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Austin, TX - what is it like living there?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am thinking of moving to Austin - what are the best and worst parts of living there? I am going to fly there and check it out before starting to apply to jobs there, but any pointers are appreciated - I've been there once, but that was to a big resort and they all kind of look the same, I wasn't paying close enough attention to the town itself.
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post #2 of 19
It is one of two decent cities in Texas (the other being Ft. Worth).

/me runs for cover.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #3 of 19
I agree. I've lived in Texas for 20 years and while I LOVE Texas as a whole, I dislike Houston and Dallas tremendously. I actually think that the two decent cities are Austin (and surrounding areas specifically) and San Antonio. In other words - Central Texas is awesome. The rest...well...
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akac

I agree. I've lived in Texas for 20 years and while I LOVE Texas as a whole, I dislike Houston and Dallas tremendously. I actually think that the two decent cities are Austin (and surrounding areas specifically) and San Antonio. In other words - Central Texas is awesome. The rest...well...


Doh! I left out San Antonio, too. Excellent place, but I just don't see how more people don't get drunk and fall in the river at that riverwalk.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #5 of 19
The river is not that deep
post #6 of 19
Austin is a very nice place to live IMO, but it all depends on your interests of course. Pros and cons based on my personal preferences:

Pros:

- University of Texas
- Socially Liberal
- Cool local businesses
- It's not Houston or Dallas
- Decent geek culture
- Lots of live music
- Lots of outdoor activities
- Mild Winters
- Tex-Mex
- Alamo Drafthouse
- SXSW
- Austin City Limits

Cons:

- Public transportation is weak but getting better
- Central housing is very expensive
- Not much else in Texas, and it's a loooooong drive out of the state. There's only so many times you can go to the Riverwalk or Enchanted Rock.
- Traffic on I-35
- Hot Summers. You get used to it.

Check out the The Austinist for more good stuff.
post #7 of 19
I just moved here from Atlanta.

It is burning hot. It is definitely a notch above Atlanta. Walking around in the sun in Atlanta is hot, but here you can feel completely drained in 20 minutes, although I seem to be adjusting to it.

The Mexican food is authentic and incredible.

The bad areas seem kinda bad. There seems to be more dumb people here. I guess that doesn't apply if you live in a good area, but there are alot of obviously dumb redneck types you don't see in Atlanta. And in Atlanta, you have nice Mexicans, whereas here there are some of the Hispanics with the shaved heads who seem really mean.

There are a lot of so-so, kind of run down areas, but I'm not sure if I have seen all of the better parts yet. I don't feel any immediate charm. It is not as busy as Atlanta, yet it is not like tree lined and slow or less crowded enough to be charming, although I haven't seen all areas.

Oh, and the water from the tap is absolutely disgusting. In the hotel it was undrinkable. On the internet, it says that this sometimes happens when it is really hot and there is some sort of algae that is in the water. I hope it goes away or I will have to buy bottled water.

So it all depends if the nice parts I haven't seen yet make up for things. There was one like street, Lamar Blvd, that for a few miles is so tree lined that it appears like woods must be on the other side. I am guessing that's where the nice part is.

The Colorado River flows through near the center of town and that is a very relaxing place.

I don't see any particular styles of clothes or attitude that have a regional feel, although a few people have a Texas accent and one guy sounded just like Johnny Cash.
post #8 of 19
Oh, and the supermarkets seem to suck. There is one call H E B, but it is a real letdown from Publix and Kroger in Atlanta. It is the main one, yet they don't even have fresh bread or freshly made subs. I haven't really seen many upscale markets as I walk around.

There is a downtown with fancy restaurants and things like that. I personally am kind of a snob so this might not apply to everyone. But it didn't seem fast enough to have a cosmopolitan feel, yet it didn't seem slow enough to have the nice charm of a town square. Not that any of this probably matters to most people, I'm just pointing it out.
post #9 of 19
Oh and it really is a computer town. There was a Goodwill Center just for old computers, including Macs, and a building that just did computer recycling. There are PC shops all over the place. Maybe I am noticing them more because I am looking for a tech job, but there are a lot. I have had good responses from the resumes I sent out, and although this is just anecdotal it does seem like it is pretty easy to get a tech job.

