In fact, both the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council and Cartus Corporation,
formerly Primacy Relocation, LLC, have
ranked Austin, Texas, highly in surveys of
the country’s “best large markets for relocating families.” Notable 2017 rankings
include WalletHub’s “No. 3 Best Place to
Start a Career,” U.S. News and World Reports’
“#1 Best Place to Live in the USA,” and
“No. 9 on Top 10 Cities to Raise a Family,”
according to SmartAsset.
Austin, Texas, is the home of both the
state capital and 1. 5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that swoop from underneath
the Congress Avenue Bridge nightly from
March until mid-November each year – in
addition to the 1. 9 million residents who
are proud to call the Austin MSA (
Metropolitan Statistical Area) home. The “Live
Music Capital of the World” also offers
a funky mix of award-winning restaurants, mouth-watering barbeque, tattooed
hipsters, a refreshing liberal culture, politics
that are always interesting, and innovative
high-tech companies and startups.
Compared to nearby Dallas, Houston and
San Antonio, Austin is like the upstart,
renegade youngest sibling – the one who’d
rather ask for forgiveness than permission,
and in the process, created a whole new
way of doing things. Austin’s laid-back,
Sandra Bullock, Robert Rodriguez and
others – decide to move here. They won’t
be bothered here – because, to be honest,
no one cares.
ANYTHING BUT FLAT
Located nearly in the center of the state,
Austin is about three hours south of Dallas;
three hours west of Houston; and about 90
minutes north of San Antonio – depending
on I- 35 traffic, of course. Austin’s
geographic location is in south central
Texas, where the Colorado River crosses
the Balcones Escarpment – which separates
the Texas Hill Country from the state’s
blackland prairies to the east. The escarpment is also responsible for creating the
city’s limestone cliff formations that define
Austin’s anything-but-Texas surroundings.
One look at the scenic Hill Country views,
and it’s clear that the words “flat” or “
desolate” simply don’t apply. With its steep
terrain, creeks, parks, and the Colorado
River cutting a wide swath through the
center of downtown, many visitors to Austin
find it hard to believe they’re still in Texas.
Instead of the flat terrain common to most
of the state, visitors are greeted with stunning vistas, rolling hills, and wildflowers.
The area’s mostly temperate climate has
earned Austin a reputation as one of the
nation’s fittest cities, since there’s plenty to
do outside to stay fit and enjoy an active
lifestyle. There’s no question that both
visitors and residents alike revel in the stunning beauty that combines the best of the
Texas prairie with the scenic Hill Country.
The Colorado River only adds to that beauty
– flowing through the heart of the city and
feeding a series of lakes that stretch for more
than 100 miles. The lakes are manmade,
created by several dams built over the years.
The crown jewel of these lakes is Lady
Bird Lake, named in honor of Lady Bird
Johnson. Surrounded by the expansive and
popular Zilker Park, Lady Bird Lake is the
epicenter of outdoor activity – from kayaking, rowing, and paddleboarding to miles
of running trails that encircle it.
THE ORIGINAL AUSTIN
Austin grew from the tiny village of Waterloo,
originally settled by Native Americans. The
area was chosen later to become the capital of
the new Republic of Texas. Texas was an independent country for nearly ten years before
being annexed by the United States in 1845.
Musician Emily Wolfe playing
KGSR’s Unplugged at the Grove
at Shady Grove. Photo by Erin Seal