We've been living in Austin for almost a month now, but we really haven't experienced a ton of the city yet. That being said, there are some things that just strike me as really pleasant about this city. I wanted to say "pleasantly surprising" but, to be honest, I wasn't surprised by most of these.
- Nothing is far away. Seriously though. We had a 30 minute drive to IKEA in Round Rock, which is comparable to what we normally did back in Vernon Hills, and the drive to get my Fiat serviced was about the same. But everywhere else we've had to drive takes a maximum of 15 minutes unless we hit some major traffic. We're downtown in about 5 minutes and south of the lake in 7. Not bad at all.
- The Austin skyline is kind of beautiful. And even better, we can see it from our apartment. At night it lights up and looks great. There have been some thunderstorms rolling through the past week or so and it's been even better to see the lightning fill the space behind the buildings.
- Downtown is super-manageable. I honestly don't like Chicago as a city. It's hard to get around, public transit isn't very convenient (unless you want a ton of bus transfers), and you have to walk a few miles to get anywhere. #ATX is not the same. Parking is just as bad (maybe worse) and you have to pay for it almost anywhere, but once you're downtown, walking is a breeze. Volume11 (whom I am currently contracted to) is working out of Capital Factory at the Omni building, so I spend most of my week in the heart of downtown. It's easy to find food and to get anywhere. It's a great city.
- SO MANY GOOD COFFEE SHOPS I was pretty surprised by this, actually. I didn't expect to find 5 great coffee shops in my first week of living here, but I did. Some are near our house and some aren't, but there are great local coffee roasters and the people at places like Houndstooth are–maybe a little nerdy but–dedicated to their craft. It's awesome. So, so good.
- Food trailers. Yeah, not a surprise. The food trailers are still great and will continue to be. We've got Kebabalicious right down the street from the Omni, taco trucks across the street from our apartment... I even picked up Thai food for dinner out of a trailer on South 1st.
I'm sure I'll find a bunch of other things to love about Austin as we keep living here. I'm really happy to be someplace I like, doing things that I find fulfilling.