When you get here, if you were planning on staying in a motel while looking for an apartment or a house, the motels are very expensive, like $180/wk for the cheapest one that isn't sold out. There is a place called the Kensington Apartments at 3300 Manor Road that is 2 miles from the prime area, the center of town. It is like $150 a week or $600 a month for an apartment and you can just rent it without a lease. The number is 512 478 5959. It's not in the greatest area but is fine for the short term. It is a bargain against what motels charge and a great central location.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindler

Oh, and the supermarkets seem to suck. There is one call H E B, but it is a real letdown from Publix and Kroger in Atlanta. It is the main one, yet they don't even have fresh bread or freshly made subs. I haven't really seen many upscale markets as I walk around.

There is a downtown with fancy restaurants and things like that. I personally am kind of a snob so this might not apply to everyone. But it didn't seem fast enough to have a cosmopolitan feel, yet it didn't seem slow enough to have the nice charm of a town square. Not that any of this probably matters to most people, I'm just pointing it out.

Dear God man, what part of Austin do you live in? Have you been to Whole Foods downtown? That's their flagship store! The Central Market next to me has live music on the weekends, outdoor movie screenings, and plenty of fresh bread. Now if you live in the suburbs, maybe they suck. But seriously, no fresh bread!?
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindler

I just moved here from Atlanta.

It is burning hot. It is definitely a notch above Atlanta. Walking around in the sun in Atlanta is hot, but here you can feel completely drained in 20 minutes, although I seem to be adjusting to it.

Ha ha ha ha!

I moved from New Jersey (and formerly DC) to the "Sunshine State," specifically Melbourne, FL, two year ago. I don't plan on staying much longer, due in part to the power of the sun. I mean, seriously, I'm white: and not like Spanish-white or Italian-white, but rather like staight-up northern and eastern european stock. My people don't belong at these latitudes.
Cat: the other white meat
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post #12 of 19
Well, you don't see any pasty white Irish people down here. I guess natural selection took care of them.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by abilstein

Have you been to Whole Foods downtown? That's their flagship store!

Thanks for the tip. I asked people about a supermarket close to town but they all said like 45th street. No one mentioned the Whole Foods.
post #14 of 19
If you like food, you will like Whole Foods. Go for dinner and sit outside on the deck, it's a nice view. There's a parking garage underneath the store, FYI. While you're down there, walk across the street to Book People and Waterloo Records, Austin's best locally owned book and music stores.

And don't forget this Thursday is First Thursday on South Congress if you haven't been.
post #15 of 19
I went over to the Whole Foods and damn, was it big! It would take a lifetime to eat one of everything in that store, though I might try.
post #16 of 19
Austin is a great town.
Houston is only acceptable inside the loop.
Dallas is not acceptable in any form.
proud resident of a failed state
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proud resident of a failed state
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post #17 of 19
austin is a very cool town but the traffic is horrible and the housing market sucks for prospective buyers.

houston is not as bad of a shit hole as it used to be. they have done quite a bit to revitalize the downtown area over the last 10 years.

san antonio is just a complete waste of space outside of the river walk and even that gets old after a couple of hours.

dallas at first glance is superficial and void of any true redeeming value, but after living here for a number of years, it can actually be a pretty cool place to live if you know your way around.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat

...Houston is only acceptable inside the loop...

Really?... I go inside the loop (BW8, not 610) maybe 3 times a year and that seems like too many
From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by running with scissors

austin is a very cool town but the traffic is horrible and the housing market sucks for prospective buyers.

houston is not as bad of a shit hole as it used to be. they have done quite a bit to revitalize the downtown area over the last 10 years.

san antonio is just a complete waste of space outside of the river walk and even that gets old after a couple of hours.

dallas at first glance is superficial and void of any true redeeming value, but after living here for a number of years, it can actually be a pretty cool place to live if you know your way around.

1) Actually traffic is only bad for about 30 minutes around 8am and 5pm and anywhere there is construction. Other than that traffic is usually non-existant. As for housing - of course, you don't buy IN Austin. You buy AROUND Austin. Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander.

2) I was just there last week. Seemed quite a bit worse to me than the 11 years I lived there 10 years ago.

3) No comment
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