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Visting Austin btwn holidays
Tessa Posted at 2007/12/04 6:40pm reply to

Tessa
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I'm hoping to come down to Austin from Minneapolis to see the city and see if I may want to make it my new home.  I am looking for a place to stay for a few days that would be ok with a puppy (he is very sweet but still learning).  I am looking to visit between Dec 26-31.

Can you offer any suggestions or a comfy couch?  Also can you suggest places to eat, visit, tour, etc.?

Thanks so much!
peter Posted at 2007/12/04 8:52pm reply to

peter
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Hey there and welcome.

Places to visit (no order):

South Congress Ave & the bats (although winter may not be a good time)
Zilker Park/Barton Springs
Downtown flagship Whole Foods
6th & Red River for music (both streets, not the intersection)
BookPeople
Wheatsville Co-op
Mt. Bonnell
One of our potlucks

I'm sure others will add to the list. I'm not too sure on lodging, but I've heard decent things about Austin Motel and Couchsurfing.com, although I don't know their status regarding pets.

Austin has a lot of things going for it (mainly this group/site) and I miss it very much, even though there are some downsides. (Although I still post here often, I've moved away temporarily to a place that doesn't compare to it.)

Enjoy the warm weather while you're down here. As a fellow Northerner, I can attest that while the (generally) mild winters are a very nice change, keep in mind that the summers are hot as hell.

Austin has grown rapidly in recent years, growing out instead of up. You will most likely need a car here, although you may be able to get by without one. Transit is improving slowly (commuter rail in the works, currently only buses) and the city has a new focus on smart growth, unfortunately gentrifying downtown and the East Side in the process.

The cost of living is rising here but is still relatively cheap. You might hear how "expensive" Austin is, but ignore it - the city is still dirt cheap when compared nationally.

Oh, wow, this post was longer than intended. Hopefully this has given some insight into life here. Good luck!
Tessa Posted at 2007/12/05 9:40am reply to

Tessa
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I will definitely try to check out all those places or at least as many as I can.

Do you know of any good camping spots?  I am having a hard time trying to find a hotel where I can have my pup that isn't super expensive.

Are the summers humid hot or dry hot?  Mpls summers get really humid.

How about biking?  I saw that Austin is ranked 6th for biking cities.  Biking and buses are my main form of transportation.

Thanks again!  I'm really excited to come down to visit!
kayla Posted at 2007/12/05 9:58am reply to

kayla
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i just did a google search on "austin pet friendly lodging" and got several hits, many of which are not expensive (i.e. motel 6, best western, etc.)

this was my first summer in austin and it was almost overwhelmingly humid at times. but i'm a wimp when it comes to the heat so maybe i'm not the best person to give an opinion.
Jacob Posted at 2007/12/05 11:52am reply to

Jacob
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>How about biking?  I saw that Austin is ranked 6th for biking cities.  Biking and buses are my main form of transportation.

Biking in austin is pretty dangerous.  There's not many bike lanes, and in the places that there are, people illegally park in the bike lanes anyways.  There are some "bike routes", but they aren't good for commuting because none of them are straight lines and it's normally quicker just to bike down a street like Lamar.  Though bicycling down lamar is very scary (especially if you don't have a mirror), and the sidewalks are broken in some points or even missing.  We're also number 7 on Kryptonite's Top 10 Worst Cities for Bike Theft.  Also, the cops aren't very forgiving for bicyclists who are hit and there are many hit and runs.  One of my friend was biking home from work one day and woke up in the ER cause he was hit by a hit and run and his bike was destroyed.

Though bicycling is fun if you can find a safe route and avoid traffic.  happy
peter Posted at 2007/12/05 4:32pm reply to

peter
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Unless you're a person who LOVES sunshine and crazy heat, Central Texas summers will be the equivalent of Satan's butthole. Yes, it's humid hot, not the dry heat of, say, Las Vegas. It gets pretty tough. Expect temps in the 90s from late May to September, and 100s from June to late August, more or less.

At the same time, it is pretty nice to have sunny, 75 degree days in December while the rest of the country freezes.
Tessa Posted at 2007/12/05 5:33pm reply to

Tessa
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I must admit you all got me a little worried about biking and the heat.  Maybe I could carry rocks in my pockets and chuck them at nasty cars that try to hit me.  The cops can be assholes up here too, at one of our critical mass rides around 20 people were arrested, many assaulted by the cops and we were all sprayed with teargas.  That was certainly my scariest ride.

With heat, I guess I'll just have to feel it for myself and see if I melt.

Thanks everyone!
peter Posted at 2007/12/05 7:38pm reply to

peter
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Hey, don't let us get you down about Austin!  It's still a nice place to be, a lot of us like it here, and the people tend to be pretty nice. It just so happens to be in Texas, and we try to cope with that. lol
Ross Posted at 2007/12/05 8:06pm reply to

Ross
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haha...yeah i say take all these words with a grain of salt. there are definitely ways that austin is better than many cities in regards to biking, we have the veloway bikeway on the south side of the city (which isn't really for traveling, more just a place to ride), there's the lance armstrong bikeway in the works that'll go from east to west around downtown. there's the town lake hike and bike trail all the way around the lake which is definitely a pleasant place to stroll (also the shoal creek trail).

and pretty much like within any big american city, riding on big roads with cars is dangerous, so if you stick to neighborhood roads you're usually fine. so i wouldn't let horror stories bother you too much. same thing for the heat, this summer actually wasn't near as bad as it's been in the past, and on the flipside of the heat, we usually have great springs and falls with moderate temperatures.

it's a great town!
jen Posted at 2007/12/05 11:08pm reply to

jen
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austin is a great place!  i moved here from the east coast 4.5 years ago and i don't ever want to move again.  yes, it gets hot in the summer, but it got hot in nj too and at least in austin i can afford an apt. with air conditioning.

malinda and bryan ride their bikes everywhere.  bryan would agree that it's not the most bike friendly city...but it's doable.  again, with austin  being so affordable you can most likely get a place riding distance from downtown, whereas that would never be possible in other cities.
peter Posted at 2007/12/06 2:00pm reply to

peter
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All right, I feel a little guilty about badmouthing the city. Despite the problems that arise from its location in Texas, here's some things that it is either pretty good or kick ass in:

Awesome music and arts scene
Very diverse in many ways
Mild springs, falls, and parts of winter
Sunshine
Veg scene
Natural beauty
Cost of living
Relatively strong, diverse economy
Alternative fuels

So yeah, it's definitely worth a trip here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin%2C_Texas
http://www.wikitravel.org/en/Austin
http://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/texas/austin/index.html

malinda Posted at 2007/12/06 2:13pm reply to

malinda
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YES!  You can ride your bike here in Austin.  Though others have raised some issues, I will say that it is the most bike-friendly place that I have lived.  Is it like Portland?  No, but you can get around here by bike reasonably safely.  From where I live, I can ride my bike to most of the places that I like to eat, to buy food, visit with my friends, the movies...  most everywhere that I need to go.  On average, it takes me 5 or 10 minutes longer by bike than it does by car.  It is worth picking up one of those bike route maps since it is much more comfortable to ride the smaller streets that have the bike lanes.  Like anything else, do a little research and be cautious and you'll generally be ok on a bike here.

Enjoy your visit!
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