Recently, I took a trip to Austin Texas to visit my best friend. I posted some of the pictures I took while over there but I also received a request to write about my experience of Austin. I have not forgotten. So here we go :).
This past trip was my third trip to this very interesting city. My first trip was to help my best friend move there (from Florida mind you…yes that’s right, we drove from Florida to Austin Texas with a truck full of stuff, a trailer with a jeep on it, and two very cute, adorable little bundles of furs aka dogs, in the truck cabin). Due to the nature of that trip, it was not as enjoyable (who ever enjoys moving lol). But my second and third trips where a complete 180.
According to the 2011 census, Austin is a city with a population of 820611 yet in spite of its size, it has the feeling if a much smaller city. That is, until you try to drive and deal with the maniacs who race across slightly narrower than normal roads. Needless to say, driving for me in Austin was (and still is) the most hated thing to do in the city. Whoever issues license to these people needs to get fired (I kid…but seriously). Thank God for a fairly decent mass transit. I personally enjoy their light rail (gee theirs a surprise). It goes from downtown to the outskirts of the city; in total about an hour ride (maybe a bit less). From what I hear, they are working on extending the light rail and adding another one (yei).
The downtown is fairly typical. Most of your high rises are located there. The downtown is a strong and vibrant central business district (CBD) with retail on the pedestrian level and offices/residences on the upper levels. One of their most famous high rise is the Austonian; a residential tower that towers over the city. At night, it lights up with a cool rim of color at the very top.
Austin is known for its music scene, so it’s no surprise that Austin has many venues where you can go and check out a band playing or a concert (however, I have not done so). The people are eccentric, progressive, and somewhat edgy (meaning they are not afraid to try new things). The government however I hear is very conservative, but after only 3 visits, it’s hard for me to ascertain the impact of their governance.
Like any city, Austin has its ghettos and undesirable areas but I did not see much of this. But what I did see is Austin’s commitment to make a city that is more livable with mixed use development; not just in the CBD, but all throughout the city district.
From what I hear, it’s not difficult to find employment in Austin; that’s is, if you keep your options open.
Austin is also home to a The University of Texas. I took a stroll through it’s campus on my second visit to Austin and was pleasantly surprised. Mind you, their campus is not as awesome as the University of Florida’s campus (they don’t even have alligators in their ponds…no alligators!) but it’s still a very nice campus (oh I’m gonna get some hate mail for this one lol).
Due to the major student population, It would be tempting to believe that Austin revolves around the university (much like Gainesville.) but it doesn’t. At least it did not feel like it to me. I’m sure the university of Texas definitely has its influence on the city. Nevertheless, the influence is subtle enough to let you know is there, yet not as strong as to make you think it’s the only thing that’s there.
The food is pretty darn good. Some places better than others, but overall, good food.
There is a good amount of recreation opportunities, from open space to bike lanes. However, when doing outdoor activities, a person has to be careful. The heat in Austin can be substantial (in the 100s) but, unlike Florida, Austin is not burdened with humidity issues (at least not that I noticed) so the heat is felt differently (and the cold as well…and yes, it does get cold in Austin during winter months).
Would I live in Austin? The verdict is still out on that one. I hear the cost of living is not difficult to maintain. But according to Sperling’s cost of living index of 102 (US average being 100) Austin is lightly above average (ie, more expensive to live at). Nevertheless, they have HEB (aka H.E.Butt) which is like a locally owned Walmart except with cheaper prices…yes you heard/read me, cheaper.
Overall, I would not mind finding a job in Austin but only if I can live in their downtown area where it’s easy to get around with mass transit ( i.e. easy to catch the light rail :).
Anyone of my readers from Austin who want to chime in? What do you think about Austin?