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Old 05-18-2009, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
36 posts, read 112,023 times
Reputation: 43

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Anchorage is great. It's beautiful, it's the perfect combination of nature (I do love the mountains, all the green trees during summer, and of course Turnagain Arm) and utopia. However, I'm itching to get out of here- quickly before December! I've lived here my whole life, and I want to start over somewhere new. That's pretty typical for a young adult I suppose, at least I've been told. "It's a phase that will pass". But I've put a lot of thought into leaving ever since I was fourteen, and it's been years. All of my good friends have already left, and I let the oppurtunity pass to join three guys and two girls buy a house near the South Carolina shore. I sort of regret it, considering I get letters from them all the time. It really sounds like they have fun, but they're all slowly separating. Occasionally I recieve phone calls (that rack up my phone bill!) from one of them, crying into the phone, complaining that it's too crowded, or they shouldn't of flirted with that random guy, because it pissed Ben off, who told Lella, who comforted Ben by making out with him super drunk, who then went to Shane and cried to him asking what she should do now because now it's super awkward between Ben and her, and sharing a room with Sam (whose swooning over Shane) doesn't help. It's like a fricking episode from the Hills. Okay, got a little carried away, point is, it probaly was a good idea afterall to stay in Alaska, by myself. But I am missing my old friends more than over, and craving to start over somewhere new more than over. I am conflicted on whether I should join the house (reconnect, join the family, and unleash the chaos and drama), or simply move to a place completely new (I'm thinking Austin, TX). I'm leaning towards Austin, just because I don't think South Carolina sounds that great, and I want to be with new people.
I've discovered every nook and cranny in this place (secret spots off the Arm, the best ice cream in Seward, Pe King, Sugarspoon, and fabulous places in nature accesible by road to sit and contemplate life). Basically, I'm ready tofind new places. I'm going to move. In this economy, Alaska seems to be the least affected. Sales tax is in developement, and I figure it's only getting bigger, and more crowded. I wonder if it's worth leaving the place I've lived for so long, for a place completely new, and possibly (most likely) worse place, such as Austin. I hear property taxes are pretty bad. The reason I'm attracted to this location is because I've done so much research on it. It seems it has a pretty unique crowd, and a really laid back vibe. There are good things in Anchorage I want to find in the next place I live. Those things are nature (nothing beats the scenery here), a nice downtown, urban but not too overdeveloped, and certain distinct areas (ie, Southside is conservative and is dominated by the wealthier crowd). I would love to find an apartment somewhere pretty liberal, and cheap. AND SAFE. Does anyone know if Austin has a high rate of violent crime? Any Texan's input would be gladly appreciated, haha. Also, does anyone live in South Carolina? I also am still looking into possibly getting a timeshare down there, right by the water. Possible Topsail Island.
Other questions I need answered:
Is job demand in Austin declining because of the economy?
How affected is Austin because of the economy?
Are people truly as nice down there as what I've heard?
Will finding a roommate be easy?
Where are there good water spots (lakes, rivers, beaches- not in Austin of course)?
Is it densely populated, overrated, etc?
What are the general problems there (things you don't like) ?
Is it humid? How often does it rain?
What is the most liberal residential part of town (good liberal neighborhoods?)
The cheapest? (bargain housing... hard to find but anything is possible)

PS: I love warm weather, and hate the winter. I condone SNOW!
Alaskan winters are far too long, and far too cold. No thanks.
I love rain. If it rains during winter, I'm fine with it.
I also hear it's generally pretty easy to ride your bike to get around,
is this true?
I am 20, female.
Also, all the talk about Anchorage has made me irritated. Alaska suck
Is Austin what you would call, "unsafe like NYC"? just a quote from a
friend ...

Thanks! Everything is appreciated!
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 28,420,636 times
Reputation: 9250
I can't answer all of your questions but will give you an opinion on many. FWIW I have lived in the Austin area since 1984.

Is job demand in Austin declining because of the economy?
The job market is soft now because of the economy, but it is probably better here than in most parts of the US. This probably true of Texas in general. Austin's jobs tend to favor educated people. The economy is tech and state government driven.

How affected is Austin because of the economy?
As above. Plus the price of housing is perhaps steady or down slightly. There are several realtors on this board who may have more specific data for you. But I see homes on the market a long time right now.

Are people truly as nice down there as what I've heard?
Yes!

Will finding a roommate be easy?
Unless you are a difficult person to live with I'd imagine this isn't hard since there are so many college students here. But I have no first hand knowledge.

Where are there good water spots (lakes, rivers, beaches- not in Austin of course)?
Lake Travis is a beautiful lake with great water quality. Lake Austin is "below" Lake Travis, narrower, colder, but also beautiful. Lady Bird Lake is below Lake Austin in Austin itself and popular for non-powerboat recreation. All of these lakes are part of the Lower Colorado River chain which also includes Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, and Lake Marble Falls.

Is it densely populated, overrated, etc?
Compared to large US cities like NYC or Chicago Austin is not dense, even downtown. But density is increasing at the same time sprawl is increasing (as people pursue housing and space).

What are the general problems there (things you don't like) ?
I think Austin is a terrific place to live. I think traffic is a problem and getting worse. I don't enjoy the dominance of UT Athletics but that is a plus for thousands.

Is it humid? How often does it rain?
Austin can be humid - but not like New Orleans, or even some east coast cities. We are in a drought right now although there are signs of relief over the last few months.

What is the most liberal residential part of town (good liberal neighborhoods?)
Not really sure what a liberal neighborhood is - but I would guess it would be central Austin.

The cheapest? (bargain housing... hard to find but anything is possible)
Too hard to answer.

