Living in Austin, a city where having character counts and being “weird” is welcomed, is an experience enjoyed by 1.2 million Texas residents. Austin’s culture and lifestyle vacillates between New Urban and classic ways. A place where laid back, old fashioned neighborhoods collide with bustling modern areas, Austin, the capital and fourth largest city in the state of Texas, is a blend of pedestrian-friendly communities where residents have easy access to cafes, shops, clubs, galleries and more.
According to Small Planet Guide*1, Austin, Texas sports a few Top 10 awards countrywide:
- – One of the top 10 cities in which to be a dog
- – One of the best cities for dating
- – #2 vegetarian city
- – One of the coolest cities for young professionals
- – 3rd most wired city
Living in a walkable neighborhood can have significant impacts on the environment, as well as your health, finances, and community. As car pollution is the leading cause of climate change and average residents of walkable communities weight 6-10 pounds less than residents of spread out areas, living in a walkable neighborhood matters.
Walk Scores, which are depicted numerically 0 through 100, measure the “walkability” of any address or neighborhood. The higher the number, the greater the accessibility to grocery stores, restaurants, banks, parks, coffee shops, entertainment and public transportation. Scores 70 and above signify that most day to day errands can be accomplished without a car.
The Austin neighborhoods with the highest Walk Scores, in descending order, are:
- – Downtown – 89
- – West University – 86
- – University of Texas – 85
- – North University – 83
- – Bouldin – 83
Visit Walk Score to see how your Austin neighborhood ranks.
In addition to its high level walkability, downtown Austin also offers a free bus service called the Dillo.
Commonly known as the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas is known for nurturing talented musicians. There are hundreds of music venues in the city, to boot. Every spring the SXSW Music Festival brings 1,800 plus artists to the city to perform.
In addition to its musical flair, Austin offers residents and visitors several locales for outdoor recreation.
Town Lake, the focus of outdoor activity in downtown Austin, offers a great venue for consummate joggers, hikers, bikers, canoers and kayakers, as well as the Austin Rowing Club. In Republic Square, one of three historic Austin parks, “Austinites” can relax and hang out as well as enjoy the SFC Farmers’ Market, open year round, rain or shine. Quaint boutique shopping, including bookstores, home decor and clothing stores, also line Republic Square.
Austin’s nightlife is incredibly vibrant and very much alive. With Sixth Street as Austin’s main entertainment center, old buildings are transformed into a unique collection of bars, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and of course, a host of live entertainment venues from jazz and blues to country, rock, hip-hop, punk and many, many more. Sixth Street restaurants specialize in many regional favorites such as chili, ribs, and Tex-Mex, as well as steak, seafood, Cajun and deli eats.
As far as living in large cities is concerned, Austin has a high reputation for safety. Forbes rated Austin as the 14th safest city in America*2. Austin also has a unique safety program enforced by a group of uniformed bike riders, all volunteers. Six days a week, these bikers patrol the streets of Austin from early morning until late evening and they communicate directly with the city’s police department.
As with living in any big city, always use common sense and stay on well-lit and traveled streets, especially after dark.
Austin summers are very hot and humid, with average temperatures in the mid-90’s. In winter, Austin is dry and mostly mild with average temperatures in the mid-60’s. The city has an average of 300 days of sunshine a year.
- – Percent of Austinites with a bachelor’s degree or higher (age 25+): 43.5%*3
- – Population in 2010: 790,390*3
- – Median household income between 2005-2009: $50,236*3
- – Total number of Austin business firms in 2007: 80,582*3
- – Top industries and commercial activity: High technology and innovation, and biomedical and pharmaceuticals*4
- – Top items and goods produced: Computers, computer peripherals, software, electronic instruments, semiconductors, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, business equipment, video games*4