Austin is the capital of Texas. It also serves as the county seat and the largest city in Travis County. Parts of Austin extend into Hays County and Williamson counties. On December 27, 1839, the 11th most populous U.S. city was founded. It is also the fourth-most populous Texas city. Since 2010, it has been one of America’s largest and fastest-growing large cities. Interstate 35 is a divider that separates the Greater Austin and Greater San Antonio regions by about 80 miles (129km). Both regions could form a new metropolis similar to Dallas or Fort Worth. Austin is the capital of the Southernmost State in the United States. It is also categorized as a “Beta” global city by the Globalization & World Cities Research Network.
Austin’s population was 961,855, according to the 2020 census. This is an increase of 790,491 from the 2010 census. The population was 2,295,303 at the July 1, 2020 census, an 84% increase over 2000. It is the cultural and economic heart of the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area. It is located in Central Texas, Texas Hill Country. It is also home to many lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake, Lake Travis on Colorado River, Barton Springs and McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.
Austin is the fourth-largest municipality in Texas. It was originally called Waterloo. This riverside settlement was located in an area that used to be a buffalo-hunting area. Scouts chose it in 1839 as the permanent capital of Texas. The name was changed to honor Stephen F. Austin (father of the republic). With 856 inhabitants, Austin was incorporated in 1840. The Mexican invasion of Texas in 1842 saw the government move to Houston. However, Austin’s citizens wanted to retain Austin as the capital. They organized the Archive War to preserve government records forcefully. In 1845, Texas was admitted to America by the government. Austin’s pink granite State Capitol (1888), modeled after the U.S. Capitol (burned in 1881), is now obsolete.
Thanks to the high-tech industries, the 1990s saw Austin experience a dramatic rise. After the construction of the permanent bridge across the Colorado River in 1871 and the arrival of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad, the city was a major trading hub for farmers and ranchers. Floodwaters destroyed the bridge in 1900. The industry developed after harnessing the river for flood control in the early 20th-century.
The city is home to many major employers, including research and development, business, manufacturing, computers, computer equipment, and semiconductors. The city’s primary economic factors include government, education, health care, and the public sector. The railroads are a key player in international trade. They transport most international cargo to international ports. The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was established in 1999 at the former U.S. Air Force Base.
The city has a diverse population. The city’s population is ethnically diverse. Less than half are European-born, more than one-third of its population is Hispanic, and African Americans and Asian Americans make up slightly less than one-tenth of each resident. The University of Texas (1881), Austin’s main campus, has contributed to the city’s growth. Huston-Tillotson College is (1875), St. Edward’s University 1885, Concordia University at Austin (1926), Austin Community College (1972) are just a few of the other educational institutions.
Mercury vapor lamps light Parts of the city’s central area at night. They are located atop 17 tall towers that rise 165 feet (50 meters) high. O. Henry Home and Museum are located in O. Henry’s former residence. The Elisabet Ney Museum is situated in her former workshop. Ney made many life-size figures, including Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin standing in the national and state capitals. French charge d’affaires Alphonse dubois de Saligny built the French Legation Museum (1841). He was to represent France in the Republic of Texas.
If he did occupy the house, it was likely for a short time. Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (1971), located on the University of Texas campus, houses archives, documents, and memorabilia from Johnson’s public career. The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (2001) features exhibits about the state’s past.
There is a prominent collection of Latin American art on the university campus at the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. The Austin Museum of Art, Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum are other facilities. The city supports a variety of cultural organizations, including a professional orchestra, an opera company, and a ballet troupe. There is also a variety of art galleries and theatre groups.
The State Capitol and Visitors Center: The building is protected as a National Historic Landmark. It stands 308 feet high and ranks sixth in the state capitol’s height, higher than even the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC.
The Great Walk is a tree-lined path that leads to the park. Visitors can admire many monuments and take a stroll through the park. Along the Great Walk, a Texas African American History Memorial, a Vietnam War monument, and bronze statues of Texas Rangers all draw attention. Boy Scouts of America also presented a miniature Statue of Liberty in 1951.
The visitor center, located on the grounds, features exhibits about Austin’s history and Texas. This is a great place to start exploring downtown Austin.
Attractions in Zilker Metropolitan Park: Zilker Park also houses the Zilker Playscape. This large playground is designed for children aged 2-5 years. The Zilker Zephyr is a miniature train that runs along the water’s edge.
The park offers water recreation for all ages, including canoe and kayak rentals and the family-favorite Barton Springs Pool.
It is also home to major music events such as the Zilker Hillside Theater’s annual Zilker Summer Musical, Blues on the Green, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Austin City Limits, also known as ACL, is held over two weekends in October.
The park’s most stunning area is the 26-acre Zilker Botanical Garden. It is open daily for a small fee. Many gardens can be accessed from the park, each with its theme.
Lady Bird Lake: Lady Bird Lake, named after President Lyndon Johnson’s wife, is a portion of the Colorado River. This 416-acre reservoir has been a top tourist attraction.
While the shoreline is lined with residential and commercial complexes, most of it is open to the public. There are miles of great trails for cyclists and pedestrians.
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and Pedestrian bridge are the main pedestrian paths along the shores. They cross the river and connect downtown Austin to the southern shore. These paths link many parks in the city, including Zilker Metropolitan Park and Town Lake Metropolitan Park’s Vic Mathias Shores. They also connect to Lamar Beach, Butler Shores, and Waller Beach.
Barton Springs Pool: Although Lady Bird lake swimming is forbidden, Austin loves the Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park.
It is a spring-fed pool that runs along Barton Creek. Tourists and locals alike love the perfect water, which can reach up to 18 feet deep. It covers three acres and has an annual average temperature of 70°F.
This area is also a protected habitat of the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. It is found only in this particular aquifer. The delicate balance of recreation and nature means that the pool is closed most days for specialized cleaning. This protects wildlife from harsh chemicals while keeping swimmers safe.
Bullock Texas State History Museum: Bullock Texas State History Museum tells Texas’ story through interactive exhibits and audio-visual displays.
The Story of Texas permanent exhibit houses artifacts, displays, and other items that highlight significant events in Texas’ history. The preserved hull from the 17th century La Belle, which was lost at the mouth of the Mississippi River, is one of the artifacts. The Alamo fall, Tejano culture, and Texas’ oil industry history and development are just a few other exhibits and presentations.
Austin is a city that offers something for everyone. You won’t regret it! Austin has it all, whether you are looking for a great place to raise a family, an up-and-coming tech scene, or world-class music and food. If you are considering making a move to this amazing city, be sure to check out everything that Austin has to offer.