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Austin is the capital of Texas. Located in Central Texas it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the fifteenth heavily populated city in the United States and was the third fastest growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. Austin has a population of over 786,000 and is the center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, with a population of over 1.7 million (2009 U.S. Census estimate), making it the 35th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

The city is named after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas. The city grew throughout the 19th century and after a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city in the 1980s and emerged as a center for technology and business.

Residents of Austin are known as “Austinites” and include a wide variety of people. Whether your interests lean toward food, cinema, technology, music, the outdoors, or just about anything else, Austin has something for you. Austin is known as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to the many musicians and live music venues. With almost 200 live music venues, you are bound to find something you like on almost any night of the year. Austin is also home to many music festivals, with the most well-known being South By Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Austin is considered to be a major center for high tech, which is how it gained the nickname “Silicon Hills.” Thousands graduate each year from the engineering and computer science programs at The University of Texas which provides a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin’s technology and defense industry sectors.

The Austin–Round Rock area is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including the headquarters of four Fortune 500 corporations and its largest employers include the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, the U.S. Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, St. David’s Healthcare Partnership, Seton Family of Hospitals, the State of Texas, Texas State University–San Marcos, and 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, Bioware, Blizzard Entertainment, Hoover’s, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Samsung Group, Silicon Laboratories, Sun Microsystems, Hostgator, and United Devices.

In 2010, Austin became home to Facebook’s first U.S. sales and online operations office outside of Palo Alto, California. It currently has over 100 employees and is committed to expanding that number to 200 by the end of 2013.

Austin is also emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology 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 United States.

It is also home to national advertising agencies including Omnicom-owned GSD&M Idea City and LatinWorks as well as many other regionally respected agencies.

In addition to global companies, Austin features a strong network of independent, locally owned firms and organizations, like Tiffany’s Properties. The success of these businesses reflects the high level of commitment by the citizens of Austin to preserving the unique spirit of the city. An often-seen slogan around town, “Keep Austin Weird,” was first coined to promote small, local businesses.

According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey:
The median income for a household in the city was $42,689
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
The median house price was $185,906 in 2009, and it has increased every year since 2003

According to the US Census Bureau as of July 2009, the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan area had 1,705,075 people. It is one of the five fastest-growing metro areas in the nation.

Austin is consistently ranked among the three safest cities per capita of any size in many categories. Its annual murder rate is fewer than five people per 100,000 residents.

Austin is characterized by hot summers and mild winters. On average, Austin receives 33.6 inches of rain per year, with most of the precipitation in the spring and fall.

Austin summers are usually hot and humid, with average July and August highs in the mid-90s °F and 109 days per year, highs exceed 90 °F. The highest recorded temperature was 112 °F on September 5, 2000.

Winters in Austin are mild and relatively dry. For the entire year, Austin averages 88 days below 45 °F and 18 days when the minimum temperature falls below freezing. The lowest recorded temperature was −2 °F on January 31, 1949. Snowfall is rare in Austin, but we may suffer an ice storm that freezes roads over and affects much of the city for 24 to 48 hours.

The Austin Parks & Recreation Department is home to more than 50 public swimming pools and has has parks and pools throughout the city. These include Deep Eddy Pool, Texas’ oldest man-made swimming pool, and Barton Springs Pool, the nation’s largest natural swimming pool in an urban area. Barton Springs Pool is spring-fed while Deep Eddy is well-fed. Hippie Hollow Park, a county park situated along Lake Travis, is the only officially sanctioned clothing-optional public park in Texas. Activities include rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming, exploring, and hiking along the greenbelt, a long-spanning area that runs through the city. Zilker Park, a large green area close to downtown, forms part of the greenbelt along the Colorado River. Hamilton Pool is a pool and wildlife park located about 30 minutes from the city.

Central Austin is essentially bracketed by two major North/South thoroughfares: Interstate 35 to the east and the Mopac Expressway (Loop 1) to the west. U.S. Highway 183 runs from northwest to southeast, and State Highway 71 crosses the 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.

Some lists that feature Austin
Top 50 US Cities Poised for Greatness
50 Cleanest Cities in America
25 Best Running Cities in America
50 Best Places to Live
The Top 10 Places for Business
Best Large City for Relocating Families
Top 100 Wireless U.S. Cities
Best Walking Cities
10 Greenest Cities in America
America’s Fastest Growing Metros
Top 10 Preferred Metropolitan Areas for Job Relocation
Best Cities for Jobs
Best Cities for Young Professionals
Best Cities for Families
Best Place To Start A Small Business
America’s Most Socially Networked Cities
America’s Best Cities for Young Adults
50 Smart Places to Live
Best Cities for Tech Jobs
Top 50 Cities for Bicycling
100 Best Places to Raise a Family
10 Best U.S. Cities For Economic Recovery
America’s Least Stressed Cities
20 Strongest Performing Metro Areas
10 Healthiest Cities in America
100 Best Retirement Towns
Top 10 Places to Buy a Home
Top 50 Smartest CIties

In November 2006, Austin opened the first segments of its first-ever tollway system: State Highway 130 runs from just south of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Interstate 35 just north of Georgetown. 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 Antonio.

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 I-35. A 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 northernmost interchange. The 183A Toll Road opened March 2007, providing a tolled alternative to 183 through the cities of Leander and Cedar Park. Despite the overwhelming initial opposition to the toll road concept when it was first announced, all three toll roads have improved mobility in and around the Austin area and are significantly exceeding their revenue projections.

Greyhound Lines offers public transportation and operates the Austin Station at 916 East Koenig Lane, just east of Airport Boulevard and adjacent to Highland Mall. Turimex Internacional 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.

