Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Austin - A Cool City

I've been such an MIA blogger with the whole wedding weekend in Texas. And then I returned to a super busy day at work (followed by another [today], since my main colleague is stuck at an airport in CO returning from vacation). So, instead of re-hashing the whole wedding (which was awesome!), I thought I'd do a little post about Austin, TX.

This was my fourth trip there - and again, as I've said every time, I think it's such a cool city! I enjoyed that our hotel was located downtown. All my other trips have been staying at friend's houses, and only going downtown at night. It was nice to see the weekend, daytime activities of the city.

Some thoughts:

1) The city felt walkable & safe. Downtown proper wasn't so so big that you couldn't get around on foot. It also wasn't so tiny that it was uncool. I don't think there was any moment when I felt unsafe (which is NOT the case in Memphis).

2) I sort of wonder about the situation with living there. It's definitely a college town. And so, I think a lot of the young professionals living there are UT grads who have stuck around. I know LB was one of the first (if not, the first?) of her close Austin friends to get married - which seems CRAZY to me, considering our age. They definitely have the "first couple years out of college party" thing going on (only we're more than a couple years out now). So I wonder about these ten or so girls: when they do finally settle down, will it be in Austin? Or elsewhere? Which leads me to wonder if Austin is mostly an under-30 town? We saw some young families walking around downtown on Saturday - and a lot of them seemed to be coming out of some newly-constructed condos - so I wonder if a lot of young families live downtown, maybe? Curious.

3) Even though Texas fans are crazy (you know you are!), seeing the big university in the city made me wonder what it would've been like to go there (in a good way). Like, just thinking about being at such a huge place, in a city with so many cool restaurants/coffee shops/bars/people - it would've been very different from my Rhodes experience. But perhaps different in a good, refreshing way.

4) This city is on fire with organic foods, co-ops, vegetarian-friendly places (like, all), etc. What a nice, progressive contrast to Memphis. Even taco stands in a trailer used organic ingredients and had vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free offerings.

5) There are tacos everywhere and they are awesome! And they have this phenomenon of "breakfast tacos" that are available all day, at most places.

6) The "lakes" downtown (really, rivers that are dammed) add an interesting outdoorsy feel to the city. Along those lines, there are bikes everywhere.

7) I wonder about the phrase "Keep Austin Weird." Because in actuality, I didn't see a lot of weird people. I saw a lot of yuppy station wagons, and people dressed in their "outdoorsy" North Face gear, and girls dressed up pretty intensely when we went out, and young people walking around the farmer's market quite fashionably, actually. Maybe this phrase just refers to in Texas - because while I haven't spent much time in other big Texas cities, from what I can tell, they are much more stereotypically Texas than Austin. (Or maybe there are some communes on the outside of the city with pot-smoking hippies that I just didn't see??)

8) The city doesn't feel "southern" - but in a really good way. I guess it's "southern" in its laid-back attitude? Or its super friendly people? But not the snobby, Old South southern way, or the redneck way, either.

9) We noticed a pronounced lack of black people.

But anyway - it's a really cool city. I was glad to spend more time there.

And yes - more posts coming this week about LB wedding extravaganza!


Amanda said...

Man, I love this post. There are a lot of young families in Austin, just not very many that live downtown. It is also interesting that while LB has a ton of single Austin friends, most of my Austin friends are married. Yay for Austin and yay for getting to see you this past weekend!

LB said...

If I may...
(my list corresponds to yours)
2) Austin is sort of known for being one of the "youngest" cities, although I'm sure that will change over time. My friends who are in long-term relationships are all definitely planning to stay here if/when they get married. I think it's like any other place, once you've developed all these connections and friends over the last decade, it's pretty hard to leave.
3) I think people's UT experiences were REALLY different from Rhodes. Like, we both missed out on a lot. Guess you can't have it all!
7) There are plenty of eclectic people, I think you just weren't quiiiiite in the right places. Ha. I think the phrase is more like "anything goes." Oh, were you surprised by how many tattoos people have? Someone else commented on this; I hadn't noticed though.
9) UGH I hate this.

Looking forward to a wedding post when things slow down!!!!