Your Guide to the
Greater Austin Area
The capital of Texas, Austin originated as the riverside village of Waterloo at the point where the Colorado River leaves the Edwards Plateau. It was selected by scouts as the site for the permanent capital of the Republic of Texas and renamed to honour Stephen F. Austin, father of the republic. It became home to the impressive red-granite State Capitol that was modeled after the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Now Texas’s fourth largest city, Austin is an important administrative, educational, and cultural center. The city is home to the University of Texas, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Recently, Austin has become known for its international film and music festivals and grassroots artistic culture.
Austin has long been famous for its amazing music scene and great food. It’s this unique charm that has attracted major cultural events like SXSW and Austin City Limits. Year-round, Stubb’s and Rainey Street are go-to cultural hot spots. Here boutiques offer a nice balance of old-school vintage and music shops. The downtown has recently benefited from a boost of creativity which is filling up with inventive restaurant concepts and cool hotels.
The landscape of Austin plays an important role in the local lifestyle. The hot, humid weather of Texas is cooled by the presence of the Colorado River, making outdoor activities like kayaking enjoyable. The city is also filled with lots of parks and paths.
Despite being one of the fastest growing cities in North America, Austin allows ample space to connect with nature. The city limits cover 232 square miles encompassing more than 300 parks, including the nearly 360-acre Zilker Park. Lady Bird Lake, a river-like reservoir of the Colorado River, flows right by downtown and defines recreation in the area. The iconic Congress Avenue bridge over the water houses millions of Mexican free-tailed bats, which emerge in the evenings to feed on the local mosquito population.
Austin is comfortably situated between Texas’s larger cities Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Although Austin has its own airport, these close by cities offer more options for long-haul travel and shopping.
The food scene in Austin is having a huge moment. Known for its legendary Tex-Mex, tasty breakfast tacos and juicy barbecue, the city recently nabbed three of the top five finalist nods for the Best Chef Southwest award for the first time in history.
The temperate weather of Austin means their booming food truck culture is evolving with lightning speed. New food trucks pop up seemingly every day in the city’s food truck parks. These gastronomical gatherings range from permanent outdoor food courts to informal clusters of local vendors. Each offers you the ability to get varied fare like curry, halal wraps, or vegan burgers. The most popular trucks often find a home in a brick-and-mortar restaurant due to popular demand.
There’s a reason Austin is often ranked one of the fittest cities in the country. Austin is home to many trails for running, walking, hiking or biking – without even traveling outside the city limits. A day trip to nearby McKinney Falls State Park offers a quick escape. And just west of Austin are hiking trails through the limestone cliffs and stone riverbeds of Pedernales Falls State Park.
Austin’s first major league professional sports team Austin FC begins play in Major League Soccer in 2021. Austin is also home to the University of Texas Longhorns and to several minor-league sports teams. South of the city, Formula One’s Circuit of the Americas raceway has hosted the United States Grand Prix.
Austin is among the most walkable cities in Texas. But Austin is big, and it’s going to take you longer than you think to get where you’re going. Austin’s public transit system serves a population of more than one million in its 535-square mile service area. More than 1,600 bus stops and 82 routes include MetroRail, MetroRapid, and High-Frequency Route Network.
Austin also offers rideshare services like Lyft and Uber and has an emerging light rail system (Cap Metro) that has made it easier to get around. However, most residents of Austin own a vehicle making it easy to escape the city on weekends to nearby natural wonders.
Once a small college town, Austin is consistently ranked one of the fastest growing cities in the country. A prominent white-collar city, the residents are a nearly an equal mix of family and young professional households, most looking to own. Austin’s rapidly expanding economic industry is driving more people into the city which is increasing the housing demand.
With demand up and few houses to choose from, the Austin home prices are climbing steadily in the quant city. Every house has a style – sometimes two or more – because of eclectic architectural mixes or renovations. You can find anything from Texas Country, Tudor or Hill Country Contemporary.