If you’ve never heard the phrase “keep Austin weird,” you undoubtedly will if you ever go to Austin, TX. Austin is unique, and proud of it!
My family lived in Austin for 2 years while I finished my masters degree, and I have to say that not only is Austin “weird,” it is amazingly weird! I love this cool, funky city, and here are some of the reasons why.
1. Family-friendly. If you’re a parent in the U.S. you’ve probably taken your kids to McDonalds’ and Burger King’s playlands just to get out of the house. You’ve probably even thanked God for such places, particularly on cold or rainy days.
But in Austin, seafood restaurants, steakhouses, and Mexican restaurants have play areas! You can actually eat “grown up” food while your kids have fun. And no one gives you funny looks when your child comes into the restaurant covered in sand because kids are welcomed there. What a great concept!
2. Cycle friendly. I’ve never lived in a more cycle-friendly place than Austin. Because most people in Austin are environmentally (and health) conscious, riding a bike to work is normal.
Many of the main thoroughfares have wide bike lanes, bike parking is common, and taking a bike on public transportation is relatively easy.
Additionally, people in Austin expect you to show respect to cyclists. No driving up close to them when you’re impatient. No going around cyclists when you really don’t have room. Just take a deep breath and remember that cyclists have road rights too. A novel idea for most U.S. cities.
3. Climate. Now the people of Austin can’t take credit for this, but it’s still one of my favorite things about Austin–the climate! Because of where it’s located in TX, Austin is hot and dry most of the year. Granted, this means the trees don’t grow as high and the greens don’t “pop” like they do in wetter areas, but my, oh my, I adore warm winters! I love having a garden almost year round. I love being outside without a heavy coat and mittens. I love ice-free sidewalks and snow-free driving. I LOVE Austin weather!
Undoubtedly, I could add many more things to this list, including shops that allow you to pick up your gardening supplies while also buying chocolate and drinks, pharmacies where you can pick up your medicine and get advice on the best homeopathic and herbal treatments, and streets where almost every type of music you might want to hear can be heard. However, Austin is a place that is better experienced than discussed. If you want to visit an extremely unique American city (that you’ll probably never want to leave), visit Austin. It may be weird, but that’s what makes it unforgettable.
Photo by zeldman.com