Austin

What Your Life in Austin Will Be Like

austin, tx

So, you’re thinking of moving to Austin, right?

Welcome to the club.

It’s estimated that 115 people move to Austin each day, with the majority of non-Texans moving in from California LA area, to be exact.

You’re probably moving to Austin to leave behind the rat race of LA or NYC, looking to calm your head and to search for a simpler life that still offers opportunity and cultural diversity.

You never could have imagined moving to Texas with its cowboy boot-wearing conservative leaders and 1950s ideology on women and minorities, but here you are, desperately wanting to move to the capital city of the Lone Star State. Years ago your friends would have laughed at you, but now they ask if they can join along for the ride.

Maybe you’ve visited Austin before during one of its major festivals like SXSW or ACL, or maybe you’ve never been. Maybe you’ve been reading all about this wonderous land from the plethora of top ten lists it’s featured in.

At this very second, you’re ready to move to Austin and have her change you.

But what should you expect? Do you know what life in Austin will really be like?

Here is a typical day in Austin, albeit geared more for the twenty-to-forty-something childless.

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You’ll wake up in your apartment or house, but most likely your house. If you’re renting, sharing a house is no more than renting and if you’re interested in buying a house, Austin real estate prices are still substantially cheaper than most major cities (median price is $221k- of course it depends on what area you live in).

It will be sunny outside when you open your blinds.

You’ll:

A.) Drive to work. Your work probably won’t be too far away- Austin is still relatively small- unless you work for a big tech company out in the ‘burbs. If that’s the case, you’ll have to deal with traffic. It’s not LA or  NYC-size traffic, but it’s getting close. Texas is trying to make up for its wonky highway system with a lot of construction.

B.) Ride your bike to work because you had dreams of living in a city where biking was your sole mode of transportation.

C.) Work from home, with the occasional visit to the nearby coffee shop.

Other forms of public transportation are available, but pale in comparison to cities such as New York or Washington D.C. It might be disappointing at first, but remember: Austin is changing.

During the day, unless you live up in Techville, you’ll have the option to eat at a slew of local eateries. This is part of what makes Austin special and it will warm your heart.  If you’re from California, you’ll be happy to know that In-n-Out Burger, Trader Joe’s and Pinkberry are open or are opening in Austin. If you’re from California, you’ll also learn that many people will not like you. They put you in the same camp as the developers and rich folks who buy condos they don’t live in. You might see a bumper sticker or two that tells you to go back to California. Don’t let it deter you; just assure us that you are in Austin to do good (unless you’re not- then go back to California!)

You’ll probably like your job, whatever it is, but you might not get paid as much as you did in LA or NYC, or you might get paid more if you’re from a smaller town. Whether you work in retail, food service, tech, medical, law- you name it!- you’re probably going to like who you work with and for because people who live in Austin are generally open-minded and kind. That’s not to say that you won’t encounter the occasional arsehole, but there is a certain level of respect here that is not always seen in cities like LA or NYC. Now, if you thrive in a fast-paced environment with high stress, you should probably go back to where you came from.

After work, you’ll be confused as to what to do with yourself. There is so much activity in Austin that it will hurt your head to think about it. In the summer there will be a marathon every weekend, in the fall there will be a festival every weekend and in the spring there will be any combination of the above every weekend. Heck, there’s even stuff to do in the winter because the winter barely gets below 30 degrees. Once in awhile we’ll have a dusting of ice or snow and the entire city will shut down. New Yorkers, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your beautiful wool coats and scarves in Austin- you’ll still need them. Californians, you’re going to finally need to wear pants.

If music is your thing, you’ll probably check out The White Horse for country-western, The Mohawk for rock n’ roll, The Elephant Room for jazz, Continental Club for old-school Austin or Emo’s or Stubb’s for the larger acts. If you like movies, you’ll probably be at one of the Alamo Drafthouse’s themed nights like Terror Tuesday or Weird Wednesday, or you might be excited to catch the latest indie film at Violet Crown Cinema. If you’re a foodie, heck, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Austin is joining the culinary ranks of cities like LA or NYC, but Austin’s true magic lies within its old Austin mom & pop eateries (Texas Chili Parlor > Uchi). If you’re a fitness buff, we’ll definitely see your tight buns running along Town Lake or the Greenbelt. Maybe you swim at Barton Springs or climb Mount Bonnell to clear your head. Always remember: sunscreen and H2o. If you like sports, you’ll join the 99,999 others at one of UT’s Longhorn home games or you might check out Austin’s new F1 racing track (Austin pro tip: F1 isn’t really Austin). If you’ve come to Austin to get your freak on, then we’ll probably see you riding around on your bicycle in a thong or creating art out of a pile of trash. P.S. we need more of your type here.

