Austin is the capital of the
U.S. state of Texas and the
seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge
of the American Southwest, it is
the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 15th-largest in the
It was the third-fastest-growing large city
in the nation from 2000 to 2006. According to the 2009 U.S. Census
estimate, Austin had a population of 757,688. The city is the
cultural and economic center of the , with a population of
approximately 1,652,602 as of the July 2008 U.S. Census estimate,
making it the 36th-largest metropolitan area in the nation.
was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named
the village Waterloo.
1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly
independent Republic of Texas
city was renamed after Stephen F.
, known as the father of
city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for
government and education with the construction of the Texas State
Capitol and the University of Texas.
After a lull in growth from the Great Depression
, Austin resumed its
development into a major city and emerged as a center for
technology and business. Today, Austin is home to many companies,
high-tech and otherwise, including the headquarters of three
, Whole Foods
, and Freescale
Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to
Live" by Money
2006, and No. 3 in 2009, also the "Greenest
City in America" by MSN. According
Headline News and Travel & Leisure
magazine, Austin ranks No. 2 on the list of cities with the best
people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the
citizens. Austin was also voted America's #1 College Town by the
Travel Channel. Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part
because there are fewer than five murders per 100,000 people
annually. Furthermore, in 2009, Austin was determined to be the
least stressful large metro area by Forbes
Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites
" and include a diverse mix of
, students, politicians
state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers
, and white-collar workers
. The main campus of the
Texas is located in Austin.
The city is home to
enough large sites of major technology corporations to have earned
it the nickname "Silicon Hills." Austin's official slogan promotes
the city as "The Live Music Capital of the World," a reference to
its status as home to many musicians and music venues. In recent
years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan
"Keep Austin Weird
"; this refers
partly to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many Austin
residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller
local businesses and resist excessive commercialization.
Prior to the arrival of settlers from the United States, the area
that later became Austin was inhabited by a variety of nomadic Native American
, including the Tonkawa
, and the Lipan Apaches
Early on, the Texas Congress formed a commission to seek a site for
a new capital to be named Austin. Mirabeau Lamar, (second President
of the newly-formed Texas republic), advised the commissioners to
investigate the area named Waterloo. Waterloo was chosen and
was picked by Lamar to
survey the village and draft a plan laying out the new capital. The
original site was narrowed to that fronted the Colorado River
between two creeks, Shoal Creek and Waller Creek, which was later
named in honor. The fourteen-block grid plan was bisected by a
broad north-south thoroughfare, Congress Avenue, running up from
the river to Capital Square, where the new Texas State Capitol was
to be constructed. A temporary one-story capitol was erected on the
corner of Colorado and 8th streets. On August 1, the first auction
of 306 lots was held. The grid plan that Waller designed and
surveyed now forms the basis of the streets of downtown
Initially, the new capital thrived. But Lamar's political enemy Sam Houston used two Mexican army incursions to
Antonio as an excuse to move the government to Washington-on-the-Brazos.
Remaining Austin residents responded to the
threat by forcibly keeping the national archives in their city in
defiance of President Houston's attempts to bring them to
Washington (Texas Archive War
Once the annexation
of the Republic of Texas
by the United States
became official in 1845, delegates wrote a new state constitution
in which Austin was again named the seat of state. The Texas State
Capitol was completed in 1888, and claimed as the 7th
largest building in the world.
In September 1881, Austin public schools held their first classes.
The same year, Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute (now part
) opened its doors. The University of
Texas at Austin held its first classes in 1883.
music scene began attracting national attention in the 1970s with
artists such as Willie Nelson and
venues such as the Armadillo World Headquarters.
Today, Austin is known as much for its
cultural life as its high-tech innovations.
City limits of Austin
Austin is located at and is approximately above sea level.
According to the 2000 census, the city has a total area of . of it
is land and (2.67%) is water.
situated on the Colorado
River, with three man-made (artificial) lakes within the city
limits: Lady Bird
Austin, and Lake Walter E. Long. Additionally, the foot of Lake Travis, including Mansfield Dam, is located within the city's limits.
Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis are each on the Colorado
River. The city is also situated on the Balcones Fault
, which, in much of Austin,
runs roughly the same route as Loop 1
(Mopac Expressway). The
eastern part of the city is flat, whereas the western part and
western suburbs consist of scenic rolling hills on the edge of the
Texas Hill Country
. Because the
hills to the west are primarily limestone
rock with a thin covering of topsoil, portions of the city are
frequently subjected to flash floods from the runoff caused by
thunderstorms. To help control this runoff and to generate
hydroelectric power, the Lower Colorado River
operates a series of dams that form the Texas Highland Lakes
. The lakes also
provide venues for boating, swimming, and other forms of recreation
within several parks on the lake shores.
