This post is entirely redundant for anyone who lives or has been to the city of Austin. I would like to take this opportunity to explain to those who have never been or have negative preconceptions about this here town, the capital of the Lone Star State.
Part 1: Texas
Texas has a bad reputation. In fact, the only people who seem to appreciate Texas are Texans or fans of cowboy movies. But there’s a lot more to Texas than just George W. B.
First, Texas boasts (as it tends to do) one of the most consistently strong economies in the Union. Why? An emphasis on hard work and free market economics might have something to do with it. Our natural resources might have something to do with it, too. Regardless, people in Texas have jobs (for the most part) and we get shit done.
Texas is also in a weird transitional area between the deep south and “the west.” As a result, there is the best of both worlds. We have the southern hospitality that makes notherners gasp upon return from vacation “Everyone is so NICE!” yet not nearly as much racism or shitty accents as Alabama or Mississippi. We also favor the more liberal tendencies accepted in the west. [the Texan favoritism toward Libertarianism should be an indication…]
Fact is, Texas has some of the largest, most modern cities in the country. Yes, there are a plenty of shitty backward towns in the middle of nowhere but really? Dallas? Austin? Houston? 4 of the top 15 biggest cities in the country are from Texas. We’re ready for the future. Bring it.
Part 2: Hippies
Ok, Let’s be honest: hippies are disliked in a lot of circles, almost as much as Texans. Whether my conservative relatives want to admit it or not, hippies are super nice ass people. They are sweethearts and that is undeniable.
Austin is full of hippies. Result? Austin is full of super nice people. Come here and experience it. Cut someone off in traffic? Instead of someone honking their horn and threatening to murder you, chances are you get an apologetic wave. You just need to walk around here for a few hours and experience those miniscule moments to realize “Hm… everyone is nicer here. WHO KNEW?” I knew.
Aside from being nice, what good are hippies? Non hippies can be nice… But you know what? Hippies are good at preserving the environment. As a result, Austin is one of the greenest, most environmentally conscious cities in the country. Bikes, parks, farmers markets, and so much more. With a river running right through downtown and dozens of parks scattered throughout, Austin has managed to be technologically advanced while remaining environmentally conscious (and beautiful).
Part 3: Food
There’s a reason Texans are known for being fatties. There is so much good food here, and Austin combines the delicious traditions of barbecue and Tex-Mex with organic/free range/etc. Magnolia Café, Salt Lick, Shady Grove, Stubb’s…. not to mention the delicious local/Texas chains. Come to Austin and eat yourself to sleep, you will not regret it.
Part 4: Artists
Austin is full of artists. Musicians, film, studio artists, writers, designers… you name it, we got it.
Part 5: Shit To Do
You cannot be bored in this town. There is almost too much to do. From festivals, themed karaoke, bars, improv, outdoor activities, dog parks, athletics, exhibits, performances, gatherings… There is always something going on down.
Part 6: Diversity
There are all kinds of people in Austin. Like all big cities, there is a melting pot of cultures and ideas.
Part 7: LIVE MUSIC, BITCHES
FINALLY AND PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY. Austin is the self-proclaimed live music capital of the world. It’s a bold claim, yes, but it will not disappoint. One can’t walk more than 15 feet on Red River without hearing a kick drum. Besides the fact there are multiple live shows per night, often free or under $5, Austin has fantastic festivals. ACL Fest is one of the biggest tent-pole fests in the country (Outdone only by SoCal’s Coachella, Chicago’s Lollapalooza, and TN’s “We really wish we were at Woodstock instead” Bonnaroo.)
Other than ACL’s ten year old, 3-day fest, South By South West (SXSW or “South By” as the cool kids call it) is one of the most important industry weeks in the country. If you’re in the music or film industries, you’re bound to have an eventful week. If you’re not, there’s still the option of RSVP’ing to one of the dozens of free entry/free booze parties across the city.
In sum, there’s a reason Austin is an obligatory stop on cross-national tours. It’s one of the best places for music, food, and people. For those of you from/in the area: Congrats and enjoy it. For those of you who have never been: make a stop here. It’s cheap and I guarantee a good time.