PS: I love warm weather, and hate the winter. I condone SNOW!
Alaskan winters are far too long, and far too cold. No thanks.
I love rain. If it rains during winter, I'm fine with it.

I also hear it's generally pretty easy to ride your bike to get around,
is this true?

I don't know if I agree with this. Austin has many cyclists, but I would not say Austin is good for commuting by bicycle unless you live near work.

I am 20, female.
Also, all the talk about Anchorage has made me irritated. Alaska suck
Is Austin what you would call, "unsafe like NYC"? just a quote from a
friend ...
Austin is very safe from the perspective of violent crimes. Austin seems to have a higher property crime rate - but I am not convinced that is isn't a result of poor reporting by other cities.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
36 posts, read 112,023 times
Reputation: 43
Thumbs up Thank you!

Thanks a bunch! Your advice is helpful. What I meant by "liberal neighborhood" is an area in town that is not dominated by conservative republicans. Not a gigantic group of houses identical to each other, owned by older, conservative people, are there any specific places that go against that?. They are just not my crowd.
Anyways , that's a high five!
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,521,483 times
Reputation: 9446
Photos of Austin and the area: cptinrn's Photo Galleries at pbase.com

Austin has its own kind of natural beauty, but its not Alaska, and we have never seen the aurora borealis down here. Nevertheless we have a few things going for us.

Austin has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country, but for some odd reason has a problem with theft. I have not figured out why that is. It looks like bicycle theft, theft from cars, and possibly shoplifting are high. In the 32 years I have lived here I have only experienced theft once, when my apartment landlord left a repairman unsupervised in our unit for several hours, all of your jewelry and small valuables went missing.

Job demand in Austin is declining but not as bad as the rest of the country. Austin is doing significantly better then most areas.

Yeah, I think people down here are as nice as you have heard.

We have a relatively young population with a lot of people moving here to go to school so finding a roommate should not be too hard.

We have a very nice Lake Travis right West of town and numerus swimming holes and rivers for tubing, rafting on etc. Water sports are very popular in the summer time. I owned a 28' sailboat on Lake Travis for 16 years. The gulf of Mexico is 3.5 hours away.

Weather, historical averages temperature and rainfall. Intellicast - Austin Historic Weather Averages in Texas (78735)
Humidity is considered high by most but not as bad as San Antonio or along the gulf coast. When it rains here it rains HARD, so we have high rainfall compared to Alaska, but most days are sunny. We are in the middle of a 2 year drought currently, but the rains have been pretty good this month and everything is a pretty green. You will laugh when you see how the whole town shuts down on the rare occasion of 1/2" of snow.

No it is not densely populated.

<<What is the most liberal residential part of town (good liberal neighborhoods?)>> Probably right around the University of Texas, but the whole town is pretty liberal. The most expensive parts of town tend to be more conservative.

Cost of living is pretty low compared to most places. Cheapest apartments are in the East Riverside Drive area, typically populated by lots of students.

You can get around Austin pretty well on a bicycle. The buses even have bike racks on them.

What do I hate? High temperatures in June, July & August and high utility costs for air conditioning.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,521,483 times
Reputation: 9446
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeySonder View Post
Thanks a bunch! Your advice is helpful. What I meant by "liberal neighborhood" is an area in town that is not dominated by conservative republicans. Not a gigantic group of houses identical to each other, owned by older, conservative people, are there any specific places that go against that?. They are just not my crowd.
Anyways , that's a high five!
Austin typically votes democratic while the rest of the state votes republican. That blue heart in the middle is Travis County / Austin, TX.

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Old 05-18-2009, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
36 posts, read 112,023 times
Reputation: 43
Thank you very much - I definately will probaly be living near the University. With a little more googling, it seems like the area I'm looking for. I also booked plane tickets down there- dang, $874 for a several stop plane ride. So I will be down there in two weeks, house hunting (yes, it is slightly spontaneaous).A couple more questions though:

I have read Austin is quite eccentric- which is great, also, that is a "green city"?
Is that somewhat true? Because I am an avid recycler. I hardly use my car for trips to the grocery store, a big fan of shopping bags, and am known to pick up quite a but of trash.

Austin nightlife? This is very important to me. (y'all)
I hear it's pretty good- in comparison to Anchorage...

Also, I've been reading other threads about Austin, and there seems to be a tad bit of controversy over traffic. Realistically, what's the traffic like? Including the major highways and all the little streets.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,521,483 times
Reputation: 9446
You are going to love Austin.

See my profile for lots of information about the area.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
36 posts, read 112,023 times
Reputation: 43
by the way- pictures in CptnRn's link are lovely. Looks pretty!
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
36 posts, read 112,023 times
Reputation: 43
Thanks so much! It definately seems to suit me well. You guys (y'all- and I can get used to saying that!!) have been a ton of help. I haven't put a thought into the house in South Carolina since I've been researching Austin. And I'm not really wanting to commit to a timeshare either. Like I said before, I'm surprised how eagerly residents share their city! Really, it's a gem, I'm excited to visit!
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,521,483 times
Reputation: 9446
Y'all is a very useful term.

Check out the The Austin Chronicle

especially the Today's music club listings Music Listings - The Austin Chronicle

Yes, Austin considers itself very green. The new Austin City Hall was one of the first buildings ever awarded the LEED's Green Building Gold Certification

City of Austin - Austin City Hall receives high environmental certification from U.S. Green Building Council

and is a major proponent of green building and green lifestyles.

Traffic can be a problem during rush hour, but most of the rest of the day I can go from South Austin to North Austin in 20 minutes. It is important to live near where you work to avoid the commute. That is part of being green also.

Austin's traffic is bad because for years it has had a no growth attitude regarding the highway infrastructure, "if you don't build it maybe they won't come". It hasn't worked and the community has a lot of catching up to do.
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