Robs' Blog

All About Austin, Texas

Posted in travel by Robs on May 21, 2007

That is where I live now…

  • Austin is just simply not like the rest of Texas
  • Austin has a distinctive mix of college students, athletes, computer geeks, aspiring musicians and filmmakers, politicos, and regular Texans that make Austin a fun place to live and work
  • Residents of Austin are called “Austinites”

Source: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Austin City Connection

The City’s Original Name


  • Named for the pioneer village that would later become Austin
  • Chosen as the site of the capital of the New Republic of Texas in March 1839
  • Honored by local businesses, organizations, events and park such as Waterloo Ice House, Waterloo Records & Video, Waterloo Cycles, Waterloo Roofing & Repairs, Waterloo Wash & Detail, Waterloo Press, Waterloo Counseling Center, Waterloo Track and Field, The Old Waterloo Jazz Band, and Waterloo Park

Source: Waterloo Ice House
Waterloo Records & Video
Waterloo Cycles
Waterloo Press

Named in Honor for “The Father of Texas”

Stephen F. Austin

  • The Founder of Anglo-American Texas
  • Appointed commissioner to the U.S. by the provisional government of the republic
  • Served as secretary of state of the republic
  • Name was changed to Austin in honor of him

The Capital City of the Lone Star State


  • The capital was moved to Houston in 1842 (during Texas Revolution)
  • The capital was returned to Austin in 1845 (Texas became a state)
  • Became the permanent capital in a state election in 1850
  • The Texas State Capitol was completed in 1888
  • Austin’s impressive pink granite capitol building
  • The state capitol was modeled after the Nation Capitol
  • The largest state capitol in the US in terms of square feet

Home of the Longhorns

The University of Texas at Austin

  • Often called UT or Texas
  • In 1839, the Congress of the Republic of Texas set aside 40 acres of land for a “university of the first class”
  • One of the largest public universities in the United States
  • Recognized for some of the top-ranked academic programs in the country
  • Known as the Longhorns
  • Recognized for UT football program
  • A main campus of 357 acres and some 120 buildings

Source: The University of Texas at Austin

The University Area Shopping District

The Drag on Guadalupe

  • Known as “Guadalupe Street”
  • Nicknamed “The Drag,” as seen from the rooftop of Dobie Mall
  • Between 21st and 25th streets on Guadalupe on the UT campus
  • A hodgepodge of local and chain retail stores, bars and restaurants just across the street from the university
  • The spot to check out UT students as they let it all hang out
  • Considered a hip shopping enclave of clothing, furniture and gift shops, and a great “good eats” zone
  • Third Thursday on The Upper Drag means live music, free beer, and retail discount

Summer Home of the Night Wings

Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

  • Approximately 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats have made the underside of the bridge their summer home
  • Houses the largest urban bat colony in North America
  • Eat between 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects, including mosquitoes, each night
  • Creating the city’s best-known tourist attraction
  • In the winter they migrate to Mexico

Source: Bat Conservation International: Congress Avenue Bridge

A Hip Strip

South Congress Avenue

  • Called its “SoCo”
  • Known for its shopping, quirky boutiques, retro shops and plenty of dining
  • Has a few blocks of local shopping: including antique shops, clothing stores, a costume shop, toy stores and thrift shops
  • Offers a nice view of the Texas Capitol building
  • Keeps their doors open until 10 p.m., playing host to an array of events and activities on the first Thursday of every month. Enjoy a wild night of music

The Sound of the City

Live Music Capital of the World

  • With hundreds of venues offering music of all genres and tempos
  • Awash in arts festivals incorporating music, food, the great outdoors or the great club scene, and all facets of the arts
  • Austin’s music scene has expanded far beyond Sixth Street, resonating throughout the entire community
  • Live music plays from stages at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, in the parks, on the lakes, from the Warehouse District and at landmarks along South Congress Avenue
  • Has achieved international recognition for its live music industry

Source: Austin City Connection: Live Music Capital of the World

Heart of the City’s Nightlife

Sixth Street

  • An historic seven-block area which compares itself to New Orleans’ Bourbon Street
  • The busy street in the downtown lined with clubs, restaurants, pubs and galleries
  • Plays host to a wide variety of events each year, ranging from music and film festivals (such as SXSW) to biker rallies, and the Pecan Street Festival.
  • Allows for tens of thousands of revelers to walk unfettered to the venues as they celebrate these holidays on New Year’s Eve, Mardi Gras and Halloween


The Iconic Bridge

Pennybacker Bridge

  • Opened on December 3rd, 1982
  • Known as the “360 Bridge” and “Capital of Texas Highway”
  • Crosses Lake Austin to connect north and south Loop 360
  • Widely considered one of the most scenic urban drives in central Texas
  • In large part due to this arched anodized steel bridge and the rolling hills that flank the road
  • Named for Percy Pennybacker, who designed bridges for the Texas Highway Department & was a pioneer in the technology of welded structures
  • Recognized by the Federal Highway Administration for Excellence in Highway Design

