Living in Austin, Texas – What to Know if Moving
Living in Austin, Texas
Austin, the capital of Texas, is one of the most populous cities in the state and in the country. The city is so diverse that there is a corner for every individual: retirees, students, couples, families, musicians, artists, and a lot more.
Regardless of who you are or what you are into, you will certainly find Austin a great place to live in. if you are moving here soon, check out the following interesting bits of information and start getting to know this wonderful city.
DO-512 – Due to the sheer size of Austin, it can be hard to keep up with the latest and the most interesting. DO-512 basically serves as your guide to the daily goings on in Austin. It gives information about live music concerts, upcoming shows, family-oriented events and activities, and happy hours, among others. DO-512 is also a great site to visit for any question regarding the music festival SXSW. You can easily see which shows are free and otherwise.
Food Trucks – Austin is also known for its ubiquitous food trucks, which include Torchy’s (tacos), Hey Cupcake (gourmet cupcakes), Chi’lantro (kimchi fries), and East Side King (Japanese street food). They are all over the city, and there are typically spots where you can find them grouped together. Many are open until the wee hours of the night, and some offer delivery service as well.
Tacos – The city is not complete without tacos. Austin must be the only city where you can eat tacos literally all day and not get weird stares. In fact, people here are used to having tacos for breakfast—something you do not see a lot in other places. Popular places that make good tacos are Taco Deli, which offers regular and vegan tacos for breakfast and lunch, and food truck Torchy’s, where President Barack Obama once dined.
Franklin BBQ – This barbecue restaurant is one of the popular Austin icons that you can’t possibly miss as a new resident. It opened in 2009 originally in a trailer and moved to a physical restaurant location in just 2 years. The place has gotten so big that it reportedly never fails to sell out of brisket each day, appeared on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations in 2012, and was visited by President Obama at one point.
Margaritas – Among the things Austin is known for are craft cocktails, and those include their cool, fine margaritas. You can find different versions in nearly every corner. There are margaritas for queso, tacos, and some casual outdoor drinking. There is also an event called the Austin Margarita Festival, which fuses celebration for the city’s favorite drink with some fun and music.
UT Austin – The University of Texas at Austin is the flagship campus of the University of Texas system. It is known for a large variety of things, most especially its great learning environment, fun activities, and exciting sports events. UT Austin is widely known for its football team, and in terms of the academe, it is renowned in the fields of geology, engineering, communication, and business.
City-wide Garage Sale – Established in 1977, this city-wide garage sale is one of the true vintage markets in Austin nowadays. They have numerous gimmicks goings on, such as coupons and treats for early bird shoppers. They have their own website, where you can see schedules, latest promos, and other information related to the market. Do make it a point to visit this hub of eclectic vintage finds regardless of when you are moving to Austin. Their goods are definitely worth the travel.
Downtown – A lot of folks would argue that downtown Austin (known simply as “downtown” to many) is really the heart of the city. Downtown has everything: great neighborhoods, shopping and dining destinations, museums, hotels, cafes, restaurants, shops, and even outdoor destinations, just to name a few. Unsurprisingly, this all comes at a matching price tag, mind you. Needless to say, this is also accompanied by heavy traffic.
East Austin – Once hailed one of the “hippest hipster neighborhoods” by Forbes magazine, East Austin is known for its array of eclectic shops, restaurants, and bars that you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. There are affordable and pricey finds alike, and many of the quirky businesses are locally owned. East Austin is easily accessible from Ben White Blvd and I-35, in addition to the other roads leading to and passing through it.
West Austin – If you are into spending entire afternoons relaxing with a good view of rolling terrain and scenic landscapes, you may love West Austin. This area is also home to expansive, luxurious real estate properties, such as mansions overlooking lakes. Residents and visitors alike love West Austin because of how it always feels like you are on vacation here, thanks to the fresh air, huge expanses of land, serene atmosphere, and great landscapes.
North Central Austin – North Central Austin is more suburban in terms of feel, location, and prices, but the area is still quite accessible and close to the busier parts of the city. Real estate prices are lower than in other areas of Austin, so this is an ideal location if you are looking for a residential property that lets you balance accessibility and practicality. You get to save some without having to let go of too much convenience.
