Sometimes when I’m chatting with a peer of mine about where they’d like to live, I ask them if they would consider downtown. A common response to that question is “Well, I have (or want to have) kids….so….” as though that’s the consideration keeping them from a condo. I guess when people think of the demographic of downtown Austin (and, I guess, downtowns in general), they think that high-rises are for singles, young couples, or empty nesters – most folks don’t feel like condo buildings are places where families do or should dwell.
Well, believe it or not, there are lots of families living in downtown Austin that are bucking the stereotype. I’ve had the chance of over the last several months to interview a few families living in downtown Austin about their experience raising their children in a high-rise. I’m beginning to collect their stories on a sister site we have: urbanfamily.info, but I think the highlights of these interviews would be interesting to share with DAB readers:
What do you enjoy about raising your child in a downtown setting?
Rachel and Cruce: EVERYTHING. The first “drawback” most people cite is not having a yard. It’s true, we don’t have a yard. In exchange we have Lady Bird Lake. We literally traded a one-hour-lawn plus pre-fabricated playscape for fishing on the lake, collecting pecans and sticks, riding bikes along the trail, picnicing while watching the bats, hiking, and countless other adventures – all in our “back yard”. We love the community, the amenities, the easy walking access to good food and activities. We love the simplicity – living small and teaching our son that experiences are more valuable than things.
Adriana and Paul: We have really enjoyed the diversity in downtown living. There is so much to do and see.
What are your family’s favorite activities Downtown Austin outside of your home?
Rachel and Cruce: We live across from the Mexican American Cultural Center (the MACC). We usually join in on whatever city supported festival is taking place. We also love their museum and art displays. We love to explore Lady Bird Lake and the hike & bike trail. Jim Jim’s Water Ice is a nice nearby treat. Also close by, East Austin has a huge number of eating-out options, including amazing food trailers. We watch the bats, we eat local food in the Rainey Street District, and we bike. The Convention Center is a stone’s throw, and we’ve watched the Texas Rollergirls play roller derby there. We can walk/bike to the library, and we love to drive Car2Go Smart Cars to zip around town.
Jade and Paul: We absolutely love our proximity to Lady Bird Lake Trail. Both Paul and I go for runs on the trail. Lark and our sweet miniature schnauzer, Lucky enjoy walks on the trail. On the weekends, we always visit the Farmer’s Market. We often walk along the creek to get a cup of coffee or go to Whole Foods. We’ve established restaurants that have become our “go-to” places. While we wish downtown restaurants were more kid friendly (most don’t even offer a kids’ menu), we have found that all of them will pull something wonderful together for our daughter. Cru is our favorite nearby place. Our daughter inhales the goat cheese beignets at Cru. The staff is really kind and attentive. Most of the restaurants with outside seating are also very canine friendly. Lucky is always treated to a fresh bowl of water and lots of attention.
Adriana and Paul: We love to walk the hike and bike trail across the street and take in the beautiful Town Lake scenery. We love to see the bats fly out from under the Congress Bridge. We have gone conoeing and fell in love doing this.
How do you find activities for your child?
Jade and Paul: Our school, the trail and downtown, all offer loads of nearby activities. We haven’t been bored a day since we moved here!
Adriana and Paul: Through Mathews News Letters sent home every Wednesday and or Announcements made at the school. We have found many things for Bella to do.
If you’re interested in reading the full interviews and seeing more pics of these beautiful families, you can check them out here:
If you or a family that you know would like to be interviewed and featured on urbanfamily.info – send us a note!