Spotlight on Austin, TX
Austin has many claims to fame and depending who you ask you may hear about its live music, BBQ, festivals, outdoor activities, art offerings, diversity or the city’s growing reputation as a hotbed for tech startups and entrepreneurs. There is a lot going on here, and the city’s strong economic growth and social scene make it a great place for young professionals.
Here are some of the best things about Austin:
Austin was dubbed “The Live Music Capital of the World” back in the early nineties due to its percentage of live music venues per capita, and it continues to live up to its reputation. There are tons of places to catch live music in the area, and Austin is home to some of the largest music festivals in the country including ACL, SXSW and Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Everybody has their favorite, but it’s hard to think of Austin without thinking of barbeque. It’s not unusual for residents and visitors alike to stand in line for hours for Franklin Barbecue brisket, spend an afternoon at the Salt Lick in nearby Driftwood or take the short drive to argue over which Lockhart BBQ is the best: Kreuz, Smitty’s, Blacks, or Chisolm Trail (of course, you must sample each one to be fair).
But don’t think the city is all smoky meat. Austin has an amazing food scene across all categories and price points – from fine dining to funky food trailers. If you’re looking for choices, check out The 38 Essential Restaurants in Austin, Fall 2017.
Whether it’s swimming in Barton Springs, practicing yoga in Zilker Park, paddleboarding in Lady Bird Lake, hiking to the top of Mt. Bonnell or boating on Lake Travis, Austin has no shortage of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Not to mention its location on the edge of the Texas Hill Country offers an abundance of nearby activities such as hiking, fishing, camping and tubing.
Austin’s 6th Street downtown is well-known for its rowdy night scene, but that’s certainly not the only choice if you’re looking for fun past 9pm. South Congress, Rainey Street Historic District, and the new Rock Rose area in the Domain all cater to the late-night crowd.
Austin is full of museums, gardens, theaters, music performances, art, interesting architecture and more. There are all kinds of festivals and events such as the Pecan Street Festival, Texas Book Festival, and the Zilker Kite Festival. Whatever your interests, Austin has something to offer.
Austin is home to top companies such as Whole Foods and Dell, and has recently been dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the South” for its growing focus on tech startups and software companies. Last year, Austin scored number 1 in the CNBC Metro 20: America’s Best Places to Start a Business. Entrepreneurs benefit from the low taxes and relatively low cost of living (compared to other major metro areas such as New York and Silicon Valley).
Clearly, Austin has a lot going for it. Southwestern students are fortunate to have convenient access to all the Bat City* has to offer.
*Bat City is another nickname for Austin, named for the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live under Congress Avenue Bridge and fly out at dusk every evening from spring through fall. If you’ve never seen them, add it to your ever-growing list of fun things to do in Austin.