Ten Reasons to Love Austin, Texas
As a city, Austin is incredibly lovable. Often overlooked by bigger and more popular US cities, Austin has a vibe that is all its own. It is eclectic, artistic, laid-back and fun. It is not trying to compete with other cities because it is not trying to be mainstream or popular. It is not trying to tick all the boxes or have the most visitors. Instead, the residents are committed to preserving the characteristics that make the city so unique.
I have been wanting to visit the Texas capital for quite some time and traveled there for my March #take12trips. What makes Austin so great? And more importantly, why should you visit? Here are 10 reasons to book your plane ticket now.
1. Austin has spunk. Austin finds no pleasure in being a cookie cutter city. It likes that it is different, it likes that it is weird. “Keep Austin Weird” is the popular slogan started in 2000 and has now gone viral. It encompasses everything that gives Austin its progressive and liberal mindset in a widely conservative state. It promotes small businesses, celebrates the arts and pushes the creative boundaries. This city has attitude, and it’s a good one.
2. The weather. While many may not consider this a selling point in the middle of July when temperatures tend to reach sweltering highs, Austin is the perfect escape from the never-ending cold weather we have been experiencing in the Northeast. A great alternative to a warm weather beach getaway, Austin offers warmer temperatures with plenty to keep you occupied. From Barton Springs and Zilker Park to plentiful outdoor patios to eat, drink and listen to music, the nice weather affords plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors.
3. Friendly people. The Southern United States has a reputation for having the friendliest people in the country and Austin is no exception. Everyone we met was incredibly helpful, polite and warm. Visiting a city with friendly locals makes the trip all the more enjoyable. From the waiters and waitresses to the hotel staff to the locals, everyone was there to facilitate our enjoyment of their city.
4. Live music. Austin has not self-proclaimed itself “the live music capital of the world” for nothing – there really is an overwhelming number of places to hear live music. In addition, it hosts what many refer to as THE music festival in the US – South by Southwest (SXSW). Where should you go? Just follow your ears to find the music you like. You should not have to walk longer than a few feet.
5. Lack of chain restaurants. Consistent with keeping the eclectic vibe of the city, Austin is proud of its lack of chain restaurants. It is hard to find a city where chain restaurants are not prolific, and Austin does a fantastic job of promoting small businesses and independent restaurants. It sets itself apart from other places around the world by doing this.
6. Happy hour. Coming from a state where happy hour is illegal, it was wonderful to be in a place where food and drink specials are not only allowed, but seriously encouraged. Great deals (and great food and drinks) are to be had throughout the city from 4-7pm, allowing a nice way to relax after a busy day and rejuvenate yourself before dinner without breaking the bank.
7. Delicious food. Austin is a city that knows how to eat! The options are endless, the chefs are innovative and the food is spectacular. Ranging from 13 course tasting menus to barbeque to Mexican to tapas, Austin has it all. The food scene is constantly changing and is an essential part of the social scene. Austin has also become one of the top cities in the US providing locally sourced food in recent years. Where should you eat in Austin? More to come on that later.
8. Food trucks. One may think this falls in the same category as food, but it most certainly does not in Austin. Having conquered the food scene, Austin has turned its attention to the food truck scene. Food trucks have been taking the US food scene by storm over the last few years and Austin has been one of the cities leading the way. From tacos and doughnuts to barbecue and kimchi fries, the options are endless and delicious.
9. The pace. Austin is a not a place where you run around sightseeing, it is more about taking in the culture and seeing the highlights at a relaxed pace. You do not need a jam-packed itinerary to get a feel for the city. One of the best parts of my visit was that we were not running around. Relax while you are there. Austin would prefer you leave your type-A personality behind.
10. It is affordable. Add all these great reasons to visit Austin and then add one more important one – it is affordable. The Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum and the Texas State Capitol provide free admission, while the Bullock Texas State History Museum offers free exhibit admission on the first Sunday of every month. Combine that with free outdoor spaces, plentiful happy hours and affordable food and drinks, the Texas capital can accommodate the lowest of budgets.
I will definitely be making a return trip to Austin soon to continue to embrace the culture, enjoy the sunshine and savor the food!
If you have been to Austin, what are some of the reasons you like the city? If you have not been, do you hope to visit?