25 Reasons We Love Austin, Texas from 25 Reasons We Love Austin, Texas

25 Reasons We Love Austin, Texas

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25 Reasons We Love Austin, Texas

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Austin is absolutely beautiful any time of year and a perfect destination for people who love adventure. The city has warm weather nearly year-round, making recreational activities a favorite pastime for residents. On hot days people will cool off by kayaking on the river, or they’ll take their boat to the lakes nearby. This is just one reason why it has become one of the most beautiful places for open-water swimming. But this is just one reason why people love Texas’ capital.

Charming like a small town

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The capital of Texas is the fourth largest city in the state and one of the faster growing cities in the entire country. It’s certainly not small by any definition of the word, but you don’t get that overwhelming feeling you do in New York or Los Angeles. For an authentic example, go to Austin's oldest continuously operating grocery store – open since 1909 – Avenue B Grocery, which is close to downtown.

Bachelor/ette parties

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Austin is a dream destination for celebrating the last fling before the ring. The eclectic live-music scene is just one reason why. The fun never stops on Sixth Street, the most iconic thoroughfare in the city and the center of the entertainment district. Jester King, an authentic farmhouse brewery, is a popular location for drinking without the music.

Bustling nightlife

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This is, after all, the “Live Music Capital of the World.” You will have the difficult task of choosing where to party among the nearly 200 venues that offer rock, blues, jazz, hip-hop, punk or Latino shows every night. You may want to visit The Broken Spoke, which is known as “the last true Texas dance hall.” It features great country acts; guests can learn the Texas Two-Step.

Festivals

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Where do you even begin? Is it with the Urban Music Festival, the Texas Relays (an annual track and field competition), or the Flowstorm Campout, which channels Burning Man-like qualities to promote creative expression, sustainable living and constant participation in the community? Art City Austin is a must-see. The city becomes a live art venue with over 120 temporary galleries and exhibits.

Zilker Park

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This is by far one of the best urban parks in all of the U.S. Austin is absolutely beautiful, but the Zilker Park puts it on a whole new level. The 350-acre park is on every list of must-visit places in the city. It will take you days to explore everything it has to offer – bike trails, a botanical garden, polo, soccer and volleyball fields, the Austin Nature and Science Center, and the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum. The park is a hotspot for all kinds of concerts and festivals.

Sunsets and sunrises

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Sunsets and sunrises are more than just a daily ritual – they are an example of just how beautiful the natural world can be. When people are lucky enough to marvel at the sun dipping below the horizon, the display can inspire people. When the sky bursts into color with a background of trees, rivers, lakes, beautiful buildings, and a sense of tranquility, the effect is absolutely marvelous.

Delicious barbecue and taco joints

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Expect to gain weight when you’re in Austin. Don’t feel guilty about it; just embrace it. The vinegar-based sauce recipe at The Salt Lick, the ribs at Lamberts, everything at Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ, which is actually a food trailer… the options are endless and delicious. Use The BBQ City Limits series, which has covered 52 Austin barbecue shops and trailers, as a guide.

University of Texas home football game

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The burnt orange insanity is a must-see if you are a football fan, college, or professional. College football is huge in Texas in general, but fans in Austin take the gravity of each game, especially cheering, to a whole new level. You can even go to a high school game and feel like you’re at the Super Bowl.

Barton Springs

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This popular recreational outdoor swimming pool is filled entirely with water from nearby natural springs. If the weather is nice, people will be there, except on Thursdays when the pool is closed until 7 p.m. With an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, it is ideal for year-round swimming. The Springs serves as home to the endangered Barton Springs salamander, and is listed as a federally protected habitat.

The weekend starts on Thursday

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Go to the parties on South Congress Avenue and you’ll know why. On the first Thursday of each month, all of the stores that normally close early stay open late (most until 10 p.m.). Some of the stores have special sales and provide free drinks while some of the bars and restaurants will host great drink specials. It's basically one big Austin block party — perfect for all ages, according to Culture Map Austin.

Meal sizes

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You have probably heard that “everything is bigger in Texas”? This is absolutely true in Austin as well. Whether a donut or a spring roll from a food truck downtown, you will get a lot bang for your buck. Again, just accept that you’ll have to work out more when you go back from your heaven-like vacation in Austin, and indulge in everything you like. 

Nature trails

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Austin is like heaven on Earth for trail running enthusiasts. With more than 20,000 acres of parks in the city alone, you are certain to find routes that suit your level. The 7.25-mile Barton Creek Greenbelt goes right through the city. When you’re done, you can go to the Hill Country and choose between dozens of single tracks. Then head to the Colorado River to run under giant cypress and pecan trees for miles. The Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park and Bull Creek are also popular locations. Don’t miss the majestic views Mount Bonnell has to offer.

