Walking down the street with a bounce in your step, hearing the sound of your favorite song and smelling the mouthwatering aroma of Texas barbecue. That’s an everyday thing for Austinites. Austinites live in the laid-back city that you’ve heard of and probably dreamt of visiting on occasion. Austin is the state capital of Texas and the county seat of Travis County. Austin is also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. You may have heard the saying “Keep Austin Weird” because the locals intend on keeping the quirky and artsy personality in tact while supporting their small businesses. Austin is a community that accepts and supports each other, keeping the city “weird” as a unit.

Austin is the second largest state capital in the United States, and it is the 11th most populous city in the nation. During the 2014 census, the population was about 912,791. Austin and surrounding cities make up the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Area. This area has recently seen record breaking highs in homes for sale due to population growth and rapidly increasing employment opportunities. The Austin real estate market has actually been better than ever due to exponential job and population growth. Austin is located on the Colorado River, and has three man-made lakes within city limits. These lakes are Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Walter E. Long Lake. The climate is humid subtropical, so the summers are hot and humid while the winters are relatively mild to cool. Austin has some characteristics of desert, tropics, and wetter climates.

The earliest inhabitants known to live in Austin were there during the late Pleistocene (Ice Age era. They were linked to the Clovis culture around 9200 BC, more than 11,000 years ago. Around the early 1700s, European settlers first arrived in the early to the Tonkawa Tribe. Other tribes known to pass through the area include the Comanches and Lips Apaches. From 1835 to 1836, Texas went to war to gain independence from Mexico and won. Texas was its own country with its own president, congress, and monetary system. In 1839, the president at the time was in search of a capital site to name for Stephen F. Austin. The town of Waterloo was chosen because it was filled with waterways, hills, and gorgeous surroundings. The town name changed to Austin.

Today, Texas is a part of the United States, but Austin is still the capital that is filled with waterways, hills and gorgeous surroundings. Austin has actually been established as one of Texas’ major metropolitan centers. The University of Texas is located here, bringing in educated young adults from all over the country to the city to learn and explore. Ever since the seventies, Austin has been a live music attraction starting off with locals such as Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Stevie Ray Vaughan and iconic music venues like the Armadillo World Headquarters. Now, there are over 250 music venues and a brilliant art scene painting the streets of this eccentric city. One of the most popular annual happenings is South by Southwest. This set happens in mid-March around spring break, and it continues to grow in scope and size each year. South by Southwest includes conferences, music, film premiers, trade shows, interactive festivals, and more. Lots of big budget films premiere and over a hundred artists play while Austinites and visitors have the time of their lives with friends and locals.

Aside from the constant live music you’ll be able to enjoy in the city, there is so much more that Austin has to offer. You can pack a few snacks and head to Hamilton Pool, the miraculous natural swimming pool in a canyon, surrounded by a grotto, with a 50 ft waterfall above. Another water-related activity you’ll never forget is seeing the bats under Congress Bridge. Over a million bats fly out from beneath the bridge at dusk, and you can rent out a boat to picnic on while you wait. If you would rather not rent a boat out, the best place to see them is by standing on Congress Bridge. Ready for another swim? Jump into the 70-degree all year round Barton Springs Pool, another natural waterhole that Austinites get to enjoy. There are plenty of places to go hiking and cycling throughout the city, so there is absolutely no shortage of outdoor activities. The obvious places like the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary and Zilker Botanical Gardens are also great ways to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Austin is also full of extraordinary shops and eateries. One in particular is a one-of-a-kind bazaar filled from top to bottom with dolls, furniture, jewelry, taxidermied animals, mysterious antique photos, and hundreds of other nostalgic findings waiting for you to discover them. Uncommon Objects has been referred to as “your eccentric uncle’s attic on steroids,” and honestly, what could be more exciting? The food will exceed your expectations by a landslide. Some of the best places include Rosita’s Al Pastor, Gourdough’s, Oasis, Kerbey Lane Cafe, Casa Colombia, East Side Cafe, Shabu, and just about everywhere else. Austin is truly a food city, so if you love culinary masterpieces, you may find yourself lost in this city.