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Guest AH_MA

Austin, TX

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Guest AH_MA

Hello everyone. My husband and I might be moving to Austin for grad school this Fall. Could someone tell me about housing? I have seen the apartment rates online, and they seem pretty reasonable, but what about renting or buying a house? Is this an option to consider? Are there houses near campus that have been made into apartmetns? We wouldn't necessarily need to live near UT, we will have a car.

Thanks!

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Guest grreapsphos

As a native Texan (though not an Austinite), I visit friends at UT often and can tell you, unless you heartily despise the thought of anything longer than a 15-minute drive, don't be worried about not being right next to campus. The road systems are just fine (better than Houston and its eternal and expanding road construction, that's for damn sure), and although they do tend to get congested at rush hours, it's nothing like the NE. Additionally, you shouldn't have much of a problem with that since you'll be on non-standard (i.e. student) hours.

As I'm sure you probably know since you applied there, Austin's a great town (especially if you're young, over 21, and/or even remotely fond of music), and the surrounding area, Hill Country, is beautiful - we go camping around there a lot. If you do move there, a required activity for a newcomer is to have a drink at The Oasis on Lake Travis at sunset - it's gorgeous.

Good luck, and sorry I'm unable to give you any specific information about neighborhoods/housing. I'm sure it's a matter of time before a current UT student arrives to give you the real lowdown.

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Guest ilovestephencolbert

I used to live in Austin. UT has a great campus bus system, so I barely used my car at all. It is very efficient and I would highly recommend finding an apartment or a house on the bus route.

I lived in a very nice two bedroom apartment for $725 / month. The complex was called Coppertree Apartments and was RIGHT near the bus stop - it literally dropped me off at my front door. There are many nice complexes if you are interested in renting before you buy. I don't know much about real estate there.

Austin is great, you'll love it there. I'm headed to Ann Arbor but my husband wishes we were staying in Austin!!!

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Guest dave

I'm considering UT austin and it sounds like a really cool place ot be

One question though. I'm really big on not having a car - I bike pretty much everywhere and would like to continue doing so. I've heard that Austin and Texas in general is pretty bad in this regard - any first hand expeirences?

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Guest potential cornellian

I'm from Texas, and I have lots of friends in Austin. One of my friends bikes everywhere, but you'll have to live in the city for that. You can't bike in from the burbs. Having a car for getting groceries, getting out of town (there's great camping!), etc., would be a big help. Almost any place you live will have free parking, and you won't have to worry about digging it out in the snow. Compared to the East Coast, everything is cheap in Austin. And there's a great night life. I hope to end up there someday, like most liberal Texans.

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Guest theothereme

(I live & work & bike in Austin.)

Austin (which recently received an "honorable mention" as a "best biking" town for its size from Bicycling Mag (I think)) is pretty bike-able, especially if you live in central Austin & are fairly comfortable biking in traffic. The buses also have bike racks, which can help extend your bike mobility. It certainly hasn't hurt local cycling politics to have Lance Armstrong call Austin home.

There are a couple of fairly organized bike groups, including the Austin Cycling Association, http://www.austincycling.org/ The ACA, in addition to organizing regular group rides, also lobbies in favor of improved bike access. There's also a (yahoo, I think) listserv geared toward Austin commuters that regularly helps people figure out the best commuting routes, among other things. You might also want to check this out: http://bicycleaustin.info/getaround/routes.html . This (somewhat crotchety but nevertheless informed) site has maps, in case that's useful in helping you look for housing.

And just to echo others' comments - Austin is a wonderful place to live. The longer I live here - and, yes, the more I bike here - the more I love it.

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Guest guest

I was wondering if anyone knew anything about living in Austin? I'm considering going to school there but have never lived in the south before. When I visited a couple of years ago, it seemed liked a completely different culture. A lot of girls were blond and seemed to care about their physical appearance quite a bit.

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I was wondering if anyone knew anything about living in Austin? I'm considering going to school there but have never lived in the south before. When I visited a couple of years ago, it seemed liked a completely different culture. A lot of girls were blond and seemed to care about their physical appearance quite a bit.

A quote from "guest" in another thread.

(And I will say, it would be tough to go to a college campus and not find women concerned with their appearance.)

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Guest Guest

Well, I'm from Texas, and blonde...but does from bathing daily, wearing SPF and keeping my hair combed constitute a preoccupation with physical appearance? If so, I've seen plenty of women above the Mason Dixon line and in Europe who are a lot more hung up than I am...

