Thought Catalog

6 Reasons You Should Move To Austin, TX

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You’ve probably had a friend move to Austin in the last couple years. A lot of people are moving to Texas, and you might ask, “Why? What’s the deal? Isn’t it just full of smelly entitled potheads who spend far too much time trying to look disheveled?” Well, sort of, yeah. So there must be other good reasons, right? Yes! There are.

1. The cost of living is low.

Beer? Cheap. Food? Reasonably priced. Apartments? Let’s just say I don’t spend 99 percent of my monthly income on rent, coughcoughNewYork. For a lifelong yank like myself, Texas prices were a revelation. Four dollars for a six pack? What is it, 1940? Is there a catch? Do I have to open the cans with one of those metal hole-poker implements like it’s a cylinder of Juicy Juice? No, you don’t. The cans work normally like a modern can should. They’re just cheap!

No state income tax, less expensive gas because it’s made around here or something, and cheap beer as far as the eye can see. Your money has a slightly easier time staying in your pocket around here, which leads me to number two.

2. There are jobs.

In my (entirely non-scientific) survey of the job market in Austin, things are looking pretty rosy. Austin’s become a bit of a tech/corporate hub in recent years, due to the constant stream of young employable talent coming out of the university (…of Texas, which is here) and arriving from elsewhere for all the reason’s I’m laying out right now. It’s a self supporting loop; The conditions beget the jobs, the jobs beget the conditions, on and on and on. I don’t see my friends struggling with un- or under- employment as much as I did elsewhere. We’re not all working in our dream field, and people do go without from time to time, but it’s not a depressing wasteland of everyone trying to get a service-industry job and failing. I have benefits!

3. People are friendly.

I do not blame you if you think this sounds hopelessly naïve. I wouldn’t believe me either, probably. But I’ve had this confirmed by multiple outside visitors: if you come from either of the coasts, you’re going to find the middle of the country almost disarmingly welcoming. People you don’t know wave to you. You can strike up a conversation with essentially anyone. Accidentally making eye contact with a stranger isn’t an awful stare-down that leaves you feeling dried out and steely; they’ll probably just smile at you. It’s the sort of thing you notice right away, in all sorts of subtle ways –- the people are just friendlier. It’s contagious, as well. I hate to use the phrase “Good Vibes,” but, uh, good vibes, dude.

4. There’s weather!

Central Texas has two seasons — summer and spring. It doesn’t have the maddening consistency of California: it’ll rain once in a while, it’ll get down to like 40 for a week or two in February, it’ll spike up to 100+ in the summer, there are clouds and such — but most of the time, the word I would use is “balmy.” It’s balmy.

5. There’s stuff to do.

This is probably the one people think of as being Austin’s big draw — SXSW, Austin City Limits, film festivals, etc. It’s the cultural center of Texas, that’s for sure. No one’s going to Houston for much of anything. (Houston sucks. Sorry Houston, real talk.)

On a day-to-day level, there’s always something to do. Personally, I got involved in the improv comedy scene down here, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I stumbled into an open-minded, funny, caring, tightly-knit group of people doing excellent work seven nights a week. There are communities like this all over town.

Oh, sidebar, a little secret about SXSW — No one gets into the good shows except the media. For the average attendee it’s just standing around in lines waiting for something to happen, and if/when that something does happen, the sound quality sucks and no one bothers to stop talking.

6. It’s livable.

This one’s kind of an amalgamation of the other five, but I think it merits its own discussion. I’ve never lived anywhere I didn’t immediately start planning my departure from. Everywhere else, I was thinking down the road, where I would be going next, what the exit strategy would be. I don’t have one of those here. I could live here forever, I think, and that’s goddamn terrifying, but it’s also really lovely and comfortable. It’s not a place where you’re going to get famous, probably, but who cares? When has fame ever made anyone any happier?

Austin’s the sort of place you can settle into, the kind of place where you stop worrying so much about that kind of thing and revise your concept of success a little bit. In 30 years or so, I’ll be an old guy on a bike, a true Austin trademark. The weather’s balmy, the people are friendly, and oh yeah, the tacos. The tacos are real good. TC mark

image – Martin Krolikowski

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    • Will

      Way to post this AFTER I move from Austin. Getting homesick up in here.

    • Austinite

      All lies! Stay where you are !

