Austin, Texas

One of Our Favorite Places (And We May Be Biased)

Meet Austin, TX

Centrally located in Texas, Austin is also the capital of the Lone Star State. The city first got its beginnings in the 1830s from the first Anglo-American settlers. In 1837, it was called Waterloo and adopted the Austin name in 1839. Austin comes from Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas.” In the summer of 2020, Austin reached a population of over a million people, and it keeps growing!

Austin’s mild climate translates into an average of 300 days of sunshine each year, and that means residents can experience outdoor activities all year round. The city is surrounded by greenery and several state parks, plus Lake Travis and Lake Austin are nearby. Besides the climate, Austin is well known for its entertainment venues, number of live performances, and bustling music scene, making it the “Live Music Capital of the World.” South by Southwest and Austin City Limits are popular local festivals that take place in Downtown Austin to celebrate live music from all over the world and draw in thousands of people each year.

Austin is a very vibrant and active city. No matter the temperature or time of year, you’re bound to see people running, paddleboarding, biking, or kayaking. The parks, lakes, trails, and gorgeous weather keep residents exploring the outdoors.

Repeatedly recognized as the best city to move to and the best place to retire, Austin has a low cost of living, high-quality living, and favorable employment opportunities. It’s no mystery why the city appeals to everyone. Austin is a beacon for businesses and large corporations like Tesla, Indeed, Facebook, Google, and Apple. They have offices in the city or the surrounding area. The low tax structure, educated workforce, and collaborative spirit between the government and businesses make Austin a great place for small businesses and large corporations alike. There’s a reason many companies are moving out of Silicon Valley and to Austin. Austin has it all!

What To Know Before Moving to Austin

  • Manchaca is pronounced MAN-shack
  • The last “e” in Guadalupe is silent, pronounced GWA-da-loop.
  • The quarter-mile stretch of Guadalupe that runs past the University of Texas campus is called “The Drag.”
  • Burnet Rd is pronounced BURN-it, not Bur-NET.
  • Koenig Ln. is pronounced KAY-nig, not KOE-nig.
  • Early names for Austin include “Waterloo” and “City of the Violet Crown.” Waterloo was a small town located where Shoal Creek meets the Colorado River. “City of the Violet Crown” refers to Austin as described in an O. Henry short story. The phrase is said to refer to the hills around the city that turn purple at sunset.
  • Mexican Freetail Bats have celebrity status in Austin. The Congress Avenue bridge in the spring and summer home to 1.5 million bats, making it the largest urban bat colony in North America. Each evening around sunset, the Congress Avenue bats emerge like a black cloud from the crevices of the bridge. The bats consume 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects nightly.
  • The Broken Spoke is a true honky-tonk that Willie Nelson calls his “favorite watering hole.” The Spoke, located on South Lamar, has been featured in a number of films, movies, documentaries, and commercials and was named the best country dance hall in the U.S. by Entertainment Weekly.
  • Barton Springs Pool, known as the “Soul of Austin,” is a 1,000-by-125-foot un-chlorinated swimming pool. Fed by natural spring waters, the pool can be enjoyed year-round, and temps average 67 to 70 degrees.
  • Some of our streets have multiple names — Mopac is Loop 1; Capital of Texas Hwy is Loop 360; and U.S. 183 is Research Blvd., Anderson Lane, Ed Bluestein Blvd., and Old Bastrop Hwy; 2222 is Northland Dr. or Allandale Rd. or Koenig Ln.
  • The 8 AM rush hour is from 6:30 to 9:30 AM. The 5 PM rush hour is from 3:30 to 7:15 PM.
  • BBQ, breakfast tacos, Tex-Mex, and margaritas are sacred in Austin. 
    You should be able to quote or at least give the synopsis of Dazed & Confused and Friday Night Lights.

Favorite Dining Options

  • Franklin Barbecue
    Franklin’s may be one of the most talked-about eateries in all of Austin, and for good reason. After one taste of the brisket, ribs, turkey, and house-made sausages, you’ll understand why Austinites lineup to be the first to place a BBQ order each day.

  • Ramen Tatsu-ya
    The ramen, katsu sliders, and hush piggies are just the beginning of the delicacies you’ll find on the menu. The Japanese noodle soups will envelop you in warmth with every bit and have your taste buds singing.

  • Veracruz All Natural
    When Austin residents talk about where to find the best tacos, Veracruz All Natural is sure to be named more than a few times. The tastiness starts with the handmade corn and flour tortillas and ends with the fresh salsas.

  • Emmer & Rye
    For a higher-end dining experience, check out the cacio e pepe and wagyu steaks offered at Emmer & Rye. The menu is a treat and the dessert options are the cherry on top of a wonderful dining experience.

  • Peached Tortilla
    Combining Asian flavors with the Southern classics makes for a unique dining experience you can’t get anywhere else. You’ll love the Dan Dan noodles and Asian pear miso salad they have on their menu.

  • Uchi
    Craving a little sushi? With fish flown in daily from Tokyo, chefs who have mastered the traditional techniques, and some wildcard staples on the menu, Uchi is a must-visit.

  • Dough Boy
    The menu is filled with classic pizzas as well as tasty concoctions that are Dough Boy originals. You may come for the wood-fired Neapolitan pies, but you’ll keep coming back to try all of their menu options and devour an order of garlic knots while you’re at it.

  • Arlo’s
    Arlo’s is sure to shock your tastebuds. By the first bite, you won’t believe that the comfort food you’re indulging in is plant-based. The vegan dishes include seitan-stuffed tacos, BBQ soy burgers, and sweet potato fries and tots.

Kid-Friendly Attractions in Austin

We know that as a parent, sometimes the only thought that can cross your mind is, “how do I keep my kids entertained for the day?” Never fear, we have some ideas that you can run through, and we’re sure a few are bound to put a smile on your family’s faces.

  1. Go skating at Chaparral Ice – Grab your skates and go ice skating or check out the recreational competitive hockey programs they offer.
  2. Explore Laguna Gloria and Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve – The Laguna Gloria museum has a fun sculpture garden and the nearby Mayfield Park has live peacocks walking around.
  3. Take a tour of the Texas Capitol – With its pink granite, the Texas State Capitol has been called one of the prettiest in the country. There are 22 acres of green lawn space to sit and enjoy a picnic as well.
  4. Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – When the flowers are in bloom, the Wildflower Center is dazzling. They also host a variety of events and events, like Fortlandia, that your family will love. 
  5. Trek through the Dinosaur Park – Bring dinosaurs to life by walking through a tree-lined path with life-sized replicas of dinosaurs standing tall. Your family can even participate in a fossil dig.
  6. Check out the Inner Space Cavern – Sign up for a guided tour of Georgetown’s natural underground cavern. You’ll learn the difference between stalagmites and stalactites and see Ice Age animal fossils.
  7. Challenge the family to a round of mini-golf at Peter Pan Mini Golf – There are two 18-hole courses with all kinds of characters to spot.
  8. Have a hands-on learning experience at The Thinkery – The children’s museum has all kinds of science and technology exhibits as well as interactive activities for the family to enjoy.
  9. Visit the Austin Zoo – With more than 300 animals at the zoo, there are all kinds of species to see and learn about.
  10. Watch the sunset from the Bat Bridge – April through October, you can catch over one million Mexican free-tailed bats flying from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge.
  11. Take in the views from Lake Travis Zipline Adventures – There are five ziplines to choose from to see some of the most amazing views of the city and get your heart pumping. One of the ziplines is even the longest in Texas.

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