As a friend of mine aptly put it before leaving Austin in disgust, "Austin is a great retirement community for young people."
This picture, for example, shows a 23 year old man after living in Austin for only six months.
Seriously, if you adore playing playing hacky-sack, smoking bowls of Herb, and talking endlessly about how unique your dog is, you will absolutely love it here.
If you have any lifetime goals (and, no, I'm not talking about fame, fortune or conspicuous consumption here) but artistic, philosophical or altruistic goals...well...buyer beware..
Austin is a plastic carrot filled with Twinky frosting.
Why don't I leave? One problem: I no longer know who I am, where to go, or what to do.
Guess I'll just smoke a bowl, go outside and play hacky-sack with my dog.
Austin traffic is the WORST! And I've lived my whole life in Dallas and Houston which has horrible traffic. Austin's worst traffic is on I-35 and 183. I-35 is the worst where 290 meets it and near downtown. Plan to be in slow traffic at ANY TIME...ANY DAY!
So if you're staying downtown, going to see the bats on Congress Ave, or going to 6th street plan some extra time so you don't miss a thing.
Thousands of bands are playing here. You have to do your homework to find the bands you want to hear. The bands are listed late February (if I remember correctly) on the website www.sxsw.com Do not print them out!! I accidentally hit print and walked away and it printed more than 80 pages! While working from home I would find their music at myspace.com and see if I liked their sound or not. Just a suggestion if you are a music lover like me and don't like wasting time on mediocre bands!
Austin is quickly turning into the land of Yuppie-condos, they're building them everywhere, it's very possible that soon Austin might lose it's one great advantage - live music keeps rich people awake.
Coming from California, I found it odd that on Texas Highways designated "Rest Areas" are different then "Picnic Areas." No doubt both have inviting benches and paths for weary travelers to rest thier tired bodies, and are frequently seen at 40 to 80m intervals. But don't be fooled, those people walking in form the toolies in the Picnic Areas are on a different kind of nature hike. That's right, there are NO restrooms, much less a place to wash ones hands before eating at Picnic Areas. Such refinement as a toilet are left to Rest Areas only. Rest Areas where everything is left to air dry, if you know what I mean.......
Texas drivers are absolutely horrible. I've lived in three states and have been in many states, but Texas drivers rank pretty high on the list of worst drivers. People rarely use their turn signals. They often cut across four lanes of traffic at the very last minute to get to their exits. They love cutting you off. They also love driving in your blind spot. Many people never really seem to know where they're going. And above all that, they all love to drive fast. If you're not driving at least 15 mph above the speed limit, many people will get impatient. I also have several friends who were the victims of hit-and-run accidents in the city. One more thing: if there is any sort of precipitation, beware of traffic. It appears that Austin drivers are terrified of driving in the rain.
However, Austin roads can be confusing. Many roads seem to have multiple names (Mopac IS Loop 1; Capital of Texas Hwy IS 360; and U.S.183 IS Research Blvd., Anderson Lane, Ed Bluestein Blvd. and Old Bastrop Hwy; 2222 IS Northland Dr. or Allendale Rd. or Koenig Lane). You'll see exit signs right before the exit, so there isn't much time to get into the exit lane. Also, when you enter a major road from a ramp, you're often yards away from the next exit, so you better get into another lane, fast. Many streets are one way streets, especially in the downtown and university areas, and this can get confusing. Basically, Austin roads can be confusing and you can rarely go back the same way you came. Maybe the confusion causes so many people to be horrible drivers.
Also, beware of traffic on I-35. It can be absolutely horrendous.
These people provide a noisy, unwelcome presence in downtown San Antonio, especially at the Alamo Plaza. People come here to pay their respects to the heroes of Texan independence, NOT to be evangelized. Keep a safe distance from them.
I like Texas a lot, but the service roads that parallel the interstates are designed to be as dangerous as possible, or so it seems. The frontage road traffic can quickly slip into interstate traffic, and interstate traffic can quickly slip onto the service road. Maybe a little too quickly. You really need to be on your toes. Drive friendly!
One of the key features of Austin is all of its beautiful greenbelts and hike/bike trails.
I will warn you however that there is alot of construction going on in Waller Creek at this time. Right by the convention center is actually closed off right now for rennovation, so make sure you check in with the City of Austin website prior to going on a walk throughout Austin!
Enjoy your trip!
When i visited Austin last August i was shocked to how hot it was.
i was constantly thirsty.
In England we might be lucky to get the odd day of 85 degrees but in Austin it was always mid to high 90's and to me it seemed a lot hotter.
Just common sense really drink plenty of fluids and dont spend to long out in the midday sun!!
Beware of vehicles with California license plates, they will be being pulled over shortly. For random and various inspections, not limited to alien transportaion, LOL! I'm serious. I was pulled over 5 times driving through Texas - we finally stopped and bought an "I love texas" window stat (so it could easily be removed), and the flashing lights disappeared as mysteriously as they came.
Austin continues to hold true to its saying: "Keep Austin Weird" by supporting Leslie Cochran, one of our less esteemed members of the Austin community. Leslie is a transvestite that calls 6th St. home.
Completely harmless, he has been rumored to actually be educated at UT, where he once was a professor and local citizen extraordinaire... at least that is the way he tells it.
Last election year, he actually ran for Mayor... and came in SECOND!
Thanks to AustinExperience.com for the photo
No, Austin is THE place to move if you're single, male and have a masters degree in a tech field. You will find literally tens of thousands of pathologically single, hardcore Trekkie, can't-dance-
if-a-knife-was-put-to-your-throat bretheren from all over America. Especially cold places -- like Nebraska.
You can easily spot them wandering around the 4th street warehouse district, in packs of 5 to 10, oblivious to the legions of beautiful women who are completely oblivious to them, unless they think they might weasal a few free drinks from you.
If you're smart and male, and look like the cool cat in this picture, and you want to bond with a bunch of other sharp-dressing smart males, then by all means move to Austin. You will absolutely love it here!
If you're traveling down the frontage road of a major highway and are planning to turn left (under the highway's overpass), pay close attention.
At many/most of the newly built intersections, the leftmost lane is not a left turn lane, but a U-turn lane which will lead you directly to the frontage road going opposite from the direction you are currently going.
This is great if you need to double back; there's no traffic light to wait for. But I see a lot of out-of-towners get into these lanes unintentionally.
These lanes are usually marked on the pavement itself with an arrow shaped like an upside-down U.
Dont touch! IT's everywhere and often treated like a noxious weed. It will grow from the smallest cutting and survives extreme climates. The spines can get embedded in your skin and get infected. Prickly pear is the most common but there are all kinds (hundreds) here. You can actually pick and eat the red "cactus apples" and a sweet jelly is made out of them. Sometimes in a drought ranchers will use flamethrowers to burn the spines off so cows can eat it. Doesn't store much water as barrel cactus and has a strong bitter taste. Some very large specimens have spines strong enough to go through a boot or a tire if run over/stepped on