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.” Other notable 2014 rankings
include NerdWallet’s “Best City for Job
Seekers,” Thumbtack.com’s “No. 4 Best City
for Small Businesses,” and “One of the Best
Cities for Dating,” according to the BBC.
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, take-
it-or-leave-it kind of attitude matches well
with its fun and “weird” culture, celebrated
on bumper stickers and T-shirts with the
slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.” Perhaps that’s
why so many celebrities – including 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 stun-
ning 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.
Waterloo was renamed after Stephen F.
Austin, “the father of Texas” and the
founders’ vision included a state capitol
building to look down from a hill over the
city. The State Capitol was built on that hill in
1888, with stunning views of the city.
The Texas State Capitol was built as a result
of one of the largest barter transactions in
history – the Capitol’s builders received 3
million acres in the Texas Panhandle, which
later became the largest cattle ranch in the
world, the XIT Ranch. The Capitol is one of
the state’s most popular attractions with more
than 1 million visitors each year. Constructed
from limestone and pink granite from nearby
Marble Falls in the same architectural style as
the nation’s Capitol, it’s actually taller than its
distant D.C. sibling by seven feet – making it
the largest state capitol in the U.S.
Today, with a population of just over
885,400, Austin is the fourth-most populous city in Texas, and now officially the
11th largest city in the U.S., according to
the Census. The area continues to grow,