Austin General Information
Austin welcomes visitors with a wealth of entertainment options and unique attractions. Our hundreds of music venues have earned Austin the title of “live music capital of the world,” and the abundant sunshine and beautiful natural surroundings entice nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
With unlimited recreational opportunities, Austin frequently ranks high on the lists of “Best Cities” making it an ideal place to raise a family and grow your business. Central Texas boasts a cosmopolitan atmosphere without the big-city hassle, reasonable cost of living, gorgeous scenery and friendly people. Austin gets high marks for its quality of life. No wonder many consider Austin the Number One destination both for relocating families and relocating singles. It’s also a mecca for creative, talented people pursuing challenging careers, and our diverse business community prizes entrepreneurial drive and innovative thinking. Indeed, people – an educated, highly skilled workforce – are the greatest strength that Austin has to offer.
Highly rated elementary and secondary schools contribute to both quality of life and the beginnings of exceptional labor pools to come. Austin area households enjoy diverse options in education, including 29 public school districts, 17 charter schools and over 100 private schools. The University of Texas and 26 other public and private universities and colleges with a combined enrollment of nearly 180,000 provide an ample supply of well-educated workers to area employers. Within 200 miles of Austin, an additional 95 four-year colleges and universities enroll over 422,000 students. Over 40% of Austin area residents age 25 and over hold a bachelor’s degree.
Each year, Newsweek picks the best high schools in the country based on how hard school staffs work to challenge students with advanced-placement college-level courses and tests. Just 2,000 schools—only 9% of all the public high schools in the U.S.—make the list. In 2013, 17 Austin area high schools rank in the top 9% nationally. The schools represent 8 different school districts and 34% of total area high school enrollments.
Cost of Living
Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and competitive regulatory environment. In Texas, aggregate costs for real estate, energy, wages and taxes are below most states in the country.
Compared to other major business centers, Austin is well known for offering affordable living. The National Association of Realtors reports that the median home price in Austin was $222,900 in 2013 while the national median was $197,400. The National Association of Home Builders, which also produces median home price estimates, has a slightly narrower difference between Austin and the nation. Their fourth quarter 2013 estimate for Austin is $225,000 and the national estimate is $205,000. NAHB estimates that 62.6% of homes sold in Austin are affordable to households earning Austin’s median family income – close to the 64.7% national affordability rate.
Texas features no personal or corporate income tax, and overall the state has one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the nation, ranking 42nd among the 50 states in taxes paid per $1000 of personal income.
Quality of Life
Why do so many smart, creative and successful people and companies call Austin home? It’s more than a great place to work and do business. On top of our thriving economy, we offer unmatched quality of life – for all kinds of people. That unique and engaging Austin character is built on a solid foundation. We’re a community that offers reasonably priced housing, a safe environment, solid schools, healthy and charming neighborhoods, and big-city amenities at a small-town pace. It’s no wonder so many people come to Austin “temporarily” … and end up staying.
Our gorgeous natural setting, in one of America’s most unique landscapes, offers plenty of opportunities to get outdoors for fitness, recreation and relaxation. But if you’re more the indoor type, we’ve also got a world-famous live music scene and equally exciting happenings in the creative and performing arts. In Austin, it’s easy to make a habit out of having fun. As Austin takes its place among the world’s leading cities, our cultural vitality and lifestyle assets continue to grow. Sure, the city is always changing, but it’s usually changing for the better. And you can always find your place in Austin – making friends and getting what you want out of life.
There’s always something to see or do in Austin. World-class museums, live performances, festivals, sporting events and a thriving local arts scene mean that your calendar need never be empty. Austin boasts a professional symphony, ballet, opera and theater, and dozens of galleries showcasing local, regional and international artists. The city truly is a cornucopia of art, culture and expression.
Also, what better balance can a city offer than being both the “Best Place for Business and Careers” and the “Live Music Capital of the World”? Austin pleases all in rankings ranging from “Best City for Relocating Families” to “Best Cities for Singles.” Other assessments consistently recognize the region as among the most inventive, creative, wired, rockin’, educated, fit and loved.
Austin’s climate and environment are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 18,900 acres of city parks and spectacular natural beauty surrounding the city, the scenic wonders call to those who love adventure. Miles and miles of cycling and running trails, rock climbing, river rafting and kayaking are yours for the choosing. Lake Travis, the largest lake in the region covering over 18,600 acres, is a prime spot for water skiing, sailing, fishing and swimming.
