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Old 08-11-2007, 11:48 AM
2,134 posts, read 6,162,533 times
Reputation: 1336


Originally Posted by readymade View Post
Austin sounds like the greatest place ever, on paper. My husband & I are flying there at the end of this month with the hopes of moving there.

Can you recommend some places to drive to and check out to get a good "feel" for Austin? And also, can you recommend a good real estate agent? Someone who knows Austin pretty well and won't try to pressure us into a "cookie cutter" house?

Also, I've heard the term "Big Box" as in "big box stores" and "big box suburbs". What does that mean, exactly? At first, I thought everyone in Texas really liked to buy boxes or something!

Big box stores are the usual stores you find everywhere: Lowe's, Sam's, Costco, etc.

As for grocery stores, HEB is nice for everyday shopping, but if you are a real foodie, check out Central Market. It is owned by HEB but is more upscale. They have a great selection of produce, meat, seafood, cheese, deli, bakery, and bunch of ready-made foods. There are two locations in Austin.

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Old 08-11-2007, 05:26 PM
Location: Hutto, Tx
9,189 posts, read 22,429,334 times
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Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond, Petco, Kohls, etc...(Big Box Stores). Just a note: RR has a farmers market.(and no, I'm not the "hypersensitive RR resident). But as a person who lives in the "suburbs", I just want to say that most of the "suburbs" out here are actually previously existing towns. Big Box suburbia to me would be something like Steiner Ranch, which has grown and consists of several neighborhoods, has a town center and such. RR does have it's share of cookie cutter suburbs, yes, but the towns been there since the 1800's, so I guess my definition of "suburb" is a little different than the norm. I'm not saying anything is wrong with Steiner at all, but it's sort of evolved into it's own "thing", (Roses to English dictionary required here ) Highlands Ranch in Colorado would also be a place I'd call a big box suburb. Harvesters right about different parts of Austin having very different feels.
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Old 08-11-2007, 05:28 PM
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10. Racial Problem, you could live in west Austin for years and rarely see an African-American.
9. Illegal Immigrantion, they build houses for cheap. However bring tens of thousands of primarily single men into the city and you also bring in prostitution, drugs, crime.
8. Yuppies, Austin has a large amount of the self-important variety.
7. Sprawl, Not as bad as people say. All parts of Austin still have their own character despite this. But some parts of Austin just make you say 'gross'.
6. City losing some of its roots, it used to be a place where you would see a hippy sitting next to a biker sitting next to a soldier in a bar and not bat an eye. Some of this tolerance is being replaced by drones living in suburbs feeding off this energy. Though often the Austin energy wins, even diehard Republicans will mysteriously feel themselves agreeing with environmental issues after living here for a few years.

5. Development, its being done somewhat intelligently. Though when Willie Nelson subdivides his pristine land, you have to worry about the future impact.

4. Weather, it can be brutal. Somedays due to the weather I have a headache that wont quit.

3. Pay Parks? I come from an area where none of the parks are pay. All the decent ones here are pay.

2. Highway congestion. Its bad, there are jams at all times of day except 3am near downtown on I-35. Also all the new highways are toll and are only making traffic on non-toll roads worse. Do whatever you have to do to keep from having to commute up or down Hwy 1 or I-35 in rush hour. It'll drive you nuts.