Austin Metrorail train at Downtown Station is provided by Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro). It provides public transportation to the city, primarily by bus. Capital Metro is planning to change some routes to “Rapid Lines”. The lines will feature 60 ft long, train-like high-tech buses. This addition is going to be implemented to help reduce congestion.

Austin is also home to Car2Go, a carsharing program. Austin was chosen as the first city in the western hemisphere to host this company’s business, which is based in Germany.

Austin’s airport is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) (IATA code AUS), located 5 miles southeast of the city. The 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 process.

Austin was voted “America’s #1 College Town” by the Travel Channel. Over 43 percent of Austin residents age 25 and over hold a bachelor’s degree, while 16 percent hold a graduate degree. As of 2009, greater Austin ranks eighth among metropolitan areas in the United States for bachelor’s degree attainment with nearly 39 percent of area residents over 25 holding a bachelor’s degree.

Austin is home to The University of Texas at Austin, the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System with over 38,000 undergraduate students and 12,000 graduate students. In 2010, the university was ranked 45th among “National Universities” (13th among public universities) by U.S. News and World Report. UT has annual research expenditures of over $640 million and has the highest-ranked business, engineering, and law programs of any university in the state of Texas.

Other institutions of higher learning in Austin include Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward’s University, the Seminary of the Southwest, the Acton School of Business, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Virginia College’s Austin Campus, The Art Institute of Austin, Austin Conservatory and a branch of Park University.
Most of the city is served by the Austin Independent School District, including 29 public school districts, 17 charter schools and 69 private schools. Other parts of the Austin area are served by districts, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, Manor, Del Valle, Lake Travis, Hays, and Eanes ISDs. Two districts—Eanes and Round Rock—are rated “gold medal”.

Private and alternative education institutions for children in preschool-12th grade include Regents School of Austin, Redeemer Lutheran School, Garza (public), Austin Jewish Academy, the Waldorf schools, Great Hills Christian School, 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. Theresa’s, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, Saint Gabriel’s Catholic School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, St. Francis Episcopal School, Saint Paul Lutheran School, Trinity Episcopal School, Huntington-Surrey, Sri Atmanada, ACE Academy, Paragon Preparatory Middle School and a number of Montessori schools.

Austin is the largest city in the United States without a franchise in a major professional sports league. Many Austinites support the University of Texas Longhorns’ sports programs. The University of Texas football and baseball teams each won their respective national championships during the 2005–2006 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, the Austin Ice Bats have been replaced by the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, and many other teams have come to Austin including the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, and the Round Rock Express, the Triple-A Affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Austin is home to the 2010 U.S. Youth Soccer U19 Girls National Champion club Lonestar Soccer Club.

Austin consistantly makes it onto lists of the healthiest and most active cities in America. The Austin Parks and Recreation Department oversees over 50 miles of trails throughout the city, including the popular, ten-mile Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Cyclists and rollerbladers will want to check out the Veloway at Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park. The Capitol 10K is the largest 10K race in Texas, and approximately the fifth largest in the United States. The Austin Marathon has been run in the city every year since 1992. Austin is also the hometown of several cycling groups and the seven-time Tour de France champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. The Austin-founded American Swimming Association hosts an open water swimming event, the Cap 2K, and other closed-course, open water, and cable swim races around town. These three activities are combined in many area triathlons, including the Capital of Texas Triathlon held every Memorial Day on and around Lady Bird Lake, Auditorium Shores, and Downtown Austin.

In June 2010 it was announced by the Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone that the Austin area would host the Formula One, United States Grand Prix, from 2012 until 2021. The state has pledged to put up $25 million in public funds annually for 10 years to pay the sanctioning fees for the race. The event was last held in 2007 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 20-turn, 3.34 mile road course will have a capacity for 120,000 fans and has been named Circuit of the Americas. The track is located just east of the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

More Annual Events:
St. Patrick’s Day Festival
South by Southwest
Zilker Garden Festival
Texas Relay Weekend
Art City Austin
Mighty Texas Dog Walk
Old Pecan Street Festival
Western Days Festival
East Austin Studio Tour
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Shakespeare’s Birthday Revel
Texas Greek Festival
Republic of Texas Biker Rally
Texas Hill Country Railfair & Festival
Fourth of July Fireworks & Symphony
Austin Ice Cream Festival
Maker Faire
Texas Book Festival
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
First Night Austin

The O. Henry House Museum hosts the annual O. Henry Pun Off, a pun contest where the contestants exhibit wit. Other annual events include Eeyore’s Birthday Party, Spamarama, the Austin Reggae Festival and Art City Austin in April, East Austin Studio Tour in November, and Carnaval Brasileiro in February. Sixth Street features annual festivals such as the Pecan Street Festival and Halloween night. The three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival has been held in Zilker Park every year since 2002. Every year around the end of March and the beginning of April, Austin is home to Texas Relay Weekend. Fantastic Fest and The Austin Film Festival are annual film festivals in Austin. Probably the most well-known of Austin Festivals is the Annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference, which brings tens of thousands of people in the music, film and interactive media fields to Austin every March.

Austin’s Zilker Park Tree is a Christmas display made of lights strung from the top of a Moonlight tower in Zilker Park. The Zilker Tree is lit in December along with the “Trail of Lights”, an Austin Christmas tradition. In 2010, the Trail of Lights was canceled due to budget problems, but the city says they hope to have finances for the trail next year.

If you like Austin you might also be interested in Round Rock.

Contact Tiffany’s Properties of Austin, Texas for more information about Austin Real Estate.

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