    • PCM

      I’m a lifelong Austinite and proud UT student. And we are all the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, but our roads can’t handle too many newcomers. However, it really is the best city ever.

    • brenna

      “maddening consistency of California”

      that there is some real talk.  the constant blue skies have a way of making you crazy.

    • Anonymous

      YES IT SUCKS HERE DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT MOVE HERE

    • Hm

      left nyc for austin last year…worst decision of my life.

    • Gmo Saza

      Don’t mess with Texas.  No, seriously, Oklahoma told me Texas has genital herpes, stay away.

      • Pink_llama223

        O, U suck.

        m/

        • Dallasisbetter

          Can’t spell slut without UT. :)

          /w 

      • Iloveoranges888

        Oklahoma is like Texas’s retarded bastard cousin.

    • JK

      All of these are so true, especially #3. I moved down here from the super-corny midwest (see what I did there) and even I was seriously shocked at the warm vibes people give out. Even the uber-hip too-cool vintage-store-employee types are nice! Tis crazy.

    • me

      i love austin

    • Kasey

      Yes, move to Austin! More of Denver for me :)

    • guest

      I fucking HATE Austin. This article was pointless. As you would say, “Real talk.”

      • Guest

        To each their own. 

    • Megan

      No. Move to Sacramento CA. Lots of trees, a fun midtown/downtown that’s like a mini Austin or Portland, decent public transportation, jobs, good food and coffee. Two hours from San Francisco and two hours from Lake Tahoe, without the expense of living in the Bay Area/remoteness of living in the mountains. Seriously. I probably sound like a one-person tourism board but, really, if you need somewhere to live, Sacramento is pretty good. Also friends!

    • jamesbomb007

      Some points sound right, some are plain wrong…Austin (especially the UT environment) is a great place to live in though!

    • CR

      True. However, I do encourage folks born and raised in Austin to get away for a while. I moved to San Francisco after college(UT, naturally) and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Yeah, it’s tough. We have earthquakes. Half my paycheck goes to rent every month. But the struggle of living in a big, expensive city pays off in ways that Austin can’t. And, damn. Californians are sexy.

    • Megan

      Ah, ATX.  That place has my heart. 

    • stephen

      counter-point.

      1. they also pay less, because it’s a popular place to live. so it kinda evens out.
      2. jobs, if you have the specific skills being called for. otherwise, you’ll be competing with people who have graduate degrees for service jobs.
      3. friendly? sure. but bear in mind that austin is like west berlin during the cold war–a speck of blue in a sea of red. if you’re not down with smiling and nodding your way through many uncomfortable conversations with texas conservatives, you’ll live in a state of constant outrage.
      4. we’re in a drought. last summer was the hottest on record. this summer is likely to be about the same. so instead of occasional 100, think constant 100, with occasional 105-110 + “heat index”. oh and winter is relatively mild–except for the crippling ice storms when everyone wrecks their cars. (oh, yeah you will need a car here. a bike won’t cut it. and public transportation is not awesome.)
      5. you don’t have to live here to goto those festivals. if you do live here, you’ll learn to hate them with a white-hot passion.
      6. i’m not even sure what this means…

      • patrick

         “smiling and nodding your way through many uncomfortable conversations” – that’s not how west Berlin worked. I hope you are aware of this.

        • Guest

          Um, I wasn’t there or anything but I’m pretty sure that smiling and nodding your way through many uncomfortable situations was exactly how west Berlin worked.  The frowning and shaking your head route usually didn’t work out so well.   I might have a PhD in German history but what do I know?

      • JoAnna

        hey man, public transportation is FANTASTIC. i’ve lived here for two years and have not had a car. i’ve had absolutely no trouble getting around. it’s incredibly bike friendly as well. if you want somewhere with a bad transportation system, try san antonio, where you can’t go anywhere without a car.

        • Anonymous

          You must live in downtown then, because compared to other places in the country, Austin (and Texas) has TERRIBLE public transportation.

    • DSTX

      Cost of living is NOT low. Maybe compared to New York, but we still struggle. The pay is lower unless you are a software developer. Beer, cheap? Maybe for some watered down off brand. Jobs? Tell that to all of the teachers that were laid off last year and still trying to find work. Weather? Were you here last year when we had triple digit temps for well over two months? The rest of the time it was high 90’s.  Spring only lasts for two weeks.  No autumn. Don’t knock Houston. They have more to offer than you must know about.  Traffic here is absolutely HORRIBLE. We are busting at the seams and this city just cannot handle more people and less elbow room.  Yes we are friendly, but we’ll love you more and be extremely grateful if you just visit for a spell and instead of an extended stay.

