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Austin, Texas

Article by Brent Unger
Photography by George Hosek

Austin is loved by residents and visitors alike because of itís beauty, diversity, mild climate, outdoor lifestyle, excellent city parks, close proximity to state parks and for itís vibrant fine arts, night life and live music scene. Because of this appeal and because of itís well educated citizens, Austin has become a major tech oasis and has seen a population boom over the past 20 years to make it the 4th largest city in Texas and the 16th largest in the U.S.

Originally established as the village of Waterloo in the early 1830ís, the city was selected as the national capitol of the Republic of Texas in 1839 after it gained independence from Mexico. The town was later re-named in honor of Stephen F. Austin and after Texas became a U.S. state, Austin remained the state capitol. The majestic capitol building is the centerpiece of Austinís skyline and is actually taller than the national capitol in Washington D.C.

Designed by architect Elijah E. Myers in the Renaissance Revival style, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The capitol complex sees thousands of visitors from all over the world annually and the gorgeous, surrounding grounds are a popular spot for picnics and special events.

 

Ranked the 16th most literate city in the U.S. in 2005, the population within Austinís city limits has reached well over 700,000 and the metro area, including Williamson, Hays and Bastrop counties, is estimated at just over 1.5 million people. The citizens of Austin are traditionally very progressive in the world of politics and locals often refer to Austin as ďan island of blue in a sea of redĒ.

All around town you may see bumper stickers and t-shirts with Austinís un-official slogan ďKeep Austin WeirdĒ. This was adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote locally based businesses which are an important aspect of the cities unique personality. Austin is very diverse and is a place of refuge for a counter-culture community.

 
Numerous high tech industries make their home in or have a major presence in Austin due to a large workforce of young, well educated UT graduates. The most prolific tech companies in Austin are Dell, IBM, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Samsung and Freescale Semiconductor. The largest employers in Austin are The State of Texas and The University of Texas. The city is served by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport which opened in 1999 at the former Bergstrom Air Force Base. There are now several non-stop flights serving Austin from every major city in the U.S. The old Robert Mueller Airport is being redeveloped into a multi-purpose ďcity within a cityĒ with lush parkland and greenbelts surrounding mixed retail, office and residential areas.
 
 
One of the greatest treasures of Austin are the 16,682 acres of award winning parks throughout the city. Thousands of Austinites take to the Town Lake Hike and Bike trails every day to walk, jog, run or ride.

Zilker Park, with itís wide open spaces along Lady Bird Lake and great views of Austinís skyline, is the crown jewel of the park system. The Barton Creek Greenbelt features 7 miles of trails on 772 acres and is popular with mountain bikers and hikers.

Austin is known as the ďLive Music Capitol of the WorldĒ and has more live music venues per capita than any other U.S. city. The live music scene is centered around the famous 6th Street District downtown though the Warehouse District and South Congress Avenue (SOCO) are also home to live music, restaurants, hotels and shopping.

 

Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world are drawn to Austin every year for several music festivals, the largest of which are the Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival and South By Southwest (SXSW).

The University of Texasí main campus is only a few blocks north of the capitol and is an integral part of Austinís economy, fine arts community and overall persona that has made the city famous.

UT is annually ranked among the nations top research universities, seven doctoral programs are ranked in the nations top ten, 22 departments are ranked in the top 25 nationally and among Texas colleges.

 
Other colleges and universities in Austin include St. Edwards University, Huston-Tillotson University, Concordia University and Austin Community College. The fine arts are a very important part of life in Austin and the city is well renowned all over the world as a haven for art, dance and of course music.

Ballet Austin is the fourth largest ballet company and academy in the world and performs ballets from a wide variety of composers. The Austin Symphony Orchestra offers a complete season of programming and is the oldest performing arts group in Austin.

The Paramount Theater on Congress Avenue brings in all the biggest Broadway shows and other big ticket events. The world class College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas is an integral part of Austinís arts community as a whole and hosts numerous arts events, ballets, operas and concerts.

 
Proximity to the Texas Hill Country is a major draw for visitors and those who chose to make Austin their new home. The city is situated on the edge of the Balcones Escarpment where the Gulf Coastal Plain ends and the Hill Country begins.

