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  • Writer's pictureBrett Hayden

First Impressions of Austin

I've had the privilege of living in Austin, TX for over 5 months now and it has been such a rewarding experience already! I wanted to share some of my first impressions of this unique city to highlight what a wonderful place ATX really is.

Number 1: It is the most pet friendly city...

and coming from someone who is obsessed with her dog and wants to take her everywhere, this is a huge bonus. There are very few places that don't allow dogs at least on their patios, and with the weather being beautiful 85% of the time, most places have patio seating! Stella has been able to come with us to restaurants, breweries, wineries, and even boutiques. Not to mention the city has so many parks that are perfect for furry friends. It makes me happy knowing she doesn't need to sit home alone and can be a part of many of our experiences here.

Number 2: It's always sunny in ATX

Okay, not always, but so far in my experience, it always wants to be sunny. Of course since we're in the south it's bound to be a lot warmer here than northern parts of the country most of the year, but even on gloomy days you can almost always see the sun trying to poke through the clouds. It feels like the sun really wants to be out as much as possible. The Texas Sun is something so spectacular that they even write songs about it (see photo for a mural of Khruangbin and Leon Bridges' cover of their song "Texas Sun" painted on the side of a record store). This Wisconsinite really appreciates all of the natural vitamin D.

Numero Tres: Being bored isn't an option...

or at least it shouldn't be because there's. so. much. to. do. (*insert clap hands emoji*). From pop up events, to parks to explore, to boutiques to shop, and bars to sip at, Austin has so much to offer. I've thoroughly enjoyed eating and drinking my way through the city so far. Whether you're looking for a casual day in the city or a night out on the town, Austin has it all and everything in between. I've loved spending weekend nights partying it up on Rainey St., and waking up the next day for brunch at Irene's and thrift shopping on SoCo. If you really take advantage of the city, you'll never have a dull moment.

Number 4: The world doesn't end outside of the city

That's right. Some of my favorite experiences since moving here actually took place outside of ATX city lines. There are so many towns in the Hill Country area and outside that I've enjoyed being able to explore. So far we've been to Buda, Bastrop, Waco, and a personal favorite, Dripping Springs. All of these towns have their own shops, breweries, wineries, and parks and each has its own interesting history to it. Plus, Texas is home to the adult Disney World: Magnolia Market. Visiting Chip & Joanna's Silos was one of the first things Austin and I did when we moved here, and it's one of my favorite places to take visitors. Texas is overflowing with unique places and experiences to be had. It's nice to know there are more places out there waiting for me!

Number Five: Austin really is weird

And by that I mean, there are so many unique things to experience within the city lines. For example, people will gather near the Congress Avenue bridge in summer evenings because every night a million bats fly out from under the bridge and take over the sky. I don't know about you, but that's not something I see everyday! One of my favorite parts about Austin is all of the unique murals painted throughout the city (see photo for example). You can be exploring anywhere and find the perfect photo-op right out of nowhere. It truly adds a beautiful & creative touch to our quirky city. There are unique shops, different kinds of attractions, and special events that make Austin unlike any other city I've experienced. There's a reason the city's slogan is "Keep Austin Weird."

Lastly, Six: The food is unmatched

One of the first things we realized after we moved here is that it's next to impossible to find a bad restaurant. Texas is known for their TexMex and BBQ restaurants for a good reason! It's hard to find such authentic Mexican cuisine and real BBQ where we come from, so it has been great having easy access to it here. Not to mention, Austin has "trailer parks" full of food trucks with all kinds of unique cuisines. We've tried so many new things since moving here. And (somewhat unfortunately) the South really does have some of the best fast food options, and Austin is no exception. Some of my new favorites are Chick Fil A and P. Terry's. We've definitely been eatin' good since we got here!

When I think about everything Austin has to offer, I feel immense gratitude that I get to call this city home. The creativity of Austin's residents radiates throughout the city and it's a special thing to witness. Before we got here, I couldn't have known how quickly our new city would feel like "home," but it absolutely has in just a few short months. I look forward to experiencing more from our new city and beyond in the years to come.

Keep it weird,

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