It’s February 1st, and that means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Since it’s officially the season of love, we are sharing 14 Things We Love About Austin. And we’re spreading the love too with 7 give-aways happening over the next two weeks. And you’re going to love the grand prize – two tickets to the Bob Schneider Valentine’s Day concert at the ACL Moody Theater. So be sure to follow along for your chance to win!
#1: The food scene
Austin is turning into a foodie’s delight. Of course there are staples like BBQ, but there’s variety too. Loco d’Oro is a well-regarded hot spot with Italian-inspired fare, you'll find inventive Japanese at Uchiko, Fresa’s is modern Mexican, Loro is an Asian smokehouse, and Via 313 is Detroit style pizza. There is literally something for every palate.
With two young kids we find it hard to keep up with the local food scene, but guides like Eater Austin or bloggers like Taste of Koko are always turning us onto something new. You can see our personal favorites in this blog post.
#2: The Texas Longhorns
Whether UT is your alma mater or not, we love living in the home of the Texas Longhorns. You can get into the local spirit and cheer on the ‘horns during any season. And if it’s a Saturday in the fall, you’ll likely find us wearing burnt orange. Hook ‘em!
#3: Water activities abound
Not only does the Colorado River run smack through the middle of town, it’s easy to spend a day at the lake water skiing, boating, or just splashing around. If that doesn’t float your boat, you can still enjoy one of our unique local swim spots like Barton Springs, Deep Eddy, or the beautiful grotto at Hamilton pool. The thought of it makes us ready for summer!
#4: Our art scene
Where else can you watch the largest colony of bats fly out from under a bridge or watch cars zip by during Formula One? From formal visual art displays at the Blanton Museum of Art to make your own graffiti art at the Hope Outdoor Gallery, Austin’s art scene is as diverse as its people. The Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, Austin Opera, Zach Scott Theatre, LBJ Presidential Library, and Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum provide a range of options. (And tons more we’re probably leaving out…)
With a beautiful setting and laid back vibe, it’s no surprise that so many artists call Austin home. We see you Drib! We enjoy featuring these local artists, like Samantha of Settle Ceramics, on our Inside Central Austin YouTube series. If you know someone that we should feature, tag them below!
#5: The weird vibe
We love that Austin is a little different. There’s a certain free-spiritedness that permeates the city. From dudes riding their bicycles wearing thongs, to people taking their parrot or pig for a walk on the streets of Northwest Hills, to unique yard art in Crestview, Austin is all about letting YOU be YOU.
#6: The weather
Yes, the summer is brutal. But with an average high of 79.7 degrees, Austin is pretty ideal. And other than the occasional flood, we’ve been mostly immune to natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires.
#7: The entrepreneurial spirit
WalletHub listed Austin as the second best place to start a business in the U.S. in 2018. Maybe it’s because we are business owners ourselves, but we dig the energy, creativity, and commitment of local start ups. It’s awesome to be surrounded by thought leaders, and we especially love it when local entrepreneurs become Austin icons like Amy Simmons of Amy’s Ice Creams. You can see local business owners highlighted on our Inside Central Austin YouTube series.
#8: Craft beer
This may seem silly, but we like our beer. And others agree! VinePair recently ranked Austin as the #1 beer destination in the WORLD for 2019, beating out Germany, Belgium and others you might expect. I mean, we do have more craft breweries than any other Texas city. You can see some of the local favorites in this blog post. Bottoms up!
#9: Our booming economy
Not everyone will agree with us on this one, but Austin has been fortunate to have booming economy over the last several years. The rankings speak for themselves. In 2018 alone, Business Insider ranked Austin as the third best performing economy in the top 40 U.S. metro areas. Likewise, Glassdoor ranked Austin as one of the top ten destinations for job movers. Our strong economy and low unemployment rate are part of what earned Austin the rank of #1 best place to live in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report in both 2017 and 2018. It’s no surprise that Austin’s population is headed to surpass the 1 million mark in 2019.
#10: The Hill Country setting
Our beautiful rolling hills make for a gorgeous setting and some beautiful sunsets. It can be easy to overlook in the hustle of every day life, but the next time you are headed down Highway 360 or 2222 take a moment to soak in the beautiful countryside we get to call home.
#11: We are an active city
Hiking, biking, running, spelunking, kayaking. Austinites like to get outside and DO things. We may sometimes stare wistfully at folks running along Lady Bird Lake in the middle of the work day and wish we had more time to hit the trail, but we love that people actually get out there and do it.
#12: Our music scene
There are so many fabulous musicians that call Austin home. From famous to fledgling, we’ve got them all. And that means you can catch a show almost any day of the week. Not into the local music scene? Check out one of these Lex Land, Mobley, Will Dupuy, and Matt the Electrician, and Bob Schneider. We’re sure you’ll be hooked!
#13: Our collective brain power
Having the University of Texas at Austin (ranked in the top 50 for colleges) and large tech companies located here, like Dell and Google, make us love how intelligent and innovative this city is. How lucky are we to live in a city with so many bright minds! I’m always excited to strike up a conversation with a stranger because I'm certain to learn something cool and new.
#14: The people
We love the people of Austin. When we visit other places Paul tests the friendliness of the city by trying to chat up people in elevators, shops, stores, taxi cabs, and so on. He draws some pretty strong conclusions about how people respond measured against the yardstick of Austin.
It’s hard to beat Austin’s warm, laidback, and friendly vibe. We have almost 1 million people living here, all with varied backgrounds, experiences, and stories to tell. The best part is most folks will great you with a smile, lack of pretense, and have a genuine interest in getting to know you. No judgment, just acceptance. So hands down, the people of Austin are what we love most about this city.