6.9 out of 10


Ranked 4th best city in Texas
30.3053000007128 -97.7666902295414
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Feb 25, 2016

"Music and culture haven"

If you’re traveling and you ask someone from Austin where they’re from, they often won’t just say they’re from Texas—they’ll make sure you know they’re from Austin. I’ve heard two reasons for this: One, because everyone’s heard of Austin and it’s great reputation, and two, because it’s so different from the rest of Texas.

The state capitol of Texas, the city is centered around the Colorado River which goes straight through town. It’s known for being much more liberal than most of Texas, with a pretty different culture from other big Texas cities like Houston or Dallas.

First order of business: MUSIC. Austin is obviously known for good music (though coming from Seattle, I’m not 100% sure I can say that it’s the live music capitol of the world… let’s call it a tie.)

The Texas Music Museum is decent, but it won’t take you a whole day—leaving you plenty of time to explore elsewhere. Like maybe a lazy stroll around Zilker Park, which often has live music, or sometimes theater. The park is also the host of Austin City Limits (ACL), the world-famous music festival at the end of September.

6th street is the main drag for nightlife, including live music, though from what I hear it’s been slowly changing to be less live music and more clubs. In my (limited) experience, there were still some great venues though it did seem a bit touristy with a lot of college students.

6th gets a lot quieter on the east side of hwy 35, where it has more of a locals/neighborhood vibe. The venues are less touristy and more cozy. Probably in part because to get there from the busiest part of 6th you have to walk under the freeway, which was a bit sketchy.

Besides music, Austin’s great for museums. There's the Mexican American Cultural Center, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum, among others. I LOVED the state history museum. I spent more than half a day there and didn’t want to leave yet.

I can definitely see the appeal of living in Austin. Great music, food and culture, decent public transit, big parks. The only part that doesn’t cut it for me is the heat and no mountains or ocean in sight. Though to be fair, the hill country is gorgeous in the spring, with bright wildflowers covering the country hills north of town.

Some recommendations:

--Parish on 6th: A live music venue small enough to get up close and personal with the bands. The managers curate the music well, and the acoustics are great (not always a given). I saw an excellent jazz band here.

--Eureka! A burger bar with great micro brews (coming from WA, I realized how spoiled for choice we are in Seattle where at any given bar you can find at least 5 micro brews on offer. Not so in other cities. But this place is great in Austin.

--Historic Scoot Inn on 4th—just off 6th, on the quieter east side of hwy 35. The staff can be hit and miss, but the bands they choose are great, and overall it’s an awesome venue. In an old red barn with a huge outdoor concert area, it's so fun when the whole crowd's dancing on a summer night.
  • Amazing music
  • Austin City Limits music festival
  • Liberal
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5

"Great vibe and energy for Liberals"

I spent a week in Austin in 2010 for South by Southwest. It's a liberal pocket of an otherwise very conservative state. I'm a huge huge fan of the vibe of the city. 6th Street is a great nightlife scene for students and young professionals. Downtown was very walkable with a growing startup scene, and there seemed to be a wide range of lakes, hiking, and other outdoor activities within a fairly close drive from the city.
  • Liberal
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students

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