Neighborhood Spotlight: Northwest Hills and Cat Mountain

The Northwest Hills and Cat Mountain neighborhoods remind you that Austin is the beginning of the Hill Country.  Northwest Hills and Cat Mountain are distinctive – climbing and turning streets with homes tucked back in the midst of huge oaks.

Cat Mountain is one of the city’s most prestigious residential developments. The neighborhood is bordered by FM 2222 on the south, Mesa Drive on the east, and Westslope Drive which becomes Twin Valley Drive on the west. Some of the views include the Colorado River and the Pennybacker Bridge, a symbol of Austin.  Although it was first developed primarily in the late 1970s and early 80s, this desirable location has never been more popular.  Throughout the neighborhood you will see new home starts and homes being remodeled.  The Cat Mountain Villas Homeowners’ Association has reasonable monthly dues that allow access to a clubhouse, community pool, tennis courts, a basketball court, playground and picnic area.

Northwest Hills is the neighborhood east of Cat Mountain bounded roughly by Mesa Drive to the west, FM 2222 to the south, Spicewood Springs to the north, and MoPac to the east.  Northwest Hills is an affluent, relaxed neighborhood with large homes and good views.  This is a close-knit community where neighbors really enjoy each other.  A prime example is on July 4, when the neighborhood association hosts one of the region’s most renowned and enjoyed Independence Day parades, that winds up at an amazing block party with local venders and bands.

Both Cat Mountain and Northwest Hills benefit from extremely simple transportation access. With MoPac Boulevard to the east and S.H. 360 to the west, downtown and miles of wooded, preserved hillsides are 10 minutes away. Just as close are the best of Austin shopping at The Domain outdoor mall and at the established Arboretum immediately to the north.  Both neighborhoods include grocery and restaurant availability with little effort.

Some of the best schools in the Austin School District are designated for Cat Mountain and Northwest Hills residents, including Hill, Highland Park or Doss elementary schools, Lamar or Murchison middle schools, and Anderson or McCallum high schools. St. Theresa’s Catholic School, a private religious and academic institution, provides education to pre-kindergarten through middle school students and is located in the neighborhood.

The Anderson High family of feeder schools includes Doss Elementary which focuses on world languages and cultures. The school offers a Chinese Immersion Program.  Hill Elementary has a similar foreign language immersion program for grades 1-5.  Murchison Middle School has a technology program focusing on such areas as graphic and design education and robotics.  Since 1991, Anderson High School has been authorized as an International Baccalaureate school, a comprehensive curriculum to challenge highly motivated high school students.  Anderson has been named a T-STEM academy by the Texas Education Agency and its career and technology programs highlight medical, engineering, film, manufacturing and computer science.

The McCallum High School family of feeder schools includes Highland Park Elementary which has been named a national blue ribbon school and is proud of their Social Emotional Learning program which focuses on the character development of the students.  

Lamar Middle School is the district’s fine arts magnet middle school and allows children not in the magnet to take the excellent fine arts classes.  Similarly, McCallum High School is the district’s fine arts magnet high school that includes an incredible theater program that may just rival shows on and off Broadway. They also offer a comprehensive college preparatory program and an outstanding athletics program.