At the end of the day, you’ll cozy up in your house and watch Breaking Bad or Orange is the New Black like every good middle-class urbanite does and not think about how relatively easy your life has become. You’ll forget why you moved to Austin because you fit in so seamlessly. You’ll begin taking your new life for granted, though you shouldn’t. You should feel thankful for Austin’s acceptance of you, and you should return the favor by being active in the local community and politics.

That’s not to say that this charming city is perfect. Summers are unlike anything you’ve ever experienced (unless you’re from Arizona). Forget hairdos, make-up or that fresh out-of-the-shower smell: you’re going to have some serious momentary questioning as to why the hell you moved to Austin. The grass is brown, the fire ants will hurt and you’ll sweat in areas you didn’t even know existed on your body. Though we have quaint watering holes, we’re still four hours from the ocean and that ocean is something to sneeze at. Sometimes people feel monetarily stifled by our low, beautifully-painted ceiling. The aforementioned politics can be difficult to stomach. Austin in particular has pretty liberal views, but there are only so many rules and regulations that the mostly open-minded officials of Austin can enforce. Austin will butt heads with the state of Texas, and your heart will often be broken by your new homestate.

You’re going to watch as your beloved Austin changes right before your eyes, and you’re going to have to be OK with that.

austin

 

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66 Comments

  • Reply Seedhull October 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Are there statistics supporting the claim they are mostly coming from California? I thought I heard a while back hordes were coming from E. Coast.

    • Reply hipstercrite October 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Hiya! The majority of people moving to Austin are from Texas. The only one in the top ten that isn’t Texas is LA. This is my reference: http://civicanalytics.com/press/whos-moving-to-austin-hint-its-not-californians

      • Reply Ted October 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm

        The majority of “non-Texans… from LA.” Go back and re-read. The majority are from Texas as clearly stated

    • Reply Brian Cahill April 17, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Do you think Austin will become a liberal, gun banning hipster fest? Man I really hope not. That’d be a real loss of a cool city.

  • Reply april dawne October 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    ANDDDD this is ONE MORE REASON why I fucking love you, Laura.

    And really, just move somewhere else. Thanks.

    • Reply hipstercrite October 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      <3!

  • Reply Creede Fitch - Realtor October 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I moved from SLC to Austin, and you pretty much nailed it. I can walk to Whitehorse and about 5 other amazing bars. There is no shortage of good beer, great food and live music. I wish I could find a house on the East side for $185,000. 🙂

    According to ABOR (Austin Board of Realtors) median home price in Austin is $221,000 and the average home price is $285,000.

    • Reply hipstercrite October 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks for that, Creede! I pulled that number from Trulia. I will update it!

  • Reply Alexandra October 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    This could not have come at a better moment! I accepted an offer for a job in Austin and had a pod stuffed with everything I own shipped out there today. No city is perfect (I’m coming from South Florida where thats reeeeally an understatement- except for the beaches, those are perfect 😉 but Austin has a great culture that hopefully sticks around while it continues growing! It’s definitely really scary moving to a new state (and i’ve lived abroad, but somehow this scares me more haha) but i’m super excited to be moving to my new home 🙂

    • Reply hipstercrite October 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Congrats on the new job, Alexandra! You’re going to love it here!

      • Reply Nancy December 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

        I would like to move to Austin next year but not without a job. Any tips? suggestions?

        Thank you,

        Nancy

  • Reply Sarah Larson October 8, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Wow, this makes LA sound a lot better than Austin. Not sure why I’d move.

    • Reply hipstercrite October 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Then Austin probably isn’t a good fit for you! <3

    • Reply Ted October 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Stay in LA, wait for “The Big One” to send you to the bottom of the ocean.

    • Reply Kimmy November 22, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Oh, then please don’t move here. Thanks in advance. And tell a friend … tell ALL your friends.

      • Reply Goodluck April 19, 2014 at 11:29 am

        7 billion plus on the planet, population boom is inevitable. People will always go to the next best city.

      • Reply Heather Taylor May 24, 2014 at 9:21 pm

        lol…I don’t know you but feel like I can hear your tone saying this perfectly. 🙂

  • Reply Rasha October 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    One of my favorite article yet! Thanks for writing it.

    • Reply hipstercrite October 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks for reading! <3

  • Reply Benny October 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    As always, this is more interesting to me than most articles I read about places I’ve never been or lived.