The view from Mount Bonnell
Austin is located at the intersection of four major ecological
regions and is consequently a temperate-to-hot green oasis but has
some characteristics of the desert, the tropics, and a wetter
climate. It is very diverse ecologically and biologically, and is
home to a variety of beautiful animals and plants, notably the
wildflowers that blossom throughout the year but especially in the
spring, including the popular bluebonnets, some planted in an
effort by Lady Bird Johnson
point of prominence in Austin is Mount Bonnell. At about above sea level, it is a natural
limestone formation overlooking Lake Austin on the Colorado River, with an observation deck
about below its summit.
From the observation deck, many
homes are visible.
The soils of Austin range from shallow, gravelly clay loams over
limestone in the western outskirts to deep, fine sandy loams, silty
clay loams, silty clays or clays in the city's eastern part. Some
of the clays have pronounced shrink-swell properties and are
difficult to work under most moisture conditions. Many of Austin's
soils, especially the clay-rich types, are slightly to moderately
alkaline and have free calcium
Austin has a humid subtropical
, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. On
average, Austin receives of rain per year, with most of the
precipitation in the spring, and a secondary maximum in the fall.
During springtime, severe thunderstorms sometimes occur, though
tornados are rare in the city. Austin is usually at least partially
Austin summers are usually hot and humid, with average temperatures
of approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) from
June until September. Temperatures above are common. The highest
recorded temperature was on September 5, 2000. For the entire year
there is an average of 111 days above and 198 days above .
Winters in Austin are mild and dry. For the entire year, Austin
averages 88 days below and 24 days when the minimum temperature
falls below freezing. The lowest recorded temperature was on
January 31, 1949. Snowfall is rare in Austin, but approximately
biannually Austin may suffer an ice storm
that freezes roads over and affects much of the city for 24 to 48
hours. Monthly averages for Austin's weather data are shown in a
graphical format to the right, and in a more detailed tabular
- ::Table Note: Averages are from the 30
year average from 1971â€“2000 at Camp Mabry, and records are from Camp Mabry and from previous
climate sites, spanning from 1897 to present.
Government and politics
Law and government
Austin City Hall
Austin Main Post Office
Austin is administered by a city
of seven members, each of them elected by the entire
city. The council is composed of six council members, and by an
, accompanied by a hired city manager
under the manager-council
municipal governance. Council and mayoral elections are
non-partisan, with a runoff in case there is no majority winner.
Austin remains an anomaly among large Texas cities in that council
members are elected on an at-large basis by all voters, as opposed
to elections by districts.
Austin formerly operated its city hall at 128 West 8th Street.
Antoine Predock and Cotera Kolar Negrete & Reed Architects
designed a new city hall building, which was intended to reflect
what The Dallas Morning
referred to as a "crazy-quilt vitality, that embraces
everything from country music to environmental protests and
high-tech swagger." The new city hall, built from recycled
materials, has solar panels in its garage. The city hall, at 301
West Second Street, opened in November 2004.
The mayor of Austin is Lee
. His first term ends in 2012.
Law enforcement in Austin is provided by the Austin Police Department
for state government buildings, which are patrolled by the Texas Department of Public
, along with the Texas Rangers, and the Texas Homeland
Fire protection is provided by the Austin Fire Department
, and emergency
medical services are provided by Austin-Travis County EMS.
The United States Postal
operates several post offices in Austin. The main post
office, the Austin Post Office, is located at 8225 Cross Park
The controversy that dominated Austin politics during the 1990s was
the conflict between environmentalists
and advocates of urban
growth. The city council has in the past tried to mitigate the
controversy by advocating smart growth
but growth and environmental protection are still the most divisive
issues in city politics.
Austin is well known as a center for liberal
politics in a
state, so much
so that the city is sometimes sarcastically referred to as "The
People's Republic of Austin" by residents of other parts of the
state and by conservatives in the Texas Legislature. Suburban
neighborhoods in Austin, especially to the west and north, and
several satellite municipalities, however, tend toward political
As a result of the major party realignment that began in the 1970s,
central Austin became a stronghold of the Democratic Party
, while the
suburbs tend to vote Republican
. One consequence
of this is that in the most recent redistricting plan, formulated
by former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay
by the Republican-majority legislature, the central city has been
split among multiple sprawling districts. Opponents
characterized the resulting district layout as excessively partisan
gerrymandering, and the plan was
challenged in court on this basis by Democratic and minority
activists; of note, the Supreme
Court of the United States has never struck down a redistricting plan for
being excessively partisan.
