Frequently Asked Questions About Austin, Texas
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Have questions about Austin? We're here to help. Here are 20 most frequently asked questions about Austin, Texas: everything from Where is Austin, Texas? to What are the top Austin industries? to What is the population of Austin? to Why is Austin called the Live Music Capital of the World? This list is a great place to start learning about one of America's best cities. (Click on any of the questions for full articles on the topic.)
Austin encompasses 272 square miles along the Colorado River in central Texas, 200 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The capitol city is 200 miles southwest of Dallas, 162 miles west of Houston, 90 miles north of San Antonio, and is the center of the major metropolitan area of Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos.
Austin is the the number one fastest growing city in the United States. According to austintexas.gov, as of April 2016, the city's population has reached 926,426! That's up almost 10% from 2012, when Austin had a population of just 842,592. The Austin-Round Rock metro area's population surpassed the 2 million mark earlier in 2016.
Austin has over 250 live music venues and is known for its large music events, like South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits. In American music history, Austin has helped start or grow the careers of big time artists like Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Willie Nelson.
German and Spanish pioneers began settling Austin's stretch of the Colorado River in the 1830s, and it was officially incorporated in 1839. Then Republic of Texas President, Mirabeau B. Lamar, proposed moving the capitol from Houston to Austin when he visited the area in 1837-38. Originally called Waterloo, the name changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas," when it became the capitol.
Austin usually has hot summers and mild winters. On average, temperatures reach the 90s (in degrees Fahrenheit) 116 days per year and the 100s 18 days per year, with the highest ever recorded being 112 degrees. Winter temperatures occasionally drop below freezing, but usually hover in the low 40s or high 30s. The lowest temperature on record was -5 degrees in January 1949. Snowfall is rare in Austin, and precipitation averages about 34 inches per year.
Zilker Metropolitan Park has everything from kayaking, to botanical gardens, to a train ride; there's definitely something for everyone. On the University of Texas at Austin campus, the Blanton Museum of Art houses the largest collection in the state, and one of the best university museums in the country. Of course, a visit to Austin is never complete without a trip to the capitol building, which is taller than the Whitehouse and boasts 17 monuments spread across 22 acres of carefully landscaped grounds. If you're in Austin between March & November, it's bat season, and you can't miss out on that! Head down to the Congress Street bridge any night, and you'll be able to watch MILLIONS of Mexican-free tailed bats emerge for their evening flight.
Austinites are known for being laid-back, friendly, and eclectic. Over half of Austin's population is under the age of 25, in large part due to the many higher education institutions in the area- making Austin a very hip place to be. Around half of all Austinites are White, and over a third of them are Hispanic.
There's a long list of celebrities who have had a soft spot for Austin over the years, the most famous being Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson, and Janis Joplin, who's music careers blossomed here. Willie Nelson's ponytails are even featured on official Austin t-shirts at the Austin Visitor's Center. Sandra Bullock owned a home in Austin until her divorce from Jessie James, and Billy Bob Thornton became a transplant in the last few years. Luke and Owen Wilson regularly return to their old UTA alma mater stomping grounds, and there have been multiple sightings of Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale.
Nightlife in the Live Music Capitol of the World is dominated by--you guessed it--live music venues. There are tons of concert clubs throughout the city, one of the most popular being The Continental Club. For those who are looking for something a little darker in their nightlife, ghost tours of Austin's haunted sites are available as well. Another great Austin experience can be found on the Congress Avenue Bridge, where hundreds of bats billow from below the bridge, into the dusky sky like smoke.
Austin's 6th Street is a great place to go for entertainment. Between Lavaca Street and IH 35, the Sixth Street Historic District is filled with live music venues, beautiful Victorian architecture, bars, tattoo parlors, restaurants, and art galleries. The street also plays host to the music festival South By Southwest (SXSW) and the Pecan Street Festival.
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