Source: Austin City Guide: Pennybacker Bridge

The City’s Most Loved Park

Zilker Metropolitan Park

  • 351 acre park
  • Home to a variety of recreation opportunities and special events for the individual or the whole family
  • Plenty to do in the area including the hike and bike trails, picnic facilities, Zilker Botanical Garden, canoe rentals, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, riverboat rides on Town Lake, concerts, festivals and even a miniature train
  • Invites relaxation with ample tree shade, gigantic rock formations to sprawl out on, ducks and turtles to observe, and an outdoor theater
  • The Trail of Lights Festival is an annual Austin holiday tradition and celebration held in the park

Source: Austin City Connection: Zilker Metropolitan Park

The City’s Finest Natural Treasure

Barton Springs Pool

  • Three acres in size
  • Fed from under ground springs with water temperatures averaging a cool 68-degrees year-round
  • A man-made swimming pool located on the grounds of Zilker Park
  • The fourth largest natural springs in the state

Source: Austin City Connection: Barton Springs Pool

The Premier Festival of the Summer

Austin City Limits Music Festival

  • Hosts an annual live music and art festival
  • Inherits a gold standard of live performance, authenticity, and musical diversity
  • Run by the Austin City Limits television show and Waterloo Music
  • Takes place in Zilker Park
  • Billed as a celebration of Austin music

Source: KLRU-TV: ACL Festival

The Local Motto

Keep Austin Weird

  • Featured on innumerable bumper stickers and t-shirts
  • A reference to “old Austin” of the free-spirited, somewhat hippy, bohemian 60s, 70s, and 80s
  • The city’s unofficial motto adopted by its residents in an effort to keep Austin’s unique character and charm alive
  • Has not only been used in promoting Austin’s eccentricity and diversity
  • Also meant to bolster support of local and independent businesses and stay away from the chains

Source: Keep Austin Weird

The Iconette of the City

Leslie Cochran

  • Austin’s most famous street person and former mayoral candidate
  • Most frequently seen wearing women’s clothing
  • His most popular attire is his leopard thong and high heels
  • An outspoken critic of police treatment of the homeless in the downtown Austin area
  • Many consider him to be the opitome of the “Keep Austin Weird Campaign”

Tallest Building in the City

Frost Bank Tower

  • Groundbreaking on Nov. 27, 2001
  • The tallest project in America to begin construction after the September 11th attacks
  • Includes a plaza with restaurants, a workout facility and high-speed elevators
  • Austin’s first world-class skyscraper
  • Four Frost Bank logo signs were added above the main roof
  • New landmark keeps Austin characteristically weird with its owl face looking down over

Source: Emporis: Frost Bank Tower

The City’s Hero

Lance Armstrong

  • The worlds top-ranked cyclist
  • Chose Austin because its Hill Country setting presented more challenging training terrain
  • Still calls Austin his home sweet home
  • Carried the Olympic Flame during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Torch Relay in Austin on December 11
  • Lance Armstrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in Austin
  • Developed the LiveSTRONG (yellow) wristband for the foundation
  • Name a piece of Austin after himthe Lance Armstrong Bikeway (six-mile bike route from U.S. 183 in East Austin, through Downtown, and terminating at Lake Austin Blvd and Veterans Drive)

Source: Capital Sports Entertainment: Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong Foundation

Spring Break for the Music Industry

South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival

  • Produced the internationally recognized Film, Music and Media Conference & Festival since 1987
  • Promotes an annual entertainment event in Austin that includes festivals, conferences, and tradeshows for music, film, and interactive markets
  • Showcases new movies, the next techie trends, and a smorgasbord of bands, attracting industry professionals, artists, journalists, and fans alike
  • Record-company executives, producers, dot-commers…and other movers and shakers decend on the city looking to discover the next hot musical act or independent filmmaker

Source: South by Southwest Conferences Festivals

Groundbreaking Reality TV Show of the City Season

The Real World: Austin

  • Warehouse building is located at the corner of Third Street and San Jacinto Boulevard
  • MTV taped the lives of seven young strangers living in a house
  • A heaping helping of Texas-sized drama
  • Their job was making a documentary about bands at the SXSW Festival
  • Episodes began airing in June 21, 2005

Source: MTV’s The Real World: Austin

Filmmaking Capital of the U.S.

Local Film Industry of Austin

  • Has topped Texas cities in film and television total production budgets, accounting for 86 percent of total film budgets in the Lone Star State in 2004
  • MovieMaker magazine, a top film industry publication has placed Austin in the top five Top 10 Cities For Movie Makers in 2004
  • The best place in the U.S. to live and make movies
  • Has been the location of a number of movies, including Man of the House, Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, The Life of David Gale, Miss Congeniality, Slacker, and The Faculty
  • The Austin Film Society (AFS) has converted several disused buildings from the now-defunct Austin Airport into a state-of-the-art digital filmmaking center known as Austin Studios
  • AFS opened the studio in 2000 in partnership with the City of Austin
  • With recent production credits that include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Life of David Gale, Friday Night Lights, Cheer Up, and The Wendell Baker Story

Source: Austin Film Society: Austin Studios