The plan was subsequently upheld
by a three-judge federal panel in late 2003, and on June 28, 2006,
the matter was largely settled when the Supreme Court in a 7-2
decision upheld the entire congressional redistricting plan with
the exception of a Hispanic-majority district in southwest Texas.
This may later affect Austin's districting, as U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
's district was found not to be
sufficiently compact to compensate for the reduced minority influence
in the southwest
Overall, the city is a blend of downtown liberalism and suburban
conservatism but leans strongly to the political left as a whole.
In 2003, the city adopted a resolution against the USA PATRIOT Act
constitutionally guaranteed rights. In the 2004 presidential
election, Senator John Kerry
substantial majority of the votes in Travis County. Of Austin's six
state legislative districts, three are strongly Democratic and
three are swing districts all of which are held by Democrats.
However, two of its three congressional districts (the 10th
and the 21st
) are presently held
by Republicans, with only the 25th
held by a Democrat.
This is largely due to the 2003 redistricting, which left downtown
Austin without an exclusive congressional seat of its own. Travis
County was also the only county in Texas to reject Texas
Constitutional Amendment Proposition 2 effectively outlawing gay
marriage and status equal or similar to it and did so by a wide
margin (40% for, 60% against).
Austin is also an active area for the Libertarian Party
Although the Libertarians remain a third party, they occasionally
garner substantial votes, and one of the past Libertarian
presidential candidates, Michael
, comes from Austin.
Two of the candidates for president in the 2004 race call Austin
home. Michael Badnarik, mentioned above as the Libertarian Party
candidate, and David Cobb
of the Green Party
both have lived in
Austin. During the run up to the election in
November, a presidential debate was held at the University
of Texas student union involving the two minor party
While the Commission on Presidential
only invites Democrats and Republicans to participate
in televised debates, the debate at UT was open to all presidential
candidates. Austin also hosted one of the last presidential debates
between Barack Obama
and Hillary Clinton
during their heated race for
the Democratic nomination in 2008.
List of sister cities
Texas, designated by Sister
- Adelaide, Australia - since 1983
- Koblenz, Germany - since 1991
- Porto Alegre, Brazil - since 2002
- Lima, Peru - since
- Maseru, Lesotho - since 1978
- ÅŒita, Japan - since
- Saltillo, Mexico - since 1968
- Taichung, Republic of China - since 1986
- Orlu, Nigeria - since 2000
- Gwangmyeong, South Korea
- Xishuangbanna, People's Republic of China - since
Austin is considered to be a major center for high tech
. Thousands of graduates each year from the
engineering and computer science programs at The University
of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help to
fuel Austin's technology and defense industry sectors.
Austin area has much lower housing costs than Silicon
Valley, but much higher housing costs than many parts of
As a result of the high concentration of
high-tech companies in the region, Austin was strongly affected by
the dot-com boom
in the late 1990s
and subsequent bust. Austin's largest employers include the
Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, the
United States Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off
from Motorola in 2004), IBM, St. David's Healthcare Partnership, Seton
Healthcare Network, the State of Texas, Texas State University-San
Marcos, and the University of Texas at Austin, The University
of Texas. Other high-tech companies with operations in
Austin include 3M, Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard,
Google, AMD, Applied
Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, eBay/PayPal, Hoover's, Intel Corporation, National
Instruments, Samsung Group,
Silicon Laboratories, Sun Microsystems and United Devices.
The proliferation of
technology companies has led to the region's nickname, "the Silicon
Hills," and spurred development that greatly expanded the city.
concentration of high-tech companies has led the former American Airlines flight between Austin
and San Jose,
California to be dubbed the "nerd bird."
will now be operated by Alaska
effective September 2, 2009.
Southward view of downtown Austin from
The Capitol Grounds on 11th Street.
Austin is also emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical
companies. About 85 companies
from this industry are based in Austin. The city was ranked by the
Milken Institute as the #12 biotech and life science center in the
It is also home to advertising agencies including Omnicom owned
GSD&M Idea City
, as well as Dellâ€™s agency of record,
Whole Foods Market
is a grocery
store that specializes in organic, local, and natural foods and
other goods. It was founded and based in Austin. As of August 25,
2008, Whole Foods has 271 stores in the United States, Canada, and
the United Kingdom.
