So, as I mentioned before, I'm have moved downtown. I was looking forward to moving, but didn't really know what to expect. I've been here now for almost a month so I'm officially qualified to write about it.
Let's cut to the chase: living downtown is sweet. The best part, that I hadn't fully considered, is that it's now convenient for everyone to come visit me. When I lived in my house 20 minutes North of town, I had a visitor maybe once or twice a week. Usually we'd meet at a restaurant or something closer to downtown, so I always had to drive. Now I live in such a convenient location that everyone comes to visit me. Often they're doing something else a block away, so it's really easy to come say hi.
Another cool side effect of this is that different social circles I'm in are starting to mingle because they often stop by at the same time. I don't think I've gone 24 hours without someone visiting.
The second greatest thing about living downtown is that I'm close to Whole Foods. Now any time from morning until 10pm I can get exactly what I want to eat and it's only a short walk away. Or if I don't feel like walking, I can ... SKATEBOARD!
I'm going to write a whole article about it, but I bought some electric skateboards. They're way better than bikes, feet, or even cars. They deserve their own article or maybe three part mini series. That's how great they are. In fact, I'm about to go ride 2 miles on one to get some food.
I also work really close to work now, so it's easy for me to drop by on the weekends or at weird hours to check on things - or vice versa. Sometimes I'll be at work and I'll think of something I forgot at home. I can just skateboard or walk back and get it and be back within 20 minutes.
I also don't use my car anymore, really. The only time I use it, ironically, is to go back to my old house to get some stuff. Since it has crappy gas mileage, I'm saving a couple hundred bucks a month by not driving.
I think you should move downtown too. If I had known how great it was, I would have moved earlier. Sure it's a bit more expensive, but there are deals to be had, and having a roommate is ok too. For example, in Austin you can get a place at the Railyard for $249k that has three bedrooms and is right in the middle of downtown. That's cheap enough that there's no excuse not to move.
What benefits are there to living far away from downtown? I can't think of any. I guess you might save money, but when you factor in the extra driving and value of your time, that may or may not be true. Some people want "peace and quiet". I live in a building that has clubs right next to it and it's not to loud at all unless you're out on the balcony.