The city of Austin tops the list as the #1 city in the U.S. to live says U.S. News and World Report. And, an estimated range of 150-160 people move into the metro area on a daily basis. After all, I moved from Chicago five years ago, and like most of Austin’s recent transplants, we’re here to stay. So, what’s the attraction? Primarily cost of living is reasonable and the robust job market is fueled by major tech corporations continuing to locate here.
But, there are plenty of reasons why Austin is a great place to live. When you are here long enough, I’m sure you’ll be able to form your own list. But, until then, here’s my list.
Austin has small town charm and less people. The fact is Austin has a certain quaint small city charm. It has all the amenities of a big city but nestled in between are unique businesses, shops, and one-of-a-kind stops. In 2017 Austin’s population was estimated at 966,860. However, it swells up to close to 2 million when the five-counties that make up Austin’s Metro area are included. Those counties are Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell. Compare that to the population of Chicago. The World Population Review estimates Chicago’s population in 2017 was 2.736 million. But, you have to look at the big picture. The Chicago metro area including the suburban areas of Joliet and Naperville had an estimated 2017 population of 9,504,753.
There’s no snow. Here’s where the deciding factor lies for us northerners. Specifically snow. It doesn’t snow in Austin. Ok, for those that say “yes, it does, it did this year.” Let’s define snowfall. By my definition, in order for snowfall to be official, it should snow at least 1 inch. It should also remain on the ground for at least eight hours or longer. Therefore, the average amount of snowfall in Austin is 0. Compare that to the average U.S. city that receives 26 inches of snow annually. Austin also boasts 228 days of sun. The annual rainfall is 34.25 inches and the average temperature is 69.4°F. However, it is hot in the summer. For a snapshot of Austin’s weather by month click here.
The vibe is awesome. Attributing to Austin’s eclectic vibe is the city’s music scene. Many local Austin bands can be found playing on Sixth Street. However, if it’s music you seek, you can find it just about anywhere in Austin and beyond. But I like to mix it up and visit the city’s theatres, art galleries and hundreds of festivals celebrating food, wine and craft beers.
A laid back attitude. People in here aren’t always in a hurry. We actually wait for traffic lights to give the walk signal before proceeding to cross the street. And, then there’s the pedicabs. This laid back mode of transportation fills the streets of downtown Austin and also provides an extra dose of flair. They’re also a fun way to get around.
Parking in downtown on Sunday. It’s free and you can actually find one.
You can actually get to the airport. With the recent road improvements to Highway 71 Austin’s Bergstrom International Airport is much easier to get to these days. Once inside the airport, it is also extremely easy to know where you are. All you have to do is follow the sounds of the live music and smell the barbecue. But, aside from the visitor perks, terminals are close together and don’t require a pair of track shoes to get to. There’s also reasonably-priced food, plenty of seating and budget-friendly parking rates.
Austin is in the state of Texas. And, that means everything’s bigger here including the state itself. The big advantage is that there are miles and miles of open spaces and places to explore in the state. For a list of day and weekend trips in the Lone Star state All Across Texas is an excellent resource and planning guide. To explore the state’s natural beauty and recreational areas visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. Their annual pass is a great bargain. The state is also home to 14 national designations including two national parks.
The Texas Hill Country is a short drive from the city. For recreation and weekend destinations, there is nothing better than the Texas Hill Country. Restaurants, shopping, wine excursions, wedding destinations, events, and live music abound. And, there’s also kayaking, hiking, swimming, and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. My personal favorite time of the year is to go in the spring when the bluebonnets are in full bloom from mid-March to April.