    On another note, I have to wonder – when people find out that you’re an out-of-towner from upstate NY, how do they deal with that? Do they call you “East Coast,” or do they *get it*?

    • Reply hipstercrite October 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Hahaha…well, most people think Upstate NY is Westchester County. Many forget that there is an entire state above NYC. 🙁
      I just tell people that I’m from Canada.

      • Reply Creede Fitch - Realtor October 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        The people here are crazy friendly. First week here I met a guy a the butcher while having a beer (everything is a store/bar around here) and after 5 min of talking he invited my wife and I out for drinks. He even insisted on paying.

        • Reply Fran Hathaway January 13, 2015 at 10:07 am

          As you are a Realtor, any ideas on where in Austin we can move to. Prefer an old house. There are 5 of us, including sons of 9, 11, and 13. We are wanting to move from Wales (UK). After all that we’ve seen so far, Austin looks an amazing place to live. Any thoughts????

      • Reply John February 27, 2014 at 3:04 am

        I’m Canadian, was in Austin back in ’07. Loved it. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that place. In fact I met some people in the music scene that told me to just stay there and not got home.

    • Reply sofar October 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Austin has so many “out-of-towners” who live here, that nobody will care. I moved here from the East Coast, and, I get a lot more flack from people back east about living in TX than I have from Texans about being from the East Coast.

    • Reply Ted October 8, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      90% of us are from somewhere else. We really don’t care, unless you’re running up the cost of housing.

  • Reply KVS October 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I would add that you’re going to know your neighbors and hang out on porches and at backyard barbeques a lot more than you previously did. There will unplanned drop-ins by friends, sometimes several in one night and you should be surprised to find yourself at an impromptu party on your own front lawn on any day of the year.

    • Reply KVS October 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      shouldn’t be surprised, that is.

  • Reply Eric, the Austin Realtor October 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I think I’ll tweet this forever. Nicely said.

  • Reply Kris Denby October 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I think this is a well-balanced, positive article. I’m feeling rather cynical and negative about the influx of people of late, and it was good to read something that leans toward the positive aspects.

    Progress is unstoppable. Things change. But it’s understandable that people resist. It’s what we do. Many of the changes that I’ve seen over the last 20 years have been very good. I think that a lot of those have been the result of people wanting to invest in a long-term capacity in the community, rather than try to realize some kind of short-term gain. The traffic is abhorrent and the politics are stifled, but that is a national truth. Replacing the antiquated ideology of the republicans with the unrealistic ideologies of the democrats isn’t going to make things better. So, I’ll remain skeptical of good intentions when it comes to our newly transplanted California and Yankee neighbors. In the end, I guess we just all have to hope for the best, and try to act like Austinites. And, to me, that means showing kindness, but also leading by example when the noobs get outta line.

    Good post.

  • Reply Niki October 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    MORE PHOTOS!

  • Reply Abby Mae Carney October 8, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    One month in, and for the most part.. totally spot on.

  • Reply David Bean October 9, 2013 at 12:44 am

    It sucks that the secret is out. Austin is a cool place to live with a tremendous amount of culture to offer. If you are thinking of moving here or are wanting to relocate from
    Austin because everyone is moving here, send me a message or give me a call. I know Austin and the real estate market. David Bean. [email protected]. 512.689.4804.

  • Reply Lauren October 9, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I could not agree more. Since I moved here from SLC 3 months ago my life has taken on a kind of peaceful simplicity. Instead of an hour commute, it’s five minutes. I live in beautiful Hyde Park & the fact that flowers are blooming in October & I’m not looking at snow on the ground is beyond amazing.

  • Reply Billy October 9, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Great article! Makes me miss Austin a little bit. Because it is definitely spot on. Austin is a great place to live! There is always so much stuff to do, see, and eat. 🙂

  • Reply Clarisa October 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Great and relevant post! The guy that works at the post office said all of his address changes are from San Francisco and LA. So, yep. The city’s gotten super competitive considering it still kind of maintains this flakey demeanor. As my friend says, “The busy got busier, and the lazy just do the same.” 🙂

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  • Reply Hipknitizer October 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Having moved here recently from Portlandia (on a 106 degree day), I found this article right on. Love the laid-back atmosphere and having easy-accessibility to anything retail & restaurant I ever wanted (yea In N Out Burger). Hate the politics surrounding this blue dot in a sea of red with a passion. Hope that is changing quickly.

    Don’t miss the 9 months of Oregon winter rain just gearing up and we found a brand new house in a cool Eastside neighborhood well under $175,000 which has already appreciated nicely. What’s not to love?

