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Getting To Know Our ‘Little Big’ City

Written by Christy Wink / Photo by John R. Rogers

Y ou’ve probably seen or heard the slogan “Keep Austin Weird.” It’s a phrase originally intended to indicate the people of Austin’s support and preference for small, local businesses over large corporations, although over the years it has taken on a wider meaning to encompass all of the unique aspects of the city.

While maybe we’re not so weird in the grand scheme of things, Austin does offer a wonderfully creative, colorful and interesting place to live and play. It’s no surprise we are currently one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. Once you get here you’ll understand why it’s hard not to love it, and even harder to leave.

Nestled in the corner of the Texas Hill Country, Austin boasts beautiful landscapes and temperate weather. Gently rolling hills and three separate lakes that split off the Colorado River encourage outdoor activity, and residents make good use of the multiple outlets in which to hike, bike, run, kayak, paddleboard or swim.

Austin is home to a blend of eclectic cultures and grassroots politics, with a thriving music scene (we’re not called “The Live Music Capital of the World” for nothing), a strong small business network and a rich historic background. Austin’s unique politics are well known throughout the state; long known as a single blue dot in a sea of red, Austin’s colorful political views reflect the extreme diversity of the city. And because we’re from Texas, we have to go big: Austin is home to the largest state capitol building in the United States, a feat of architecture that brings to life Texas’s proud and independent history.

Blend together a deep-rooted musical history, a significant selection of art houses and museums and a generous handful of locally owned and revered restaurants and businesses, and you’ve started to create the melting pot that is Austin. Its live music culture is a living, breathing thing, and the film making, interactive and software development industries have become an integral part of Austin’s infrastructure.

Ask anyone on the street, and they’ll tell you—Austin is proud of its offbeat heritage and fiercely protective of its free-thinking, liberal spirit. Visitors come for the beautiful environment and the alluring tourist attractions. They stay because of the infectiously positive vibe. And in the end, they get carried away with the thrum of Austin’s lifestyle, until finally they realize: they’re not tourists at all, but instead another part of what makes Austin unique in the first place.