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Old 05-23-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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We are a family w/young kids (nearly 1yo and nearly 4yo) and we are looking to move to the Austin area from NYC, in part to be closer to family (I am from TX), and also because we want to reduce our cost of living substantially.

We are currently thinking about the Leander/Cedar Park area, in part because we want a house on at least 1/2 acre of land.

But since we are moving from Brooklyn -- and I haven't lived in TX for more than 10 years -- I have some questions about lifestyle. What do people do in their spare time in Leander/Cedar Park? Do you easily get to know your neighbors? Are people friendly? Do you find yourself going into Austin often, or is it too much of a haul (or not necessary)? What I'm looking for here is some "day in the life" stories.

We love Brooklyn because there are great restaurants, bars, shopping, cultural events, etc., but we also find that -- since we have had kids -- we don't often take advantage of these things anymore, either for lack of time or money. We also love to do things like gardening, picnics, hiking, and spending time by the water -- and these things are easier w/kids but more difficult in Brooklyn.

Thanks in advance for viewpoints!
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:03 PM
 
7,679 posts, read 14,082,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooklynNativeTexan View Post
We are a family w/young kids (nearly 1yo and nearly 4yo) and we are looking to move to the Austin area from NYC, in part to be closer to family (I am from TX), and also because we want to reduce our cost of living substantially.

We are currently thinking about the Leander/Cedar Park area, in part because we want a house on at least 1/2 acre of land.

But since we are moving from Brooklyn -- and I haven't lived in TX for more than 10 years -- I have some questions about lifestyle. What do people do in their spare time in Leander/Cedar Park? Do you easily get to know your neighbors? Are people friendly? Do you find yourself going into Austin often, or is it too much of a haul (or not necessary)? What I'm looking for here is some "day in the life" stories.

We love Brooklyn because there are great restaurants, bars, shopping, cultural events, etc., but we also find that -- since we have had kids -- we don't often take advantage of these things anymore, either for lack of time or money. We also love to do things like gardening, picnics, hiking, and spending time by the water -- and these things are easier w/kids but more difficult in Brooklyn.

Thanks in advance for viewpoints!
We just came from the brushy creek park (cedar park). They have an area with water that sprays out of the ground that kids can run through, a playground and a small lake. I would say austin and the surrounds are more about being outdoors than high culture.
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,787 posts, read 46,808,272 times
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Cedar Park is very close to Lake Travis and all the recreation that entails. It has been quite a while since I was up in that part of town so I'm not up on the latest. But with the Lakeline Mall at 620 & 183 that went in a few years ago, there is probably not much need to drive into Austin to shop anymore. Plus there are lots of businesses along 183.

I have worked with a few people who moved into that part of town and seemed really happy with it.

The Austin Chronicle City Guide will give you a pretty good idea of the wide variety of entertainment in Austin. Best of Austin - The Austin Chronicle The Readers Picks and Critic's Poll even has a kids category. Many of the guides like restaurants and clubs are searchable for a specific part of town also.
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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I live in Cedar Park and love it. It has a very family friendly atmosphere. For fun we enjoy the lake, movies, parks, and our kids functions. There are tons of shopping and anything we do not have is just a short drive away. To me Austin is not very far. We enjoy trips to downtown and Zilker park. If you want a family atmosphere than Cedar Park is your city. We may not have everything that Round Rock has but we also do not have some of the headaches RR has too. Cedar Park doesn't have a true small town feel to it though. It has more of a suburban area feel. If you want a true small town feel then pick Georgetown or Dripping Springs. Hope this helps ya.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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Brooklyn vs. Cedar Park/Leander? Day meet night. CP and Leander are really nice, down to earth suburban American cities: mostly chain stores, chain restaurants, malls, parks and movies. People are wonderful and friendly, but it's not Brooklyn.
If you want a Brooklyn feel, I would think that central Austin would be your best bet.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:36 PM
 
29 posts, read 92,656 times
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Originally Posted by mimimomx3 View Post
Brooklyn vs. Cedar Park/Leander? Day meet night. CP and Leander are really nice, down to earth suburban American cities: mostly chain stores, chain restaurants, malls, parks and movies. People are wonderful and friendly, but it's not Brooklyn.
If you want a Brooklyn feel, I would think that central Austin would be your best bet.
I have to agree with that. Not sure you will even find anything like Brooklyn in Texas.
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:29 PM
 
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Thanks everyone who has answered so far. Would love to hear more if people have more to add.