Just a few hours away are quintessential Texas towns like Johnson City, Fredericksburg and Kerrville nestled among limestone hills and spring fed creeks and rivers.

Located within this area are some of the states finest parks including McKinney Falls, Pedernales Falls, Guadalupe River, Colorado Bend and Enchanted Rock. Itís easy to get away from the fast lane life of Austin and find rest and rejuvenation in the Texas Hill Country.

 
Itís appropriate that Austin is the capitol city of Texas because itís beauty and culture are matched by no other city in the state and rivals that of some of the greatest cities in the world. Though it has experienced a great boom in population and development over the past few decades, Austin has retained the feel of a smaller city and proudly clings to those unique eccentricities that will always ďKeep Austin WeirdĒ.

Brent Unger is a native of East Texas and chose Austin as his home in 2005. He has been a freelance writer, composer and musician for twenty years and is the executive director of the Austin Stars Performing Arts Association. Brent is a specialty instructor and consultant for marching bands and drum & bugle corps across the U.S. and he is a marching band judge for the United States Scholastic Band Association.

 

 

Austin Transportation

Austin Bergstrom International Airport, 3600 Presidential
General Information 512-530-2242

Capitol Wings, 4321 General Aviation Avenue, 512-530-1700
McRae Aviation, 4309 General Aviation Avenue, 512-385-9615

Amtrak Austin, 250 N Lamar, 512-476-5684 or 1-800-872-7245

Greyhound Bus Service Austin, 816 E Koenig Lane, 512-458-4463 or 1-800-231-2222

Kerrville Bus Company, 512-458-3823 or 1-800-335-3722

Austin Taxi Services

Austin Cab, 512-478-2222

Checker Cab, 512-434-7777

Yellow Cab, 512-452-9999

Ace Taxi, 512-244-1133

Austin Taxi Cab Service, 512-775-7225

Round Rock Taxi, 512-218-8200

 

