There are times when I absolutely adore living in Austin: when I’m paddleboarding on Town Lake, when I’m drinking a frozen margarita at Maudie’s, when I’m hanging out in hip East Austin under string lights.
That being said, there are certain things I’m less fond of: the sweltering summers, the isolation, the lack of walkability.
I’ve lived in Austin for almost two years. Here’s what I’ve come to love and hate about it:
What I love about Austin
By and large, Texans are incredibly nice people: generous, funny, and sincerely kind. When I had Covid, multiple neighbors brought me tortilla soup and walked my dog. People say hello to you on the street here, even if they don’t know you. Austin is by far the friendliest place I’ve ever lived.
Another positive – the food. Austin’s food scene is thriving: you can find excellent TexMex, Thai, Vietnamese, and of course, barbecue. Some of my favorite spots are Uchiko (sushi), Odd Duck (new American), and Loro (Asian/barbecue fusion). I’ve also grown to LOVE frozen margaritas, ha.
As a born-and-raised Michigander, I desperately need to live near water (that was one of the things I found hardest about living in Colorado). Luckily, Austin has plenty of it: Town Lake, Barton Springs, and Lake Travis, to name a few.
The winters here are delightful – the temperature hovers around 70 degrees, and the skies are usually crisp and blue. Though we do have the odd snow day, the winter weather is very mild.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Austin’s internationally renowned live music scene. I love how you can walk into a random bar on a Tuesday and hear an incredible performance for the price of a Shiner Bock.
In Austin, you can bring your dog almost anywhere — I bring my pup almost everywhere I go. My local CVS is even dog-friendly.
What I Hate
Due to its huge popularity in recent years, Austin feels insanely crowded at times. Parking is hard to find, restaurants are packed, and the weekends especially can be hectic.
The High Cost of Living
Austin is very expensive. To buy a plot of land – not even a house – in my neighborhood, costs a million dollars.
Sadly, Austin is not a walkable city. Bisected by two highways, Austin is a very car-dependent city; for walkability, it ranks 42nd in the US, between Las Vegas and Pheonix. As someone who loves to walk, this is a huge downside.
Central Texas has been called the “Allergy Capital of the World.” There’s even a daily allergy report on the local news, where official pollen counts for ragweed, grass, and mold are measured. I never had allergies in my life until I moved here — ugh.
The summers in Austin are brutal. Temperatures can reach 110 degrees (or higher). After this year’s scorching summer, 90 degrees bizarrely feels somewhat cool to me.
Austin is close to only a few cities: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Earlier this year I made the mistake of driving to New Orleans, which took 10 hours. Sometimes I feel so envious of the East Coast – imagine driving a few hours and being able to access Boston, Philly, and NYC? Sigh.
All this to say, I’ve been pretty happy here. I’m not sure if it’s my forever home (I’m not sure I have a forever home, period), but I plan to stay at least a few more years. And enjoy many more lake days and frozen margs.