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Austin questions

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Ward, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Ward

    Ward Tele-Holic

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    Couple of questions regarding Austin. My wife and I are considering relocating and will be visiting in a couple weeks.

    Can anyone recommend a hotel?

    Also, we'll be looking at neighborhoods, so can anyone recommend some nice family neighborhoods, good schools, ect?

    Finally, on a tele related note, can anyone recommend a family friendly (meaning I can take my one-year old) location to see some good live music? Thanks, Ward
     
  2. Twangbanger

    Twangbanger Tele-Holic

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    Redd Volkaerts show on Saturday @ the Continental club is kid friendly! Plus now one should ever come to Austin and miss a Redd Show!
     
  3. OrovilleTim

    OrovilleTim Tele-Holic

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    ...like that dummy from California did when he got in too late and said "but I don't know my way around and don't want to venture around at night in an unknown city all tired and travel weary." I've been wishing I had a swivel knee to kick myself in the, ummm..., bottom. I should have went from Airport to the Club before heading up to check-in in Round Rock.

    Is it really kid friendly, or are you kidding? (After all, it is a bar. ;)) I've wanted to go to Austin again, but limited it to my wife and I. Was going to leave the 9 & 10 year olds at home so we could go see Redd.

    There is so much good music in that one spot (Continental Club.) One of my faves I watched when I was there for a week was Paris 49. Really cool Django vibe. Unfortunately they don't seem to have a CD out, so I only have my memories.
     
  4. Twangbanger

    Twangbanger Tele-Holic

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    On the Saturday show, it's free and open to anyone. I've seen kids from 3-6yrs in there at that time.
     
  5. OrovilleTim

    OrovilleTim Tele-Holic

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    I was there for a week last year. And besides cursing access roads (the whole get off the freeway, go other direction another mile, then cross dangerous freeway to come back another mile to get to something concept,) I really liked it.

    I was keeping in mind what you are looking at and found that I couldn't really see Austin without the help of a local friend to drive me around.

    My initial impressions as far as relocating were that if money was no object, I would love to be in the neighborhoods that were just West of downtown, near the lake where I could launch my boat (boat ramps and lakes in town... really neat concept.) I don't know the name of the neighborhood, but it's an older, established neighborhood with beautiful mature trees, etc. Not cheap though.

    More realistic though, I had thought to get most bang for buck, schools, convenient dining/shopping, and more of family feel, I would have chose the Round Rock area itself. I always say, you can see the lowest common denominator of a town by going to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night, and I didn't feel uncomfortable doing so there (didn't feel well and needed to seek out some medicines.)

    Now granted, this is just based on brief observations of a foreigner while spending a week there and browsing realtor.com after that week looking at houses.

    One thing I will say though... if you want some good BBQ, go hit Coopers in "downtown" Round Rock! I at there 3-4 times during my stay I was so impressed (and I am a BBQ tourist sampling from all over the country, coast to coast ;))
     
  6. OrovilleTim

    OrovilleTim Tele-Holic

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    That's really cool! I will have to keep that in mind. We had planned on a "me & her" trip, but the kids heard me rave so much about Austin after my trip there that they wanted to go too. I didn't want to miss seing Redd *twice* and was thinking worst-case I could ditch the kids with some friends there, but felt that was a little "pushy", hehe.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  7. 6bender

    6bender Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Or in my town, any time ;) .

    I was there last year for a seminar and always had to find my way around at night. It wasn't easy. Hope to go again some time when I can really explore. Guero's Taco Bar was tasty though :D .
     
  8. TDPRI

    TDPRI Retired

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    Relocating in Austin.

    Well, it is a great place, but it's also a tough place to live. It is much more expensive to live in Austin than 99% of the rest of Texas. Housing has always been high there because of the college and state governement. UT has 65,000 students so there are lots of people looking for cheap housing close in. So, in effect, there isn't any cheap housing close in.