South Austin – The southern part of Austin lies right over Town Lake. This neighborhood is known for being family-friendly while remaining perfectly unique and hip. Real estate prices are not as high as in other parts of Austin, and they go lower as you continue to go south. This is where you can find the well-known South Congress, a strip of shopping, dining, and live music destinations.
Barton Creek Greenbelt – This is public land measuring 7.25 miles. Its boundaries are the so-called “Hill of Life” in Westlake up to Zilker Park at the opposite end. Barton Creek Greenbelt is also known simply as “the greenbelt” to locals, so there is no need to mention the full name when asking for directions. The area is accessible through multiple points, and the area is greatly varied, so you should have no issues finding the right spot.
Town Lake – You can enjoy this beautiful lake regardless of whether you are on it or around it. Activities you can enjoy on the lake include canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. The rental places that can accommodate you are just around the corner and easy to find. Meanwhile, you can also walk, hike, bike, or jog along the trails around the lake. There are also some sightseeing tours.
Barton Springs Pool – This natural pool is inside Zilker Park. Its water comes from a series of underwater springs and remains within 68 to 70 degrees throughout the year. You can often find many residents and visitors of various personalities and from all walks of life in Barton Springs Pool. This is how popular and beloved this natural attraction is. Also, due to its favorable temperature, it is a nice spot where you can cool down during the summer.
Congress Bridge Bats – Each night between March and October, more than 1 million bats fly out from under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, typically 20 minutes before sunset. There are many sites around the bridge from which you can have a good view of the bats. To the east of the bridge, there is a walkway that allows you to watch the bats fly east.
4th of July Fireworks – You can watch Austin’s 4th of July fireworks display by booking yourself a nice cruise. There are companies offering public dinner cruises with barbecue and other Austin staples served buffet-style with drinks. Some packages combine the viewing of the fireworks and the Congress Bridge bats’ departure. Such cruises last for typically three hours.
Mount Bonnell – Another favorite outdoor destination of Austin residents and tourists, Mount Bonnell is a charming place, regardless of whether you are after a good hike or scouting for a wedding venue! It is reportedly the highest point in the city and thus offers a breathtaking, photogenic view of the city. The hike is not difficult, thanks to the 102-step staircase that leads to a view deck and a pavilion.
Longhorn Caverns – The caverns are among the most beautiful you will ever see. The majestic formations inside were formed over many years as the structure was constantly in the way of a rushing river. The cavern environment remains fragile, so only paid guided tours are allowed. Clarify all the details with your tour guide or provider because there are many restrictions inside the caverns (e.g., footwear).
Art, Music, and Culture
The Contemporary Austin – Consisting of The Jones Center and The Laguna Gloria, The Contemporary Austin is the place to see if you are into immersing yourself in multidisciplinary art exhibits. Even the locations of these are very beautiful and stimulating. The Jones Center, which is in a historic building, features contemporary art, whereas The Laguna Gloria, a villa surrounded by sculpture gardens, shows sculptures and expresses art through history and nature. You can sign up for various tours to see these exhibits.
Paramount Theatre – The Paramount Theatre, which is a classical revival-style building, is a movie theatre and live theatre venue. The picturesque structure was built back in 1915 and has been in the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. It used to be called Gaiety Theatre, Majestic Theatre, and Paramount Theatre for the Performing Arts in addition to its current name.
Blanton Museum of Art – You can find this museum in the University of Texas campus. It houses almost 18,000 art pieces that comprise what is generally regarded as the city’s primary art collection. Blanton Museum of Art features works belonging to a wide range of categories, such as abstract expressionism and Greek pottery. The museum puts up temporary exhibitions all year round.
Uncommon Objects – If you are into antiques, then you will surely never want to leave Uncommon Objects. It was opened in 1991 as a humble shop housing antiques sold by five dealers. Today, Uncommon Objects is home to more than 20 antiquers exhibiting and selling their unique finds. You can find this beautiful haven in South Austin, where they recently moved, and bump into fellow antique lovers from Austin and many other parts of the world.
Red River Cultural District – You can consider the Red River Cultural District a strip of music venues. This “strip” lies along the stretch forming the 600 to 900 blocks of the famed river. Among the top establishments you can find here are Cheerup Charlies, Mohawk, and Stubbs, which are favorite haunts of local hipsters. Equally notable live show venues are Barracuda and Empire Control Room, which are on 7th Street.
