Moving to Austin? Here's What You Need to Know Before You Go.
Austin is a city on the rise. If you came to this article for more information on moving to Austin, Texas, then there’s no doubt you’re aware it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for people all over the country to come and plant their roots. Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Austin” is probably “music,” and for a good reason - Austin is the live music capital of the world. However, there’s so much more to love about Austin!
Austin, TX is equal parts bustling college-town and vibrant cultural hub, all with a lush natural backdrop perfect for exploring. Austin is, in many ways, an epicenter of all the best things Texas has to offer. Unbeatable Southern charm, thriving industries, and, of course, mouth-wateringly good food. However, this city holds itself proudly as a unique twist on a classic Texas town. After all, we have to “Keep Austin weird!”
Austin sits in the heart of Texas and serves the Lone Star state as its capital. Austin’s aesthetic can shift from neighborhood to neighborhood, but generally, you can expect to see streets lined with brightly colored buildings, one-of-a-kind boutiques, and tempting bars and restaurants. Cool off on a characteristically hot day in Lady Bird Lake, or hike Mount Bonnell to scope the best views of the city.
One of the most attractive things about moving to Austin is the incredible diversity. There are people from all over the globe who choose to settle down in Austin. That worldliness manifests itself in the make-up of the city, from the shops to the eateries. People in Austin are known for being friendly, laid-back, and eclectic. You’re sure to find even the most obscure niche in the community of Austinites, so you’ll feel right at home no matter who you are!
Things to Do in Austin
You’ll never experience a dull day in Austin unless you want to! There is so much to do and see in Austin that even life-long residents are still finding new favorite spots in the city day after day. The foodie of the family will be in heaven in Austin, trying hot new restaurants and tracking down food trucks. Austin can offer even the most discerning critic an exciting art scene they can revel in, and year after year, the city is home to world-famous festivals.
Seeing the Sights
Austin’s attractions and activities cater to all ages and tastes. If you’re someone with a passion for the great outdoors, you’ll fit right in. To ease into it, you could choose to spend a day or two in Zilker Metropolitan Park. Admission is free, and there’s plenty to do indoors and outdoors within Ziker’s limits. Check out the Sculpture Garden and Museum or wander the Zilker Botanical Garden. You can even take a dip in Barton Springs Pool!
To delve a little further into nature, you can head towards McKinney Falls State Park. This park is a nature-lover’s dream, with nearly nine miles of trail. Hikers can explore the park’s wooded areas and marvel at the limestone formations. The highlight of McKinney Falls is, unsurprisingly, the breathless views of the falls themselves. Make a day of it, so you can be sure you check out both the upper and the lower falls.
One of the coolest, albeit spookiest, features of Austin is the city’s bat population. About 1.5 million bats call Austin home, which is the largest urban bat colony in the United States. Specifically, the bats live underneath Congress Bridge, where visitors and residents gather each evening to watch as the night-dwellers take flight. If you want to see a closer look of the “bat cave” you can sneak a peek on a boat tour, offered March through early November.
Of course, not everyone is an outdoors person. Some people prefer to spend their time in the comfort of modern luxuries, like air conditioning—which will be necessary during those hot Austin summers. People also flock to Austin for the culture. Art, music, and theater are very much alive in Austin. Stop into the Blanton Museum of Art and spend a few hours among the collection of over 18,000 pieces. The museum houses a sizable collection of Latin American art, featured alongside Renaissance and Baroque artists.
Eat Your Way Through the City
Austin is a melting pot, so it makes sense that its restaurants represent so many different styles of cuisine. The best part is the food tastes so good! No matter what you have a taste for that day, Austin can deliver some outstanding grub. If you’re feeling some Japanese or Asian Fusion, try Sushi at the Sugar Pine or Hainan chicken from The Peached Tortilla.
Maybe you want to spice it up a little with some Latin-American flavor. In that case, you can head to Food San Miguel for some high-end Mexican food. Real fans of Food San Miguel are there every Sunday for the buffet brunch. For something a little different, try the Buenos Aires Cafe, Este. The chefs at Buenos Aires serve an authentic taste of Argentina, and it’s become a favorite of Austin residents.
Since Austin is in the heart of the South, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll be served some authentic Southern comfort food. You’ll get some of the best barbecues in Texas at Franklin Barbecue. Franklin’s smoked meats are known nationwide, and people come from all over to get their hands on the ribs. If you want finger-licking-good fried chicken, head to Hoover’s Cooking.
Another huge part of Austin’s culinary scene is the food trucks. Food trucks have become a phenomenon in Austin. These trucks are yet another way the diversity of the city shines through in the community. Word to the wise—the best food trucks in Austin are usually found on South Congress Avenue, or pretty much anywhere downtown.