    • guest

      #3. People you don’t know wave to you. You can strike up a conversation with essentially anyone. Accidentally making eye contact with a stranger isn’t an awful stare-down that leaves you feeling dried out and steely; they’ll probably just smile at you.
      That’s called The South bro.

      • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

        The Midwest, too.

      • Greg Z.

        Ew, no. It’s called being overfriendly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      I’m a New England boy, and I shall ever remain a New England boy. The history of the area, the farmland, the towns, the rock walls, the mountains… Sure, we Massachusetts-folk may seem a bit standoffish, initially, but we’ll grow on you.  We’ve got some of the best schools, great companies to work for…and as far as weather…a harsh winter only makes you appreciate spring more (although it seems like we’re not really getting the four seasons anymore.  Today it was 88 degrees).   

      Oh, and we believe in evolution. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/torandall Tori Randall

        Yes, because all Texans believe that dinosaurs were a hoax and that evolution is the devil’s work. Really? Get your head out of your ass. Generalization doesn’t help anybody. You can find like minded people anywhere you go, you  just have to be open. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and all of my friends are liberal. We are all different religions, and we are accepting of different cultures and varying beliefs. The big cities in Texas are all pretty liberal: Austin, Dallas, Ft.Worth, Houston (although Houston really does suck.) If you love where you live, that’s great, don’t move. Tell people why you love Massachusetts, but don’t attack a different state based on stereotypes and ignorance. 

        • Guest

          Yes, and by having each and every one of your friends being ‘liberal’ you must be a very open-minded individual.  So you can come from different cultures and belief systems but you must not oppose the status quo of ‘liberalism’.  Haha.  JK, I’m a liberal too, I just like sowing havoc.  Weeeee….

    • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

      Why would anyone want to live in Texas, no matter how great certain cities may be?  I guess if you were an uber conservative…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1197242063 Eric Short

        Dont move to Austin. You’ll regret it.

      • Caroline

        You’d be surprised.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/torandall Tori Randall

        Austin is incredibly liberal and despite what ignorant outsiders seem to thing, not all Texas are conservative bigots. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and I consider myself a liberal. 

        • Guest

           ‘ignorant outsiders seem to thing’       ?

        • Juliannakv

          You’ve never had a problem with autocorrect?

        • Macetrebburn254

          If this is a question it’s grammatically incorrect. Get over yourself.

      • Anonymous

        That’s right. Just keep thinking that. Stay away from Austin.

        • http://baileypowell.com/ B

          LOL

      • Anonymous

        That’s right. Just keep thinking that. Stay away from Austin.

    • Alice

      Cheap beer, rent, and tacos? I could be down. And having lived in the Northeast  for 5 years after growing up in North Carolina, I could use some southern hospitality. 

      • http://mcchris.tumblr.com/ Austinite

        Don’t move here.

    • Tomas

      This was literally one of the worst TC articles I’ve ever read. Mostly inaccurate and poorly written, I don’t know how this was ever allowed for publication. 

      • Guest

        It’s poor writing admittedly but it’s not so atrocious as you make out.  Texas seems horrifying from an outside perspective and truthfully this article doesn’t really win over ‘hearts and minds’ effectively, but it’s still an interesting premise.  All I hear from reliably fun and interesting friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn after they’ve visited Austin is what a pleasant place it is to visit.  They are not the harbingers of hipsterdom that America has become so disparaging of so much as young couples with children and creative types looking to experience what differences there may be  between US regions.   

      • Macetrebburn254

        This Tomas sure sounds like he knows his stuff!

    • http://twitter.com/DatLe Dat Le

      Isn’t living in Houston cheaper than living in Austin?

    • Gingoire

      Please do not move here.  You are welcome to visit, but all of these West-coasters moving in is driving up prices for all of us, and we MAKE LESS MONEY than they do in California.  It is becoming so over-crowded that the traffic is a nightmare and our quaint places are being spoiled.  I am sure your area has nice features, too.  The grass is always greener…

      • Guest

        Yeah, they seem like really welcoming people.

    • Dan

      Please do not come here. 

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