I am from TX originally and know there is nothing resembling Brooklyn, especially if one leaves downtown.

I suppose we are trying to wrap our heads around a radical change of lifestyle (cars vs. walking, space vs. population density, less racial diversity) so I'm trying to get a sense of what day-to-day life would be like. Given our current kid-centric lifestyle, I don't expect things would be TOO different -- today we hung out in the back yard and drove out to NJ for a 9-year-old's birthday party. Oh, and Austin97, one of our other regular activities is to go to the local playground, where there is a water spraying thing. Kids make water balloons and chase each other around with them, etc.

But I worry a little that I will miss things that I'm not considering, or that I'll be bored. I'm not so thrilled with chain stores, restaurants, etc. but am trying to reconcile myself with the idea, given that we have other considerations (financial + starting a business) for wanting to have a home on a larger lot.

I guess I'm also a little concerned about meeting people and making friends. Currently, we have neighbors upstairs in our building that have kids, and families are out on their stoops every afternoon/evening with kids playing on their scooters, playing chase, etc. That said, for much of the year (WINTER!) we are stuck inside and can be very isolated. And the school issue is a huge pain.

When I think about moving, I also wonder about politics. I am fairly liberal, as is my husband, and my experience of TX (except in college, when a lot of people get more liberal) has been of a pretty conservative place. I'm from Houston originally. I know Austin has a reputation as a liberal haven, but is that for real, outside of the college kids? And is liberalism tolerated in places like Leander/Cedar Park? When I scan real estate listings online, I see a lot of crucifixes on the walls in the pictures of the homes, and, to me, that says Bible Belt, not bastion of tolerance. (Nothing against religion, mind you, just wondering if this doubter will fit in.)

Ok, so now I've spread the questions much wider than my original post. Hope people have thoughts. This forum has been a great resource for me so far, so many thanks in advance.
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:59 PM
 
2,184 posts, read 6,142,143 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimimomx3 View Post
Brooklyn vs. Cedar Park/Leander? Day meet night. CP and Leander are really nice, down to earth suburban American cities: mostly chain stores, chain restaurants, malls, parks and movies. People are wonderful and friendly, but it's not Brooklyn.
If you want a Brooklyn feel, I would think that central Austin would be your best bet.
If you go back and read the OP's question, you will see that he said they don't take advantage of the Brooklyn scene that much anymore because they have kids. So, it appears to me that they are looking for a kid friendly area and are looking for a larger lot as well.

Also, Central Austin is so not Brooklyn or anywhere near it. Central Austin has chain restaurants, parks and movies, doesn't it?
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:22 PM
 
Location: The Good Place
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I am also originally from Houston, now living in Cedar Park. Keep in mind that I don't have children, but this has been my experience of CP. I lived near central Austin (Hyde Park) for years before moving out here to buy. I've been in CP about 7 years now. I have to tell ya, it's not a real happenin' place and I usually have to go in to Austin to find something interesting to do. I do enjoy walking the trails at the local county parks - which are pretty nice and most well accomodate the family scene. I also love Lake Travis, which we are pretty close to here. But truthfully, boredom does plague me much of the time out here. It is definitely a suburb feel, with chain fast food restaurants (Taco Bell, Burger King, KFC, etc) and it is primarily populated by middle and lower-middle class families. Culture is conservative and generally friendly, although I still don't know most of the people on my street and my next door neighbor has never had a conversation with me yet (I've tried!). Traffic is pretty wicked at times, especially coming/going to work because everyone works in Austin, Round Rock for the most part. There has been an upsurge in new medical facilites here - hospitals, ancilliary med. services, doctor/dentist offices, so if that is important to you, we gotcha covered on that. Leander has more of a country feel to it and so do the people. I can really tell the difference just going the small distance from CP to Leander - but things are moving out there fast, but there's still very little out there but more suburbs.

