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Old 07-22-2008, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
603 posts, read 2,351,527 times
Reputation: 310

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Hello, I've lived in the upper midwest my whole life and my husband and I are looking to move South with 2 kids under the age of 5 in tow. Of course, we have to figure logistics such as jobs, schools, etc but generally speaking, can anyone compare the quality of life between Austin and Nashville? We actually would be looking to reside in Franklin, TN, 20 minutes south of Nashville. I really don't know much about the South but we did have a nice visit in Tennessee last month. We like hip, fun places with lots of outdoor activities a good place to raise a family. My main concerns about Nashville is it's not a very walkable city (I think Franklin is a little better) and it's pretty conservative (we tend to be fiscally conservative but not socially conservative). I could live with those 2 concerns, though, as they are quite small if people think Nashville is a good place to raise a family. Of course we would visit Austin first before making a big move but I just wanted some preliminary information in case we want to just focus on Nashville. Another consideration is our family lives in Michigan and Wisconsin so we lean towards Nashville since it's closer. I guess as I'm writing this, we're leaning towards Nashville all around but I hear so many great things about Austin that now I'm curious. Thank you for your assistance.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:15 AM
 
81 posts, read 286,140 times
Reputation: 42
Timely post! We moved from Michigan to Franklin and a job situation is forcing us to move to Austin. I still haven't made it down to Austin but I LOVE Franklin. I'd also like to hear how others compare the two. Yes it's conservative but that's changing ever so slowly as we get more transplants.

What limited comparisons I can make-
Taxes- 500k home in Franklin will be about $3500-4000, same home in Austin will be about $9000-10000. Neither state has income tax, Tn has 9.25% sales tax.

Schools: Tx ranks better but getting into University of Tx could be tricky if your kid isn't in top 10% of his/her school. If you do move to Franklin, check out Grassland Middle, I love it.

Outdoors-both seem to be hilly, cycling is great here, close to Natchez Trace, lots of runners. I'm looking forward to being near lakes in Austin, we pretty much just have rivers in Franklin. It sounds like Austin has more large, green outdoorsy parks.

Family-you can drive to Detroit in about 10 hours, both austin and nashville have direct flights there.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:04 AM
 
16 posts, read 62,868 times
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Hi. Though I haven't been to TN yet...planning a trip later next month...Austin is great! Don't be fooled though, the schools are NOT. According to the research I have done...schools are not the best. Though better say than AZ or NM. Austin is gorgeous, with tons of stuff to do ALL the time. Tons of music of all kinds, summer fairs abound, bat watching, etc...They also have this great barton springs which is a natural cool spring that you can take the kids to. The reason I am NOT going there but going to Nashville ( I think...still have to check it out...my family originally from Memphis...) is because it is just so HOT! And the weather...storms there are crazy. And, well Texas as a general rule is a bit edgy for my taste. Though people in Austin are really great...friendly and accomodating. I am pretty liberal which Austin would definitely accommodate but since I love people of all kinds and live in NC now, I think that I will be ok in a more conservative atmosphere...Anyway I digress. If you are in the city then you won't have to worry about what I would have out further in the country lots and lots of rattlesnakes. If you want to camp there they advise you bring a big stick (I am NOT kidding) so you can scoot any rattlers you might run into. A bit daunting for me. I like the idea of middle TN because the weather is more seasonal, you might get some snow, and while hot in the summers...not that HOT generally speaking. I also love the south and the people, they are lovely, loving warm people. And while there are many christians? They seem not to be offended by my more eclectic approach. YOu, will probably know though once you have been to both places. My family is in the SW thus my hoping that Austin would work for me? But I have found that I like a more humid heat after all. Good Luck
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:47 AM
 
362 posts, read 1,040,061 times
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I guess I can chime in here a little bit. I have no experience living in or around Nashville, TN, but I did recently move to Austin from the Metro-Detroit area. You'll be quite surprised at how green the Austin area is, and that is one thing that I do really enjoy. The area is very geographically diverse, unlike SE lower Michigan, in that you have the west side of the city full of hills and beautiful views, and then as you head east it flattens out quite a bit. No children, so I cannot comment on the schools, but I do tend to see a lot more younger children than I did back in MI. I arrived in Austin in the beginning of May and it has been consistently warmer than 90 degrees all summer long. I'm looking forward to a bit of a cool down, but not sure that's coming any time soon.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:12 AM
 
384 posts, read 1,574,449 times
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As an Alabamian, I have visited Nashville numerous times. My aunt and first cousin both went to college there.
My brother lives in San Marcos, a town 25 miles south of Austin, so I have spent a great amount of time there this year.

