From the moment you arrive in Austin, you’ll see the city’s unofficial motto plastered on everything from buildings to t-shirts to koozies: “Keep Austin Weird.” And, perhaps, nothing better describes this place. Austin is modern and hip, but also retains enough traditional Texan hospitality that it’s common to get a “hi y’all” from a stranger while walking past each other on the street.
While the city itself has been on an upward trajectory for some time now, the recent announcements from various large tech companies regarding their intentions to open or expand in Austin have driven it to a fever pitch. Alongside these increased opportunities for employment, new cultural initiatives—from galleries to stores to fine dining—have grown in the city as well. However, the casual vibe that makes Austin such a wonderful place to live still remains strong—it’s a place where you can get some of the best high-end sushi in the country one night, and a $2 bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast taco the next morning.
For those who enjoy spending their free time outdoors, Austin is a dream. While the ever-growing Downtown skyline may allude to the ongoing urban development, you only have to drive minutes from the city center to reach the green fields of Zilker Park. With temperatures that rarely dip below 50 degrees, hiking, biking, and swimming are almost always an option. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty to do indoors as well—from honky-tonk to indie rock, the music scene is so renowned it has earned Austin the nickname of the “Live Music Capital of the World.” In other words, living the good life is easy in Austin, Texas. Almost as easy as finding a place that serves amazing guac and queso.
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Austin is a place where you’re likely to see man-bun-clad musicians, young families, bike-short-wearing cyclists, and tech prodigies all enjoying brunch in the same place on a Sunday morning. The vibe here is particularly casual, especially when compared to cities such as New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago— the standard attire for a night out is typically cowboy boots rather than stilettos.
The people who reside in Austin all share a love of good food, good music, and good times—and with the city’s variety of up-and-coming restaurants, local bands, and plentiful outdoor spaces, it’s easy to see why.
Our favorite spots
Nature is a big part of the Austin experience. We love to visit Zilker Park, a 350-acre green space in the South of the city, for a picnic with friends or to play a pick-up game of soccer. Equally important to the locals is Barton Springs Pool, an outdoor pool filled with water from nearby naturally occurring springs.
Since the water temperature there always hovers around 65-degrees, it’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot Texas summer day. When it comes to nightlife, you can two-step the night away at legendary honky-tonk The Broken Spoke, or visit ACL Live at the Moody Theater for the latest band that’s in town.
Things to know
Austin is truly a unique spot among U.S. cities — way more relaxed than New York, and with a Southern influence that you won’t find in places like Los Angeles or Chicago. If it isn’t already evident, spending time outside is huge here, perhaps due to the influence of pet-lovers than live in the city. As the joke goes, “you’re not considered a dog owner in Austin until you own at least two pups.”
For those who have never experienced a Southern summer, be warned— from June to October, temperatures can reach “fry an egg on the sidewalk” levels. However, the scorching summers are well-worth the blue skies and sunshine you get all fall and winter.
If you're still unsure what part of town might suit you best, our experts have all the advice you'll need on Austin's neighborhoods.