In addition to global companies, Austin features a strong network
of independent, locally-owned firms and organizations. The success
of these businesses reflects the high level of commitment by the
citizens of Austin to preserving the unique spirit of the city and
has been tied to the "Keep Austin
Buildings that make up most of Austin's skyline are modest in
height and somewhat spread out. The latter characteristic is due to a
restriction that preserves the view of the Texas State
Capitol building from various locations around Austin
(known as the Capitol View Corridor).
However, many highrise
towers have been constructed and the downtown area is looking more
modern and dense. The city's tallest building, The Austonian, was topped out on September 17, 2009.
Austin is currently undergoing a skyscraper boom, which includes
recent construction on the now complete 360 Condominiums at , the
Austonian at , the T. Stacy Towers at and tall and several others
that are mainly for residential use. By 2015, the Frost Bank Tower
could be the only skyscraper built before 2005 to remain in the top
ten tallest buildings in the city.
A moonlight tower.
At night, parts of Austin are lighted with "artificial moonlight"
from 17 surviving Moonlight Towers. Several moonlight towers
, built in the late 19th
century and recognized as historic landmarks, illuminate the
central part of the city. Only 17 of the 31 original towers remain
standing. The towers are featured in the film Dazed and Confused
The central business
of the city is now home to some of the newest and
tallest condo towers in the state. The 360 Tower
, one of several new
condo towers in Austin, opened in early 2008. The mayor strives to
have up to 25,000 people living Downtown by 2015. Because of this,
the city has been driven to increase density in Austin's urban
core. The skyline has drastically changed from 5 years ago, and the
residential real estate market has remained relatively strong while
other parts of the city have seen a slowing along with the rest of
the country. With Austinâ€™s strong and growing economy, the market
growth has been aided by the presence of a popular live music and
nightlife scene, Whole Foods
Market flagship store and headquarters, museums, restaurants,
and Lady Bird
Lake, considered one of the city's best recreational
The 2nd Street District consists of several new
residential projects, restaurants, coffee shops, record stores,
upscale boutiques and museums, and the Austin City Hall. Under
construction across 2nd Street from Austin City Hall is the new
Austin City Limits
will be housed beneath a new W Hotel
residential tower. Each year SXSW, the largest music conference in
the world, is hosted in downtown Austin.
As of the 2005-2007 American
conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans
made up 63.7% of Austin's
population; of which 49.9% were non-Hispanic whites
made up 8.5% of
Austin's population; of which 8.3% were non-Hispanic blacks.
made up 0.5% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were
non-Hispanic. Asian Americans
5.6% of the city's population; of which 5.5% were non-Hispanic.
Pacific Islander Americans
made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other
race made up 19.5% of the city's population; of which 0.4% were
non-Hispanic. Individuals from two
or more races
made up 2.1% of the city's population; of which
1.3% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos
34.2% of Austin's population.
As of the
census of 2000, there were 656,562 people,
265,649 households, and 141,590 families residing in the city
(roughly comparable in size to San Francisco, Memphis, and Columbus).
The population density
was 2,610.4 people per
square mile (1,007.9/kmÂ²). There were 276,842 housing units at an
average density of 1,100.7/sq mi (425.0/kmÂ²). The racial
makeup of the city was 65.4% White
, 4.7% Asian
, 0.1% Pacific
, 16.2% from other races
3.0% were from two or more races
of the population were Hispanic
can be of any race. About 52.9% of the population were non-Hispanic
There were 265,648 households out of which 26.8% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples
living together, 10.8% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 46.7% were non-families.
32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age
of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to
64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
30 years. For every 100 females there were 105.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $42,689, and the
median income for a family was $54,091. Males had a median income
of $35,545 vs. $30,046 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$24,163. About 9.1% of families and 14.4% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 16.5%
of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over. From the
year 2000 to 2005, the median house price in Austin grew 34
According to the US Census Bureau, as of July 2008 the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Area
1,652,602 people. It is one of the top 5 fastest growing metro
areas in the nation. If combined with the population of the
Antonio metropolitan statistical area (approximately to the
southwest), the region is home to about 3.7 million
Austin is consistently ranked among the three safest cities per
capita of any size in many categories and for many reasons,
especially because annually, per 100,000 people there are fewer
than five people murdered.
