POPULATION 1.5 million in the metropolitan area; 795,390 within city limits. 14th largest city in America.
AREA Austin envelops a 2,705-square-mile metro area; 232 square miles within city limits.
ELEVATION Austin sits 425-1,000 feet above sea level. The highest point is Mt. Barker at 840 feet.
WEATHER 300 days of sunshine annually, with an average year-round temperature of around 70°F. 32” annual rainfall. HISTORY Founded as “Waterloo” in 1839 by Jacob Harrell, the city was renamed for Texas colonist Stephen F. Austin. TAXES 8.25% sales tax; 15% total hotel-motel tax (9% city tax, 6% state sales tax).
COST OF LIVING U.S. Index: 96.5. Median household income: $59,221; median home price in 2010 $182,000. AIRPORT Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is 7.5 miles from downtown. Nonstop service to 37 U.S. cities. HOTEL ROOMS 30,000 in the metro area; 6,000 downtown. Convention Center Headquarter Hotel: Hilton Austin
STATE CAPITAL Built from 1882-88 out of “Sunset Red” granite and measuring 302 feet high, the Texas Capitol is 14 feet
higher than the nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. Legislators meet every other year.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS Located just north of downtown, UT is one of America’s largest public universities with nearly
50,000 students. Hook ‘em Horns!
FILM CAPITAL Austin is the top location for moviemaking in Texas, and is home to directors Robert Rodriguez, Mike
Judge and Richard Linklater. Recent area productions include Friday Night Lights (NBC show) and True Grit.
A LITTLE BATTY Austin is home to North America’s largest urban bat population, with up to 1.5 million Mexican free- tailed bats roosting under the Congress Avenue Bridge from April through October.
OUTDOORS 251 parks, including 360-acre Zilker Park. Hike & Bike Trail follows the edge of Lady Bird Lake for 10.1 miles. Barton Springs Pool welcomes swimmers to 68-degree, spring-fed waters year-round.
EAST AUSTIN The hip, up-and-coming area is home to restaurant row on Manor Road, featuring Mexican cuisine at Vivo, homemade pies at Red House Pizzeria and organic greens at Eastside Café, as well as the ultra hip Progress Coffee and The Good Knight.
LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL OF THE WORLD®
Live music plays at nearly 200 venues throughout Austin. The city is also home to 1,900 recording artists including such famed personalities as Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Schneider, Ghostland Observatory and more.
ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICTS Sixth Street, South Congress Avenue, the Warehouse, Second Street, Red River and Rainy Street entertainment districts are among the “hot spots” for listening to live music, dining and taking in the nightlife scene.
FINANCIAL IMPACT: Live music contributes to tourism’s annual economic impact of $2.8 billion. Music supports more than 5,500 jobs in Austin.
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS LIVE, the longest running music show on television, spawned the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which takes place each fall and generates an economic impact of around $75 million.
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals (SXSW) is one of Austin’s largest conventions, bringing 286,000 professionals and fans from around the world and generating more than $167 million for the city.
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Austin continues to gain favorability as one of the nation’s top travel destinations. But don’t take our word for it – check out what leading publications and research firms are saying:
• Orbitz names Austin a travel hotspot in 2012. (January 2012)
• Newsday calls Austin a foodie and family friendly destination. (January 2012)
• Travel + Leisure ranks Austin among the top 3 of America’s Techiest Cities. (January 2012)
• MovieMaker Magazine ranks Austin #2 on its list of “Top Cities to be an Independent Moviemaker.” ( February
• Lucky Magazine names Austin among the 25 best cities for shopping. (February 2012)
• Pollstar names Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater “Best New Major Concert Venue.” (February 2012)
• Women's Health magazine ranks Austin the 4th healthiest city for woman. (January 2012)
• Forbes name Austin as one of the top 10 cities for weekend vacations. (October 2011)
• Travel + Leisure name Austin as one of America’s Best Cities for Foodies. (September 2011)
• Bon Appetit names Austin’s restaurant, Congress, among the 10 best new restaurants in America. (August 2011)
• U.S. News & World Report names Austin among the nation’s top fall getaways. (August 2011)
• Forbes names Austin as the nation’s #1 “boom town” for the next decade. (July 2011)
• Bon Appetit argues that Austin’s Franklin BBQ is the best barbeque in America. (June 2011)
• Portfolio.com names Austin the #1 city for young professionals. (June 2011)
• Austin’s new cocktail spot, Bar Congress, is listed on Esquire’s list of the Best Bars in America 2011. (May 2011)
• RealAge lists Austin the #3 “youngest city,” citing a survey ranking how young the residents feel (April 2011).
