Where: Austin, TX
When: 30/12/2016 – 01/01/2017
Austin is unlike every other city I’ve been to in Texas, and I love it.
I actually went to Austin twice in 2016 – this trip, and once in May, both for only a handful of days. But it doesn’t take long to appreciate the culture of a city as unique as Austin. Honestly, it feels more like San Francisco or Denver, or how I imagine Portland is – but definitely not how one pictures the capital of a state like Texas.
It is an extremely walkable city, which I definitely appreciate (especially with Uber and Lyft banned!), with streets full of funky bars and restaurants, and parks and rivers that always seem packed with people enjoying the beautiful weather Austin gets most of the year. Though most of the bars on 6th street seem geared towards tourists, it only takes a bit of searching to find a better bar that the locals go to (the same goes for a lot of the restaurants).
The city itself looks as funky as the vibe I get when I go there – some crazy buildings make up the skyline, and they’ve kept a lot of the old buildings with the classic ‘Retro’ lettered signs in good condition – even repurposing some as apartments or bars or office space. The only sad thing is they seem to be demolishing more buildings recently to make room for condos – but hopefully they save enough to keep the original style of the city in place.
Another sad part of Austin is how jumbled up the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts seem to be – walking through the city can lead one through several neighbourhoods of varying quality in quick succession, and it was sad to see how much litter and trash strewn in the streets and creeks some of the worst neighbourhoods had. Hopefully Austin will continue to invest in cleaning up the neighbourhoods that need it most.
New Years Eve was basically a big block party in the middle of the busiest part of 6th street – they closed down a few blocks of roads for safety, but it was still PACKED – it seemed to me a lot of people drove in from surrounding towns to celebrate (like us!).
I never really imagine myself living in Texas again – but if I did, I think Austin would be my first choice for location. It’s rare to find a city with such a laid back and inviting culture, but Austin has cultivated theirs well.