View Full Version : Visiting Austin - What to see and do? (prospective relocation)
So I have been thinking of relocating (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=608005)and am considering Austin. I am going to be flying out in a couple weeks to check out the area. Probably make a couple trips in the next few months to get a feel. I have lots of questions.
Anything in particular I should do or see to get a flavor of the area?
How is traffic patterns like? What direction is the normal commute?
In terms of residential areas, do any have a particular feel? I get the sense that North and East are flatter, and South and West are hillier. Is that about right?
I wanna see the bats. Where's a good place for that?
I am also into photography as a hobby, anything jump out that I should make a point of seeing?
How badly will I stand out as a 6' tall Asian?
I'll have a car and a couple days with no specific commitments other than some dinner engagements.
05-13-2011, 04:36 PM
There is a bridge on Congress, and the bats come from under the bridge at dusk. Pretty much anywhere on that bridge is a good location.
Austin is a huge college town so being a tall Asian won't make you stick out too much. There are lots of great areas to live in and housing is reasonably priced. If you like I can recommend a very good real estate agent who could show you around.
Austin is pretty casual for the most part and you see many people wearing shorts and sandals. Great Mexican food and great BBQ are all around.
::sigh:: I do miss Austin.
05-13-2011, 04:59 PM
I moved away from Austin almost 20 years ago, so much of the particulars of my information is going to be very out of date.
The bats are cool. They are under the Congress Avenue bridge, which is the bridge over Lady Bird Lake (Colorado River), in the middle of the city. I'm not sure what time of year the bats are around, so check on that (google, etc.) but they come out at dusk. Bat picture (http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/echoreply/bat02.jpg), bat picture (http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/echoreply/bat04.jpg), and bat picture (http://i367.photobucket.com/albums/oo118/echoreply/bat03.jpg). Because it will be dark, and the bats are black, the only way to take pictures is to shoot into the air with a flash and hope you get something.
Most activities in Austin revolve around drinking beer, listening to music, and eating food (probably barbecue or Mexican). At the time I was there, the Austin Chronicle (http://www.austinchronicle.com/), the weekly free paper, was the lister of all things music related. Go to the website and look up the music listings for the days you'll be there and see if anything catches your eye.
Austin is also a huge fan of outdoor free and not-free festivals of varying size. If your lucky something fun like that might be going on. It looks like you missed Eeyore's birthday, but keep a look out for other festivals.
When I left Austin, traffic was just getting heavy. As I understand it now, traffic is always bad, all the time, and flows in every direction. Crossing the river is the worst. When I left there were no east-west highways, only north-south. They've solved that somewhat now, but it's still bad.
Places for photographs in Austin are Zilker park and the Botanical gardens located in the park. Outside of Austin, Enchanted Rock and Pedernales (pronounced Perdenales) Falls State Park are good for nature pictures. For hills and cliffs and stuff, just drive out 360 (Capital of Texas Highway) on the West part of town. It is a highway through part of the hill country, with some interesting views. Probably mostly houses and stuff now.
Oh yeah, for pronunciation. The street in South Austin, Manchaca, is pronounced "Manshack". The street near the UT campus, known as The Drag, is Guadalupe, but it is pronounced as you would say it in English (silent e at the end). The Guadalupe River between Austin and San Antonio, is pronounced the Spanish way, with an "eh" at the end.
I'm way out of touch with the hottest restaurants in Austin, but my favorites are Artz Rib House on South Lamar (for barbecue) and Hoovers on East Manor (down home). Kerby Lane (Kerby Lane, and other locations) and Magnolia Cafe (South Congress) are great for breakfast, 24 hours a day.
05-14-2011, 05:45 AM
I went to Austin in January this year to visit a friend who used to live in Portland. I also live in Portland (and have lived in Texas before) so I'm giving you my experiences there.
It gets hot. Like, really hot. Imagine sitting in your car at 3 PM during the heat of summer. It's like that outside all the time. When I was there in January it was like a perfect summer day in Portland, and while I had a t-shirt and shorts on there were people walking around in parkas.
The vibe I get from Austin is it's a lot like a Bizarro World version of Portland. People are laidback and friendly, there's plenty of excellent places to eat, they have an up-and-coming craft beer scene. There's a whole street (http://www.6street.com/) filled with bars and clubs that's definitely worth checking out. The whole time I was there it felt like I was at home, only, you know, I wasn't.
Thanks for the tips, I'll definitely be checking some of those spots out. The bar scene isn't really for me, but the park and landscapes seem interesting. And the bats.
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