Austin - description of the city:

Austin, TX is the capital city of Texas, and it is the county seat of Travis County. Austin is in Central Texas, as well as the American Southwest, and it is the 11th-biggest city in the U.S. and the fourth-biggest city in the state of Texas. It grew very rapidly from 2000 to 2006, so much so that it was the third-fastest-growing big city in the nation. Austin is the second biggest capital city in the U.S. Austin has a population of over 850,000 people. The city is the economic and cultural center of the Round Rock-Austin metropolitan area, which had a total population of almost two million.

In the 1830s, there were settlers that began to settle the Central Austin area along the Colorado River. Mirabeau B. Lamar, the vice president of the Republic of Texas, visited the place on a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837-1838, and he decided that the republic’s capital which was located at Houston, Texas at the time be moved to the area on the north bank of the Colorado River, which is right by the modern-day Congress Avenue Bridge. The site was officially chosen as the new capital of the Republic of Texas in 1839. It was the seventh and last capital location for the republic. The city was officially incorporated under the name Waterloo. The name was then changed to Austin, in honor of Stephen F. Austin. Stephen F. Austin is known as the “Father of Texas”, and he was the first secretary of state for the republic.

The city grew throughout the 1800s, and it turned into a center for education and government with the development of the state capital and UT Austin. The city went through a slow-down in growth during the Great Depression, but it continued on its steady path of growth toward becoming a big city and, by the ‘80s, it turned into a major center for business and technology. There are several Fortune 500 companies that have their regional offices or headquarters in Austin, including Google, eBay, Intel, and others.

The city’s residents are called “Austinites”. There is a diverse bunch of government employees (e.g., politicians, law enforcement, university faculty); domestic and foreign college students; artists & musicians; tech workers; and businesspeople. Austin is home to development complexes for several different technology companies; it was nicknamed the “Silicon Hills” in the 1990s. The city’s official slogan now is “The Live Music Capital of the World”, and it is a clear reference to the many live music venues and musicians in the area, as well as the long-running PBS TV concert series called Austin City Limits. Some Austin city residents have started using the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”. This slogan is a reference to the Texan sense of individuality and independence and refers to the eclectic, eccentric, and liberal lifestyles of several Austin residents. The phrase is also a way of making a statement against big corporations that threaten local businesses and it is a reaction to the creeping conservative influence in the community. Austin was once known as the “Violet Crown”, especially in the late 1800s. The city has a violet glow of color in the winter, across the hills when the sun is setting. Austin is sometimes called the “clean air city” because of the no-smoking ordinances in all buildings and public places, including bars and restaurants.

The FBI says that Austin is the second safest big city in the U.S.

What’s So Unique About Austin?

Austin has a population of about 700,000 and a happy creative class. A diverse mix of creative professionals, artisans, government officials, and businesspeople inhabit the weirdest city in the lone star state. Now, because of the increase in high-rise condo development, it has become even more of a densely populated urban center. People from all over the country eager for a counterculture experience are flocking to Austin. It just might become the new San Francisco. It wasn’t easy for Austin to undergo the transformation to a compact, neatly organized urban center. In Texas, urban sprawl is the norm. If you look at Houston, you’ll have a good idea of the urban sprawl Texas is known for. The city has made some big investments in light rail, and Austin has a thriving bike culture. Alternative transportation is the norm in a city so environmentally conscious. You might think its uniquely liberal traits are a little unusual for Texas, but that’s part of what makes Austin so marvelous. The little liberal oasis in the middle of Texas stands out even more so because of the conservative nature of the state. Austin is a college town, a state capital, and a business town. It is home to the corporate offices of Whole Foods, offbeat music, and a bumper sticker slogan that says “Keep Austin Weird”. If you’ve never been to Austin, you’ve really missed out in life. It’s got a unique flavor, style, and look all its own. It’s high time you checked out the weirdest city in Texas.

Austin is located in south-central Texas, about 100 miles to the north of San Antonio, another unique Texas city. If you want to see the gorgeous Hill County, just head west for a while. The Gulf of Mexico is a couple hours to the east. The Colorado River marks the southern edge of the downtown area. Waller and Shoal creeks, both tributaries of the Colorado River, are the boundaries of the city to the west and east. Congress Avenue divides the downtown area right in half, and it goes all the way up to the state capital dome. The state capital dome is a great place to visit in the city first, by the way.

Austin is a very progressive town – a liberal utopia almost – in a state that is archly conservative. That’s part of what makes the city so unique. It has had a unique political past, and it has been the launching pad for many governors to the national stage – Rick Perry and George W. Bush to name a few. You can take a free tour of the state capitol building, if you wish. On the free tour, you can look at the beautiful oil paintings in the house and senate chambers. You can also see the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library on the UT campus. President Lyndon B. Johnson grew up in Austin, and that’s why his presidential library is located there. The building has a striking contemporary design, and it holds nearly 50 million documents.

