Downtown Living


Bill observed that I hadn’t been writing much about what it’s like to live in downtown Austin, so let me answer some of the questions that I’m asked most often…


Where do you shop for groceries?
Surprisingly, this is the question that I’m asked most often. I buy most of our vegetables and fruits at the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. I sometimes pick up a few items at the downtown locations of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Royal Blue Grocery stores are scattered around downtown—these can be useful if I run out of something. But I still do most of my grocery shopping at the H-E-B stores in the suburbs. However, I must also admit that I cook less because we eat out more often. Austin has too many good restaurants!


How do you deal with traffic?
Bill and I had lived and worked in the Austin suburbs for many years, so we still have many reasons to drive outside of downtown. When possible, we try to avoid Mopac and I-35 during rush hours. Leaving downtown in the morning is fairly easy. Evening rush hour is just miserable, regardless of direction.


Where do you park your car?
Most of the downtown high rises have one parking spot per bedroom. We have a two-bedroom apartment, so Bill and I each have a parking spot.


How do you get around downtown?
We do a lot of walking. I often take the bus up to the UT campus area. Sometimes we ride our bikes. We tried the BCycle bikes, but they are more geared to slow-moving tourists. We have also tried car2go, but haven’t used it much since we can walk to most places.


How is the noise?
Well, it’s a city. We hear traffic noises at all hours. We live across the lake from Auditorium Shores, so we hear early morning races (starting at 7 AM) and evening concerts (ending at 10 PM). Our biggest complaint is loud music from the Fourth Street bars, especially Cedar Street, which can go from 9:30 PM to 2 AM on weekends. Bill can sleep through almost anything, but sometimes the music keeps me awake.


What do you like most about living downtown?
Bill and I love the convenience of living so close to the big events (SxSW and ACL Music Festival) and to concert venues (Austin City Limits/Moody Theater, Long Center, and Paramount Theatre). A close second is quick access to the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, which is wonderful for running, biking, and just walking.

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