I live in Austin, Texas, and it’s not by accident. My wife and I lived in 7 different cities in about 7 years, and then decided to stay in Austin. In moving around, we found that like a new relationship, each new city has a “honeymoon” phase, where just because it’s new, it seems great. With relationships, I’ve found the honeymoon phase to last around 3 months, but with new cities, it starts to fade around 6-9 months.
For a city to really be worth living it, it has to have the staying power to continue to be interesting for years to come. It’s also a much bigger decision that many people think. Take it from someone who moved constantly – making new friends, business contacts and building a reputation in a new city can take a long time.
I’m not writing this to convince anyone to move to Austin – we have enough people moving here as it is 🙂 – but instead to give an idea of what you should look for in a new city.
Why I Love Austin:
The weather in Austin fits our lifestyle. We’re active people, so we like to enjoy the outdoors. In spring and fall, the the temperature sits between 65-85 farenheit (CELCISU), and in the winter, it barely dips below 30 (CELCISU). The only season I’m not a complete fan of is the summer. The hot air hitting your face when you open your front door can feel like you’re sticking your face in an over.
Very few places in the world have ideal temperatures year round, so although you’re not going to want to hang outside in the middle of the day, at least it is sunny – and when winter comes, you’re not going to have to dig through any snow.
This is one of the areas Austin really excels in. The people here are just friendly. If you haven’t lived many places, it’s not always as obvious how drastically different the people in general treat each other. People in Austin, for the most part, genuinely want to help and lookout for each other, and that’s extremely beneficial for my line of work as an entrepreneur. It’s much easier to start a successful company when people are willing to give you advice and make introductions without first getting something from you.
This is a bit of a carry-on from the last point, but for a different reason. We’ve found it easier to make friends in Austin than any other city we’ve lived in. I think this is largely due to the amount of people moving here. Take Portland, Oregon for example. I loved living in Portland, but most of the people we met there had grown up there. They already had their own groups of friends, and weren’t interested in adding new people to their group. This is a bit of a generalization of course, because we did make some great friends there, but compared to Austin, it was just harder to meet them.
In Austin, there are so many people moving here who themselves need to make friends, so it’s easier. This may also be part of the reason everyone here is so friendly…..
A large part of Austin is in the technology industry, which means it is a lot easier for me to find people to work with on my new companies. This also means it’s easier to find people who are willing to invest in my companies. People like to invest in what they know, so because there are a lot of people who’ve made their millions from their tech companies, they’re more likely to invest in mine.
Good for My Wife’s Job
There are a lot of successful women in Austin, and a lot of companies looking to hire women. That wasn’t the case in some of the cities we lived. This was part of the reason we came to Austin. Since moving here, my wife has become a full-time blogger, so although she herself isn’t looking for jobs, there are a lot of opportunities for her here, and a lot of other bloggers to collaborate with.
There are a ton of local restaurants in Austin to choose from. In some other cites we lived in, you could find great food, but only when you’re willing to spend a lot of money. In Austin, you have hundreds of independent food trucks and restaurants that serve a great meal for under $15. I actually like the food trucks so much that I’m launching an app that gives real time location and open status for all the food trucks here, so I can keep track of them 🙂
With 880,000 people living in Austin, there are a lot of things to do to keep people entertained. There’s simply too much to write here. It wouldn’t just take an entire post, but an entire blog to cover everything. If you’re a fan of night life, being active, live music, or just about any activity besides winter activities, you can find it here.
What I Don’t Like About Austin:
No Clean Lakes Close to Downtown
The lakes close to town are dammed up rivers, and the lakes that are real lakes are not within 30 minutes of downtown. I grew up on a lake, so this is the biggest issue I have with Austin. Is this a very niche issue? Yes.
High Property Tax
The property tax in Austin is almost 2%. That means on a $1,000,000 home, you would have to pay $20,000 per year in property tax alone. I’ve got my sights set high for my future, so if I buy a $2,000,000 home, I’m going to have to pay $39,460 in tax per year – $3,288 per month before even factoring in my mortgage!
Lots of Schools
I’m originally from a town with under 30,000 people. There were some nicer schools to attend, but none were significantly nicer than others. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Austin. I haven’t had any personal experience with them yet, because my son is only 2 years old, but based on ratings and general conversation there are schools you want you children to attend and ones you don’t.
Which school your child attends is based on a multitude of factors with a major one being which neighborhood you live in. Having to choose where to buy a house, based on where I want my child to attend school isn’t something I’m happy with.
No Ocean or Mountain
This one sort of explains itself. I love snowboarding and the ocean, but I love enough about Austin, that I’m willing to sacrifice those activities.
In the end, Austin is our favorite city we’ve lived in, and we will likely be staying here for the long haul.
Thanks for stopping by!