Austin in a nutshell
Down-home yet sophisticated. Laid-back and bustling with high energy. Traditional and avant-garde at
the same time. These qualities allow Austinites and visitors alike to embrace the city's unique, often quirky,
identity and appreciate the traditions that it was founded upon. Over the past two decades, the small university
town where Willie Nelson crafted his own unique musical style grew into a big city with a glittering skyline and
1.4 million people in the metropolitan area.
More and more, Austin stacks up as "the" place to see and be seen. MovieMaker magazine touts it as
one of the country's "Best Filmmaking Cities." Mens Journal declares Austin at #2 among its "5O Best Places
to Live." According to' Money, it's the "Best Place to Start a Business."
Travel + Leisure lauds it for having the "Best-Looking People," being the "Prettiest in Spring" - and "Friendliest."
It's a 24-hour city where celebrities enjoy just hanging out alongside the locals. Matthew
McConaughey, Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Quentin Tarantino, Dennis Quaid, Robert Rodriguez, and
the Wilson brothers, Owen and Luke, are all residents and/or frequent visitors to the Texas capital.
Part of Austin's draw is the distinctive attractions. For instance, thousands flock downtown to Congress
Avenue Bridge nightly, March until November, to watch more than 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats take
flight at dusk. As home to the University of Texas (UT) and nearly 50,000 college students, the city is awash in
burnt orange and white in the fall when the University of Texas' football team takes the field. In fact, football
fever is so fierce that Austin earns the title of the country's "most sports-crazed city." And aside from politics,
nothing strikes up a heated discussion more quickly than trying to name the best barbecue joint around. Is it
the Salt Lick, County Line, Stubbs or Iron Works?
An unending play list of live music echoes from nearly 200 venues on any given evening. It's the
constant sound of blues, country, rock and roll, Jazz and Tejano that fuse together to solidify Austin as "Live
Music Capital of the World®." Live music extends into the city's burgeoning cultural arts scene as well. The
community nurtu res Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin and Austin Lyric Opera in addition to dozens of
independent theatres and performance groups. The historic Paramount Theatre features touring acts, while
One World Theatre and Zachary Scott Theatre showcase world music and locally-produced pieces.
Long revered as the playground of Texas, Austin stands as the gateway to the scenic Texas Hill
Country - a vast region of rolling hills, sparkling lakes and fields of wildflowers where nature trails, parks and
greenbelts create a verdant oasis in the heart of the Lone Star State.
Guests can also experience the outdoors without leaving downtown. Town Lake bisects downtown with
a narrow waterway bordered by 10 miles of highly traveled hike-and-bike trails. At the heart of a network of
more than 200 municipal parks lies 36Q-acre Zilker Park, a favorite venue for outdoor music events and home
to Barton Springs Pool.