AUSTIN: JUST THE FACTS
POPULATION 1.5 million
in the metropolitan area; 795,390 within city limits.
14th largest city in
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.
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
STATE CAPITAL Built from 1882-88 out of “Sunset Red” granite and
302 feet high, the Texas Capitol is 14 feet
nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. Legislators meet every other
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS Located just north of
downtown, UT is one of
America’s largest public universities with
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
A LITTLE BATTY Austin is home to North America’s largest urban bat population, with up
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
is home to restaurant row on Manor
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.
city is also home to 1,900 recording artists including
such famed personalities as Willie Nelson, Asleep
at the Wheel, Bob
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
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
Austin City Limits Music Festival, which
takes place each fall
and generates an economic impact of
around $75 million.
SOUTHWEST Music, Film and Interactive
Conferences and Festivals (SXSW) is one of Austin’s largest conventions, bringing
and fans from around the world
generating more than $167 million for the city.
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Austin continues to gain
favorability as one of
nation’s top travel destinations. But don’t take our word
it – check out what leading
research firms are saying:
• Orbitz names Austin a travel
• Newsday calls Austin
a foodie and
family friendly destination.
• Travel + Leisure ranks Austin
among the top 3 of America’s Techiest Cities.
• MovieMaker Magazine ranks Austin #2 on
its list of “Top
Cities to be an
Independent Moviemaker.” ( February
• Lucky Magazine names Austin among
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
• Forbes name Austin as one of
top 10 cities for weekend
vacations. (October 2011)
• Travel + Leisure name Austin as one of America’s Best Cities for
Appetit names Austin’s restaurant, Congress, among
10 best new restaurants in America. (August 2011)
News & World
Report names Austin
among the nation’s top fall
• Forbes names Austin
as the nation’s #1 “boom town” for the next decade.
Appetit argues that Austin’s Franklin BBQ is the best barbeque in
• Portfolio.com names Austin the #1 city for young
professionals. (June 2011)
• Austin’s new cocktail spot, Bar
listed on Esquire’s list of
Best Bars in America 2011. (May 2011)
• RealAge lists Austin the #3 “youngest city,” citing
a survey ranking how young the residents feel (April
• Men’s Health
#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
as one of
eight best places to live and work in the U.S., by Business Review USA. (February
• PayScale, Inc.
ranks Austin second
an IT startup “hot spot.” (January 2011)
is #7 on the list of
top 10 emerging
restaurant markets in the U.S.
this year, according to a
recent survey by QSR magazine and Pitney Bowes Business Insight.
• 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
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
with 33 titles in 9 different sports and an athletic program that generates more than $100 million
• The Atlantic names Austin among
world’s 30 most dynamic cities. (December 2010)
• CNBC names Austin among celebrity cities on
rise. (December 2010)
was ranked the 12th best city for shopping
in the U.S., according to a Forbes listing.
• Lonely Planet staffers name Austin and
Hill Country the 4th for Best Place to visit in the U.S.
• Austin named second-strongest job
country by the Milken Institute.
• Austin is
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
6th Smartest City in America
residents were ranked
7th brainiest in
the Daily Beast.
• Austin ranked
fourth on a NetProspex list
of cities with businesses utilizing social media outlets such as
Facebook, Twitter, and
• The Texas Hill Country is named the top “hidden gem” among
U.S. wine regions by the travel
• Entrepreneur named Austin at the top
the list of “Creative Centers” among 50 cities
in “Innovation Nation”
• Kiplinger’s Personal
Finance Magazine ranks Austin
#1 on their list of “10 Best Cities for
Next Decade.” (May
• DogFriendly.com ranks Austin
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
category of “Best Local Music Scene.” (April
• Portfolio.com names Austin the #1 city for young
• According to Real Simple, Austin
is one of
21 top time-saving
cities in America.
WHAT'S NEW IN AUSTIN?
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
entertainment, new attractions and
Here’s what’s new
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
amenities for business guests. Located in
heart of downtown, it will
just a short walk
to the Austin Convention Center, Sixth
50 eclectic restaurants.
It is slated
Travaasa (now open) – The new luxury spa
and resort combines adventure, culinary expertise, culture, fitness and
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
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
“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
U.S. and the only one in Texas to achieve LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings.
The facility earned
energy conservation, sustainable purchases, and innovation credits.
is conveyed throughout all
facility departments including
operations, housekeeping, food and beverage, landscaping, maintenance and administration.
Austin Convention Center –
wins 2011 Reader’s Choice Award.
ConventionSouth readers selected
high standard of professionalism and
Austin Bazaar (now open) – One of the world’s largest online retailers of musical instruments now has
expansive, wood-paneled showroom in north
Austin. The floor
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
Violet Crown Cinema (now open) – This new, sleek art house movie theatre is located
in the AMLI on 2nd residential
complex downtown, and
screens with digital projection, showcasing the latest
and independent films. Billed
as a boutique “café cinema,” guests enjoy bar food
and craft cocktails in the theaters, or in
swanky lobby lounge. www.violetcrowncinema.com
the Jones Center (now open) – Arthouse at the Jones Center
in late 2010 after
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
to open November 2012) – America’s first
Grand Prix track will
host the Formula 1™ United
States Grand Prix from 2012-2021, and the
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
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
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
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.
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
Chilito restaurants, El
Alma features upscale
dishes, such as Enfrijoladas (a casserole
pork, black beans, queso fresco and pico de gallo) and Pescade al Ajillo
fillet of black
drum). Executive Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas, who started out at award-winning
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
Gilmore was named one
of the 2011 Food + Wine
Magazine “Best New Chefs.”
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
Bon Appetit and the
best new restaurant in Texas by The
New York Times, features prix-fixe, chef-
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
bars in the
nation. Second Bar
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
Austin’s East Side. Founded by purists
who light their barbecues with
beef fat, Franklin’s was recently
the best barbecue
Bon Appetit Magazine. Offerings are traditional
– brisket, sausage, pork and
all the regular sides – and
flavor is remarkable.
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
(whole grilled mackerel) and beef
tongue nigiri, Uchiko is accessible to diners of any palate.
Rattle Inn – Located
in the Warehouse District on West Sixth
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
AUSTIN-BERGSTROM INERNATIONAL AIRPORT NEWS
New Nonstop service – ABIA announces nonstop service to the following
• Branson, Missouri
Service runs Sept. 16-Dec. 14, 2011.
• Kansas City, Missouri via Delta Airlines. Ongoing
• Atlanta, Georgia via Southwest Airlines.
Ongoing, twice-daily service starting Feb.
Clean Energy now fuels ABIA vehicles – Clean Energy Fuels Corp. opened a
new, public access CNG
gas) fueling station at ABIA, expanding
clean, green domestic natural
fueling opportunities for
Airport parking shuttles now run on
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
launch complimentary wi-fi service at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The new service includes 30 consecutive minutes of complimentary access;
redeem one session every 24 hours, then can purchase additional access.
ABIA named among world’s best – According
the Airport Service Quality Awards, ABIA is among the
top five airports in both North
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
venue is located
across from Gate 5, past security checkpoints and
ticketed passengers only. Hours are Sunday-Friday 10:30 a.m.
6:30 p.m., and
Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 6
Regularly scheduled music takes place Thursday and Friday from 2 - 4 p.m.