• Men’s Health ranks Austin #8 among the top 10 socially-networked cities (March 2011)
• Austin is the 2nd best city in America to find a job, according to the U.S. Department of Labor and Ajilon
Professional Staffing. (March 2011)
• Austin was chosen as one of the eight best places to live and work in the U.S., by Business Review USA. (February
• PayScale, Inc. ranks Austin second among cities considered an IT startup “hot spot.” (January 2011)
• Austin is #7 on the list of the top 10 emerging restaurant markets in the U.S. this year, according to a recent survey by QSR magazine and Pitney Bowes Business Insight. (January 2011)
• AOL Travel names Austin the best city for a Rock Star Girls’ Weekend Getaway. (January 2011)
• ImpactLab names Austin the most popular destination for young people. (January 2011)
• The Huffington Post ranks Austin 8th for best culture for college students. (December 2010)
• The Huffington Post notes that the University of Texas at Austin is the second most athletic college in the nation, with 33 titles in 9 different sports and an athletic program that generates more than $100 million every year.
• The Atlantic names Austin among the world’s 30 most dynamic cities. (December 2010)
• CNBC names Austin among celebrity cities on the rise. (December 2010)
• Austin was ranked the 12th best city for shopping in the U.S., according to a Forbes listing. (December 2010).
• Lonely Planet staffers name Austin and the Hill Country the 4th for Best Place to visit in the U.S. (December
• Austin named second-strongest job market in the country by the Milken Institute. (November 2010)
• Austin is one of the 10 Cities Best Situated for Economic Recovery, according to Newsweek.(November 2010)
• Austin is the sixth safest city among those with 500,000 or more residents, according to a report by CQ Press.
• CNN’s Money.com ranks Austin the 6th Smartest City in America (October 2010)
• Austin residents were ranked the 7th brainiest in the U.S., according to the Daily Beast. (October 2010)
• Austin ranked fourth on a NetProspex list of cities with businesses utilizing social media outlets such as
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (October 2010)
• The Texas Hill Country is named the top “hidden gem” among U.S. wine regions by the travel planning website,
Away.com. (October 2010)
• Entrepreneur named Austin at the top of the list of “Creative Centers” among 50 cities in “Innovation Nation”
rankings. (July 2010)
• Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine ranks Austin #1 on their list of “10 Best Cities for the Next Decade.” (May
• DogFriendly.com ranks Austin the third most dog-friendly city based on pet-accommodating transportation, parks, attractions, stores and dining. (May 2010)
• In the Budget Travel 2010 Readers’ Choice Poll, Austin finished 1st in the category of “Best Local Music Scene.” (April 2010)
• Portfolio.com names Austin the #1 city for young adults. (March 2010)
• According to Real Simple, Austin is one of the 21 top time-saving cities in America. (March 2010)
There’s something about Texas’ capital city… a friendly vibe, a creative culture, an active community and just a touch of Texas bravado. As the city’s popularity as a travel destination grows, so does the demand for entertainment, new attractions and distinct accommodations. Here’s what’s new this year.
