• Hey there, we just wanted to let you know that the Travel Guides section of this site is currenly in beta status, and will be subject to many changes over the next few weeks. If you'd like to help us test this section of the website, please take a look at this thread. Also, this is a wiki-style format, so all users have the ability to update/edit any post in the directory. Keep in mind we save the edit history to prevent abuse :)

Austin, Texas

General Information

Austin Texas is another one of those cities I never thought I would have spent as much time in as I have, but overall I'm glad I did. It's a great town overall that's easy to find work in, making it a great place to save up money between travels. Unfortunately there's not a lot of punks or other travelers coming through, mostly because of the stigma that Texas carries with it for being a super-conservative state.

Otherwise, it's an extremely friendly city with bike paths just about everywhere and you're usually not more than a 15 minute bike ride from some kind of nature. Swimming areas are abound in this city and river tubing is a popular activity especially during the warmer months (March through November). Speaking of the weather, there's about 2-3 months of brisk cold weather in the winter, but otherwise it's 9-10 months of summer, ranging from pleasantly warm to painfully hot (around 110 or so) in the pit of August. Humidity is an issue here more so than most cities, but not nearly as bad as a New Orleans summer.

tomek-baginski-2g7cah4jzey-unsplash-jpg.55169


Barton Springs (pictured above) is a really nice free swimming area (there is a paid area too, behind where this photo was taken) and as you can see it gets pretty crowded. There are plenty of other swimming areas like the ironically named secret beach (which you can now find on google maps).

Food & Shelter

Rent:

Unfortunately, Austin has become a bit of a victim of it's own success. In the past five years the population of the city has exploded, which in turn has made rent prices skyrocket. Just to give you an idea, I (@Matt Derrick) rented a bedroom in a 6 bedroom house in 2020 for $500 a month and that's the cheapest I could find. Everywhere else is going to run around 800+, and studio apartments are going to be around $1000/mo if you're able to actually find one.

Squatting:

So, if you find yourself coming through, I would personally suggest squatting the forest areas of the city, which is incredibly easy to do due to the abundance of nature areas. It's easy to find a spot that you can pitch a tent and bike into town each day. Combined with plenty of jobs (see below) you shouldn't have too hard of a time stacking some bills.

Squatting buildings here is possible, although choices have become limited due to increased demand for real estate and the growing population. I haven't met anyone yet that's been arrested for squatting, only forced to leave by local sheriffs.

Food Resources:

Someone else will have to fill in food banks and other related info, as I've always worked and didn't need these resources here. I'll do some research and edit this later with what I find.

Making Money

Despite the population explosion, there's still plenty of jobs in Austin, and searching Craigslist along with just walking around the city should provide you with enough leads to find work. I've found the ETC/Gigs section of Craigslist especially helpful for finding one-off paid gigs like putting flyers up around the city, or giving Dell computers my opinion on one of their keyboards for $150. There's also plenty of blood donation centers and if you're willing to donate sperm, there's even a place for that too (i'll list specifics soon).

Spanging and flying signs on medians and on ramps is allowed here, but good luck finding a spot that isn't occupied. Along with it's population, the amount of homeless people living in Austin has risen dramatically, to the point where tent cities and shanty towns are not an uncommon sight.

Busking is generally good on 6th street while all the tourists are out at night, and near Guadalupe & 21st street, near the college.

Things to see and do

Events & Things to do:

Austin is host to a lot of events and festivals throughout the year, including South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits, Austin Earth Day, Eeyore's Birthday, a Kite Festival and many, many more.

The majority of bars seem to be centered on the 6th street drag, either on the west side of I-35 where the loud dance clubs and fancy restaurants are or the east side of the highway where the more divey bars are at (preferred) although even that area is suffering a lot from gentrification as a shitload of condos are being built on the east side that weren't there even 2-3 years before.

The Lost Well on the east side of Austin is highly recommended; it's a biker bar with a punk rock/doom metal vibe. The drinks are reasonable and they have amazing bands play there (I've seen weedeater and bongzilla there amongst others).

There's also a bike/walking path that goes around the majority of the river that divides north and south Austin that is worth checking out, it's probably about 10 miles to walk the whole thing, but it's very pretty. Along that route under the southern portion of the congress street bridge is where millions of bats have made their seasonal home. At dusk every night you can go there to see millions of bats fly out into the night to hunt for food, although the best time of season for seeing them is in September/October.