    The northern and southern burbs are where the less expensive housing is right now. And, now that Austin is almost 1 million in population, more and more new subdivisions are being built farther and farther away from Austin proper.

    Just to make things worse the traffic is HORRIBLE in Austin. For 20 years, "no growth" groups have halted the construction of freeways and highways. But they haven't slowed the growth of the town as they had hoped. So, now the town is over a million with the suburbs and has the same highway and roads as they did when the town had 300,000 residents. New roads are being built on the east side of the city but still under construction.

    Now, I don't know your housing budget, but if it is under $500,000 I doubt you'll actually be looking too much right in Austin. Unless you like spending that kind of money on a "fixer-upper."

    I see a lot of growth on the Southside now... because Georgetown and places North have gotten SO HUGE. Kyle and Budda (bU-da) are nice places about 30 mins south that are more affordable and nicely controled.

    Many people live in the far southwest in little towns like Dripping Springs. Or in the far northwest up around the Lakes (Travis Lake, etc). On the northside you find Roundrock, Georgetown, Pflugerville and others. But since DELL is up in Roundrock, and they have a big workforce, the northside is jammed with people and traffic.

    As for a place to stay. Again, I don't know your budget but we like to stay at the Staybridge Suites at the Arboritum. It's north of downtown about 20 mins but it's made like an apartment with a kitchen etc. And there is great shopping nearby. Plus it's at the intersection of a couple of freeways. So, it's easy to get places. Single rooms are aroung $80 a day sometimes less. Having a kitchen will save you a lot of food.

    Oh, and there are lots of great resturants in Austin, but unfortunately just about all of them have large crowds and pretty long waits. This is really the story of Austin. Crowds and delays.

    While in the area, drive south on I-35 to San Antonio. Along the way you go through Kyle, Budda, San Marcos and New Braunfels. All are nice little towns. Check out San Antonio and you'll find, less traffic, lower priced housing and 1.5 million people. It's only 90 miles from Austin to San Antonio.

    Good Luck
    Paul Green
    PS. I'm in Spring Branch about 60 miles south of Austin and 30 miles north of SA. But I'm west of New Braunfels about 20 miles.
     
  9. James Lutz

    James Lutz Tele-Meister

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    Paul has it nailed...

    ...way too many people for the transportation infrastructure. convoluted freeway interchanges, and more speedbumps per capita than any other place in the known universe. some of the speedbumps will tear your car apart, jar your fillings loose at 15mph. never seen such a thing in all the other places i've been. i swear texas, home of one of the most nonsensical state governments, is controlled by the insurance cartel and the concrete cartel. the best advice i can give you, if you are serious about moving here, do what sweetie and i did years ago. make regular trips here during different times of the year for a few years and check it all out, get a feel for it. if you can sit outside at a restaurant and eat dinner at 8 pm and it is still 115 degrees and the heat and grackles don't chase you off, maybe it is the place for you. if you can sit on I 35 or MoPac in standstill traffic for a good portion of the day, you will be ok here. if you have the patience of Job to wait, wait, wait, wait, and then watch someone cut in front of you, be it in a car, or in a restaurant, then you will be ok here. if you are used to getting good customer service, call backs, orders right, you may be dissappointed. if you like good food and good music, this is the place. you just have to pay for it is many many ways. there is no state income tax, so the money for roads etc has to come from somewhere. prepare for "fees" on everything you do, and over eight percent sales tax. nice weather doesn't mean smooth roads either, like in california. here, a brand new road will be rough. again, too many people, which means that pay is cheap, labor is poor. steve earle, who is from texas, considered moving back here a couple years ago. he decided against it because as he put it, 'austin has great weather, cheap pot, and the most beautiful women in the world - who can get anything done under those conditions?'
     
  10. OrovilleTim

    OrovilleTim Tele-Holic

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    Re: Paul has it nailed...