    • Reply Chad October 20, 2015 at 10:47 am

      I know it has been a few years since you posted this, but I live in Portland and am also considering a move. I’m curious how you feel about Austin now that you’ve lived there a few years.

    • Reply Mr. X February 11, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      I’m from Los Angeles. I moved to Portland last year and hated it! I never knew people get grumpy and depressed because of the rain. Those people were conceited as fuck, too. I was stationed in the south when I was younger and liked it. Are ppl conceited hipsters in Austin? Or do they have Southern Hospitality?

      • Reply hipstercrite February 11, 2016 at 8:03 pm

        Both. Lots of hipsters with southern hospitality!

  • Reply Wendy October 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

    We moved here two months ago from San Jose, CA to give our children a better life (mainly for the schools). Since we have been here, we have found so much more. The sense of community and wonderful people as well as culture and general sense of peacefulness took us by surprise and the schools went beyond our expectations. If you are from CA and you are looking at living in the outskirts of town, a couple things to be aware of. There are bugs here that are bigger than anything I have seen or heard of as well as rattle and coral snakes (we have had some in the neighborhood) and there can be a lot of traffic if you drive to work. But don’t be deterred, you can get used to these as well as the weather. This is a wonderful place to live.

    Thank you for the article. Really enjoyed it.

  • Reply Mark October 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    …I would come to Austin but it sounds a lot like how I FEEL about Omaha (save the fire ants and searing heat..!) Maybe if I was promised a nice supporting role in a small indie picture I could spare time for shooting..!

    I am glad that you are making you happy in Austin and that it has fit you so well..! WTG Lauren..!

    Love & Rockets!
    Mark

  • Reply Eugenia November 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Here is what I took away from this post:
    Texas Chili Parlor > Uchi

    Yes.
    Simply, yes.

  • Reply James November 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I am one Austinite that won’t dislike you just because you are from LA. I’ve never met any one in Austin that really thought that way.

  • Reply TStew December 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Great article. Curious though, what are your thoughts on Austin for a family of 4 including high schooler & elementary age kiddos?

  • Reply Jmac December 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks for the very fair and great article… I’m from Austin and moved to Omaha for work a year ago. Makes me miss it….the food, music, the many many options for stuff to do and folks to meet. Just went back home for thanksgiving…so much has changed in a year yet the open and welcoming attitude is intact. Cheers!!!

  • Reply John February 27, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I’m Canadian, was in Austin back in ’07. Loved it. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that place. In fact I met some people in the music scene that told me to just stay there and not got home.

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  • Reply Alyssa June 2, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Love this article! I am moving to Austin in August (God help me) because I got a job there! Its in the southern part of the city. Would you recommend living in the southern section? Is that a cool place to be? Recommendations on fun neighborhoods? Thank you!!

  • Reply Kristen June 16, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Gosh, great writing. I’m so glad I found your site! Bringing son to Austin in 2 weeks for RTX – I’ve never been there. Now I know what to wear.

  • Reply Haley November 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I know this is a really late comment but i just came across this blog. I have only been to Austin a handful of times to visit an Aunt and Uncle but I fall more and more in love every time I go. I can’t explain it but I just have a feeling that I need to be there. I recently moved to Orlando to stay with friends, I don’t mind it but its not where my heart is. The more I’m here the more I long to be in Austin. The only thing holding me back is the fact that I would be all by myself which is scary. Sure I have an Aunt and Uncle but I can’t be with them all the time. I was just wondering if you or if you know of anyone who has moved to Austin on their own and how that experience went for them. Thanks for any advice you might have!
    Haley

  • Reply Buzz November 16, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    I was born and raised here in Austin. I left for 12 years, working in Minnie, which was not bad at all. Just hated winter.

    So 60+ years spent loving life in my home town. Until the shit hit the fan…namely, the californians moving in.
    It’s not that they’re from out of town. We’ve enjoyed a diverse population, with the University. the Air Force Base and the Legislature bringing a variety of different people.
    Government employees and UT students are seldom wealthy. Cost of living was reasonable.

    Now, Austinites are dealing with a record breaking drought. Big Bucks have pushed prices up. Traffic is ridiculous. Crowds everywhere. And we see Californians in mass infesting our city.

    Reasons for the immigration :
    <Too crowded in LA to raise a family
    <Lower Real Estate Costs
    <Cool music scene

    Blah, blah, blah.

    We're well aware of your own water crisis, crowded and congested streets, crazy real estate prices and crime stats you've left on the west coast.

