There’s more than meets the eye about Austin, Texas. You may have seen “Keep Austin Weird,” our slogan that encourages folks to shop at local businesses, but we also mean it on a lot of different levels.
To help illustrate this fact, here are nine things that you may not know about Austin, Texas…
9.) Austin has been inhabited since at least 9200 B.C.
So, not only are we ranked one of the best cities in the U.S., Austin can also claim to be one of the oldest cities in North America.
8.) Austin Gave The World Its First Recorded ‘Serial Killer’
“Could Not More Appall the Good People of the Capital City,” read the headlines. No that’s not about Jack the Ripper. Before him, Austin was home to what’s widely thought to be the first recorded serial killer, The Servant Girl Annihilator. While it’s good to be first in most things, this proves Austin as one of the breeding grounds for a horrific—albeit fascinating—trend of one of the more hospitable cities in the world.
7.) Austin Sits On A Fault Line
The Balcones Fault runs north and south through the middle of Austin. The land to the east of the fault is flat gulf coastal plain. The land to the west of the Balcones fault features steep hills at the eastern edge of the Texas hill country. If you’re a geology nerd, Austin is the place to soak up these everyday reminders of our nation’s growth.
6.) Austin Is The Bat Capital Of The U.S.
If you fear bats, maybe you shouldn’t move to Austin. These “flying rodents” decimate nearly 20,000 lbs of insects a year, which we’re mighty grateful for. During the summer months, make sure to look out for bats around 9 p.m. as they descend from Congress Avenue’s bridge in search of mosquitos and other flying nuisances that we’d rather not keep around. And don’t miss our annual Batfest on Congress! It’s always a good time.
5) Austin Is One Of The World’s Premiere Tech Hubs
Dell, Motorola, Samsung, Apple, and so many other tech companies having headquarters or large offices in Austin. Just like San Francisco, many startups are bootstrapping their way into getting an office right along side the big boys, tapping into Austin’s deep entrepreneurial resources and discovering a community like none other.
4.) Austin Is Way Greener Than Most Of Texas
From the outside, onlookers may think Austin is much like the rest of Texas: A dusty, brown, cement-covered wasteland. But nope! There’s no saguaro cactus here. Instead, the Colorado River rolls right through the middle of town, so naturally we dammed it up and turned it into a series of lakes. There are numerous creeks throughout the area because of that, and any Austinite can tell you that the weather is all over the place. We’ve also got more nature trails than you (or your dog) will known what to do with, AND and a very famous, topless-friendly swimming hole in the middle of town, if you’re into that sort of thing. Go nature!
3.) Book Nerds, Rejoice! We Have A Literary Museum
For the best in exhibits, look no further than the Harry Ransom Center. This literary trove has such exhibits like Houdini movie posters, letters by Edgar Allen Poe, Robert De Niro make-up stills, and even Jack Kerouac’s famous notebooks! If you love the written word, you owe it to yourself to visit Austin’s literature museum.
2.) Sometimes, Austin Really Sucks For Allergy Sufferers
Achoo! Austin is one of the Top 5 places for allergy sufferers, being most notably one of the pollen capitals of the USA. During the fall, from mid-August to early November, ragweed and other varities of weeds predominate. In the winter months, mountain cedar pollen is sure to give you the sniffles from December to February. And finally, the spring offers sneeze-worthy pollinates like elm, pecan, and ash. This just leaves the intense heat of summer to kill off the grass. If you’re sensitive, July and early-August is your time to frolic.
1.) We Have A Huge Freakin’ Castle
In the heart of hill country, better known to us as Austin’s big back yard, lies Falkenstein Castle. This majestic structure is roughly 175,000 square feet, and it sits on a 113-acre plot of land. The building—ahem, estate—makes a compelling argument for the common refrain that everything is bigger in Texas.