The 10 Best Places to Live in Central Texas – 2022 Update

In this article, we examine the best places to live in Central Texas based on cost of living, home prices, job opportunities, and the things to do around town.

Central Texas is the area of the state that roughly spans from Waco until around the Austin area.

In this region, there are many cities that provide an affordable cost of living, with the price of houses below the Texas state average, and that are also quite safe. 

The continuous expansion of the economies in this area makes Central Texas a very enticing place to move to due to the presence of a strong job market.

Additionally, Central Texas features many universities that bring young students to the cities.

For all these reasons, the area of Central Texas is quite alive and there are cities that are growing faster and faster, with strong and diverse communities to live in.

Therefore, we have found the best places to live in Central Texas and included detailed reasons why we think these cities are worth living in.

Best Places to Live in Central Texas – Methodology 

In order to find the 10 best cities to live in Central Texas, we adopted a rigorous approach that takes into account the population size, the cost of living compared to the Texas average, and the housing prices.

All these data were sourced from websites that offer official statistical information, such as Bestplaces.net, Niche.com, and Zillow.

We also considered the overall livability in these cities and we included options that could be an ideal place to move to for every member of society, including families, retirees, and young professionals.

10. Waco

best-places-to-live-in-central-texas-Waco

Population: 139,236
Cost of Living Index: 8% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $199,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

We start this list of the best cities in Central Texas with Waco based on its fairly low cost of living and affordable housing prices.

Waco is located right between Dallas and Austin approximately a 2 hour drive from each.

It is a place where you might want to relocate to and raise your children, as there are many jobs available and the community speaks highly about its good public schools.

Also, there are outdoor activities available for adults and kids to enjoy, such as hiking trails along the Brazos River in Cameron Park.

9. Killeen

Population: 151,666
Cost of Living Index: 4% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $204,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Killeen is a city that is located between Waco and Austin, about a 1 hour, 15 minute drive from both cities.

The cost of living in Killeen is lower than the Texas average and the biggest impact on this is due to its lower housing prices and transportation costs.

Fort Hood US Army post is a short distance away from town, which makes Killeen a city that welcomes many military families as well. 

This city is a good option if you are looking to relocate to a quiet and slow-paced place.

8. San Marcos

best-places-to-live-in-central-texas-San-Marcos

Population: 64,776
Cost of Living Index: 3% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $362,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

The city of San Marcos is located between San Antonio and Austin.

One of the key aspects of this city is its strong economy. In fact, the job market has seen a spike over the last year and the predictions show that the future job growth over the next ten years will be much higher compared to the US average, which makes it one of the best places to live in Central Texas for those looking for a solid job market.

Also, many young students live in San Marcos since the city is home to Texas State University. This makes the city quite culturally diverse, with many restaurants and entertainment options for students and families, as well.

7. Temple

Population: 78,439
Cost of Living Index: 4% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $250,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

30 minutes from Waco and on the eastern side of Belton Lake, you will find the city of Temple.

The cost of living in Temple is quite affordable, mostly due to its cheaper housing costs compared to other cities in Texas.

Temple is a good city to raise a family, with good public schools and outdoor activities to be entertained by.

The community enjoys a diverse food scene that the city offers as there are many family owned restaurants and great choices for Mexican and Italian cuisines. 

Temple offers many public parks and the library, post office, and the bank are all located in the small, walkable downtown area.

6. Georgetown

best-places-to-live-in-central-texas-Georgetown

Population: 79,604
Cost of Living Index: 10% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $517,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Georgetown is a city with a small town vibe located just a short 30 minute drive from Austin and from the rest of Texas Hill Country. 

It is home to Southwestern University, which gives this city a young and active atmosphere.

Georgetown is a good city to raise your family, as it is quite safe, diverse, and there are good public schools as well.

Downtown Georgetown also features a beautiful town square with many restaurants located here.

5. Salado

Population: 2,370
Cost of Living Index: 11% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $478,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Only 20 minutes north of Georgetown, there is the small city of Salado. In fact, this is the smallest town on this list of the best places to live in Central Texas.

This city is home to a small but tight-knit community and it is a great place to live for families and retirees. There are several good schools and the city is quite diverse and safe.

Salado is also renowned for its golf courses and community events like the Salado Christmas Stroll, which offers a tree lighting ceremony, a parade, and shops that are open until late.

4. Cedar Park

Population: 79,462
Cost of Living Index: 11% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $590,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Cedar Park is home to about 80,000 people and it is located on the outskirts of Austin, just 30 minutes from the center of the city.

We think that Cedar Park is one of the best places to live in Central Texas as it is a diverse and quite safe community that is ideal to raise a family or to retire in.

It is also where many young professionals and students live. In fact, it is easy to commute from Cedar Park to Austin to go to work during the week, or to commute to one of the many universities that are located nearby.

There are also sports events, such as hockey and basketball that take place at the HEB Sports Center, right on the edge of downtown.

Meanwhile, there are beautiful parks around the city and you can enjoy nice walks on the trails around Cedar Park.

3. Pflugerville

best-places-to-live-in-central-texas-Pflugerville

Population: 65,380
Cost of Living Index: 7% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $474,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Pflugerville is another city close to Austin as it is located just 25 minutes from downtown Austin and also sits right across from Cedar Park.

Due to its proximity to Austin, many families and young professionals choose to buy their homes in Pflugerville. This family-friendly city offers a wide variety of new construction for those looking for a new home to settle into. 

There are also nice parks and trails around the city that the community loves to use and you can see many residents enjoying a stroll or hike during the weekends.

2. Round Rock

Population: 133,372
Cost of Living Index: 7% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $524,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Round Rock is a city located on the outskirts of Austin, just a short 25 minute drive away.

Round Rock is not only considered one of the best cities to live in Central Texas, but also one of the best places to raise a family in America.

In fact, there are good public schools and this city offers many events for families and the whole community.

For instance, you can catch a baseball game at the Dell Diamond Stadium. Additionally, if you are a fan of waterparks, Round Rock is home to Kalahari, the biggest indoor waterpark resort in the US.

1. Austin

best-places-to-live-in-central-texas-Austin

Population: 978,908
Cost of Living Index: 19% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $640,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Finally, the best place to live in Central Texas is Austin.

Austin is a fast growing city that has a strong driving economy that is predicted to grow more than 45% over the next ten years.

Here, many leading companies have their headquarters and major offices. For example, companies such as Apple, Facebook, General Motors, IBM, Oracle, Visa, and many more have their regional headquarters located in greater Austin.

For this reason, the job market in Austin is quite strong and it has even increased 3.5% over the last year.

Therefore, Austin is a great place to live for young professionals, as well as for families who can find world-class amenities and boundless entertainment options around the city.

In Austin, there is always something you can do. For example, you can explore the hiking trails that are just a few minutes drive from the city, attend a concert, or try one of the many delectable restaurants that the city offers. 

Best Places to Live in Central Texas – Summary

After all of our research, we concluded with this list of the best cities to live in Central Texas. It includes bigger and smaller communities with good livability scores that offer good amenities and infrastructure for younger and older generations.

We think that these places offer a good balanced lifestyle for virtually any age range, including young professionals, families, and even retirees.