JW Marriott (opening 2015) – This 1,003-room convention-style hotel will break ground on Congress Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets in June 2012. Just two blocks from the Austin Convention Center, the hotel will feature 115,000 square feet of flexible meeting, banquet and event space. It will be Austin’s largest hotel bumping the downtown room count to 7000. www.marriott.com
Hyatt Place Downtown – (under construction) This upscale 296-room, 17-story hotel will offer many technological amenities for business guests. Located in the heart of downtown, it will be just a short walk to the Austin Convention Center, Sixth Street, and more than 50 eclectic restaurants. It is slated to open in 2013. www.hyatt.com
Travaasa (now open) – The new luxury spa and resort combines adventure, culinary expertise, culture, fitness and spa treatments to provide a uniquely comprehensive destination experience. 70 guestrooms overlook the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. Rates are packaged with meals, activities and a $125 daily golf or spa credit. Guests get a taste of Texas culture with two-stepping classes, a mechanical bull, harmonica lessons and stories by the fire pit. www.travaasa.com/austin
W Austin (now open) – Austin’s newest downtown hotel and condo complex anchors the 2nd Street District, where pedestrians meander among chichi boutiques and coffee shops. The W complex, known as “Block 21,” also includes the new Austin City Limits studio and music venue, AWAY® Spa and a high- end restaurant, TRACE. www.whotels.com/austin
AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER
Austin Convention Center – Austin Convention Center is one of two convention centers in the U.S. and the only one in Texas to achieve LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings. The facility earned LEED points for energy conservation, sustainable purchases, and innovation credits. Its commitment to conservation and environmental responsibility is conveyed throughout all facility departments including operations, housekeeping, food and beverage, landscaping, maintenance and administration.
Austin Convention Center – Austin Convention Center wins 2011 Reader’s Choice Award. ConventionSouth readers selected the Austin Convention Center based on its high standard of professionalism and quality service.
Austin Bazaar (now open) – One of the world’s largest online retailers of musical instruments now has
an expansive, wood-paneled showroom in north Austin. The floor is stocked with guitars – with a special wall of 100 Fender guitars playable in the store. The shop also offers a wall of products by Zildjian, Yamaha electric pianos/keyboards, and an in-house brand of wind and orchestral instruments. The store also hosts weekend fire sales of up to 70 percent, making it particularly attractive to touring artists or fans who visit the Live Music Capital of the World®. www.austinbazaar.com
Violet Crown Cinema (now open) – This new, sleek art house movie theatre is located in the AMLI on 2nd residential complex downtown, and features four screens with digital projection, showcasing the latest art, foreign and independent films. Billed as a boutique “café cinema,” guests enjoy bar food and craft cocktails in the theaters, or in the swanky lobby lounge. www.violetcrowncinema.com
Arthouse at the Jones Center (now open) – Arthouse at the Jones Center reopened in late 2010 after a
$6 million renovation to include three galleries, two studios, a screening/community room and a rooftop space with a large cinema screen. www.arthousetexas.org
Circuit of the Americas (COTA) (under construction, scheduled to open November 2012) – America’s first purposed Grand Prix track will host the Formula 1™ United States Grand Prix from 2012-2021, and the MotoGP and V8 Supercars series starting in 2013. The 3.4-mile track features 20 turns and an elevation change of 130 feet, and can accommodate an audience of 120,000 fans. In addition to the track, the COTA facility incorporates a 40,000 square foot conference center, 14 executive suites/meeting rooms, high-tech amenities and a major outdoor live music venue (Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett are already billed to perform). www.circuitoftheamericas.com
Topfer Theatre at ZACH (under construction, grand opening scheduled for fall 2012) – Austin’s regional independent theatre organization, ZACH Theatre, is opening this new, state-of-the-art stage and education facility. The space will hold 420 audience members viewing a 44-foot proscenium with a trapped stage and available orchestra pit. In addition, an 8,600 square foot outdoor plaza will be available for private parties. www.zachtheatre.org
Lance Armstrong Bikeway (mostly complete, final phase to be installed by 2012) – The long-anticipated bikeway will enable bicyclists to travel east and west on a dedicated route through downtown. The path consists of a combination of off-street concrete trails, on-street striped bike lanes and on-street signed bike routes. www.cityofaustin.org/publicworks/armstrong.htm
Austin Planetarium (Proposed. Programming is underway; facility TBD) – While a facility is yet to be constructed, the Austin Planetarium team is generating funding for a world-class planetarium, science museum and technology center. www.austinplanetarium.org
El Alma Café Y Cantina (now open) – The newest venture by the owners of Austin’s popular El Chile/El
Chilito restaurants, El Alma features upscale Interior Mexican dishes, such as Enfrijoladas (a casserole
with pork, black beans, queso fresco and pico de gallo) and Pescade al Ajillo (garlic-ancho buttered fillet of black drum). Executive Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas, who started out at award-winning Fonda San Miguel, designed the menu. www.elalmacafe.com
Barley Swine (now open) – The brick-and-mortar counterpart to the popular Odd Duck Farm to Trailer, Barley Swine offers social dining (shared tables) and a menu of locally-sourced small and large plates featuring everything from tomato salads to crab pancakes, sweetbreads to wagyu beef. Chef Bryce Gilmore was named one of the 2011 Food + Wine Magazine “Best New Chefs.”
