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If you’re planning to visit or move to Texas, the vibrant city of Austin might be at the top of your list of places to explore. You might wonder where this city’s located and what it has to offer.
You can find the city of Austin at the heart of Central Texas, along the Colorado River. It’s about 146 miles to the northwest of Houston, approximately 182 miles to the south of Dallas, and just a scenic 74 miles northeast of San Antonio.
In this article, we’ll go in-depth about what you need to know about Austin, Texas if you’re planning to visit, move there, or are just curious about the city.
Where Is Austin?
Austin, found in Central Texas, is the capital city of the state. It can be found where the Colorado River meets the Balcones Escarpment, and you can get to it by a 74-mile drive northeast of San Antonio.
In 2022, the city has a population of about 974,000 people, making it the fourth-largest city in Texas, and the tenth-largest city in the United States.
The city also houses the University of Texas in Austin, a major public university in the country known for its prestige.
What Is Austin Known for?
If you’re looking for a city that has cultural diversity, a lively music scene, and numerous outdoor hangouts, you can look no further than Austin. The city’s well-known for having these qualities.
1. Live Music Scene
The city is dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World” for a reason. Austin’s music scene is very much alive and the city has the highest number of places where you can go and listen to live music.
You can also attend various music festivals held in Austin throughout the year, like the South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits (ACL), and Austin Reggae Festival. If you’re a fan of live music shows, Austin is the city to visit.
2. Diverse Culinary Scene
If you consider yourself a foodie, you’ll be excited to know about Austin’s diverse culinary scene, featuring food trucks, Tex-Mex, barbecue, tacos, craft beer, and more.
When you visit, you should try some of the city’s signature food and drinks like the iconic breakfast tacos, queso, brisket, kolaches, margaritas, and Shiner Bock.
The city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” which reflects its quirky and creative culture. Many artists, hippies, activists, and eccentrics call the city home and contribute to its quirky vibe.
It also houses “weird” attractions like the Museum of the Weird, the Cathedral of Junk, and the bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge.
4. Nature and Outdoor Activities
Austin has a lot of nature spots and fun, outdoor activities to offer.
If you ever find yourself in the area, we recommend visiting places like Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Park, Mount Bonnell, and McKinney Falls State Park.
In many of these spots, you can do activities like hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, fishing, swimming, and more.
5. Tech Industry
People call the city “Silicon Hills” because of its thriving tech industry. Many startups and major tech companies are based here.
Some of the companies with offices or headquarters in Austin are Dell, IBM, Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Tesla.
Is Austin a Good Place to Live in Texas?
Austin boasts many attractions, from its outdoor leisure spots to its music scene, but is the city a good place to live? Here are a few factors to consider if you’re thinking about moving to Austin.
Population Growth and Household Income
The city is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US with a population of over 974,000 as of 2022. The city’s population grew by 2.7% from 2021 to 2022.
Non-Hispanic Whites, Asian Americans, and Hispanic residents drove the population growth. The African American community was the only one that declined.
This population growth can mean many things for you if you’re thinking of moving here. First, it means Austin is attracting many people from different regions because of its high quality of life and its strong economy.
The median household income in the city is around $79,000, which is relatively high. On the other hand, the poverty rate is 12.5%.
However, the population growth could also mean some additional challenges the city has to face. For example, people may encounter issues like housing affordability and traffic congestion.
The median home sale price in the city is around $590,000 and the median gross rent is about $1,700, which might be too expensive for most people.
Education and Work
Austin is home to one of the largest and most prestigious universities in the US: the University of Texas at Austin. The university is a major research institution, contributing to the city’s innovation and development.
As we mentioned, the city has a successful tech industry that can provide plenty of employment opportunities. However, Austin isn’t reliant on this sector alone so don’t worry if you’re not in tech.
In addition to its continually advancing tech industry, the city provides a wide range of employment opportunities across various sectors. You may work in government, healthcare, entertainment, tourism, and manufacturing.
The city has a low unemployment rate of around 3.6% and a high job growth rate of about 3.5% as of 2021.
Challenges and Opportunities
No city is without challenges. You should consider how Austin can be a challenging place to live in because of the need for affordable housing, traffic congestion, environmental issues, and lack of social equity.
Policymakers and community leaders need to invest in public transportation and infrastructure, as well as affordable housing and homelessness prevention initiatives, for the situation to improve.
Additionally, the city sorely needs more policies that promote environmental sustainability.
Austin is a great city to visit or live in because it has something for everyone. Whether you’re a music lover looking for a fun music festival, a foodie that’s eager to explore new tastes or an outdoor enthusiast who wants to immerse yourself in nature, the city has it all.
Beyond its many attractions, the city’s welcoming atmosphere and diverse community make it easy to find belongingness within its borders. There, people embody the motto “Keep Austin Weird,” fostering a sense of creativity, openness, and acceptance.
Robert is a native Texan writer for TexasWalkabout, passionate about Texas culture and food, wearing cowboy boots daily. He interviews local pitmasters and chefs, tastes and reviews innovative dishes, and explores hidden gems and iconic landmarks. Graduating magna cum laude in Cyber Security from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Robert excels academically and professionally while also being knowledgeable in Texas history and culture. After living in Texas for over 28 years, he provides first-hand and trustworthy information for all your Texas needs!