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Guest potential cornellian

My friends from Austin are all hippies, and they definitely are NOT concerned about appearance (don't wear make-up, high heels, etc.). There's a mix of people there though, so you might meet some groups who are bleach blondes like any other place where the sun shines (Florida, California, etc.).

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Guest anothersocialkid

Is living in Austin doable without a car? Having a car isn't completely out of the question, but it would be a stretch financially.

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Guest Guest

Living without a car is doable, but to get the most out of Austin, you'd need to live in a pretty central location. Also, you might miss out on some of the cool stuff in the outskirts of Austin, such as spring-fed swimming holes, rock climbing, outdoor music concerts and folk festivals. The metro system is getting a huge overhaul over the next couple of years, with a light rail and increased bus service in the works, but for the time being, it can be difficult to get some places without wheels of your own. That having been said, the area around the campus is very walkable, and it's easy to get to restaurants, bars and museums downtown and on the south side.

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So here's a (very specific) new question about Austin:

I went to undergrad there from '01 to '05 but in my rare visits since have seen explosive growth. Anybody know how the town has changed since? Some will say it's been losing that independent/weird vibe for a while but I thought things were going strong when I left.

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I don't know, I don't think that it has lost too much of its indie vibe as long as I have been here. I mean I would say that it has probably gotten a bit more crowded, and as a result there has been more big names/non-indie stuff in the area. However, there is still a pretty big indie music scene and lots of people that insist on the local mantra "Keep Austin Weird." So basically to answer your question, I don't think that it has changed very much since you left in 05.

I'm currently completing my undergrad at UT so if anyone has any questions, I'll be happy to help.

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Here's a question for anyone familiar with UT. I'm trying to find an apartment on one of the shuttle routes, and I've heard that some are in 'bad' areas of town. Are these areas really bad or have I just been hearing from people who are used to suburban instead of urban life? Specifically, I'm looking at apartments on the FW, CR, and LS shuttle routes. Thanks for the help!!

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Frankly, in my opinion, most of the talk about the "bad parts" of Austin (specifically the areas that UT shuttles service) is due to racism. Austin is still a highly segregated city, cross I-35 and you enter into the historically black part of town. That combined with the depressed economic situation in that area of town causes a lot of people to decry it as a "bad area." I know many people that live in this area as students, and none have had any problems, while people living in the more rich/white/student-y places have had a lot of trouble with theft.

I think you'll be just fine finding a place along one of those shuttles, and your rent will be cheaper too.

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I went to school there five years and am moving back for grad school. Here's my take on housing:

* West Campus is ridiculously overpriced and extremely noisy with all the undergrads, greek life, etc.

* North Campus, north of Dean Keaton through about 45th street, is a good bet. The apartments are older but generally larger and way cheaper than the newly developed areas west of Guadalupe Street near campus.

* Anything off a UT shuttle route is going to be cheaper and generally a better all-around deal. I would avoid the riverside area (way far away, mammoth apartment buildings, no style).

* Regarding East Austin, anything east of I-35 and south of MLK Boulevard has the potential to be a bit rough. Some of the best deals close to campus are east of I-35 near Dean Keaton and other cross streets, and the neighborhoods can be quite nice.

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I spent 5.5 years at UT for undergrad and lived in three different areas. Here's my take:

West Campus - I agree with the above poster on all points. It is definitely overpriced, especially with all the new development. On the other hand, it is extremely convenient to get to campus.

North Campus - This was by far my best housing experience. I lived down on 51st street and then on 30th. It certainly was cheaper than west campus and I found the students much more tolerable. I also enjoyed the walks to campus when I lived on 30th. Its walkable from 33rd or 34th street on in, probably a little further out too.

Riverside (east of I-35) - It is certainly cheap, I'll give it that. The big student complexes are convenient but I think they tend to get a bit rowdy. If you do consider this, I would only look at the complexes that are on the UT shuttle routes. I believe the area south of Riverside (Oltorf street) may be a little better in terms of the roughness of the area, but I don't think they have a UT shuttle. In my opinion, this area isn't that far away from campus. Far West, now that is far.

Some other suggestions - Many students who don't live on a shuttle or live far away drive and park on one of the shuttle routes. If I could do it all over again, I would probably like to live along Enfield or Lake Austin shuttle routes. Then again, those areas are more expensive.

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I agree with the two posters above, it definitely is a consensus: if you are coming to Austin, stay clear of Riverside and West Campus and try to find a place in North Campus/Hyde Park area. When I had an apartment in that area, the rent was lower, the place quieter and the over all experience better. Its definitely the area to aim for.