Basically, I consider both cities good choices.
Both have quite attractive terrain, though I prefer Austin's milder winter.
It's hard to really explain, but Austin seems to have more of an "outdoor culture," with the hike & bike trail and Zilker Park as the centerpiece.
In Tennessee, Chattanooga probably comes the closest to this aspect.
The vibe in Nashville reminds me more of Dallas - big houses, Baptist mega-churches, soccer moms in SUVs etc. Austin, especially in the older parts, really has more emphasis on "local" culture. This is even true with the music scene in both cities. Nashville is more about the big names, while Austin is more about am large quantity of smaller, under-the-radar acts. It's the same with sports. Nashville has the NFL, while Austin loves college football.
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Old 08-26-2008, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
2,357 posts, read 7,870,602 times
Reputation: 1013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alatex View Post
As an Alabamian, I have visited Nashville numerous times. My aunt and first cousin both went to college there.
My brother lives in San Marcos, a town 25 miles south of Austin, so I have spent a great amount of time there this year.

Basically, I consider both cities good choices.
Both have quite attractive terrain, though I prefer Austin's milder winter.
It's hard to really explain, but Austin seems to have more of an "outdoor culture," with the hike & bike trail and Zilker Park as the centerpiece.
In Tennessee, Chattanooga probably comes the closest to this aspect.
The vibe in Nashville reminds me more of Dallas - big houses, Baptist mega-churches, soccer moms in SUVs etc. Austin, especially in the older parts, really has more emphasis on "local" culture. This is even true with the music scene in both cities. Nashville is more about the big names, while Austin is more about am large quantity of smaller, under-the-radar acts. It's the same with sports. Nashville has the NFL, while Austin loves college football.
Good takes. My best friend moved to Nashville last year from Cleveland, Ohio. Within three months of his move, my wife and I moved to Austin from Cleveland. We played music together for 10 years. The cities we chose suit our tastes and personalities very accurately. It's sort of funny how things worked out:

He's more conservative: Nashville. I veer hard left(but not West Coast left): Austin

He's into mainstream music, especially top 40 country: Nashville. I sort of despise that music, prefer experimental stuff, AltCountry, rockabilly, Indie rock: Austin

We were sort of a poor man's Lennon/McCartney

Nashville has a better classical music scene though(for now). Probably more jazz and blues as well. But I do see growth here in Austin. The new Long Center will provide a much better home for the orchestra and should improve its standing and attract better talent. Both cities have great music scenes though. Nashville has more top-notch recording studios, publishing houses and record companies. Austin has a more distinctive scene and style. And probably more live venues. Austin obviously has the great festivals ACL and SXSW that attract people from everywhere. I also think that Austin has a better Arts scene. There are a ton of independent galleries here with a lot of working artists.

I think Austin has a better restaurant scene by far, although Nashville does have some very good homespun southern food. There just seems to be more choices here and the huge influx of people from other areas is diversifying the portfolio, so to speak. I think the most important part of a good restaurant scene is to have a strong "middle class". Having a lot to choose from between "barely edible" and "5-star gourmet" is crucial. Austin does well in that way.

While Austin doesn't have great public transportation, I think it's worlds ahead of Nashville. At least it's a common topic here; not too much in Nashville.

Nashville has many beautiful old historic buildings and houses. Austin has them as well but not nearly as much. Austin is a much younger city. That said, Austin does have some very nice modern architecture.

We're both into outdoor activities, hiking, biking, running etc...Austin definitely has more outdoors activity right in the heart of the city. He commented on this when he visited. It just seems to permeate the place. Nashville's Cumberland River didn't seem to have as much accessible recreation like Towne Lake. Here, the river is simply part of the city: there's always something to do there.

He's more of a suburb guy, I'm more of a city person. Austin obviously has suburbs as well, but it seems that in Nashville, it's more of the norm to live outside the city limits. Austin's downtown seems much more vibrant and happening. Nashville certainly has things to do, but there aren't as many folks living downtown(or near), so it's more of a commuter city. Austin is putting a lot of focus on developing its downtown right now. I don't really see as much of that in Nashville, though there are a few condo projects going on.