    I waited at that hip mexican joint down the street from the contintental club for 35 minutes watching people come after me get chips and salsa, then get seated *numerous times*, finally got someone's attention who said I could take an outside two seater table, to which I was promptly told by the little waiter dude "you can't juth thit there thir, you have to wait". When I told him my situation he told me I'd still need to go back inside and wait. I said "thanks but no thanks," headed back to the continental club, ate more peanuts, and drank another lone star (although I didn't make the mistake of throwing the shells on the floor like the poor guy next to me did who nearly got attacked by the barmaid for such an offense.)

    But on the flip side... I got excellent service many places I went *outside* of the city limits, and nearly missed my plane as I was discussing BBQ with Cooper up in Round Rock ;)
     
  11. Twangbanger

    Twangbanger Tele-Holic

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    Was that El Sol y La Luna?
    My ex-girlfriends cousins place, must have got bad service. We always got treated great.

    It's right across the street from the club and a block over.
     
  12. OrovilleTim

    OrovilleTim Tele-Holic

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    I want to say it was a few blocks down, but the blocks there were big so it may have just seemed a few. It was a place on the corner. Kind of looked little, but it was huge inside. There were little tables out front, and then there was a sitting area by the bar where folks had to wait to be seated where you could look out onto the sidewalk and street. Everything sure smelled good, but I got a little ticked at the treatment.

    That South Congress area is really awesome though. I recall some of the shops that were just a real blast. There was one that was all this "dia de la muerta" style Mexican art with a healthy dose of turquiose thrown in. One store that cracked me up was the "everything is black" store (an emo/goth kids dream store.)
     
  13. Ward

    Ward Tele-Holic

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    Thanks everyone for the advice. Living in San Diego, I'm pretty used to the housing costs and traffic. Actually, the houses seem pretty cheap comparatively. I guess I've just got to search around. I assume I would be working downtown (since I'm a lawyer), so I'll be looking at the nearby neighborhoods. Thanks for the input, Ward
     
  14. El Capitan

    El Capitan Tele-Holic

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    a suggestion

    for those of you wishing to relocate to austin.

    If you can,
    listen to this radio station during the morning drive (5:30 AM to 10 Central.)

    http://www.kvet.com/pages/listenlive.html

    I moved here 10 years ago, and this was a real good primer on living here. No other station talks about local issues more, and showcases local talent more than this one, in the way they do.....(like country music or not, it doesn't matter much. Although you MAY have the urge to buy a Magnum custom Trailer, or talk to Jenny Covert after awhile......:))
    You will learn ALL kinds of things about Austin, I promise.

    Also, if you are ever going to come visit, PM me, and I'll tell you where the REAL good food is.

    I'm SURE Oroville Tim was talking about "Gueros" on South Congress. My vote for most overated restaurant ever, but it's location, location, location.


    Ok and remember, to "Keep Austin Weird"
     
  15. OrovilleTim

    OrovilleTim Tele-Holic

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    Re: a suggestion

    Yep! That's the place I was talking about. Forgot the name, but was thinking it had something to do with Beck.

    I have a stack of those Waterloo Records "Keep Austin Weird" stickers I brought home. "Cheap" souveneirs :)
     
  16. Dave W

    Dave W Friend of Leo's

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    True. But whenever I'm on my way back from Austin anywhere near rush hour, I just cringe looking at the lines of cars on the feeder roads at Buda and Kyle. They've changed from little villages to fast growing suburbs faster than the county roads can handle. No stoplights at the intersections off the exits, and you'll see two lines with 75 or more cars each just inching toward the stop signs.

    You're right, San Antonio traffic at its worst is a breeze compared to Austin. It's almost pleasant. But I'd rather be in my nice little town.
     
  17. TDPRI

    TDPRI Retired

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    Yeah, after I wrote my post I saw that you were in SD and I figured the housing would look attractive. I've never lived in SD but I've been 3 or 4 times. It's a whole different vibe there from Austin naturally.

    Heck, just the differences between CA and TX will set you back for a good while.

