Lake Travis is just 30 minutes west of downtown Austin, but with the rolling hills and scenic views, it feels like a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Featuring relaxing spas, incredible sunset views over the lake and countless water activities, Lake Travis is Austin’s fun (and laid back!) neighbor. For this month’s Q&A, I talked with AQUILA Principal and Lakeway resident Bethany Perez about her favorite things to do in the area and why it competes with office and retail areas in the heart of Austin.
Q: What are your favorite things to do and your favorite places to eat out in Lake Travis?
A: I love spending time at the Hill Country Galleria – it is right down the street from my house, and they recently renovated the outdoor area. It’s great! You’ll find lots of activities, people and live music on the weekends. I also enjoy taking the kids to Bee Cave Central Park, High5 (bowling and laser tag) or Rolly Pollies (a fun kids fitness center). It’s also nice to hike the greenbelt and the trails by the lake.
My favorite go-to restaurants are Maudie’s (for traditional Tex-Mex) and Rosie’s (for authentic Tex-Mex), or Steiner Ranch Steakhouse and The Grove for a nice dinner and some wine. If the kids are with us, we frequent Mandola’s Italian Market since they have a playground. Also, Café Blue and Buenos Aires Café in the Hill Country Galleria are both delicious.
Q: What would you recommend someone do who isn’t familiar with the area?
A: If they’re into golf, I’d recommend playing a course – there are some great golf courses in the area. Or if they’d rather relax, spend the day at the Lakeway Resort and Spa or the Lake Austin Spa (which is world renown). Another fun thing to do is to rent a boat on Lake Travis.
Q: The Preserve at 620 is being developed off 620. Why do you think this will be a successful office park?
A: I think this project will be extremely successful – there’s not a lot of office buildings of this style in that area. It’s planned to accommodate creative tenants with large, open floor plans, high ceilings and around 250,000 SF of space. There are nearby and on-site amenities like running trails, outdoor patios, roof decks, a fitness center and more. The Trails at 620 shopping center is a stones throw away, which includes a Moviehouse & Eatery, as well as other restaurants and retail spots. Additionally, there is enough residential density out there to draw a good employee base. I’m excited to watch the renovations of this building and see it go from renderings to the real thing! I think it’s just what this area needs.
Q: The Hill Country Galleria is home to many retail stores, restaurants and apartments, but there are also a few office buildings in that same area. What do you think makes these buildings compete with those in the city?
A: They have access to so many great amenities: the stores, restaurants and residential in the Galleria make it a true live/work/play environment. The office buildings are gaining traction because people want to live by where they work and avoid long commutes. Further, the Lake Travis area is becoming more and more popular to live and raise a family. It’s always been recognized as having executive housing, and in more recent years, new residential developments keep popping up to provide more affordable housing options.
Q: You live close to Lake Travis area. How long have you lived there, and why did you choose to live there? How has this area changed and experienced growth?
A: When I first moved to Austin 7 years ago, I spent a lot of time in the Lake Travis area. My parents had recently moved from Houston to Lakeway to retire. After spending some time in the area, I was surprised at the amount of young families. With so many wonderful, family friendly neighborhoods and good schools, my husband and I decided to buy there. I fell in love with the beautiful scenery, the nice people and the laid-back lifestyle. You have a good mix of hill country living with modern amenities.
I work downtown so living in the hill country, I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I hardly ever go downtown on the weekends because the area has all I need – there is plenty of shopping, restaurants, retail and entertainment. It’s also nice to be 15 minutes from Dripping Springs/Driftwood where we take visitors to the wineries and the Salt Lick.
Over the last 7 years, there has been tremendous growth in all areas (retail, residential and office) and I’m sure it will just continue growing!
Photo courtesy of Jim Nix; Sunset Over Lake Travis from The Oasis