Austin is just funkier and to me a bit more interesting. This has everything to do with it's roots as a college/government town that attracted seemingly polar opposite social groups(cowboys, hippies and yuppies) and mixed them all together into a beautiful piece of art
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:18 PM
 
1,150 posts, read 1,864,924 times
Reputation: 1380
Quote:
Originally Posted by twange View Post
Good takes. My best friend moved to Nashville last year from Cleveland, Ohio. Within three months of his move, my wife and I moved to Austin from Cleveland. We played music together for 10 years. The cities we chose suit our tastes and personalities very accurately. It's sort of funny how things worked out:

He's more conservative: Nashville. I veer hard left(but not West Coast left): Austin

He's into mainstream music, especially top 40 country: Nashville. I sort of despise that music, prefer experimental stuff, AltCountry, rockabilly, Indie rock: Austin

We were sort of a poor man's Lennon/McCartney

Nashville has a better classical music scene though(for now). Probably more jazz and blues as well. But I do see growth here in Austin. The new Long Center will provide a much better home for the orchestra and should improve its standing and attract better talent. Both cities have great music scenes though. Nashville has more top-notch recording studios, publishing houses and record companies. Austin has a more distinctive scene and style. And probably more live venues. Austin obviously has the great festivals ACL and SXSW that attract people from everywhere. I also think that Austin has a better Arts scene. There are a ton of independent galleries here with a lot of working artists.

I think Austin has a better restaurant scene by far, although Nashville does have some very good homespun southern food. There just seems to be more choices here and the huge influx of people from other areas is diversifying the portfolio, so to speak. I think the most important part of a good restaurant scene is to have a strong "middle class". Having a lot to choose from between "barely edible" and "5-star gourmet" is crucial. Austin does well in that way.

While Austin doesn't have great public transportation, I think it's worlds ahead of Nashville. At least it's a common topic here; not too much in Nashville.

Nashville has many beautiful old historic buildings and houses. Austin has them as well but not nearly as much. Austin is a much younger city. That said, Austin does have some very nice modern architecture.

We're both into outdoor activities, hiking, biking, running etc...Austin definitely has more outdoors activity right in the heart of the city. He commented on this when he visited. It just seems to permeate the place. Nashville's Cumberland River didn't seem to have as much accessible recreation like Towne Lake. Here, the river is simply part of the city: there's always something to do there.

He's more of a suburb guy, I'm more of a city person. Austin obviously has suburbs as well, but it seems that in Nashville, it's more of the norm to live outside the city limits. Austin's downtown seems much more vibrant and happening. Nashville certainly has things to do, but there aren't as many folks living downtown(or near), so it's more of a commuter city. Austin is putting a lot of focus on developing its downtown right now. I don't really see as much of that in Nashville, though there are a few condo projects going on.

Austin is just funkier and to me a bit more interesting. This has everything to do with it's roots as a college/government town that attracted seemingly polar opposite social groups(cowboys, hippies and yuppies) and mixed them all together into a beautiful piece of art
Nice analysis, although in my 35 years in Austin I haven't encountered any "cowboy" culture. Maybe I've just missed it, I don't know. Mostly I've been aware of the mixture of hippie/yuppie, which actually seems to be less obvious now. Most of us don't fit into either group.

Nashville seems nice as well. I think anyone who is interested in both cities should spend a lot of time looking around and go with their gut feel for what is the best fit. They should definitely visit Austin between mid October and late April, when the weather is likely to be comfortable (except for the usual one ice storm each winter).
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:22 PM
 
5 posts, read 14,585 times
Reputation: 15
Great posts. However, I would like to add that Nashville isn't as conservative as some may believe. Sure, Williamson County which is where Franklin and Brentwood are located is an ultra-red county and is also one of the wealthiest in the United States. However, Nashville/Davidson was one of only a handful of counties in Tennessee that went for Obama/Biden in 2008. The East Nashville area is burgeoning with new restaurants opening constantly...I'd recommend East Nashville to any younger people moving to the city. And the city in general has so many new, independent restaurants. It's amazing how there has been this explosion in non-chain restaurants in Nashville! I have heard great things about Austin and I'm sure it's fantastic but it's great to live in an NFL and an NHL city with a world class symphony hall (Schermerhorn). The city is not just country music...there's SO much more here! Come check it out!
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