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Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

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Shawnee, KS
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Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

Help me out here people. My fiance and I are in Kansas City at the moment but looking to relocate to a warmer area once we sell his house. He is thinking Florida...possibly Jacksonville. We get one week's vacation in March and I would really love to check out Austin, and he wants to check out Jacksonville. Can anyone who has been to or lived in both give me any sort of comparison of the two cities? We are both in our mid to upper thirties, no kids and no plans for them, love to wine and dine and especially good sushi and seafood. The ocean nearby is a bonus, of course, except for when its NOT...we like to do things outdoors and would love to build our own house, which is another reason I'm thinking Austin or the surrounding area- better housing costs and more land available. Sounds like traffic in either city is a possible nightmare...I work as a Medical Technologist (hospital lab, Children's Hospital) and he is a sales rep, I'm thinking either one of us could most likely get a job either place, although I would have to get certified in Florida. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated

Neptune Beach, FL
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1. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

What a hard choice! I like both Texas and Florida. I haven't lived in Austin and don't know anything about the city except where it is, but did live in Corpus Christi and Rockport and loved it. Now I live in Neptune Beach, one of Jacksonville's little beach communities.

I can't think of a compelling reason to select either Jacksonville or Austin over the other.

Jacksonville is a big, spread out city with the ocean, intercoastal waterway, St. John's River, and a couple lakes. I like living on the water, and there's a lot of it to choose from in Jacksonville.

We have a number of hospitals here, including Shands Jax which is associated with the University of Florida (Shands Jax), the Mayo Clinic, a two children's hospitals.

Real estate prices have been going up like crazy in Jax. People are talking about it being a bubble and that it will burst. Who knows. A friend who wants to add on to his house has told me that builders are hard to get. Many people in Florida want building and repair done because of hurricane damage sustained in the last couple years, and builders are continually moving from one area of the state to another based on need.

Good luck! You sound like you would enjoy live no matter where you live.

Central Texas
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2. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

I live in Austin (since '68) but am visiting a University in Jacksonville with my daughter this coming weekend- I'll be glad to give you my observations next week

Jacksonville, FL
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3. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

Well, I probably can't answer this question the way that you would like since I haven't been to Austin. I have been to Dallas, Houston and the Texas Hill Country. The one thing that I didn't like about Texas was the lack of trees...it seemed very flat, but Austin may be completely different.

Of course we have awesome seafood here, sushi as well. The ocean is really not a problem. We haven't had a major hurrican here in over 100 years. I guess it's because of our location on the peninsula.

There is still plenty of land on which to build your home and Spirit is correct in that the market is in a period of explosive growth. Which means that the faster you build (buy, etc.) you will realize some of that growth. We bought a second house last year for $150K and it's now appraised at about $200K. Not bad for a year's work!

Jacksonville is close to Amelia Island and Fernandina, two charming and small communities that are great for day trips. We're also only about 2 1/2 hours (or so) from the Central Florida theme parks if you're into that, and about an hour to Daytona if you're into that.

If you're looking to further your education, we have some excellent universities here.

We tend to spend a lot of time in the water...either the river or the ocean. A lot of activity around the city is centered around the ocean.

Sports abound with our NFL Team, a baseball team, a hockey team and loads of college sports.

Feel free to email me at vickisfloyd@hotmail.com if I can help you with further question, or post them here. One of us will be glad to help you out.

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

I am in my early 40's, have lived in Austin, TX for the past 5 years and absolutely love it. It has a beauty, friendliness and vibe that's hard to describe. It is laid back, has great restaurants and miles of beautiful lakes. Thanks to my corporate husband, I have lived in Houston, NYC, Seoul Korea, Mexico City, Miami, Connecticut, London and here. No question where my favorite place is! The housing is not cheap, and like many cities the growth is sprawling. But you could build here. Great job opportunites thanks to the University of Texas and the State Capitol. Top notch hospitals too.If you come in March you will land in fields of Bluebonnets and may never want to go back to Kansas City! Good luck in your choice.

Central Texas
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5. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

As I posted previously, I'm a 30+ year Austin resident and I'm just back from our trip to Jacksonville. I only had 4 days there and did not go west of downtown, so my scope is limited.

I did not eat Sushi in Florida, but Austin does have Uchi & chef Tyson Cole - definitely one of the best sushi spots in the nation.

I absolutely love the vibe & culture of Austin. I have traveled quite a bit and never have I come across another city that I would like to relocate to - until now. There was not a single thing that I did not like about Jacksonville.

You're going to have a tough choice - the cities are similar in many ways.

Hands down, traffic is MUCH worse in Austin. I drove around both morning and evening rush hour in the downtown areas - no comparison - if you hate dealing with traffic & jerks behind the wheel - Jacksonville gets big "plus".

Jacksonville seems a bit more homogenous - if cultural & ethnic diversity and far-out types of characters make a city more interesting to you, Austin gets a big "plus".

Both cities and outlying areas seem to have plenty of conservation lands, running and walking trails - I noticed quite a few runners in J-ville- that's probably a wash. If you're big into biking, you can't beat Austin.