Congress/Bar Congress/Second Bar + Kitchen (now open) – Located in the heart of downtown, these three spots are the newest by Chef David Bull. Congress, named one of America’s best new restaurants by Bon Appetit and the best new restaurant in Texas by The New York Times, features prix-fixe, chef- driven cuisine focusing on a creative approach to traditional dishes. Sample dishes include white lobster bisque with tomato jam and rack of lamb with salsify and cardamom yogurt. Next door to Congress, Bar Congress is a sophisticated artisan cocktail lounge and premium wine bar. Esquire named Bar Congress among the top new bars in the nation. Second Bar + Kitchen offers a casual, bistro-style ambiance with rotisserie selections, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. www.congressaustin.com
Franklin BBQ (now open) – The buzz-worthy food trailer has opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Austin’s East Side. Founded by purists who light their barbecues with beef fat, Franklin’s was recently lauded as the best barbecue in America by Bon Appetit Magazine. Offerings are traditional – brisket, sausage, pork and all the regular sides – and the flavor is remarkable. www.franklinbbq.com
Uchiko (now open) – The sister restaurant to Tyson Cole’s famous Uchi, Uchiko takes a more rustic approach to Japanese cuisine. With dishes like Karaage (marinated fried chicken), suzuki yaki (whole grilled mackerel) and beef tongue nigiri, Uchiko is accessible to diners of any palate. www.uchiaustin.com
Rattle Inn – Located in the Warehouse District on West Sixth Street in downtown, the bar is decked out with faux snake skin booths and real deer antlers. You can listen to live music or head to the upstairs outside patio overlooking Austin’s beautiful skyline.
AUSTIN-BERGSTROM INERNATIONAL AIRPORT NEWS
New Nonstop service – ABIA announces nonstop service to the following destinations:
• Branson, Missouri via Frontier Airlines. Service runs Sept. 16-Dec. 14, 2011.
• Kansas City, Missouri via Delta Airlines. Ongoing daily service.
• Atlanta, Georgia via Southwest Airlines. Ongoing, twice-daily service starting Feb. 12, 2012.
Clean Energy now fuels ABIA vehicles – Clean Energy Fuels Corp. opened a new, public access CNG (compressed natural gas) fueling station at ABIA, expanding the option for clean, green domestic natural gas fueling opportunities for the region. Airport parking shuttles now run on CNG, which produces 30 percent lower greenhouse has in light-duty vehicles.
ABIA now offers complimentary wi-fi for travelers – The City of Austin Aviation Dept. and Boingo Wireless have partnered to launch complimentary wi-fi service at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The new service includes 30 consecutive minutes of complimentary access; travelers may redeem one session every 24 hours, then can purchase additional access.
ABIA named among world’s best – According to the Airport Service Quality Awards, ABIA is among the top five airports in both North America and the world for excellence in customer service. Leading airports are lauded for ambiance, cleanliness, comfort, availability of washrooms, courtesy of staff and good shipping facilities. Rankings result from a survey of 300,000 passengers at 200 airports worldwide.
The Saxon Pub – One of Austin’s legendary dive-bar music venues, the Saxon Pub now brings live music to ABIA. The new bar and venue is located across from Gate 5, past security checkpoints and available to ticketed passengers only. Hours are Sunday-Friday 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Regularly scheduled music takes place Thursday and Friday from 2 - 4 p.m.