 
Austin Texas Restaurants

Aquarelle Restaurant, 606 Rio Grande Street, 512-479-8117
Arkie's Grill, 4827 E Cesar Chavez, 512-385-2986
Artz Rib House, 2230 S. Lamar, 512-442-8283
Asti Trattoria, 408-C East 43rd Street, 512-451-1218
Austin Land & Cattle Co., 1205 N. Lamar, 512-472-1813
Austin Pizza Garden, 6266 US 290 W., 512-891-9980
Baby Acapulco
5610 N. I-35, 512-302-1366
13609 N I-35, 512-670-9111
1705 S. Lakeshore Blvd, 512-477-1339
1628 Barton Springs Rd, 512-474-8774
Backstage Steakhouse, 21814 W. Hwy 71, 512-264-2223
Bellagio, 6507 Jester Blvd, 512-346-6181
Bistro 88, 2712 Bee Caves Rd, 512-328-8888
Boiling Pot, 700 E. 6th Street, 512-472-0985
Brick Oven
10710 Research Blvd, 512-345-6181
1209 Red River Street, 512-447-7006
Cafe at the Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto, 512-478-4500
Cafe Caprice, 900 W. 10th Street, 512-477-5576
Cafe Josie, 1200-B W. 6th Street, 512-322-9226
Calabash Restaurant, 2015 manor Rd, 512-478-4857
Carmelo's, 504 E. 5th Street, 512-477-7497
Castle Hill Cafe, 1101 W. 5th Street, 512-476-0728
Catfish Parlour, 4705 E Ben White Blvd, 512-443-1698
Central Market
4001 N. Lamar Blvd, 512-206-1020
4477 S. Lamar Blvd, 512-899-4300
Chez Nous, 510 Neches Street, 512-473-2413
Chez Zee, 5406 Balcones Dr, 512-454-2666
Chinatown Restaurant
3407 Greystone Dr, 512-343-9307
3300 Bee Caves Rd, 512-327-6588
Chuy's Austin
10520 N Lamar Blvd, 512-836-3218
11680 Research Blvd, 512-342-0011
1728 Barton Springs Rd, 512-474-4452
Ciola's Restaurant, 1310 Rural Rt 620, 512-263-9936
Cisco's Restaurant, 1511 E 6th Street, 512-478-2420
Clay Pit, 1601 Guadalupe Street, 512-322-5131
County Line on the Hill, 6500 Bee Caves, 512-327-1742
County Line on the Lake, 5204 FM 2222, 512-346-3664
Curra's Grill, 614 E. Oltorf, 512-444-0012
Dan McKluskey's
10000 Research Blvd, 512-346-0780
301 E. 6th Street, 512-473-8924
Dirty Martin's Place, 2808 Guadalupe Street, 512-477-3173
Dona Emilia's, 101 San Jacinto Blvd, 512-478-2520
Driskill Grill, 604 Brazos Street, 512-391-7162
Eastside Cafe, 2113 Manor Rd, 512-476-5858
Eddie V's Edgewater Grill
9400-B Arboretum Blvd, 512-342-2642
301 E. 15th Street, 512-472-1860
El Arroyo, 1624 W. 5th Street, 512-474-1222
El Azteca Restaurant, 2600 E 7th Street, 512-477-4701
El Gallo, 2910 S. Congress, 512-444-2205
El Mercado Cantina
7414 Burnet, 512-454-2500
1702 Lavaca Street, 512-477-7689
1302 S. 1st Street, 512-447-7445
El Nopalito, 2809 S. 1st Street, 512-326-2026
El Sol y La Luna, 1224 S. Congress, 512-444-7770
Evita's Botanitas, 6400 S. 1st Street, 512-441-2424
Fleming's Steak House, 320 E. 2nd Street, 512-457-1500
Fonda San Miguel, WN Loop Blvd, 512-459-4121
Frank & Angie's Pizza, 508 W. Avenue, 512-472-3534
Green Mesquite
7010 Hwy 71 W., 512-288-8300
1400 Barton Springs, 512-479-0485
Green Pastures, 811 W. Live Oak, 512-444-1888
Guero's Restaurant, 1412 S. Congress, 512-447-7688
Gumbo's, 710 Colorado Street, 512-480-8053
Hang Town Grill, 701 S Loop 360, 512-347-1039
Hill Country Pasta House, 3519 Rural Rt 620, 512-266-9445
Hoover's Cooking, 2002 Manor Rd, 512-479-5006
Hut's Hamburgers, 807 W. 6th Street, 512-472-0693
Hudson's on the Bend, 3509 Rural Rt 620, 512-266-1369
Hyde Park Bar & Grill, 4206 Duval, 512-458-3168
Iron Works Barbecue, 100 Red River Street, 512-478-4855
Jeffery's, 1204 W. Lynn Street, 512-477-5584
Katz's, 618 W. 6th Street, 512-472-2037
Kenichi, 419 Colorado Street, 512-320-9993
Kerbey Lane Cafe
12602 Research Blvd, 512-258-7757
3704 Kerbey Lane, 512-451-1436
2700 S. Lamar, 512-445-4451
Kim Phung Restaurant, 7601 N Lamar Blvd, 512-451-2464
Koreana Grill & Sushi Bar, 12196 N Mopac, 512-835-888
Korea House, 2700 W Anderson Lane, 512-458-2477
Kyoto, 315 Congress Avenue, 512-482-9010
La Madeleine
9828 Great Hills Trail, 512-502-2474
710 S Loop 360, 512-306-1998
3418 N. Lamar Blvd, 512-302-1485
