Austin, Texas

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What's it like to live in Austin?

What is it like living in Austin, TX?

This is the way I would summarize Austin: It’s affordable, but it doesn’t have a lot of value.

It’s really not a bad city. It’s a perfectly decent city. It’s just, after living here for most of my life, and being just old enough to remember Austin from the late-90s, it’s changed in a lot of ways. In many ways it has matured as a city, but with that maturity comes a sense of being like most other mid-sized cities, without anything that really gives it depth or distinction. I get the impression that it’s the kind of place people move to because they have to, not because they want to. Let me break it down:


*It’s not expensive. Rents aren’t bad, home prices are a lot less than what you’ll find on the coasts. Electricity does tend to run pretty high, though.

*There are a lot of nice little parks that are great for walking, biking, and hiking. The natural surroundings like the hill country are pretty nice to go driving in, actually. Not stunning, but pretty nice.

*Austin’s pretty active. Not sure how it would stack up against Denver or Minneapolis or places like that, but there’s always a lot of people on the disc golf courses or on the Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake) trails.

We get some fun festivals here (SXSW and ACL being the two big ones), but the flip side is that the traffic becomes a raging btch.

*We’re one of the safest larger cities in the country. I don’t think our murder rate’s ever been out of the single digits; last I checked it was, like, five. Don’t expect it to be that way forever—it’s definitely getting worse—but there’s not a lot to worry about for the time being.

What is it like living in Austin, TX?

It can vary so much! I haven’t actually lived within the city limits of Austin before, but I have lived in the metropolitan area for about 8–9 years now. Let me describe my own position in life right now. Then I will describe my life in Austin, just to give you context.

I just graduated from Westlake High School in May, and I’m 17 years old. I’m a dependent, I will be moving to dorms at my university next month, and will major in Biochem.

So, when I arrived in Austin, I was very surprised to see that there are not really many cacti as I thought! I was just a little kid, and did not really know much about Texas. There are lots of hills around here. The weather, year-round, varies drastically.

In the winter, it can be freezing cold. It can feel just plain unpleasant to walk around outside. Being from California, even now, I will never get used to the cold in Texas. Some winters, very rarely, there is snow, and school gets cancelled. Each winter, there is likely to be ice.

During the summers, it is scorchingly hot. It burns just to stand outside (even just being outside will make me sweat); I have sensitive skin, and I’m always scared of the unrelenting Texas sun. Most summer days, I don’t really get out because it feels so unpleasantly hot.

Spring and fall have good weather; fall is nice and breezy, and spring brings showers. However, my allergies are terrible, so spring can be dreadful each year. Nonetheless, the bluebonnets blooming along the road are a beautiful sight.

Austin is a super nice city… as in, there’s more to do here than you think! You just have to find it. Last summer, during my PE class, my coach took me out to hiking trails on the Barton Greenbelt. That was really fun… but I assume that if one doesn’t know their way around, they could get lost. On the trails, there are some really nice natural pools you could swim in. They’re just wonderful.

Is Austin worth it anymore?

From a guy that grew up in Austin and moved away for sixteen years and lived elsewhere for a while……Austin isn't perfect, not by a long shot, but it has a lot going for it.

Other cities have no soul at all and Austin has plenty.

Yes the influx of Californians has brought a lot of change with it but that doesn't destroy the personality of Austin. There are still plenty of old Austinites like me around to keep Austin looking like Austin.

Is Austin worth it anymore?

I'm going on 25 years. Austin as a city still has plenty of charms, and as a musician, plenty to keep me here. But you mention more than just social and demographic changes which people can either choose to be bothered by or not.

You also mention the weather. I do believe it has changed since I got here and not for the better. It's not exactly surprising if you believe in the general pattern of climate change. It is unlikely to become utterly unlivable in my natural life, but there is no doubt that the south will gradually continue to become harder to live in.

The other thing you mention is state politics and IMO there is little debate that our state house has become stupider and more reactionary year after year. Until and unless they start losing statewide elections it's going to continue. I've waited for the predicted bluing for my entire time here. It still hasn't happened. As you say, they let 111 Texans die from utter negligence over grid problems they knew about for an entire decade. Then they tried to blame it on windmills. But look at them go this year, they have more anti transgender bills submitted than any other red state, 12 of them. Slow clap.

I'm looking for other places to live and when Covid is in the rear view mirror I hope to be traveling to other places and living and working from there for long enough to really know if it's a place I can put down roots.

What Nobody Will Tell You About Living in Austin Texas