Arts and culture
take pride in eccentricities and celebrate differences and being
different (in lifestyle, character, beliefs, etc.). Austin is the
only major Texas city that has no ordinance against women appearing
in public. "Keep Austin Weird
" has become a local
in recent years, featured on innumerable
bumper stickers and t-shirts. This motto has not only been used in
promoting Austin's eccentricity and diversity, but is also meant to
bolster support of local and independent businesses. According to
the Nielsen Company
, adults in
Austin read and contribute to blogs
those in any other U.S. metropolitan area.
"SoCo" by many, is a shopping district stretching down South
Congress Avenue from Downtown.
This area is home to many
coffee shops, eccentric stores, restaurants and festivals. It
prides itself on "Keeping Austin Weird", despite constant
development surrounding the area.
Annual cultural events
House Museum hosts the annual O.
Henry Pun Off,
which is a pun contest where the contestants exhibit amazing wit.
Other annual events include Eeyore's Birthday Party
and the Austin Reggae Festival and Art City Austin
in April and Carnaval Brasileiro
February. Sixth Street
annual festivals such as the Pecan
and Halloween night. The three-day
City Limits Music Festival has been held in Zilker Park every year since 2002.
Zilker Park Tree is a Christmas display
made of lights strung from the top of a Moonlight tower in Zilker Park.
The sights of Austin's nightlife on
The Zilker Tree is lit in December along
with the "Trail of Lights," an Austin Christmas tradition.
As Austin's official slogan is The Live Music Capital of the
, the city has a vibrant live music scene
with more music venues per
capita than any other U.S. city. Austin's music revolves around the
on 6th Street
and an annual film
festival known as South by Southwest
(SXSW). The longest-running
concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits, is recorded on
of Texas at Austin campus. Austin City Limits and C3 Presents
produce the Austin City Limits Music
Festival, an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park in Austin based on the Austin City Limits
The festival and television show alike
attract musical artists from around the world. Other music events
include the Urban Music Festival, the Fun Fun Fun Fest
, and the Old Settlers
Music Festival. The Austin Symphony Orchestra traces its roots to
Austin hosts the annual Austin Film
, which draws films of many different types from all
over the world. In 2004 the city was first in Moviemaker
annual top ten cities to live and make movies. The
2007 South by Southwest
festival included Pete Townshend
, and Rickie Lee
has been the location for a number of motion pictures, partly due
to the influence of The University of Texas at Austin Department
Films produced in Austin include
Man of the
, Waking Life
, Dazed and Confused
, The Life of David Gale
, The New
, Hope Floats
The Wendall Baker
, A Scanner
, and most recently, Grindhouse
, How To Eat Fried Worms
. In order to draw
future film projects to the area, the Austin Film Society
several airplane hangars from the former Mueller Airport into
filmmaking center Austin Studios. Projects that have used
facilities at Austin Studios include music videos by The Flaming Lips
and feature films such as
and Sin City
. Austin also hosted the
series, The Real World: Austin
Austin's main daily newspaper
Austin Chronicle is Austin's alternative weekly, while The Daily Texan is the student
newspaper of the University of Texas.
Austin also has smaller newspapers such as
the Oak Hill Gazette
, a major regional magazine, is also headquartered
in Austin. The Texas
, a muckraking biweekly magazine, has been based
in Austin for over five decades.Community Impact Newspaper
is a free monthly hyperlocal
with separate editions for various regions of Austin. Newspapers
are delivered to every house and business within certain zip codes
and all of the news is specific to those zip codes. "Busted! in Austin
" is a local weekly crime
newspaper featuring mugshots of local people arrested. The local PBS station KLRU produces
several award winning locally produced programs. KUT
is the leading public
station in Texas and produces the majority of its content
is a volunteer-run radio
station with more than 60 locally produced programs. Network television
stations (affiliations in parentheses) include KTBC (Fox),
KVUE (ABC), KXAN (NBC),
KEYE-TV (CBS), KNVA (The CW),
KBVO (My Network TV), and KAKW
Also, subscribers to Time Warner Cable receive
a 24-hour local news station, News 8
. In some parts of Austin, Time Warner has cable
competition from Grande Communications.
Austin also has a strong theater culture, with dozens of itinerant
and resident companies producing a wide variety of work.
also has a burgeoning circle of live performance theater venues
such as the Zachary Scott Theatre
Center (Scott was born in Austin and an alumnus of the University
of Texas), Vortex Repertory Company, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Rude
Mechanicals, Refraction Arts, Arts on Real, Scottish Rite
Children's Theater, Hyde Park
Theatre, The City Theatre, and Esther's Follies, a comedy and magic show. The Victory Grill was a renowned venue on the Chitlin' circuit.