Austin has festivals of all kinds all year round, and each one is worth checking out individually! As a resident of Austin, you have to prepare for a festival season that’s almost constant. People come from all over the world to attend these festivals. Let’s look at a few of the highlights of Austin festivals.
Without a doubt, the largest festival in Austin each year is South by Southwest or SXSW. Internationally acclaimed filmmakers, musicians, and thought leaders gather to showcase their most innovative project amongst their renowned peers, as well as festival-goers. Austin residents can also attend the ATX Television Festival. ATX is a festival devoted to celebrating new television, and it’s the first of its kind.
One festival that will have something for everyone is the Fusebox Festival, which occurs in Austin every April. Fusebox honors the most daring works in theater, art, music, literature, dance, visual art, and culinary art. Another uniquely famous festival is the annual Moontower Comedy Festival. Moontower brings together world-class comics from across the globe to showcase their stand-up, sketch, improv, and musical comedy.
When you’re new to Austin, it’s essential to get to know the neighborhoods right away. Each one has a distinct personality and something special to offer! Let’s break down Austin’s significant neighborhoods.
Downtown Austin is perfect for someone looking to be smack in the middle of all Austin’s exciting nightlife. You’ll be close to the best of the best Austin dining, not to mention live music.
North Austin is the best choice for someone who wants the feel of city living with just a little more space. Plus, it’s less pricey than downtown!
South Austin is a beautiful blend of the old and the new and features the popular SoCo (South Congress) district. This area is where Austinites will bring visitors to see the best entertainment and do some shopping.
Due to its array of eclectic bars and restaurants, East Austin is one of the trendiest areas of Austin. East Austin is also home to Sixth Street, which is the center of Austin’s music scene.
West Austin is for those people who want to escape the busy city life, and instead, find some respite in the countryside. This area has the best schools, residential developments, and two lakes.
Schools in Austin
When you think of schools in Austin, your mind probably goes straight to the University of Texas. And it’s true; the college is a big part of the town’s identity. However, Austin has an additional 26 public and private universities and colleges.
There are plenty of excellent options for education across Austin’s 29 school districts, for a total of 94 public elementary, middle, and high schools.
Careers in Austin
One all-important thing to consider when settling in Austin is where you will work. If you’re in the tech industry, you’re in luck: it is the largest industry in Austin at the moment. Tech in Austin has grown exponentially over the last several years, and the city is now known as “Silicon Hills.”
Here is a list of tech companies with significant operations in Austin:
- Hewlett Packard
- Cisco Systems
And that’s just to name a few! If you’re not a tech-head, don’t worry. There are plenty of other different types of careers you can pursue in Austin. Other major sectors that are actively employing in Austin include educational services and health care.
Transportation in Austin
Every city in the United States has methods of transportation that best suit the lifestyles of its citizens, and Austin is no different. There are several popular ways that people can consider getting around the city, depending on their commuting needs.
No proper city is complete without an excellent public transportation system. Austin has Capital Metro, which operates over 80 bus routes. You can also hop on the train, with tracks stretching across 32 miles. For faster and more comfortable (yet slightly shorter) train travel, commuters opt for the MetroRail, which is 26 miles long.
This city is big on ridesharing, and while it has big names, Austin also has a unique program called RideAustin. RideAustin is a nonprofit that serves the greater Austin area. It’s like Uber or Lyft, but more community-based.
Weather in Austin
One of the best things about Austin is the temperate climate, although it does get hot in the summer. Residents in Austin can expect highs in the summer to easily reach 100, and it doesn’t often get lower than 70 degrees. August is the warmest month of the year, with average temperatures hovering around 98 degrees. Summer in Austin means shade, AC, and lots of time in the pool!
The rest of the year is much milder. Autumn in Austin is ideal, with average temperatures sticking around 68 degrees. The fall nights are cooler—temperatures can get down to about 50 degrees in the evening.
You shouldn’t expect much snow during winter in Austin. Austin only averages one snow flurry per year. Daily temperatures stay around 50 degrees, with highs sometimes nearing 70. Springtime in Austin is similar to fall in terms of temperature, very mild, with temperatures ranging between 60-80 degrees.
Final Word on Austin
We hope it’s clear by now—there is so much going on in Austin! It’s easy to understand why some many different kinds of people have gravitated towards Austin and decided to make it their home. Austin is truly a one-of-a-kind place where anyone can feel right at home, whether they’re a self-proclaimed foodie, a music buff, or a connoisseur of the arts. Nature enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the miles of green spaces they can explore in and around Austin.
Austin is known for its vibrancy, it’s true, but it also can offer a quiet place to raise a family. It has top-notch school districts and a wide array of kid-friendly activities from parks to museums. The summer heatwave might take some adjusting to, but the favorable weather during every other season makes up for any trouble installing an AC might cause you.
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