    If you've got the money to spend on housing and want nice, close in and convenient, go for the Westlake area. That's the place to be in-town. Lovely area close to everything. Fantastic schools. I would say it's number one. The only downside is the expense. Its like Post Oak in Houston, and Highland Park in Dallas. The best (and sometimes hated and stereotyped for it).

    Paul Green
    PS. In my book, the nicest two hotels are the Four Seasons and the Doubletree Suites (on 17th) both are great. The 4 Seasons is $300 a night plus and the Doubletree Suites which has fabulous suites, decor and views is between $180 and $250 a night. If we're staying one night we stay in the Doubletree Suites. If we're staying a week we stay in that Staybridge that I suggested previously.
     
  18. slack

    slack Friend of Leo's

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    I live in LA. But, I've been hanging out or working in Austin for over 30 yrs. It's changed a lot.

    I am rarely impacted as much by traffic problems in LA like I am in Austin (or Dallas, or Houston). Austin has experienced a lot of growing pains, especially in the last 10 yrs, IMO and my friends who live there.

    Anyway, I typically make a bee-line for the old Threadgills for my quick chicken fried steak for lunch fix. Carry on. 8)
     
  19. mk

    mk Tele-Meister

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    South Congress has gotten heavily gentrified fast, and it's going to get more so. Still, Guero's has the best fish tacos in town, and great margueritas. Don't go there on a Fri or Sat night, or you take your life in your hands. That goes for a lot of places, actually.

    Dunno what's going on with your commentary on your waiter's voice, though.

    Re. Austin more generally:

    I'm being blunt here, so apologies for bruised feelings.

    Yup, driving is a pain in the ass, and zoning is haphazard and weird. No income taxes and a general aversion to government leads to really bad planning. The latest effort is to put in toll booths on what are already publicly-funded roads -- though since the generally wealthier and more vocal west side has complained, it will only happen east and north. Oh yeah -- the governor also wants to privatize the highways.

    The outer burbs don't speak to me at all -- think Temecula. Or any other edge city with generic ticky-tacky. Sorry.

    The nicer areas in town are indeed very expensive. South Austin is full of really cute little bungalows on small lots that have become seriously expensive. Tarrytown on the near west has beautiful older homes for big cash, and West Lake Hills is lovely but evokes the worst aspects of a wealthy California suburb. Nice houses, beautiful views, and great schools, though.

    The east side of Austin is generally the working class side of town, and is far more culturally diverse. Lots of cool pockets that are underdeveloped, and housing can be cheap there. I live just north of the old airport, 15 min from downtown (except on a Friday afternoon, which stretches that to a miserable 45 min). It's a postwar suburb, and has gone through a number of ups and downs in the past 50 years. Decent houses are cheap (almost all <$150k), which makes this one of the best bargains close to the city. A crap shoot, of course, but this area will probably appreciate a lot soon. The old airport was closed 5 years ago and is now being aggressively redeveloped. We'll see.

    Schools in this neighborhood are more hit and miss. Overall, except for the really well-supported spots (like West Lake), public school funding in Texas is abysmal -- an embarassment that leads to ever more comic/tragic legislative initiatives.

    Austin has its irritants, but they're mostly those of the rest of the US. On the up side, it's a real place, with a personality and culture all its own. I like it.

    BTW, OrovilleTim, if you like Paris 49, you might be interested in the Hot Club of Cowtown -- whose CDs are readily available. Lots of 30s French jazz, but also moving over into western swing. GREAT stuff.
     
  20. BiliClare

    BiliClare TDPRI Member

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    Chuy's

    Austin is awesome because of the one and only CHUY's!!!!
    I highly recommend living close to that wonderful Tex-Mex!
    I live up north between Austin & Pflugerville. My commute starts at 730 to go 10 miles takes 20-25 minutes south I35. I like the area- lots of hawks and coyotes around.
    The music scene is more on the outskirts now. 6th street is mainly for mall window-shopper type music fans... once we lost Joe's Generic Bar anyway.
     
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