    But we do not want your crappy lifestyle. California screwed up their environment and now have produced similar problems for us.

    I travel a great deal. Colorado, Wasington state and Arizona complain about their new California residents.

    You're not hard working, salt of the earth Midwest additions. You're certainly not New York east coast types,
    who are slightly abrasive, but interesting folks. You (and this opinion has been expressed by EVERY Austin native I've spoken with) are shallow, materialistic, entitled soul-less opportunists who evidently were not taught to speak kindly, to wait their turn, and realize the initial role of newcomers is to be guests. You knock down neighborhoods and build inappropriate huge and indulgent kingdoms.

    You ARE the bad apples of recent transplants.

    • Reply Zedd December 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Buzz, I live in California and am looking to move to Austin. I hope that Austinites do not automatically stereotype based on where someone came from.

      It doesn’t make sense that people would be friendly as claimed in the blog and at the same time blindly hate on someone based on where they lived previously.

      The vitriol you spewed in your comment is sad and hopefully is not representative of the rest of the population in Austin.

      • Reply hipstercrite December 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm

        Zedd,
        I’ve never encountered anyone like this in person. It’s easier for people to say this sort of stuff online. Everyone I’ve met here is super friendly, generous and sweet.

    • Reply Native Austinite May 10, 2015 at 12:56 am

      Buzz,
      I too am a native Austinie. I have lived here my whole life and couldn’t agree more with your opinion. I have never met a native Austinite who welcomes transplants to our city.

      All,
      If everyone you meet here are super friendly or sweet, chances are that they are a transplant too.

  • Reply Gregory November 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Is Austin a good fit for me? I am between 25-45 years of age. I have no kids but… I do have relatives that live in the west or southwest sections of Austin and that is why my father who is nearing 70 wants to relocate? I plan on going to Austin Community College next year. I am moving from Corpus Christi which is 2/5 the size and it really sucks. Any advice you have is appreciated.

  • Reply Leslie November 24, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Do transplants complain about the humidity? I’ve not lived in a hot and humid climate and it would be a problem I think. I transplanted 2 times, northern California, Seattle Washington, and Boise Idaho. I’d like to make the distinction of north and south California. Just before WWII Berkeley students and others were pushing for a division. The northern half would be called Jefferson state. The plan fell through as the young men found themselves overseas in a war that put Jefferson to the bottom of the heap of upgrades and was never seriously pursued after that. I grew on the coast just west of Silicon Valley, and I’ve never been crazy about the fast growth and tanning salons either. The general dislike of Californians followed right after me, and I’m sorry for that. When I left California and saw the price of homes in Seattle I thought, wow, I’ll take 2. Then moved to Boise and thought, wow, I’ll take 2! Real estate doubled in price and the moms that wanted to stay as stay at home moms had to get full time work and the kids raised themselves in places where gangs were almost unheard of previously. If you like to travel to forests and mountains, north California is worth visiting.

  • Reply toni March 10, 2015 at 4:51 am

    Very interesting read.
    My husband (who is from Texas) and I have lived in Germany for almost ten years and we are currently debating whether to move to the States, most probably Austin. I have never lived in the States before and work in the field of sustainability so moving to a more liberal city is a must for me.
    We currently live in a city which has been known as the green capital of Germany for quite some time but in recent years we have started to see more SUVs and Mercedes parked outside our local organic food store than bikes. Unfortunately, as others have said, I think this is what happens when word gets out that a city is The place to live.

  • Reply Sara July 26, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    A little late to the game but I just stumbled upon this article while researching the move (surprise, surprise) from New York to Austin! It made me super excited to move! I’m terrified of leaving my New York cushion but 5 years of winter is about all I can handle. I look forward to the next chapter.

  • Reply Alyssa Fowler March 9, 2016 at 6:58 am

    For somebody who has always lived in big cities Austin seems really calm, cheap and small. I have lived in NYC and I am currently in London, where is the same. Texas has always been a really interesting place for me and since very young I wanted to visit it. I visited Austin last year and it really seems very beautiful and green city to me. I think that someday when I decide to go back to the US I will move to Austin. Thank you for the lovely post!

    • Reply hipstercrite March 9, 2016 at 11:20 am

      <3

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    I loved how you mentioned the Continental Club and Mount Bonnell, definitely some great places to go see 🙂 We also created an article that ties into this blog post, about all the insider tips to know when moving to Austin. I would love to collaborate on something in the future! Let me know what you think of the article! http://blog.extraspace.com/2016/06/03/insider-tips-moving-austin/

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