Las Manitas Avenue Cafe, 211 Congress, 512-472-9357
Las Palomas, 3201 Bee Caves Rd, 512-327-9889
La Palapa, 6640 US 290 E, 512-459-8729
La Reyna Bakery, 1816 S. 1st Street, 512-443-6369
La Traviata Italian Bistro, 314 Congress, 512-479-8131
Louie's 106, 106 6th Street, 512-476-1997
Magnolia Cafe South
2304 Lake Austin Blvd, 512-478-8645
1920 S. Congress, 512-445-0000
Mansion at Judges' Hill, 1900 Rio Grande, 512-495-1800
Manuel's
10201 Jollyville Rd, 512-345-1042
310 Congress Avenue, 512-472-7555
Marisco's Seafood, 1504 Town Creek Dr, 512-462-9119
Mars, 1610 San Antonio Street, 512-472-3901
Matt's Famous El Rancho, 1613 S. Lamar, 512-462-9333
McCormick & Schmick's, 401 Congress, 512-236-9600
Mirabelle Restaurant, 8127 Mesa Dr, 512-346-7900
Moonshine Grill, 303 Red River Street, 512-236-9599
Mother's Cafe & Garden, 4215 Duval, 512-451-3994
Musashino Sushi Dokoro, 3407 Greystone, 512-795-8593
North by Northwest, 512-467-6969
Nuevo Leon, 1209 E 7th Street, 512-479-0097
Nutty Brown Cafe, 12225 Hwy 290 W, 512-301-4648
PF Chang's Chinese Bistro
10114 Jollyville Rd, 512-231-0208
201 San Jacinto, 512-457-8300
PizzaNizza, 1600 Barton Springs, 512-474-7470
Pok-E-Joe's Smokehouse
2121 W Parmer Lane, 512-491-0434
9828 Great Hills Trail, 512-338-1990
1603 W. 5th Street, 512-320-1541
Romeo's Restaruant, 1500 Barton Springs, 512-476-1090
Rosie's Tamale House, 13436 Hwy 71, 512-263-5245
Roy's Austin, 340 E. 2nd Street, 512-391-1500
Rudy's Bar-B-Q
11570 Research Blvd, 512-418-9898
2451 Loop 360, 512-329-5554
Ruth's Chris Austin, 107 W. 6th Street, 512-477-7884
Saba Blue Water Cafe, 212 W. 4th Street, 512-478-7222
Sam's Bar-B-Cue, 2000 E 12th Street, 512-478-0378
Santa Rita Cantina, 1206 W. 38th Street, 512-419-7482
Satay Restaurant, 3202 W Anderson Lane, 512-467-6731
Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd, 512-474-1958
Serrano's Cafe & Cantina, 1105 Red River, 512-322-9080
Shclotzsky's Marketplace, 218 S. Lamar, 512-476-2867
Shady Grove, 1624 Barton Springs, 512-474-9991
Shoreline Grill, 98 San Jacinto Blvd, 512-477-3300
Siena Restaurant, 6203 Loop 360, 512-349-7667
Starlite Restaurant, 407 Colorado, 512-374-9012
Stubb's Bar-B-Q, 801 Red River Street, 512-480-8341
Sullivan's Steak House, 300 Congress, 512-495-6505
Sweetish Hill Bakery, 1120 W. 6th Street, 512-472-2411
Taco Xpress, 2529 S. Lamar, 512-444-0261
Taj Palace, 6700 Middle Fiskville Rd, 512-452-9959
Texas Chili Parlor, 1409 Lavaca, 512-472-2828
Texas French Bread
7719 Burnet, 512-419-0184
2900 Rio Grande Street, 512-499-0544
3213 Red River Street, 512-478-8796
1722 S. Congress, 512-440-1122
The Emerald Restaurant, 13614 Hwy 71 W, 512-263-2147
The Hoffbrau, 613 W. 6th Street, 512-472-0822
The Salt Lick, Rural Rt 1826, 512-858-4959
Threadgill's Restaurant
6416 N Lamar Blvd, 512-451-5440
301 W. Riverside Dr, 512-472-9304
Tien Hong, 8301 Burnet, 512-459-2263
Tres Amigos
7535 US 290 E, 512-926-4441
1801 S. Loop 360, 512-327-1776
Trulucks, 400 Colorado Street, 512-482-9000
Uchi Austin, 801 S. Lamar, 512-916-4808
Upper Crust Bakery, 4508 Burnet, 512-467-0102
Vespaio Restaruant, 1610 Congress, 512-441-6100
Vin American Bistro, 1601 W 38th Street, 512-377-5252
Waterloo Ice House
8600 Burnet, 512-458-6544
13101 Hwy 71 W, 512-263-5400
600 N. Lamar, 512-472-5400
West Lynn Cafe, 1110 W. Lynn Street, 512-512-482-0950
Wink Restaurant, 1014 N. Lamar Blvd, 512-482-8868
Y Bar & Grill, 7720 Hwy 71 W., 512-394-0220
Zoot Restaurant, 506 Hern Street, 512-477-6535
Z'Tejas Grill
9400 Arboretum Blvd, 512-346-3506
1110 W. 6th Street, 512-478-5355
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Content copyright George L. Hosek. The articles and photographs on this site are for viewing on your computer only, absolutely, no commercial or personal reproduction without written consent from George Hosek.