Anyone who’s visited downtown Austin knows that its vibrant allure goes way beyond its well-earned reputation as the “Live music capital of the world.”
Sure, you can catch an amazing show any night of the week, but the city offers much more than outstanding entertainment. It has that certain something often referred to as charisma. It’s casual, cutting-edge and young. Besides, where else can you wear flip-flops practically every day of the year? In the past decade, downtown Austin has become the ultimate blend of urban cool and southern charm, offering its residents a lifestyle unlike any other.
The downtown Austin lifestyle is about being spontaneous and social. It’s about living life the way you want to.
Originally from the East Coast, I knew I wanted to be part of the Austin vibe from my first visit downtown. The area’s warm weather, friendly people, comparatively low cost of living, and the real estate market’s positive outlook made my decision to move here an easy one. So far it’s been everything I was hoping for and more.
Forget About Ordinary
In the past decade, sleek condo communities have redefined the Austin skyline and given their occupants front-row center access to the city’s best features. It’s a long list. You can do everyday activities such as grocery shopping or walking the dog. But don’t think for a minute that these things are ordinary. Transform your dog walks into explorations of the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail or the Boardwalk Trail. Your local grocers just happen to be the ones foodies drool over. Every day can be gourmet, if you want.
You can shop at destination grocery stores such as the flagship Whole Foods or the new Trader Joes at the Seaholm development. Catch a movie at Violet Crown. Grab a bite to eat at one of the hundreds of great dining experiences. New retailers and restaurants continue to join the downtown scene, so there’s always something new to explore.
For instance, Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ and Llano Lounge recently opened at Second and Congress. It replaces the Copa Bar and Grill, bringing slow cooked meats and sophisticated cocktails to the space. Then there’s Portland’s own VooDoo Doughnut. Open 24 hours a day, the bakery offers an eclectic menu you have to see to believe.
Your Backyard View of Iconic Events
Major festivals such as SXSW, Austin City Limits Musical Festival, Formula One race festivities, and the X-Games (at least for another year), drive downtown’s annual event calendar. These big-league events bring in thousands of spectators, and surrounding businesses roll out the red carpet.
People living outside of downtown have to deal with parking, shuttles, finding a ride and spending time in traffic, but living downtown means you can go out your front door and enjoy events that attract people from around the globe.
If you work and live downtown, you may even consider going car-free. Think about it. No more gas, maintenance or insurance expenses. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with not having a monthly car payment or having to worry about someone else damaging your vehicle.
Although the Austin metro area is spread out, the downtown core is very pedestrian-friendly. Everything is contained within a 20-block radius. B-Cycle has several bicycle rental kiosks throughout downtown if you don’t want to walk to your destination. For travel beyond downtown, take a Cap Metro bus or train. Ridesharing services and short-term car rentals such as Cars2Go are also readily available. Austin Bergstrom International Airport is about 15 minutes away, so catching a flight is convenient too.
Ready for Anything
Unlike a single family home that comes with yard maintenance and repairs, a downtown condo doesn’t come with the burden of those costs. In fact, many downtown condos include access to a pool, fitness center, movie room, game room and even a wine cellar. Many of these high rises also capitalize on breath-taking 360 views of the city.
You won’t spend your weekends mowing the lawn or pulling weeds. Chances are, you’ll be ready for anything.
Living downtown also means easy access to running and biking trails. The Hike and Bike Trail at Ladybird Lake is one of my favorite places. There are also tons of restaurants that offer healthy options on the menu. Smoothie and juice bars, such as Daily Juice on Third Street, offer delicious made-to-order, nutrition-packed drinks.
The best part is you can surround yourself with lots of other people who share the same health goals. I find that sort of community to be inspirational and motivating, making it easier for me to stay on track.
The downtown lifestyle means different things to different people. To me, it’s about exploring all of the options that Austin has to offer. From its world-class restaurants to its A-list shows and events, no two days in downtown are the same. Feel like staying in? That’s okay too. Relax, read a best-seller by the pool. It most certainly has a killer view.