Music Festivals – One of the things Austin is known for is its music scene. That is why it is not surprising at all that the city is also home to big music festivals, the most popular of which include SXSW, ACL, and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Every year, these events pull in crowds of music lovers not just from Austin but also from different cities and states. There are also foreign tourists commonly in attendance. That is how big these are.
Broken Spoke – Operating for more than 50 years now, Broken Spoke remains a seemingly untouched piece of Lone Star artifact. If you want to see, feel, and breathe in authentic Austin spirit, you definitely have to pay this dance hall a visit. You can join many happy couples as they dance the minutes and hours away in what feels like their remaining connection to how things once were in Texas.
Alamo Drafthouse – The Alamo Drafthouse theater at the Ritz is one of the seven Alamo Drafthouse theaters in existence today. This theater used to be in another location in downtown Austin but had to switch operators and locations due to the increasing rent in the city. The final show in the original location was held in June 2007, and the new facility (Ritz) was opened in November 2007.
Bullock Texas State History Museum – The name of the museum is quite straightforward. It does contain important artifacts that give you a glimpse of a 4,000-year history of Texas. There are many interesting collections and archives that you can pore over like the real history nut you are. Depending on when you visit, you can come for exhibits, feature films, lectures and discussions, and a lot more.
Cathedral of Junk – As the name suggests, Cathedral of Junk celebrates what other people have thrown away. You will notice that the skeleton and décor of the attraction are all items you can commonly find in the trash, mostly bicycles. Owner Vince Hannemann continues to maintain and modify the Cathedral of Junk. At some point, there was a three-story tower that soon got converted to rooms in the original structure.
Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum – This destination is both an outdoor and an artistic destination. It is adjacent to Zilker Park and features works by Charles Umlauf, an American sculptor. Today, the museum and garden are maintained by volunteers and staff using donations and grants. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum has a seasonal schedule, though, so if you specifically want to see the art pieces or are looking into holding an event here, keep timing in mind.
Where to Party
6th Street – 6th street is a single street but divided into three sections: East 6th, West 6th, and Dirty 6th. East 6th is known for live music venues and even dance lessons, West 6th is home to high-end bars and restaurants, and Dirty 6th is teeming with bars and rowdy partygoers from the college student crowd. You can check out Italic, Key Bar, and Clark’s Oyster Bar in West 6th and Hotel Vegas and The White Horse along East 6th. Meanwhile, although Dirty 6th has many bars and other places for partygoers, they all just sort of mesh together once you are drunk enough!
Rainey Street – Formerly a residential community, Rainey Street is now more like a complex featuring restaurants, bars, food trucks, and the like. You can find this if you go south from Cesar Chavez street, and parking is unsurprisingly hard to come by due to the popularity of the place and the sheer number of diners flocking to the area. Come here for cuisines from all over the world, cocktails, craft beer, and even the basic midnight snack or junk food you crave once in a while.
Where to Shop
Burnet Road – This street is in North Central Austin, and the shopping area stretches from North Loop Blvd to 44th. Burnet Road is more than just clothes. There are artisan jewelry, home décor, body care products, gift items, antiques, and many more. Shopping here is also a great way to support and help local businesses flourish.
North Loop – Also in North Central Austin, North Loop is filled with bars and stores selling vintage finds. Examples of bars you can find here are Drink.Well and Work Horse. Meanwhile, some great shopping places to try out are Revival Sunday Market and Room Service Vintage. Between these shops, you can score anything from small items like pendants and pins and huge ones like furniture.
The Domain – If you are a fan of trendy upscale boutiques and stores, you should check out The Domain. It is a huge area where you can find many top-of-the-line stores, but there are also brands like H&M. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars here, so the whole place is very popular among entrepreneurs and yuppies. You also do not have to find parking as you hop from one establishment to another because stores are within walking distance from each other.
Move to Austin!
Aside from being a highly populous city, Austin is iconic, fun, eclectic, and rich in history and culture. Single individuals, couples, and families, business owner or not, love this city, and you will no doubt feel the same way once you have had a taste of life in Austin.