58%, significantly higher than the Texas state average of 31%. The Texas Education Agency designated the greatest number of exemplary schools for Round Rock than any other suburb in Central Texas. These schools are Westwood High School, Canyon Vista, Walsh, and Cedar Valley middle schools; and Spicewood, Forest North, Caraway, Brushy Creek, Laurel Mountain, Fern Bluff, Canyon Creek, Great Oaks, Teravista, Cactus Ranch, Sommer, Deep Wood, Robertson, Pond Springs, Live Oak, Old Town, Jollyville, Forest Creek, Blackland Prairie, Union Hill, and Gattis elementary schools.
In recent years, the city’s leadership has concentrated efforts to provide greater and more varied higher education opportunities. Austin Community College provides students with over 100 areas of study in associate degree and technical certification programs. Texas State University’s Round Rock Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields spanning Computer Science, Education, and Health Science. Texas A&M’s Health Science Center provides its medical school students with third and fourth-year clinical training in regional clinics and hospitals.
According to bestplaces.net, Round Rock has a lower crime index than the state of Texas and neighboring Austin. Violent crimes occur at a much lower rate than the national and state averages – at an index of 10 compared to the US average of 22.7. Nonviolent crime, at 32, is just under the national average of 35. The areas with higher concentrations of reported crime are focused in downtown, central north, and the southwest and southeast regions, while all other surrounding regions exhibit a lower crime rate.
- Gas service – Contact Atmos Energy, the designated gas provider for Round Rock, to activate your service.
- Electric service – Electricity in Round Rock is deregulated, meaning you’re able to choose an energy plan from providers based on rate and plan length. Browse Choose Texas Power to select a provider that suits your budget.
- Water service – The City of Round Rock provides water, wastewater, and drainage utility. You apply for these services at RRTXWater.com. Due to its geography, Round Rock sometimes experiences drought conditions. To combat the recurring lack of water, the city implements water restrictions, which residents must closely follow. Also, the city rewards the use of efficient appliances through rebates programs and offers irrigation consultation for sustainable landscapes free of charge. Visit Water to learn more.
- Trash pick-up/recycling service – The City of Round Rock also provides garbage and recycling collection, which means one less thing to worry about. You can also apply for these services at Garbage and Recycling.
- Internet/Cable service – Choose from a variety of internet providers to service your home, selecting among plans for speed and value. AT&T, Century Link, and Spectrum are three popular options.
Best Neighborhoods in Round Rock, TX
Here are some of the top communities to call home in the Daffodil Capital of Texas.
Round Rock West
Round Rock West is an established neighborhood with a history spanning back decades. Spacious single-family homes line the neighborhood’s shade dappled roads, punctuated by large, native Texas trees. This community sits just west of I-35, midway between FM 620 and Loop 1, and just a mile and a half from downtown Round Rock.
The homes are three- or four-bedrooms, most with two-car garages. Many have exteriors of locally sourced Austin granite, giving the neighborhood a cohesive, elevated aesthetic. With downtown a short drive away, residents enjoy premier access to some of the newest and best restaurants and amenities. The planned Lake Creek Trail also offers a pedestrian route into downtown, with beautiful vistas and access to more neighborhood recreational areas.
- Population: 2,000
- Median home value: $250,000
- Median rent: $500
- Schools: Round Rock West is zoned to K-12 schools that sit within the neighborhood, and the sight of children walking or biking to school is common.
Settlers Crossing is a planned community located in northeast Round Rock. Aside from the thriving commercial district beside the community, including the Round Rock Premium Outlet Mall, IKEA, and other major retailers, it’s also near the city’s higher education institutions, including Texas State University’s Round Rock campus, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and Austin Community College. Southwestern University in Georgetown is just a short drive north.
The neighborhood is located a short five-mile drive from downtown and provides easy access to both Highway 35 and Toll Road 130. Residents enjoy many amenities, including the 645-acre Old Settlers Park, which has many playgrounds, sports complexes, and even a water park. Shopping and eating are convenient thanks to the variety of retailers, restaurants, and cafes.
- Population: 7,800
- Median home value: $200,000
- Median rent: $800
- Schools: Settlers Crossing offers exemplary K-12 schools, and many of these top-rated schools are within walking distance.
Greenlawn is a central Round Rock community located just east of I-35 and bordered to the south by Toll 45. It offers an easy commute to Austin while being just two miles southeast of downtown. Greenlawn is a perfect neighborhood for those looking for access to the city while maintaining the serenity of suburban life. It’s also perfect for those looking to put down roots and pursue opportunities in Round Rock.
