43 Facts About Austin

1. Austin is the capital city of the US state of Texas, as well as the seat and largest city of Travis County, with portions extending into Bastrop, Hays, and Williamson counties.

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2. In 1987, Austin originated and remains the site for South by Southwest, an annual conglomeration of parallel film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March.

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3. In 2021, Austin became home to the Austin FC, the first major professional sports league in the city.

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4. Austin advised the commissioners to consider the area on the north bank of the Colorado River, noting the area's hills, waterways, and pleasant surroundings.

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5. Austin was the terminus of the southernmost leg of the Chisholm Trail, and "drovers" pushed cattle north to the railroad.

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6. The University of Texas at Austin emerged as a major university.

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7. Austin is situated at the foot of the Balcones Escarpment, on the Colorado River, with three artificial lakes within the city limits: Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin (both created by dams along the Colorado River), and Lake Walter E Long that is partly used for cooling water for the Decker Power Plant.

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8. Austin is located at the intersection of four major ecological regions, and is consequently a temperate-to-hot green oasis with a highly variable climate having some characteristics of the desert, the tropics, and a wetter climate.

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9. Downtown's buildings are somewhat spread out, partly due to a set of zoning restrictions that preserve the view of the Texas State Capitol from various locations around Austin, known as the Capitol View Corridors.

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10. At night, parts of Austin are lit by "artificial moonlight" from moonlight towers built to illuminate the central part of the city.

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11. Austin is located within the middle of a unique, narrow transitional zone between the dry deserts of the American Southwest and the lush, green, more humid regions of the American Southeast.

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12. Winters in Austin are mild, although occasional short-lived bursts of cold weather known as "Blue Northers" can occur.

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13. Typical of Central Texas, severe weather in Austin is a threat that can strike during any season.

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14. From October 22 to October 29, 2018, the City of Austin issued a mandatory citywide boil-water advisory after the Highland Lakes, home to the city's main water supply, became overwhelmed by unprecedented amounts of silt, dirt, and debris that washed in from the Llano River.

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15. The city's Catholic population is served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, headquartered at the Cathedral of Saint Mary.

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16. Thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at the University of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin's technology and defense industry sectors.

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17. Austin is emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; the city is home to about 85 of them.

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18. In 2013, Austin was the most active city on Reddit, having the largest number of views per capita.

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19. Austin was selected as the No 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and No 3 in 2009, and the "Greenest City in America" by MSN.

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20. Austin is perhaps best known for its Texas barbecue and Tex-Mex cuisine.

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21. Breakfast tacos and queso are popular food items in the city; Austin is sometimes called the "home of the breakfast taco.

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22. Some other Austin-based chain restaurants include Amy's Ice Creams, Bush's Chicken, Chuy's, DoubleDave's Pizzaworks, and Schlotzky's.

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23. Austin is home to a large number of food trucks, with 1,256 food trucks operating in 2016.

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24. Austin hosted the MTV series, The Real World: Austin in 2005.

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25. Ballet Austin is among the fifteen largest ballet academies in the country.

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26. Museums in Austin include the Texas Memorial Museum, the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Thinkery, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum across the street (which opened in 2000), The Contemporary Austin, the Elisabet Ney Museum and the galleries at the Harry Ransom Center.

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27. Austin is home to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, which houses documents and artifacts related to the Johnson administration, including LBJ's limousine and a re-creation of the Oval Office.

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28. Austin was the most populous city in the United States without a major-league professional sports team, which changed in 2021 with Austin FC's entry to MLS.

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29. Austin-founded American Swimming Association hosts several swim races around town.

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30. Austin is the hometown of several cycling groups and the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

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31. Austin is home to more than 50 public pools and swimming holes.

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32. The pool, located about 23 miles west of Austin, is a popular summer swimming spot for visitors and residents.

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33. In 2020, Austin was the victim of a cyberattack by the Russian group Berserk Bear, possibly related to the US federal government data breach earlier that year.

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34. Austin is administered by an 11-member city council.

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35. Law enforcement in Austin is provided by the Austin Police Department, except for state government buildings, which are patrolled by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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36. Austin is the county seat of Travis County and hosts the Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse downtown, as well as other county government offices.

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37. Austin is known as an enclave of liberal politics in an otherwise conservative state—so much so, that the city is sometimes sarcastically called the "People's Republic of Austin" by residents of other parts of Texas, and conservatives in the Texas Legislature.

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38. Austin hosted one of the last presidential debates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during their heated race for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

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39. The remaining portion of Austin is served by adjoining school districts, including Round Rock ISD, Pflugerville ISD, Leander ISD, Manor ISD, Del Valle ISD, Lake Travis ISD, Hays, and Eanes ISD.

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40. Austin averaged 1.65 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.

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41. Austin is the largest city in the United States to be served by only one Interstate Highway.

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42. Austin is served by several ride-sharing companies including Uber and Lyft.

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43. Downtown Austin scored 88 points out of a possible 100, with the West Campus neighborhood scoring 87, and East Austin scoring 81.

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