Reasons Why Austin is the Best Place to Live in the U.S.
Thousands of people are moving to Austin, TX every year, and it is not difficult to see why. Living in Austin presents residents with a lot of unique opportunities and comforts not found in other cities. As a result, the city is frequently rated as one of the best places to live in the country. It has also earned several other names over the years, including Live Music Capital of the World. This city is home to dozens of different music festivals and hundreds of venues.
Among the many Austin attractions, the city also offers a thriving nightlife and food scene. Residents and locals alike enjoy fun nights along popular places like 6th Street. Even outdoor enthusiasts enjoy amazing sights, including the colony of bats that calls the city its home. Overall, this capital city has much to offer the residents who choose to call it home.
The Culture of Living in Austin
Though it is the capital of the state, Austin is not like most other cities in Texas. After moving to Austin, TX, new residents often find that the city is different in almost every way. Over time, the locals have learned to embrace this uniqueness, even adopting the phrase “Keep Austin Weird” as its unofficial slogan.
Taken up by community leaders around the 1970s, the phrase originally meant to urge Austin natives and visitors alike to support local businesses. Today it represents much more than that, providing a whole identity to those living in Austin. Over time, many weird and interesting Austin attractions have popped up to add to the funky vibe, including:
• The Cathedral of Junk, a backyard clubhouse built from junk and donated belongings from visitors.
• The Museum of the Weird, a mystery gift shop and museum offering an assortment of odd attractions.
• Lala’s, a bar sporting Christmas decorations year-round.
• Urban Axes, a venue where you can throw axes at a bullseye, much like a game of darts.
• Eeyore’s Birthday Party, a fundraising event in which locals of all kinds come together to celebrate a beloved children’s book character.
Living in Austin, residents are surrounded by many food favorites, including barbeque and Tex-Mex cuisine. As a result, there is no shortage of tasty brisket and tacos in the city. However, many local restaurants are jumping on the trendy bandwagon. In order to appeal to the younger crowd of students and concert-goers, chefs are expanding their menus. Some of the hottest current restaurants include:
• The Yard Bar. This small bar is situated in a dog park, allowing dog owners to enjoy beers and snacks with their furry friends.
• Bangers. A popular brunch spot, this bar and venue serves bottomless mimosas and boasts a menu with over 150 different craft beers.
• El Chilito. Another breakfast spot, this restaurant’s specialty is breakfast puffy tacos.
• Three Little Pigs. This eatery is actually housed on a food truck, an increasingly popular option for chefs.
Concerts in Austin
Since the 1970s, Austin has been known as the Live Music Capital of the World. It earned the name during that time for having more music venues per capita than any other city in the U.S. At one time, there were over 300 Austin, Texas music venues in operation. With around 200 live venues currently open, the city still claims this title today. Even its airport is reported to have several venues in the terminal where musicians perform for travelers. As a result, Austin concert venues play host to some of the most popular music festivals, including:
• South by Southwest (SXSW).
• Austin City Limits.
• Fun Fun Fun Fest.
• The Urban Music Festival.
• Pachanga Festival.
The area is also home to many smaller music events as well, including those for jazz, blues and other genres. In addition, locals and tourists can visit several historic dance halls in the city, many of which still host regular events.
Nightlife in Downtown Austin
Due to the abundance of music venues and festivals, it is no surprise that Austin, Texas nightlife is also well-known. In fact, many of these venues are located along one of the city’s main hotspots: 6th Street. This street is home to an abundance of trendy bars, restaurants and attractions. New Year’s Eve is a particularly popular night to visit 6th street and celebrate the holiday while bar-hopping.
The area known as 6th Street Austin is also located around the corner from the University of Texas. For this reason, it is a frequent hangout for many local college students. Both tourists and locals visit to experience the many different options available, including speakeasies, beer gardens and even cult-themed bars. Some of the most popular spots include places like:
• Midnight Cowboy.
• The Jackalope.
• Waller Creek Pub House.
Historical Places to Visit in Austin
Originally known as Waterloo and the Capital of the Republic of Texas, Austin has a long and unique history. As a result, many popular Austin attractions are centered on the history of the city as well as the state. For example, the Bullock Texas State History Museum is located there, with an impressive Texas star statue standing over the entrance to the building. While there, visitors can learn about the Battle of the Alamo and other important moments throughout Texas history.
Also located near Downtown Austin is the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. This library boasts millions of pages of historical documents from the former President’s career. The museum also contains a replica of the President’s Oval Office as it looked during his presidency. As a native Texan, Johnson and his wife are both still considered beloved figures in the state.
Outdoor Austin Activities
In addition to various indoor activities, there are also many places to visit in Austin for nature enthusiasts. One especially unique site is the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. Each year, residents are visited by one of the largest urban colony of bats in the world. During the months between March and November, this colony of over 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats makes its home under the bridge. Onlookers can view the bats taking flight at dusk and dawn from the riverbank or the nearby Statesman Bat Observation Center.
Other popular outdoor Austin attractions include the many local parks, which contain rivers, lakes and spring-fed pools. Places like Zilker Metropolitan Park offer swimmers access to the Barton Springs Pool, as well as trails for hiking and biking. Located along the Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake is a popular spot for kayaking and bat-watching.