There are many shopping and dining amenities within proximity to the neighborhood, and locals like to spend time in the local recreation center, which in addition to classes for children and adults, also offers full-sized gyms, sports courts, a lap pool, and therapeutic recreation for children with special needs.
- Population: 4,600
- Median home value: $134,000
- Median rent: $1,100
- Schools: Greenlawn’s students attend the local elementary, middle, and high school. The high school has the distinction of offering the Performing and Visual Arts Academy, perfect for students who want to study fine art while also completing their educational requirements.
Chisholm Valley is a beloved Round Rock neighborhood that dates back to the 1970s. It’s a cozy community with a true neighborly feel. Chisholm Valley’s ideal location is at the intersection of I-35 and Toll 45, providing easy access both to the surrounding communities as well as the greater Austin area. It’s just a mile and a half south from downtown Round Rock.
Homes are typically one story with three bedrooms and stone exteriors. The value of each home largely depends on the extent of completed renovations. Residents love the central location of the neighborhood, as well as the recreational spaces it offers, including Chisholm Valley Park.
- Population: 2,000
- Median home value: $150,000
- Median rent: $1,100
- Schools: The neighborhood elementary, Blue Bonnet, is within walking distance of the community, and the middle and high school are nearby as well.
Lake Forest is a bustling neighborhood in east Round Rock, nestled in between Toll 45 to the south and US 79 to the north, and five miles east of downtown Round Rock. Its central location makes it a desired destination both for growing families and young professionals who are looking to set down roots in the area.
Homes are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and customization. Many are faced in local stone, giving them a substantial upscale feel. Lake Forest is a mainly residential area where residents will need to go outside the neighborhood for restaurants and to run errands. Locals enjoy hiking and biking along Brushy Creek.
- Population: 9,800
- Median home value: $300,000
- Median rent: $900
- Schools: The wonderful corresponding elementary and middle schools sit within walking distance for Lake Forest students, and the high school is a short drive away. As enrollment continues to rise, Round Rock provides increasing resources and learning opportunities for its students.
Behrens Ranch is a 500-acre master-planned community that features a Texas ranch-style theme throughout. It contains an abundance of walking trails, greenbelts, and parks, perfect for those who value access to nature at their doorstep. It’s only a decade or so old, and many of the 992 homes are custom-built, with three to six bedrooms and elegant masonry compositions.
Behrens Ranch is two miles west of I-35 and four and a half miles west of downtown Round Rock. Sam Bass Rd forms the southern boundary of the neighborhood. Behrens Ranch offers remarkable access to the great outdoors, with 200 acres of green space that features winding trails along the western side of the neighborhood. Behrens Ranch Park, replete with oaks and cedars, ponds, and views of the surrounding hill country offers residents open space and nature.
The neighborhood amenities include a community pool, clubhouse, playgrounds, tennis courts, and parks. Although there aren’t any cafes or restaurants, Behrens Ranch residents will need to drive only a short distance to enjoy a meal out.
- Population: 8,500
- Median home value: a range between $200,000 – $800,000
- Median rent: $641
- Schools: Wonderful Round Rock Independent School District serves Behrens Ranch, and the elementary and middle schools are within walking distance of the neighborhood.
The Woods is a small, quiet, serene planned community nestled among shady trees. It offers easy access to Round Rock’s commercial districts, including La Frontera and Rock Creek Plaza.
The neighborhood is just west of I-25 between Sam Bass Road and W Old Settler’s Blvd in the northwest corner of Round Rock and is just three miles north of downtown. The neighborhood provides some of the yummiest dining options in Round Rock, including hometown favorites like Rudy’s, Kerbey Lane, Mellow Mushroom, and Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Experience locavore cuisine, cooked with regionally sourced ingredients, and prepare for your taste buds to rejoice.
- Population: 2,300
- Median home value: $220,000
- Median rent: $1,500
- Schools: The Woods offers great neighborhood schools, with a high school that features diverse endorsements to meet the needs of every student depending on their interest and aptitude.
Paloma Lake is an oasis tucked into the far northeast corner of Round Rock. It offers many nature-oriented amenities, including resort-style pools, a private lake, and scenic walking trails. It’s 6.5 miles northeast of downtown and borders US 79 to the south.
You’ll find a great range of homes, from older to newer and smaller to larger lined along curving streets. Families love Paloma Lake for the activities and events sponsored by the community management. Year-round child-friendly happenings keep kids happy.
- Population: 6,700
- Median home value: $300,000
- Median rent: $1,000
- Schools: The exemplary Linda Herrington Elementary sits on the main boulevard, and the competitive Stony Point High School offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, meant to prepare students for rigorous college studies.
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