1. A teenager in an adults body, has grown so much recently but many things havent caught up. Cultural events/museums/libraries are lagging behind the growth. Restaurant quality is getting better but still not nearly as good as Houston/Dallas. Theres still plenty to do near downtown, but on the periphery its fairly vacuous.
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Old 08-11-2007, 06:22 PM
2 posts, read 9,056 times
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Austin definitely is the center and centerpoint of Texas and IMHO, Austin is the best place to live in Texas. However the drawbacks that exist everywhere are uniquely Texas, the road infrastructure harkens back to 1950s east and west coast, allergy issues (I think you need to bring a holistic practitioner with you), heat (well, those of us who need the sunshine will just stay inside when the heat gets overbearing in summer), lack of ocean (there is no substitute for ocean here in Texas as can be found on the east and west coasts but there are lakes and spring fed pools...the sunsets can be breathtaking over the hill country...you definitely will get more house for your money than on both coasts but taxes and homeowner assoc. fees, etc. will counter this advantage..if you like a cozier atmosphere, Austin definitely is smaller and intimate and once you make some good friends and find your favorite restaurants and clubs, weekends can be something to look forward to. I love the people here for the most part and I find them friendly and easy to meet. Also you have UT here in town and you will find UT students working everywhere around Austin which makes the place much more upbeat and intelligent. You have farmer's markets here with fresh produce and of course, the pricier Whole Foods. We lived in the Houston area for a few years and Austin is heaven in comparison. Be careful driving out here as you need to decide how best to avoid accidents on these often curved and hilly roads. Every car and driver is unique and speed limits shouldn't transcend your own logic nor should the tailgater in back of you in the right hand lane push you to uncomfortable speeds. Oh yes, do be careful of speed traps which can catch you unaware in the Lakeway area where speed limits are 30mph on some roads where deer creatures and people roam. Here in Austin we have highways with an unprotected turning lane on 65mph areas...have never been able to understand the logic of such things but maybe this is evolutionary and in time, Austin area highways will lend themselves to human reason. But in any case, always make sure your car is in good repair on these roads, especially your brakes.
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Old 08-11-2007, 06:42 PM
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I really think that DFW and Houston are the center of Texas. San Antonio overall is probably the best place to live in Texas. Austin is the new kid on the block when its comes to major cities in Texas. Austin does have the best grocery store(WF), beautiful hiway-RTE 620. Personally, I live in all four largest cities in Texas and find that Austin really is no different than the others just smaller.
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Old 08-11-2007, 06:44 PM
Location: Northern California
1,585 posts, read 3,508,489 times
Reputation: 518
Pay parks? Never heard of such a thing...nor did we see one when we were visiting. Did I miss something?

P.S. I guess this is a popular subject...this thread has well over 15,000 views!
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:16 PM
Location: Downtown Austin
5,923 posts, read 14,528,174 times
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3. Pay Parks? I come from an area where none of the parks are pay. All the decent ones here are pay.
When they were all free, they became homeless encampments. Even the camping parks like Emma Long have a limit on the number of days now, specifically to keep people from "camping" there permenantly.

I don't know of any small neighborhood city parks where one has to pay. Even Zilker is free except for parking sometimes and to swim in Barton Springs pool.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:18 PM
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,333,276 times
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Originally Posted by Jazzedforhim View Post
Pay parks? Never heard of such a thing...nor did we see one when we were visiting. Did I miss something?
I was puzzled by that remark too because I go to parks a lot and never pay. I think the post must have been referring to the larger outlying parks that are run by TPWD or LCRA. There's good reason to charge for them --- the state doesn't provide any money to support them, plus what Austin-Steve said about how those parks become overloaded with loafers and drunks if they're free.

The beautiful Barton Creek Greenbelt, which is free all the way up and down, is having a lot of problems with crowding, litter, and drinking this year because of the great water flow and perfect conditions for hanging out enjoying nature. Problem is that too many people seem to have no interest in preserving the beauty they're abusing, so other people (like me) have to clean up after the kids and their parties.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:47 PM
701 posts, read 2,156,452 times
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Sad, but true. However, it really could be worse. If you're right, Harvester, and it's just because of the water and the weather then it's just a temporary thing?
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:14 PM
Location: Austin 'burbs
3,226 posts, read 12,479,556 times
Reputation: 753
I think that loveroses brings up a great point about the "suburbs" of Austin, and how they have existed for 100's of years as cities on their own. So, not sure they really qualify as a true "suburb" of Austin ... AND I guess I am probably being pointed at as the "hypersensitive RR person" - but in my defense, I have received lots of positive rep for my comments regarding Harvester's snobbish central Austin elitism
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