Bike paths

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Although the Lance Armstrong Bikeway may speak in name to the Texas capital’s love affair with cycling – and its most famous resident, recent unpleasantness aside – it’s the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail that has the city’s heart. This 10-mile trail of easy-riding crushed granite loops around Lady Bird Lake right in the center of Austin. Popular among joggers as well as cyclists, the trail passes alongside Barton Springs, the aquifer-fed natural pool where Austinites love to cool off in the summer.

Museum of Art at the University of Texas

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Occupying 189,340 square feet, the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art is one of the largest university art museums in the country. The re-imagined permanent collection galleries offer a fresh experience along with the museum’s holdings. The facility now features nearly twice as many works of art as were previously on view, as well as innovative interpretive materials, renovated galleries, and spotlights on new areas of focus, including the art of the Americas in both the ancient and colonial eras, and Native American art.

Hamilton Pool

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Formed when the roof of an underground river collapsed, this incredible swimming hole sits among 232 acres of protected Hill Country habitat, 23 miles west of Austin. The grotto, fed by a 50-foot waterfall that trickles or gushes into the canyon depending on the season, gives the feeling of swimming in a cave with all the lights flicked on. The pool is surrounded by massive limestone boulders, with a portion shaded by a limestone overhang dripping with stalactites.

Bar hopping

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People have called Austin the “barhopping capital of the world” on TripAdvisor. Start with Sixth Street and take it from there. Whichever direction you turn, you won’t make a mistake. Enjoy the wide range of bars and breweries. They appeal to any group looking for a good night out. Awesome places for a girls’ night out include Burnside's Tavern, Buckshot and Maggie Mae’s, and Barcelona, a dance club; for the guys – Moose Knuckle Pub, The Aquarium on Sixth, Blind Pig Pub, and Coyote Ugly.

The skyline

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Austin is one of the most gorgeous cities in the U.S. The iconic skyline has changed a lot over the last century, but its beauty has never been doubted. The tallest building is the Austonian at 683 feet, followed by 360 Condominiums at 581 feet and the Frost Bank Tower at 515 feet. The last was the first skyscraper in the country to start construction after 9/11.

Art

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Art lovers will never want to leave Austin. Anywhere you turn, there is something to admire. Creativity calls from every corner. For a more off-the-beaten-path location visit the Yard Dog Gallery for unique pieces by painters and sculptors. Visit this guide of all Austin galleries, museums, art spaces, art events, and self-guided art tours.

No honking

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Unlike these cities, where traffic is among the worst in the country, road rage in Austin has been known to be a rarity. The cities most impacted by worsened traffic conditions are those that experienced the most economic improvement. The average commuter spent about 50 hours in traffic in 2015. That is a total of more than eight billion extra hours stuck in traffic.

Water recreation activities on Lake Austin

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Austin doesn’t have as many waterfront homes as other cities on the list, but it does have warm weather nearly year-round, making boating a favorite pastime for residents. On hot days people will cool off by kayaking on the river, or they’ll take their boats to the lakes nearby. West Lake Beach is a great place to take the family. Located along Lake Austin, just north of the Lake Austin Dam, it features a roped-off swimming area that gets up to six feet deep.

The locals

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Austin ranks highly on the best cities and even “hipster” cities. People are nice, relaxed, friendly, and cool. Austin became the first city in Texas to pass a resolution in support of same-sex marriage. Many residents resent how much the city has grown and subsequently changed, but they stay anyway because the core values are the same. They also have a “Keep Austin Weird” motto.

Pet-friendly

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From doggie yoga classes to about 18 off-leash dog parks, there is a variety of activities for both you and your dog to do together. Exercise together on the Butler Hike & Bike Trail, visit the Zilker Botanical Garden, walk together in Norwood Dog Park and go for a swim at Auditorium Shores.

Fitness-friendly

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Austin is the second healthiest city in the Lone Star State in 2017 as part of a national ranking by WalletHub. The ranking includes the 150 most populated U.S. cities. It is based on 34 key indicators of good health. Austin scored highest in its availability of healthy foods. With hundreds of miles of running, biking, and hiking trails and huge parks that offer a wide range of recreational activities, it’s hard to stay out of shape in Austin.

Oktoberfest celebrations

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The scenery at the end of September is incredible. Austin has been ranked in the “Top 10 Up & Coming Oktoberfests in the country.” This year, on September 30, the Austin Saengerrunde will open its doors to the 5th Annual AustOberfest celebrating Central Texas German heritage with German-style sausage, lots of bier, a contest stage, bowling, and live music.

Graffiti Park at Castle Hill

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This is where anyone who wants to do graffiti can go and unleash their creativity absolutely undisturbed. This colorful 3-story park, the largest in the U.S., occupies the remains of an old building foundation.  Tourists, renowned artists and locals flock there to make their marks and to marvel at the ever-changing canvas.