Austin Texas Living

"I wasn't born in Austin, but I got here as fast as I could" -- that new spin on an old Texas bumper sticker is the mantra for thousands of residents living in Austin Texas. The booming greater Austin area, located in the heart of Texas, has 1.2 million residents and is likely to top 2 million in a decade, but growth has not turned the city into just another cookie cutter sprawltown where reminding yourself of where you live means checking the newsstand at Starbucks every day. Keeping Austin weird and wonderful is easy in a city where individuality is prized.

Austin Texas Skyline

Austin Inspiration

Austin is a city that inspires, a town where a University of Texas dropout named Michael Dell started youknowwhatcomputer company. It is also the adopted home of Baltimore-born David Ansel who quit his software job, got a bike and a dog and began The Soup Peddler, delivering homemade soup to his Bouldin Creek neighbors. Austin trivia buffs know that Cheapo Disc on South Lamar was the home of the original, tiny Whole Foods, founded in 1980 by a couple of old hippies who expanded their vision all the way to the NASDAQ and beyond with their corporate headquarters and flagship store standing tall in Downtown Austin. And the old Hyde Park neighborhood is where Amy made her fortune after swapping premed in Boston for ice cream in Austin. Willie Nelson sings here, Lance Armstrong cycles here, and Robert Rodriguez makes movie magic here, but it is also home to thousands of dreamers and creators who tap into Austin's psyche and gather for special events year round.

People have been drawn to Austin long before Stephen F. Austin, the city's namesake, settled here in 1821. Native Americans camped and then Spanish missionaries settled in 1730 near Barton Springs, the city's famed natural swimming hole. Politics, education, high-tech and music may be big business in Austin, but the perpetually cool bubbling spring water (always between 67 and 70 degrees), cradled in the center of Zilker Park, is the iconic heart of the city, a fitting symbol of the Austin lifestyle. Austin Texas residents like to move seamlessly between their private spaces into outdoor spaces. Woven through this dynamic tapestry of Austin neighborhoods are the city's parks, trails, lakes and greenbelts where Austinites go to unwind, revive, relax, or refuel.

Austin and its Neighborhoods

One of the most important words in the Austin vocabulary is "neighborhood". Ranging from funky to urban, from serene to hopping, they are key to Austin's spirit. It is no coincidence in a city where politics is a passion that Austinites know how to organize and neighborhood associations and grassroots groups wield considerable clout at City Hall. Not only have Austinites insisted on keeping the character of old neighborhoods, they have pressed city planners to make sure new and revived areas meet what University of Texas architect professor Hal Box calls the "Popsicle Rule" -- can someone walk to a neighborhood store and buy a popsicle in five minutes? The official names for this kind of city planning are "Smart Growth" and "New Urbanism", but for most of us it just means making sure our neighborhoods are friendly, open, flourishing and just a little different from each other.

Not only can you search apartments in Austin, but our guide through Austin Texas also includes a look at several of Austin's unique neighborhoods with tips both practical and inspirational -- where to get veggies or take out, buy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, walk the dog, catch a flick, work out or wifi, relax and recharge. We also have included sections on Austin public schools, getting around, the weather, outdoor activities, entertainment and restaurants.

Top 10 Austin

Austin Texas consistently makes a variety of top ten lists -- named one of the top ten cities to be a dog, one of the best cities for dating, the number two vegetarian city in the U.S. and one of the coolest cities to be a young professional. The city is also the third most wired city in the country and that means virtual Austin also is an adventure.

Austin Texas Guide

The local Austin media websites, notably the Austin Chronicle, are good places to find tips on local events and community calendars, deals and coupons for local businesses, information on the weather and traffic, plus catch up on the news. The Chronicle, the city's free alternative weekly is thick enough to serve as a summertime seat cushion on a metal park bench and savvy enough to print an annual Halloween mask for Sixth Street celebrations on its cover every year.

Keeping up with changes and events can be a challenge, so whether you are already living in Austin and want a change of scenery, or you are planning to move to Austin Texas, it is a good idea to check in with the "locals" and see what is going on. The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau has a stuffy name, but a great web site for visitors and residents -- locals and visitors can cash in with the coupons and would-be Austin residents can time their explorations to jive with some of the city's top events. Many of the city's bloggers can be found at and if you are looking for a good, extensive guidebook to Austin, check out "Insider's Guide to Austin" co-authored by longtime Austin residents and writers Cam Rossie and Hilary Hylton - Hilary contributed to this web site.

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