Located in the heart of the USA’s Deep South along the Colorado River, Austin is the state capital of Texas and the 11th most populous city in the country. The city, known as the 'liberal heart of Texas', is also not only one of the most fastest-growing cities in Texas, but in the US.
So what is Austin doing to attract so many new residents? Well, there is a real mix of great economic and lifestyle benefits which serve to draw a really diverse range of people to the city. Over the last decade or so, the capital of the Lone Star State has become quite the hub for business and technology. Austin is now home to a significant number of prominent Fortune 500 names including Apple, Amazon, Google and IBM. Those with skills in business, education, tourism and technology find ample opportunities for career progression here in the City of the Violet Crown.
In recent years, Austin has also become a popular tourist destination which is in part due to the lifestyle benefits the city has to offer. Often self styled as the 'live music capital of the world', Austin boasts an impressive calendar of annual events with the famous South by South West Festival being a particular highlight that draws massive crowds. Naturally, the year-round good weather means Austinites can regularly enjoy outdoor pursuits such as hiking, biking and taking a dip at one of the city’s lovely swimming spots.
Austin is a popular relocation destination among families, not only because of the spacious accommodation on offer outside the city centre and the family-friendly attractions the city boasts, but because of its excellent schools. Home to University of Texas at Austin, education is something that is ingrained in Austin’s DNA and the city invests a lot in its schooling infrastructure. Austin is home to some excellent public schools and there are private and international options available too.
There is often a misconception that the cost of living in Austin is low but, while it is certainly a much more affordable place to live than major US cities such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC, living expenses in Austin are higher than the state average. As a matter of fact, both Dallas and Houston are less expensive places to live. That said, Austin’s brilliant attractions outweigh these costs for many of the city’s residents. It’s just a case of budgeting properly.
Life in any new city comes with some inevitable downsides and this is true for Austin as much as it would be for any other place. New arrivals moving to the city from places with reliable, sophisticated public transport infrastructure may struggle with the fact that Austin remain very much a car-dependent city. Still, while having a vehicle does offer one greater freedom when it comes to getting around, things are changing. In addition, to improvements to Austin’s bus and light rail networks, the expansion of e-hailing services and car-sharing schemes now offer Austinites some excellent alternatives.
Austin stays true to its unofficial slogan ‘Keep Austin Weird’ by nurturing diversity and always doing things in its own unique way. While Austin is far more progressive than much of the Deep South, it’s important for newcomers to remember that this is still Texas and it's highly likely that they’ll encounter people that still hold conservative values when it comes to political issues such as same-sex marriages, gun ownership and religious influences.
All in all, it's easy to see why so many people are attracted to the vibrancy of Austin. The city offers a perfect balance between factors of practical importance such as good schools, job opportunities and affordable accommodation along with some absolutely brilliant lifestyle benefits including great weather, a fantastic music scene and unique cultural offerings. One thing is for sure – life for aspiring Austinites may not always be easy but it will no doubt be an adventure.
►Our Lifestyle in Austin page gives newcomers some great insights into the fun things to do in the City of the Violet Crown
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Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Austin. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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