The Jax beach area & to the north and south are many times cleaner and more attractive than the gulf coast areas in Texas.

J-ville has a very nice downtown riverfront area - so does Austin.

I was shocked to find that I felt the J-ville people in general were actually more friendly and easy-going. It seemed a more relaxed atmosphere to me - especially the driving mannerisms.

The Hill country and wildflowers are nice, but that combination of the pines and palms beats out the oaks and scrub cedars in my book.

Good luck- tough choice.

Shawnee, KS
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6. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

Thank you so much! I am excited about our trip, we are actually going to spend three days in Austin then zip over to JAX for three days there.

Can't wait to get back. Your report sounds wonderful. I have been doing a lot of looking around via the internet and it is becoming very clear, the choice will not be easy but a coin toss will probably not come out a loser either way.

Neptune Beach, FL
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7. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

Let us know what your decision is, and why.

We're involved now!

Central Texas
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8. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

Yes - please let us know where you end up and why.

I will tell you this - When my daughter and I got on the plane to leave Jacksonville, she told me that she was actually sad to leave - I told her I was, too. Here I am a few days later and I keep thinking back/almost daydreaming - and realziing that I now miss J-ville more, not less.

One other thing to consider - you mentioned "wine and dine" - If you are into great cooking, Austin has several incredible grocerys in Central Market (www.CM.com) and the flagship Whole Foods. CM has one of the highest rated cooking schools in the nation for home cooks - GREAT classes every night of the week with guest chefs from across the nation. One more piece to add to you puzzle.

Jacksonville, FL
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9. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

Andrea - rent the movie "Man of the House" with Tommy Lee Jones. Action/Comedy. It's set in Austin. (I assume it was shot there, too. Maybe someone can tell us for sure). I just saw it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought of you and you would probably enjoy the movie with the Austin scenes in the background.

Shawnee, KS
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10. Re: Austin, TX VS Jacksonville

Okay, I'm back from my trip...much more of a fact finding mission than a vacation, to be sure. It certainly didn't help that it barely hit 60 degrees the whole time we were in either place!! VERRRRY disappointing.

Austin...hmmm. I must say I was a little underwhelmed. Beautiful city, very friendly people, but something about it just didn't make me feel like moving there. Maybe the fact that we spent 50% of our time LOST didn't help. It wasn't easy to find a good map of Austin! I was aware of the looping highways ahead of time, thanks to this site, and yep, the traffic stinks big time during rush hour! I did get to Kerbey Lane for Migas, they were wonderful and the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice ALMOST makes me want to move there... heh heh. Probably the best time we had was at County Line BBQ, sitting in the sun, blocked from the cold wind, and watching a turtle while relaxing with a couple Shiner Bocks. It was just so miserably cold we didn't feel like getting out. Also, we wanted to watch the NCAA tourney, and couldn't find a sports bar to save our lives! We ended up going to LEGENDS, an extremely cheese-ball hotel sports bar that charges 4.25 for a plastic cup of warm keg beer. Bleech. I thought for a college town we could find a lot better than that.

As far as checking out housing, the Round Rock and Pflugerville areas were the most in our price range but nothing like anywhere we wanted to live. SOULLESS is right. Tons of beige houses, three feet from each other, with tiny yards and huge water tanks in many back yards, just like at the backyard party in "Office Space". That actually cracked me up a little.

We liked the Zilker Park and Barton Springs area, and just south and/or west of there. We both agreed if we were to get transferred to Austin, we'd move there with no problem, but just didn't see anything to make us feel particularly drawn there.

Jacksonville. By the time we got there, we were on day three of the only cold weather clothes we had and it was a balmy 53 degrees at 2 pm. We headed out to Jacksonville Beach, and stopped in at Ragtime restaurant and brewery for some food and drinks. The Red Brick Ale was wonderful, and if I'd had a few more I might not have noticed the golf crowd that came in from the Players Championship. We obviously looked like something the cat dragged in and were treated as such, by the other customers as well as the staff. Our mistake for thinking beach=casual I guess.

The town is very big, but nice for the most part. It was really easy to get around and traffic was no problem. We really liked the Mandarin area, and houses there were SOMEWHAT in our price range, definitely a little higher than ideal but the area was beautiful and had character. Orange Park was somewhere we quickly decided we didn't need to spend much time. The southside area between 95 and the intercoastal looks promising, they will be doing lots of building there in the future it looks like. Maybe we are crazy but we are hoping the housing market there goes down a bit, especially with a little more supply as they build more.

There was an insane amount of Christian programming on the radio. Like 7 out of 10 stations were preaching fire and brimstone at us. I grew up in a Southern Baptist home and have really heard enough already, thank you. We found one rap station, three or four country (hit-kickin!) stations and one that played a LOT of AC/DC. J-ville, you need to work on that!

As our plane descended into Kansas City, we were glad to be home. We got into our car, drove on highways that made sense to us, and went to our favorite sports bar down the street from home just because we could, downed a couple $2.50 bottles of beer with a cheesesteak sandwich and onion rings, and went home to our $130,000 four bedroom ranch with a big yard and thought we'd just stay there a while.