Monkeywrench books is the local anarchist infoshop and has been around at it's current location (on the north side of Austin) for quite a while. Nice folks and a good place to meet some like minded individuals.

Treasure City Thrift is the local anarchist-run thrift store on the east side of town on 7th street. Rock bottom prices and cool stuff can be found there so definitely check it out.

Places to Avoid:

'Crime' in Austin is a joke. There's no real crime here, and when people tell you to watch out in certain neighborhoods, it's because that's where most of the black people live, which is obviously pretty racist. Having moved to Austin from New Orleans, even the most 'dangerous' neighborhood in Austin is laughable by Nola standards, I mean, really, in terms of crime, this place is the fucking shire from Lord of the Rings.

That said, you might want to avoid downtown during the day hours just because it's boring.

Police presence:

I haven't had many run-ins with the police here, but I haven't heard that many bad stories either, so I'm assuming you'd have to go pretty far out of your way to piss them off. Overall, they seem more concerned about real crime than harassing homeless people or travelers.

Transportation

Getting around the city:

This city is also extremely bike friendly, and most folks tend to be more aware of cyclists than your average city. If you're broke and need a bike, check out the Yellow Bike Project, where you can volunteer time to build a bike of your own for free, or just buy a bike you build outright (for a very fair price).

Public transit is quite good, and an all day pass is only $2.50. The 'all day' pass is actually good for 24 hours, so if you buy one at 15 to midnight you're still good until that time tomorrow.

Coming & Going:

Austin is home to the dirty dog (Greyhound), Megabus (recommended), and FlixBus (generally the cheapest option - just heads up, some of their services got to North Austin and DT Austin and some only go to N Austin). I've also seen one or two mexican bus lines, but I haven't had time to look into them.

Best place to hitchhike depends on your direction, but you're probably best off taking the city public transit as far as you can get outside the city and picking an on ramp that's appropriate to your destination.

Trains come through going north and south, and the most popular place to watch them has usually been the bridge near Slaughter and Manchaca, although a large homeless camp has cropped up there in recent years. I didn't have any problems when talking to them with a few friends though, seemed nice enough.

Latest reviews

Liked: The abundance of bars, musical events, and warm climate, friendly young people
Disliked: Sprawling, lack of good public transit
America's fastest growing city for several years in a row. I had a great time in Austin. Tons of super friendly young people, constant events, especially music related - I heard genres and sounds that I didn't even know existed! The only issue is that if you venture beyond downtown and the college area, you might have a hard time getting around without a car. Luckily, there are abundant Lime scooters, which are very fun to ride. I'm sure in the summer it gets hot as balls, and with a rising population of transplants, people seem like they may become less friendly over time. Plus, I'm sure the rent has increased as well. Give it a shot if you like to party, want to play music and be surrounded by musicians, and enjoy warm/hot places. In 5-10 years, the place will either be a megalopolis or ruined.
Liked: Great place to find work and save money for your next leg of travel.
Disliked: Gentrification is wrecking the city, there's twice as many skyscrapers as there were just a few years ago and shit is getting expensive.
I want to write my own review here just because while I do think Austin is worth visiting, it has a lot of similarities with Portland, Oregon and that's both good and bad.

It's bad because while I've had a good time here in Austin, one of the reasons for that was because it was much like what Portland, Oregon was 10-15 years ago. Now that the 'secret is out' so to speak, there's just too many people, too much automobile traffic, and rent has skyrocketed. There's practically no where to rent except shady landlords and high rise shoebox condos, and there doesn't seem to be any end to that in sight.

This happened to Portland a while ago and ever since it's just not been as great of a city. I can definitely see Austin going the same direction, so I encourage people to come check it out while it's still 'cool', because it's probably not going to last. Give it another 10 years and it'll probably be a slightly nicer Houston.

Comments

There are no comments to display.

guide information

Added by
Matt Derrick
Views
403
Reviews
2
Last update
Author rating
3.50 star(s)
Rating
3.50 star(s) 2 ratings

Additional information

State / Province
Texas

Location

More in United States

Share this guide