Whether you’re looking for upscale shopping in a spacious mall or one-of-a-kind treasures from a small boutique, Austin has convenient shopping options for every taste and budget. In downtown Austin, the 2nd Street District features more than 50 specialty shops, many of which are locally-owned and unique to Austin. At 6th Street and Lamar Boulevard, highlights include the national headquarters and flagship store of Whole Foods, as well as BookPeople, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, and Waterloo Records, an independent music store that often features live performances. South Congress Avenue (known as SoCo) is home to hip and eclectic shops, galleries, bars and restaurants, and the whole district stays open late on the first Thursday of each month creating a block party atmosphere. The stretch of Guadalupe Street across from the University of Texas campus is known as the Drag, and features student-
friendly shops, restaurants and bars.If you’re in search of high-end fashion and luxury goods, you’ll want to make a trip to the north side of Austin to visit the Domain, a premier shopping and dining destination. There are a variety of shopping centers and malls throughout the Austin area awaiting your exploration, and bargain hunters will want to head a few miles north on I-35 to Round Rock Premium Outlets, where you’ll have over 120 outlet stores to choose from.
Among the region’s strongest assets is the Central Texas workforce, representing one of the most educated talent pools in the country. In the Austin metro, 40.5% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 29.1% nationally, putting Austin in the top 10 among the largest metros. The region benefits from over 50 colleges and universities and 400,000 enrolled students within a 100-mile radius. Our growing workforce is young and eager, with a median age that is over four years younger than that of the rest of the nation.
Austin offers something for everyone, boasting a diverse range of neighborhoods within and around the city limits. Newcomers can locate housing options near every employment center in the Austin area.
Diversity among the neighborhoods east of I-35 includes groundbreaking master-planned communities, neighborhoods that sprang up in the first half of the century and homes that reflect Austin’s Victorian roots.
Close-in North Austin neighborhoods offer optimal access to the city’s north industrial market at an affordable price. Many of the city’s new apartment complexes are located in the North Austin area.
West of downtown to Lake Travis, neighborhoods range from student rentals, and tastefully updated homes to some of the area’s most exclusive environs.
Central Austin is seeing a revitalization in its housing market, with several loft renovations and the introduction of new housing to historical structures such as the Brown Building. You can find apartment and condominium developments near the Central Business District, the Capitol Complex and the entertainment district, or you can choose to live in the historic communities that surround the University of Texas, where Victorian and craftsman-style homes are available.
This area is one of Austin’s fastest-growing sectors, drawing services like Seton Northwest Hospital, as well as considerable retail attention.
Far Northwest Austin
Newly developed master-planned communities combine elegant new homes with substantial acreage and terrific access to the lakes, the wealth of retailers at Lakeline Mall and new employment centers.
Quirky and a little eccentric, South Austin features the eclectic SOCO shopping district (check out First Thursdays), older close-in neighborhoods like Travis Heights and Zilker as well as the 4,000-acre master-planned community of Circle C Ranch.
Far South Austin
“Bedroom” communities like Manchaca, Buda and Kyle offer country living – from large “spreads” to cozy cottages – within easy reach of the city.
Southeast Austin is experiencing a transformation accompanying the airport and Advanced Micro Devices’ chip plant.
Southwest Austin offers the extraordinary natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country and the challenges of strict environmental ordinances.
Regionalism is the way we operate.
Central Texas is known for conditions that support great businesses. Our “creative class” culture is fed by our diversity, quality of life, focus on education and our low costs of living and doing business. Highly educated people from all over the world come to Austin to enjoy our beautiful Hill Country setting, creative vibe and powerful job market. Pair these conditions with a vibrant business environment and you have a region ripe for innovative business. Urban, suburban, and rural operating environments offer choices for every type of facility.
Austin defies stereotypes: It’s progressive and fiercely entrepreneurial, pro-business and pro-environment. It’s easy going and hard working. And the greater Austin region won’t just welcome your business, it will make it better. When it comes to business, it seems the whole world has a place in the heart of Central Texas. Greater Austin is a region defined by stunning growth, lower business and living costs, and a youthful, well-educated workforce.Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and
Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and the competitive regulatory environment. In Texas, aggregate costs for real estate, energy, wages and taxes are below most states in the country. Compared to other major business centers, Austin is well known for offering affordable living. The Council for Community & Economic Research indicates that living costs in Austin are 6-7% below the national average in 2013. Texas features no personal income tax, and overall the state has one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the nation, ranking 42nd among the 50 states in taxes paid per $1,000 of personal income. Texas consistently places as one of the best states for business in numerous rankings.