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I lived in West Campus as a grad student, and although it was great in terms of proximity (it took 5 minutes to walk to my first class of the day!), it was often very noisy and full of undergrads. There wasn't much space to do anything either (very high density). My car also got broken into while sitting in my parking lot and my stereo got stolen. Not fun.

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I'm wondering about having a car in Austin. Is it a good idea for getting around outside of the university or does the city offer a an accommodating system of public transportation ? I am from car-addicted California and wonder if the CA-TX road trip would be worth it.

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Hi MPP_RT. Depending on where you live, a car is not a necessity. The city's bus system is great and the university's wing of the city's bus system is better. UT students always ride free with their ID cards.

I've lived and went to school there without a car for about a year and it was fine... a little hassle waiting for buses but otherwise no problems. If you're looking to save money it should be an option. One of the most convenient neighborhoods without a car is North Campus/Hyde Park -- campus is minutes away and there's a major shopping center and a mall a little further north via bus.

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I have been in Austin for the past two years doing my MA at UT. I moved from NYC and hadn't driven in almost 10 years. Not having a car was okay my first year, but this year has become really frustrating. The majority of the city is not pedestrian friendly at all and, with the exception of going to and from campus during school hours, the public transportation system is pretty bad. I got a part-time job in East Austin during the summer and fall semester. A commute that would have taken less than 10 minutes by car took an hour on two buses each way. Not fun. The only thing that made this year bearable transportation-wise is Austin Carshare (http://www.austincarshare.org) If you live near one of their parking spots, you can borrow a car to do your grocery shopping, laundry, etc...things that are very difficult to do without a car (particularly in the heat) and without having to bum rides from friends all the time (which gets old for everyone involved). Just my two cents on the matter....

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Care to elaborate, freshprince? I'm seriously considering Austin in the Fall, and very excited about it. I keep hearing about how great it is, but people are usually short on specifics. What do you all (or, y'all) like about it?

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Austin is a great city, I have lived here eight plus years.

There are a lot of free/cheap activities, you can find most of these in the weekly alternative paper, the Chronicle. (also available in a limited capacity online, just google Austin Chronicle.) For example is First Thursday which happens on south Congress the first Thursday of most warm months. I would start there...

Austin is green and pretty, although hot in the summer. But almost everyplace has central AC. Also there are great natural places for cooling off, like Barton Springs.

There is a large emphasis on the "local" scene, local shops and restaurants are what makes Austin awesome. However in recent years condominium and other development has begun to choke some of these businesses out. (Even on the main campus "drag" Guadalupe st) Be aware that the locals will scoff at you for going to Wal-Mart or eating at Chili's. They are a bit snobby in this way, because not everyone can forgo the cheap prices at big block stores.

The people are very accepting, get used to seeing people from all walks of life, tattooed, hippie, yuppie, preppy, we all live here in harmony somehow. It took me a while to get used to the standard greeting, the big hug. I wouldn't start with it, but you will find that is becomes pretty typical.

Most older people avoid the ever popular sixth street, (nothing but bars for blocks) because it favors the undergrad crowd, although there are plenty of low key pub-like atmospheres where you can sit on a patio, and have intelligent conversation.

Oh, and the people are above average intelligent, I have had the most interesting conversions with complete strangers.

There is music everywhere, the biggest challenge is narrowing down which place to go to for which kind of music... and the Chronicle is no help. Just ask around. Continental club is home to rockabilly, and most bars on Red River are just rock, and there is a lot indie music everywhere.

Campus is beautiful, and covered with sprawling live oak trees, a very inspirational place.

Student jobs are relatively easy to come by... I have made very good money as a waitress my entire time here. Just be prepared to work nights, as you can tell I do based on my post time (also kind of an insomniac so it works.)

The Campus bus system is fantastic, and the city system is reasonable, my only complaint being the lack of late night common routes.

There is the negative element. Cars without alarms are frequently broken into for stereos, and bike theft is common. If you are wise about these things you will be ok, get an aftermarket car alarm and and insured bike lock... or drive stuff no one else would want, it has worked for me.

I live in the Oltorf neighborhood, aforementioned as "rough." These areas are where the minorities, (and their hard working families) live. I have never had any problems. I have no fear walking to the store late at night, even as a woman, nor have had any theft issues commonly encountered on campus, take that as you will. I made an effort to get to know my neighbors and I think that is helpful.

If there is anything else you would like to know I would be happy to help. I too am moving to a new place for grad school, (where yet I have no idea.) So I realize the intimidation that comes along with moving to a totally new city. I can help, I have lived in almost every part of town!

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