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Curbed Cup 1st round: (1) Downtown vs. (8) Bee Cave

Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

people walking in a sort of outdoor urban mall with grass in the middle and skyscrapers in background
Downtown’s Seaholm complex, formerly a power plant
Seaholm Power Plant/Facebook

This is Austin’s first foray into the Curbed Cup, an annual award for the local neighborhood of the year, and we’re kicking off with eight areas vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tournament bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!


"Everybody in Austin knows something about downtown, whether it's Saturday nights on Sixth Street, a visit to the Capitol, or a jog around Butler Trail," reads on of the nominations we got for the neighborhood, "but downtown is so big and so dynamic that few people know the whole scene." It’s true: Downtown is booming on a bigger scale than most places in the central city. That means lots and lots of tall buildings, but they’re not just the office towers of yore: many, if not most, are residences and multiuse complexes, such as the redeveloped Seaholm Power Plant. Downtown development also includes the complete reinvention of Waller Creek and the revival of Shoal Creek, as well as rehabbing smaller green spaces such as Republic Square park and creating new ones, such as the pocket patios on Congress Avenue. It all adds up to a more walkable, vibrant, and accessible place for public life, as well as for its inhabitants.

Bee Cave

Bee Cave residents think of their neighborhood (technically, a small city that functions as a suburb of Austin) as a "hidden jewel," according to a nominating party. That’s understandable, since its Hill Country views—from home sites and from the drive there down Highway 71—and access can’t be beat. But, natural beauty aside, Bee Cave is far from countrified. The Hill Country Galleria offers an increasing number of sophisticated and high-quality shopping, restaurant, and entertainment choices, as well as community events that include a Saturday night concert series.

Residents also praise its family-friendly atmosphere—including its schools and opportunities for kid-friendly fun—its tax rate and affordability, and its proximity to local attractions in all directions, including Lake Travis, local wineries, downtown, and South Austin.