Public art and
performances of many kinds in the parks and on bridges is popular
and it is easy to find a myriad of diverse and creative free
productions. Austin hosts the Fuse Box Festival each April
featuring international, leading-edge theater artists.
Paramount Theatre opened in downtown Austin in 1915.
to escape destruction throughout the years, it contributes not only
to Austin's theater culture, but also to its film culture, showing
a variety of classic films throughout the summer. The summer
program features a series of double features, often paired with
vintage cartoons or serials to complete the retro feel. Gone
With the Wind
is always shown, usually at the end of the
season or over the Labor Day weekend. The theater also hosts
regional premieres for films such as Miss Congeniality
long-running outdoor musical, the Zilker Park Summer Musical, expects to celebrate its 50th
anniversary in 2008.
The Long Center
is also a large
theater, which opened in 2008. It used to be the Lester E. Palmer
Auditorium, which housed various events. The Long Center was built
with recycled materials from the old auditorium, and is an example
of Austin's green lifestyle. The Long Center features a 2,300 seat
theater, which houses plays, comedians, musicals, etc.
is the fourth largest
ballet academy in the country. Each year Ballet Austin's twenty
member professional company performs ballets from a wide variety of
choreographers, including their international award winning
artistic director, Stephen Mills
Ballet Austin has traveled around the world performing in Europe,
the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), and New York City's Joyce
Theatre. The city is also home to the Ballet East Dance Company
modern dance ensemble, and the Tapestry Dance Company
a variety of dance genres.
In January 2007, Austin Lyric Opera hosted the American Premiere of
the Philip Glass
opera, Waiting for the Barbarians
an allegory of oppressor and oppressed based on the novel by
of South Africa. Coetzee, the
Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 2003, is a University of Texas
at Austin graduate and former UT professor.
growing Austin improv comedy scene is
spread over several theaters: ColdTowne Theater, The Hideout Theater, and Salvage Vanguard
Some of Austin's best known improv troupes include
ColdTowne, The Frank Mills, Girls Girls Girls,
Parallelogramophonograph, and Get Up. Austin also hosts the annual
Out of Bounds Improv
and Miniature Golf Tournament. Out of Bounds has drawn
nationally known sketch and improv artists. In 2008 Out of Bounds
festival will host over 40 improv and sketch comedy troupes from 11
cities perform over 7 days. The 2008 festival has also been
expanded to include stand-up and short films.
Austin is the largest city in the United States without a franchise
major professional sports league
. Many Austinites support the
University of Texas
' sports programs. The University of Texas football
and baseball teams each won their respective national
during the 2005â€“2006 seasons. Minor-league
professional sports came to Austin in 1996, when the Austin Ice Bats
began playing at the Travis
County Expo Center. Since then, they have been joined by many other
teams including the Austin
, an arena football team, and the Austin Aztex FC
, a professional soccer team
of the USL First Division
home to one of the state's largest sports stadium, Darrell K
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, seating over 101,000 fans.
In addition to team sports, Austin is generally known for its
active outdoor culture. Austin is home to many runners,
rock-climbers, swimmers, divers, snorkelers, mountain bikers,
cyclists, and more. Natural features like the bicycle-friendly
Texas Hill Country, limestone
rock formations, and generally mild climate work with the centrally-located
Lady Bird Lake Hike
and Bike Trail, and local pools like Barton Springs to make Austin the home of several endurance and
multi-sport races and communities.
The Capitol 10,000
is the largest race in Texas,
and approximately fifth largest in the nation. The Austin Marathon
has been run in the city
every year since 1992. The Austin-founded American Swimming Association
hosts an open water swimming event, the Cap 2
, and other closed-course, open water, and cable swim races
around town. Austin is also the hometown of several cycling groups
and the champion cyclist Lance
, as well as environmentally- and economically-minded
. Combining these three
disciplines is a growing crop of triathlons, including the Capital
of Texas Triathlon held every Memorial
Day on and around Lady Bird Lake, Auditorium
Shores, and Downtown
Museums and other points of interest
in Austin include the Texas Memorial Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art (reopened in 2006), the Bob
Bullock Texas State History Museum across the street (which opened in 2000), the
Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), and the galleries at the Harry Ransom
Center. The Texas State Capitol itself is also a major tourist attraction.
