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News / City Life

23 signs that you definitely grew up in Austin

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Norm Lanier

For those who grew up in Austin—who can accurately say "I'm from here"—the Austin experience is a truly unique one. Transplants look at you like they’re seeing a live mermaid. Fellow lifers treat you like a comrade in battle. And there are a million little ways your life, your attitude and your view of Austin might be just a little bit unconventional. Here are a few indicators that you might have grown up in the 512—before they went and added that second area code.

1. You use place names that make visitors scratch their heads (’cause it’s hard to find The Drag or Town Lake on Google Maps).

2. The first Leslie you think of isn’t Knope or Nielsen. It’s the late, great Leslie Cochran (who was on a first-name basis with everyone).

3. You remember when you had to specify “Austin, Texas” while traveling out of state, and nobody knew anything about your hometown—except maybe that it’s the state capital.

4. If SXSW was a person, your relationship status would be “It’s Complicated.”

5. You’ve completed more than one white-paper-bag job application at Amy’s Ice Creams, whether you intended to work there or not.

6. You build extra time into your driving plans to account for traffic, no matter where you’re going or when.

7. You don’t question a public birthday celebration for a fictional donkey.

8. You know Chuck E. Cheese’s had nothing on Celebration Station and Pandamonium.

9. You think charging for chips and salsa is a crime against humanity.

10. You have at least one Matthew McConaughey story.

11. You force yourself to smile politely when someone from a neighboring county says, “No way! I’m from Austin, too!”

12. You either have too much burnt orange in your closet, or none.

13. You think of bats as pigeons with fur and a better publicist.

14. You saw concerts at Southpark Meadows when it was an actual meadow.

15. It isn’t Christmastime for you until you get dizzy under the Zilker Tree.

16. You remember a time when MoPac wasn’t under construction.

17. You’ve let out your inner punk by cutting and rearranging the letters from one of those Waterloo Records bumper stickers.

18. “Aw, I remember when that place used to be…” is becoming a catchphrase for you.

19. Your fondest memory of the Frank Erwin Center is your own graduation.

20. People expect you to have strong opinions on breakfast tacos, and perhaps you do.

21. You may tolerate drivers who don’t use their turn signals, but the thank-you wave is mandatory.

22. You have a deep, spiritual connection to “Jeremiah the Innocent” (Daniel Johnston’s Hi, how are you frog).

23. You don’t wonder why Airport Boulevard is called that.

Can you think of any other signs that you grew up in Austin? Share them in the comments below!

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Brandi B

What so many others have added plus...

You ever built and floated in the annual river raft float contest

You made a hand-dipped candle at Fiesta

You remember when the primary features of the Zilker Park playground were sawed off telephone poles, the fire truck and some swings.

You ever participated in or witnessed an orgy at the Magic Time Machine

You watched the talented pizza tossers at Sardi's Flying Pizza.

You refuse to call Vic Mathias shores anything other than Auditorium Shores

You watched speed boat races on Town Lake

You still struggle to call it Lady Bird Lake

One of your friends was Miss Aqua Fest

You remember when Barton Creek Mall was a prominent hill.

You took in concerts at the Amarillo World Headquarters, Liberty Lunch or the Ole Austin Opry House.

You struggled to drive your old car up Tumbeweed Hill

You watched Whole Foods grow up from the beginning and can picture it in at least 3 different locations on Lamar.

You remember when Bee Caves Road was a craggy 2 lane road that you could easily drive off a cliff while driving either direction

You booked a trip through Travelfest or bought a book at Bookstop

You remember north-south travel in west Austin. before the Pennybacker Bridge.

You remember when there was actually a tiny loop in Loop 1/Mopac. To traverse north across Town Lake you had to loop under by Austin High School. (I still don't think that's why it was named that)

The only animal shelter was on 1st street (now Cesar Chavez)

You used to warm your hands at the Yule Log by the Zilker Christmas tree.

You remember when Bicycle Sport Shop opened Austin's first mountain bike store on Barton Springs

You ate a nice meal and danced at the Treehouse Restaurant on Dawson.

You remember Rainey Street as only residential (and not highrise)

You remember a XXX theater on S.Congress

You've bought ice cream, played sand volleyball, eaten Chinese food and checked out skateboards at the same goofy retro building on Barton Springs.

Amy B

You still call Caesar Chavez....1st street

Brad D

You remember when:

1. South Lamar had more Bubbas than Hipsters.

2. Millard Neptune waved to motorists on Mopac.

3. Bob Cole hadn't yet left and returned

4. Ann Richards was your County Commisioner and Carole Keeton McClellan was your School Board President.

5. Bergstrom was an Air Force Base.

6. Anyone could buy beer at Utotem.

7. You danced to polka bands at Czech night during Aquafest.

8. Everyone danced The Cotton Eyed Joe and Schottishe at Junior high school.

9. Crockett was the high school furthest south.

10. South Austin didn't have a hospital.

11. Max Nofziger still just sold flowers.

John L

You remember when Petmecky's gun shop was on Congress Avenue and the bowling alley was just on the left across the bridge across Town Lake. (where the AAS building is now)

Jo T

I remember when MLK Blvd wS called19th Street!

Jo T

We learned the Cotten Eyed Joe at the Skyline Club way out North on Lamar.

Fred S

Crappy houses didn't cost $300 per foot.

Fred S

The Erwin Center was called the Super Drum


Kind of lame - try these 10

1. You remember Austin when MoPac was just a railroad. 
2. You're aware of, or remember, maybe even supported, unsuccessful attempts of the past to keep the UT tower and state capitol building the dominant features of the Austin skyline.
3. You know that Austin only had one television station until 1966 - and why.
4. You know what the planned North/South growth corridor was designed to achieve and appreciate the hideous irony of the direction growth actually took.
5. You've watched UT home games from something called the "Knothole".
6. You know that once upon a time Westlake was just another rural community nearby..
7. You know the real reason that Darrell Royal retired when he did.
8. Sarah sometimes actually smiled when you walked into Dry Creek Tavern.
9. You've enjoyed reminding people who moved to Austin, then whined endlessly about the heat, or some other triviality, that Delta is ready when they are.
10. You couldn't stand living in Austin anymore and you finally fled to a west Texas ranch, or wherever.

Scott S

Well, you must be pretty young and from Austin. Those of us who grew up remember when there was no MoPac and no Erwin Center. We graduated in Municipal Auditorium which is some part of the Long Center. And we also remember when the Mueller terminal was on Airport Blvd and not Manor Road!

Brandon W

You know where "Cay-Nig" and "Burn-It" are located.

Margaret M

The words "Skipper Pin" send you on a nostalgic trip back down memory lane

Wendy S

You know the best place to cut a bamboo cane for a pole on your walk to Lake Austin

Wendy S

You know where brake check hill is on 19th street.

You know better than to take your kids to Hippy Hollow

You wish that The Stallion was still there

You never mistake Burnet for North Lamar

It doesn't bother you that when you drive West at sundown, the road aims you directly at the sun.

Alysha B

When Slaughter Lane had no bridge and South Park Meadows was a concert venue.

Mildred M

When 12th Street was full of people all the time ,but now they Givens Park is the hang out.

Jason T

You replaced drug use with the creamy catfish enchiladas at El Sol y La Luna because it is WAY better. And you remember when it was on S. Congress.

Jason T

The street, "Manchaca" is pronounced "man-shack". And Slaughter is not a verb.

Jason T

If you don't know Maria's, you don't know tacos.