Wow, I live in Austin now!

After three weeks of driving around, getting lost, getting found, discovering a hidden boutique I wouldn’t have known about unless I got lost…I’m starting to feel like Austin is home. I’m happy the transition for us has been an easy one – minus the heat. {See, I complained about the heat in the first paragraph. Don’t I sound like a true native now?}

Since Todd didn’t have to start work right away, we’ve been exploring the area as a family. There are terrific parks in Austin, some just steps away from where I live like Brentwood and Northwest. Community pools were few and far between in Reno so it’s totally new for us to have a pool so close by. My bathing suit insecurity disappeared as soon as I saw how excited Lucy gets when she’s splashing in the kiddie pool. I need to get this future Missy Franklin into swimming lessons.

Lucy’s new favorite playscape is at Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park


Of course, one of our first family outings was to Zilker Park. The train ride was an instant hit with Lucy. You can’t beat a 25-minute distraction for the bargain price of $3. And if you’re as lucky as we are, you just might see a guy riding his bike while wearing nothing but a thong. Welcome to Austin, indeed!

Speaking of trains, the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary has one too. I’m pretty picky about zoos but since Lucy is way into the Madagascar movies, she was ecstatic to see Alex {lion), Batali {tiger} and King Julian {lemurs.} Riding the train was a nice diversion to the lack of Melman {giraffe} or Marty {zebra}.  I hear the Capital of Texas Zoo has a Gloria {hippo} so we’ll have to check that one out soon.

One of my favorite things to do is eat and I love dining out. It’s a bit trickier with my 25-lb bundle of energy so I’m happy to report that restaurants in Austin are extremely kid-friendly. I was truly worried we’d be banished to the chain restaurants but that’s not the case at all. The County Line on the Lake gets a big thumbs’ up for the turtle-feeding deck overlooking the water. I also love Phil’s Ice House. It’s the perfect place for Todd and I to drink a cold beer at a playground without it being creepy or illegal. Throw in some ice cream from Amy’s and call it Paradise for the Caldwell Clan.

I have yet to eat a meal anywhere that was anything less than spectacular. Even something as simple as chips and queso from Torchy’s is worthy of a Food & Wine magazine spread. The fact that most servers don’t reel in horror when you request a high-chair has made going out to eat in Austin that much better.

That’s not to say there aren’t fancy places I’d like to try sans Lucy so if anyone would like to babysit, I’d love to check out Uchiko sometime.

Being a new Austinite has been pretty great so far. I mean, there’s an Ikea less than 20 miles away, how bad could life be? If it’s ever too hot or too rainy, the perfect thing to do with a kid is go to Ikea and play hide and seek in the display rooms. At least it is for me…but I’m new here.





  1. Welcome to Austin! Isn’t it great?! We also just moved here a month ago from Phoenix and we are loving it! I agree with you on people being so friendly and the amazing places to eat. Another great family friendly place (wouldn’t think at first when you see the long lines and crowds but HopDoddy burgers! They have clip on highchairs and they even have a closet to store your stroller. Annies on Congress is wonderful for morning breakfast. Not sure how far you are from Cedar Par area but the brushy creek trail is gorgeous!

  2. Yeah! Welcome to Austin!! It is a great place for a family to play and live. We love all of the places you mentioned, but definitely check out the Austin Children’s Museum. it is a favorite of my son, Hudson (age 5) and has been since he was about 2 years old. He will spend HOURS playing there. Shady Grove on Barton Springs is another favorite restaurant – outdoor seating and kid friendly. They also have a small lawn area when you can order boxed food and have a picnic. During the summer they have free concerts during the week. And – get to Uchiko as quickly as you can! Our fave sushi place, by far! (Be sure to order the eggplant chips and onion rings for an appetizer…they are bananas!)


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