The University of Texas at Austin

Just like state government, UT plays a big role in life in the city, and not just on big game days. The University of Texas at Austin not only houses the LBJ Library, but it also houses the architecture and planning library called Battle Hall. Battle Hall is a great place to hunker down and read a good book. If you want to see what students do with their time, check out “The Drag” to the west of the university. “The Drag” is officially known as Guadalupe Avenue, and it’s got tons of students coming in and out of bookstores, restaurants, dive bars, and coffee shops. This is where daily student life plays out. If you want to hang out with the hippest, youngest, and coolest Austinites, then start introducing yourself to people on “The Drag”. There are a number of museums on campus, like the Harry Ransom Center. The Harry Ransom Center actually has a real Gutenberg Bible onsite.

The Music Scene

Austin has a really awesome music scene. There are clubs throughout the city, and the internationally famous SXSW music festival is held there each year. Prices start at $550 for a ticket to SXSW, but any music lover, film student, or techie will tell you that it’s well worth it. You can find blues music, Americana, and country music year-round in Austin at a number of places. Several clubs don’t charge a cover at all, but it’s recommended that you tip musicians. Some of the well-known music clubs like Threadgills, the Broken Spoke, the Continental Club, Emo’s, and Antone’s. There are a couple of newspapers that cover the city, the Austin Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman. Both newspapers have weekly music listings. If you want to listen to local radio and see what the local music scene has to offer on the air, then tune in to 90.5 FM. It’s a great radio station, and Austin City Limits (the PBS show) is taped at a brand new television studio in the W Hotel.

The Film Scene

Austin also has a great film and filmmaking scene. For people who appreciate great cinema, and who like making cinema, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot outside of Hollywood or New York City. Watch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse or check out some of the other independent movie theaters in the town. You can get a tasty meal and a cold mug of beer at the Alamo Drafthouse, too. If you want to have a really great date night, catch a movie and a meal at one of several Alamo Drafthouse locations. Choose the one that is closest and easiest for your date to get to.

The Shopping Scene

If you love to shop, then Austin is a great town for that, too. South of downtown, on South Congress Avenue, you will find a number of antique art stores and boutiques. Be sure to visit some of the city’s most notable stores, like Uncommon Objects, Allen’s, and Friends of Sound. You can browse through an eclectic collection of antiques, leather cowboy boots, and vinyl records, respectively. If you get tired of the shopping and want to get some refreshment, then go into one of the Air Stream trailers that line the street and get some homemade ice cream or a cupcake. If you really love music and want more than Friends of Sound has to offer, then head on over to Austin’s coolest music store (Waterloo Records). If reading is your thing, check out Book People, Austin’s best bookstore. Both are favorites of the independent arts community.


The Austin Motel: Rooms begin at just $80 a night, and you can’t beat the location right on South Congress Avenue.

The Driskill Hotel: This is a very old hotel with a historic feel. It’s the fancier option. Rooms begin at $150 a night.

The Sane Jose: This is a little boutique hotel on the L.A. side of Austin. Even if you don’t end up staying here, grab a drink at the bar in the courtyard outside and do a little people watching. You will see some really young, beautiful, and wealthy people at the poolside lounge. Rooms start at $95 a night on weekdays.

Come Visit Austin Soon

You have to experience the weirdness of Austin firsthand. It’s not an experience that you should miss. The Hill Country is earthy and beautiful in a way that you just don’t see anywhere else. You have to feel it to really understand it. The people of Austin are quirky, industrious, ambitious, and artistic. It’s a great place to meet new friends and experience concerts, bar hopping, and film festivals. If you’ve never been to Austin, you should go at least once. You’ll probably want to keep coming back again and again. If you’re a Texas resident, you certainly have to go. You won’t believe that a town this cool is in your home state.

Weirdness is a way of life in Austin. Ever since Red Wassenich, a librarian, announced on his radio show to “Keep Austin Weird” in 2000, the slogan has been repeated over and over again by many a resident of Austin. The bumper stickers can be seen on cars all over the state now. Once you go there, you’ll know exactly why the slogan is appropriate, but you won’t be turned off by the weirdness. It’s a good kind of weirdness that you won’t mind. It’s kind of hard to explain, so you better just visit.

Country United States
International title Austin
Population 790,390 people
Timezone America/Chicago
State Texas
Geographic coordinates Latitude: 30.26715 x Longitude: -97.74306

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