I am also a liberal and so I much more enjoyed the culture near central Austin, very eclectic, urban feel (even still hippie in some spots) - because truthfully, central Austin is really the only place that liberalism still exists here. The rest of the town going out in all directions is pretty conservative. I'd buy in central Austin if I could afford it, but CP had housing in the right price range for me. But in the 7 years I've been here, CP has changed tremendously, with astounding growth in retail and industry. I've always worked in Austin, so I spend a lot of time there during the week. I DON'T enjoy the commute home! In this town, getting to/from work each day is bit of a nightmare, and a good public transportation system is pretty non-existent (buses - that's it - but not out to CP).

Summing up, I know a lot of people love it here - especially those with kids. I tolerate living here, but would much prefer to be in a more liberal, mentally-stimulating place. You should come visit for a while and make up your own mind about how you feel about the area, cuz everybody's mileage DOES vary. Good Luck!
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:32 PM
 
8,239 posts, read 16,613,130 times
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Originally Posted by BijouBaby View Post
I am also originally from Houston, now living in Cedar Park. Keep in mind that I don't have children, but this has been my experience of CP. I lived near central Austin (Hyde Park) for years before moving out here to buy. I've been in CP about 7 years now. I have to tell ya, it's not a real happenin' place and I usually have to go in to Austin to find something interesting to do. I do enjoy walking the trails at the local county parks - which are pretty nice and most well accomodate the family scene. I also love Lake Travis, which we are pretty close to here. But truthfully, boredom does plague me much of the time out here. It is definitely a suburb feel, with chain fast food restaurants (Taco Bell, Burger King, KFC, etc) and it is primarily populated by middle and lower-middle class families. Culture is conservative and generally friendly, although I still don't know most of the people on my street and my next door neighbor has never had a conversation with me yet (I've tried!). Traffic is pretty wicked at times, especially coming/going to work because everyone works in Austin, Round Rock for the most part. There has been an upsurge in new medical facilites here - hospitals, ancilliary med. services, doctor/dentist offices, so if that is important to you, we gotcha covered on that. Leander has more of a country feel to it and so do the people. I can really tell the difference just going the small distance from CP to Leander - but things are moving out there fast, but there's still very little out there but more suburbs.

I am also a liberal and so I much more enjoyed the culture near central Austin, very eclectic, urban feel (even still hippie in some spots) - because truthfully, central Austin is really the only place that liberalism still exists here. The rest of the town going out in all directions is pretty conservative. I'd buy in central Austin if I could afford it, but CP had housing in the right price range for me. But in the 7 years I've been here, CP has changed tremendously, with astounding growth in retail and industry. I've always worked in Austin, so I spend a lot of time there during the week. I DON'T enjoy the commute home! In this town, getting to/from work each day is bit of a nightmare, and a good public transportation system is pretty non-existent (buses - that's it - but not out to CP).

Summing up, I know a lot of people love it here - especially those with kids. I tolerate living here, but would much prefer to be in a more liberal, mentally-stimulating place. You should come visit for a while and make up your own mind about how you feel about the area, cuz everybody's mileage DOES vary. Good Luck!
I think it's easier to meet people when you have kids because of school, sports, etc. That might help you. People also find friends in church and religious activities, so consider that.

Another consideration would be your interest in outdoor type activity. If you like to run, hike or kayak, Austin could be lots of fun for you. The general vibe in Austin is of outdoor fun, and that is a little different than the NE/NY area.
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