Hotel built in 1886, and located at 6th and Brazos, was
finished just before the construction of the Capitol
building. Sixth Street
a musical hub for the city. The Enchanted Forest, a multi-acre
outdoor music, art, and performance art space in South Austin hosts
events such as fire-dancing and circus-like-acts. Austin is also home
to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and
Museum, which houses documents and artifacts related to
the Johnson administration, including LBJ's limousine and a
recreation of the Oval Office.
that gave Austin its reputation for being weird is featured at the
South Austin Museum of Popular
is a Latin American
museum founded in 1983. Austin is also home to the O.
House Museum, which is where O. Henry
Austin in 1891. Farmers markets are popular attractions, providing
a variety of locally grown and often organic goods.
Austin is also "weird" for its many statues and landmarks, such as
the Hyde Park Bar & Grill fork, the Mangia dinosaur, the Loca
Maria lady at Taco Xpress on South Lamar, the pink flamingo lawn in
front of the Pots and Plants Garden Center, the Hyde Park Gym's
giant flexed arm, and Daniel
's Hi, how are you?
frog mural. Austin locals
are proud of these landmarks and work to preserve them, even as the
Ann W. Richards
Congress Avenue Bridge houses the world's largest urban population of
Starting in late February, up to 1.5 million bats
take up residence inside the bridge's expansion and contraction
zones as well as in long horizontal grooves running the length of
the bridge's underside, an environment ideally suited for raising
their young. Every evening around sunset, the bats emerge in search
of insects, an exit visible on weather radar. Watching the bat
emergence is an event that is popular with locals and tourists,
with more than 100,000 viewers per year. The bats migrate to Mexico
Zoo, located at 10807 Rawhide Trail in unincorporated western Travis
County, west of Austin and north of U.S. Highway 290
, is a rescue zoo that provides
sanctuary to displaced animals from a variety of situations,
including those involving neglect.
Parks and recreation
City of Austin Parks and Recreation
The Austin Parks & Recreation Department received the
Excellence in Aquatics award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards in
2004 from the National Recreation and
. Home to more than 50 public swimming pools,
Austin has parks and pools throughout the city. There are several
well-known swimming locations. These include Deep Eddy Pool, Texas' oldest man-made swimming pool, and Barton
Springs Pool, the nation's largest natural swimming pool in an
Barton Springs Pool is spring-fed and ranges in
temperature from about during the winter to about during the
summer. Hippie Hollow Park, a county park situated along Lake Travis, is the
only officially sanctioned clothing-optional public park in
Activities include rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming,
exploring, and hiking along the greenbelt, a long-spanning area
that runs through the city. Hamilton Pool is a pool and wildlife
park located about 30 minutes from the city.
Central Austin is bracketed by Interstate 35
to the east and the
west. U.S. Highway 183
runs from northwest to
southeast, and State Highway
crosses southern part of the city from east to west,
completing a rough "box" around the central and north-central city.
Austin is the largest city in the United States to be served by
only one Interstate Highway.
U.S. Highway 290
enters Austin from the
east and merges into I-35. Its highway designation continues south
on I-35 and then becomes part of Highway 71, continuing on to the
west. Highway 290 becomes its own road again southwest of the city,
when it splits from Highway 71 in a busy interchange in Oak Hill
known as "The Y." Highway 71 continues as far west as Brady, Texas, and Highway 290 continues west to intersect
Interstate 10 near
Junction. Interstate 35 continues south through
Antonio, and continues to its culmination at Laredo, Texas, which is on the Texas-Mexico border.
Interstate 35 is the highway link to the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex
in northern Texas. There are two links to Houston, TX (Highway 290
and State Highway 71/Interstate 10). Highway 183 leads northwest of
Austin and is a route with other major highways to such cities as
Abilene, San Angelo, Lubbock, Amarillo, Albuquerque and
In the mid-1980s, Austin completed construction on Loop 360
, a scenic highway
that curves through the hill country from near the 71/Mopac
interchange in the south to near the 183/Mopac interchange in the
north. The iconic Pennybacker Bridge, also known as the "360 Bridge", crosses Lake Austin to connect north and south Loop 360.
In November 2006, Austin opened the first segments of its
first-ever tollway system: State Highway 130
. Highway 130 connects with Highway 45 in
Pflugerville, Texas. The project, when completed, will end at
Interstate 10 just east of Seguin, about 30 miles east-northeast of San
State Highway 45 runs east-west
from just west of Highway 183 in Cedar Park to 130 inside Pflugerville (just east of Round Rock).
