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Moving to Texas...
Grasshopper Posted at 2009/11/08 5:57pm reply to

Grasshopper
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I am considering relocating to Austin. I will be coming from California. It will be a big change for me and my 13 year old daughter. We are both vegans. I want to know about the area and is the culture friendly to Vegans.  Are there mountains for hiking? Where can I eat if I go out? What is Austin like? Anything you can tell me would be great.

~Karri

PS, my son wants to know what the music scene is like to. Is it a good place to build a fan base?
lazy smurf Posted at 2009/11/08 6:45pm reply to

lazy smurf
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I think it is pretty friendly towards vegans, certainly more so than the rest of Texas. I have a blog and I post about a lot of restaurants and things I do and have links to other Austinites if you are interested. http://lazysmurf.wordpress.com/
peter Posted at 2009/11/08 7:07pm reply to

peter
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Austin's pretty cool.  It's got a cool mix between Middle America and a "hip" place that caters to younger people.  It's not the most vegan-friendly city in the country, but it's pretty damn good, and getting better everyday.  You can check out restaurants and grocery stores here on the site or on happycow.net.  We've gotten a slew of natural grocers recently, but the mainstays are Wheatsville (local co-op) and the flagship Whole Foods downtown.  There's also HEB, the cheap mainstream grocer, and some farmers markets.  Whatever we lack in the number of fully vegan places is made up for by the activities (potlucks, restaurant meetups, etc.) put on by this group or other veg*n groups in town.  Also, there's a general attitude towards animals here that's pretty cool.

Other stuff besides veganism...Austin is perhaps the largest American city outside of the Northeast and West Coast that is known for having an alternative bent, although state politics can drive one crazy.  The economy is relatively good considering the circumstances, and the weather is generally nice when it's not summer.  The amount of diversity is good.  The cost of living is either high or low depending on what you compare it to (high vs. the rest of Middle America, low vs. coastal cities and Chicago), and it's increasing with *rapid growth* (something that defines the city right now) and gentrification.  The city is fairly sprawling and car-dependent, and public transit (capmetro.org) is just OK, but getting better.

I like Austin, I'm glad I'm here.  It's a pretty fascinating place geographically.  How about you?  Where are you relocating from?
Grasshopper Posted at 2009/11/10 11:48pm reply to

Grasshopper
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Thank you for the answers!  I still want to know more about the area and wilderness and what there is to do and where the nice affordable places to live are.  I'll also be seeking employment.
peter Posted at 2009/11/11 11:39am reply to

peter
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Music scene: Austin is the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World".  The music scene here is huge and pretty diverse (mainly a lot of indie rock and rootsy stuff like progressive and alt-country), and it's part of the large arts/entertainment/tourism sector of the local economy.  So while there will be a big crowd of fellow musicians for your son to network with, this also means that the scene here is pretty saturated.  There's a lot of competition.  Anybody good can get at least an occasional gig (or at least play at one of the open mikes - openmikes.org), but you have to be really good to stand out.

Scenery: Austin is in Central Texas and at the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country.  Most people consider this to be the most scenic part of the state.  That said, you're coming from California, and pretty much everything pales in comparison to the West Coast in my opinion.  It's still quite nice, though.  The hills, lakes (man-made), greenery, and natural springs are big draws to the area.  Barton Springs, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Zilker Park, Lake Travis, Lake Austin/Red Bud Isle, and Enchanted Rock are just some of the scenic areas both in and just outside of the city.  Look them up.  The only mountains you'll find in Texas are in the western edges of the state (though Big Bend National Park makes a good weekend trip).

Employment: Main listings can be found in the Austin Chronicle (local alt-weekly), the Austin American-Statesman, or Craigslist.  I put the links below.  Main sectors of the local economy include government (we're the state capital), education (we're home to the flagship campus of the University of Texas), hi-tech, and tourism and service.

Things to do:  the Chronicle is a good source, though you don't have to rely on it exclusively.  Much social activity revolves around seeing live music, dining out with friends, or outdoor activities.  But there's other stuff, too.

Cheap housing:  Again, it depends on what your definition of cheap is.  Since you're coming from California, I would assume that Austin will seem dirt-cheap to you, but that might not necessarily be the case.  Anyways, the further away from downtown you are, the cheaper it'll be, generally.  However, being closer to downtown means being closer to activity and less dependence on your car.  Generally, areas west of Mopac (Loop 1) is the hillier, more scenic, and more expensive area.  Areas east of I-35 are either low-income or some place along the process of gentrification.  Other areas right around downtown are popular with young people, and also gentrifying.  Areas further out (north of FM 2222, south of Hwy 290/71/Ben White Blvd) are more suburban and either middle class or low income.

Links:
http://austin.craigslist.org
http://www.austinchronicle.com
http://www.statesman.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin,_Texas - good for general info
http://wikitravel.org/en/Austin - stuff to do
http://maps.google.com - check out "Street View"
http://www.capmetro.org
http://www.openmikes.org
http://www.downtownaustintv.org - now-defunct TV show from local PBS station
http://www.cityofaustin.org - official site for the local government
John Posted at 2009/11/11 12:06pm reply to

John
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you should write a guide for moving to austin peter.
peter Posted at 2009/11/11 1:28pm reply to

peter
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Haha...can you tell I'm a geography nerd? :P

But yeah, so many people come on here just to ask about the city, it may be worth it to have a page.  Ross & Jacob - I know you're in the midst of a redesign, but is this an eventual possibility?  Sorry for not bringing it up earlier.
Stella Posted at 2009/11/11 3:11pm reply to

Stella
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Austin is great.  Don't tell anyone you've just moved here from California.  awesome
Ross Posted at 2009/11/11 3:52pm reply to

Ross
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>Haha...can you tell I'm a geography nerd? :P
>
>But yeah, so many people come on here just to ask about the city, it may be worth it to have a page.  Ross & Jacob - I know you're in the midst of a redesign, but is this an eventual possibility?  Sorry for not bringing it up earlier.

That's a great idea, Pete- if anything we should at least get stickies to post at the top of the forum and maybe have a collaborative guide on "moving to austin?"
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