The project also
included a tolled extension to Mopac that allows direct access to
new southeast leg of Highway 45 has recently been completed,
connecting US 183 and the current south end of TX-130 to I-35 at
the FM 1327/Creedmoor exit near the south
end of Austin and close to the town of Buda's
Toll Road opened March 2007, providing a tolled alternative to 183
through the cities of Leander and Cedar Park.
airport is Austin-Bergstrom International
Airport (ABIA) (IATA code
AUS), located southeast of the city.
airport is on the site of the former Bergstrom
Air Force Base, which was closed in 1993 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure
Previously Robert Mueller Municipal
was the commercial airport of Austin.
Intercity bus service
operates the Austin
Station at 916 East Koenig Lane.
division of Mexican company Grupo Senda, operates bus service from
Austin to Nuevo Laredo and on to many destinations in Mexico. The
Turimex station is located at 5012 East 7th Street, near Shady
Lane. It is advisable to disembark at the station in Laredo, Texas,
take a cab across the border and onto the Nuevo Laredo bus station
where you can find buses to the major cities to continue your
Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro)
provides public transportation to the city, primarily by bus.
Capital Metro is planning to change some routes to "Rapid Lines".
The lines will feature long, train-like high-tech buses. This
addition is going to be implemented to help reduce congestion.
Capital Metro is also testing a commuter
system known as Capital
that was scheduled to open in March 2009. The system
was built on existing freight rail lines and will serve downtown
Austin, East Austin, North Central Austin, Northwest Austin, and
Leander in its first phase. Future expansion could include a line
to Manor and another to Round Rock. Capital Metro is also looking into a
circulator system of streetcars to connect most of Downtown, the
University of Texas, and the Mueller Airport Redevelopment.
The streetcar system would help connect the
new rail line to key destinations in Central Austin. An Amtrak Texas
Eagle station is located west of downtown.
the Amtrak route between Austin and San Antonio are under
evaluation for a future passenger rail corridor as an alternative
to the traffic congestion of Interstate 35.
Researchers at Central
Connecticut State University ranked Austin the 23rd most literate city in the
United States for 2007. The Austin Public Library operates the John Henry Faulk Library and various
gave Austin the title "America's #1 College
home to the University of Texas at Austin, the flagship institution of the University of Texas
The university has several internal colleges
located inside the city including the College of Pharmacy, McCombs
School of Business, the School of Architecture, and the School of
Engineering. Other institutions of higher learning in
Austin include Austin Community
College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University,
University, the Episcopal
Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the Acton School of Business, Austin Graduate School of
Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological
Seminary, Virginia College's
Austin Campus, and a branch of Park
Public primary and secondary education
Most of the city is served by the Austin Independent School
. Some parts of Austin are served by other districts,
, Del Valle
, Lake Travis
Private and alternative education
and alternative education institutions for children in
preschool-12th grade include Regents School of Austin, Redeemer
Lutheran School, Garza (public), the Waldorf schools, The Griffin
School, The Khabele School, Concordia
Academy, St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School, San Juan Diego Catholic High
School, Brentwood Christian School, St. Austin
Catholic School, St. Stephen's Episcopal
School, St. Mary's, St.
Michael's Catholic Academy, St.
Gabriel's Catholic School, St. Andrew's Episcopal
School, St. Francis School, Saint Paul Lutheran
School, Huntington-Surrey, and many Montessori schools.
Paragon Preparatory Middle School is a private school for grades
5-8, founded in 1997.
- Fortune. 2009-Apr. Accessed 2009-06-22
- " Availability of FEIS." Fort Worth District
U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. Retrieved on December 29, 2008.
- " Austin City Hall." Hunter Douglas
Contract. Retrieved on December 29, 2008.
- Witt, Howard. "In heart of Texas, drumbeat for green."
Tribune. September 28, 2007. 1.
- " Austin City Hall." City of Austin. Retrieved
on December 29, 2008.
- " Post Office Location - AUSTIN."
United States Postal
Service. Retrieved on April 16, 2009.
- For more information on the City of Adelaide, see also
Adelaide city centre
- Article on the Fuse Box Festival in the
- Review of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, 50th
Anniversary performance of Zilker Park Summer Musical
- " Contact Us." Austin Zoo. Retrieved on February 1,
- " Austin, Texas." Greyhound Lines.
Retrieved on April 7, 2009.
- "."Grupo Senda - Turimex
Internacional. Retrieved on August 29, 2009.