A scene-stealing combo of downtown glitz and backyard beauty, Austin is the ideal balance of casual and cosmopolitan. On any given evening, you’ll find Austin’s citizens cracking open locally-brewed beers on the edge of the lake, dining at an internationally-renowned restaurant, or discovering an up-and-coming band in one of the city’s 250 live music venues.
Austin celebrates the old (it’s a vintage clothing paradise) and the new (it’s a hub for start-ups). Austin attracts young artists, ambitious academics, and tech gurus alike. The city seduces nature-lovers with its lake-dappled landscape, as well as urbanites who prefer to catch Austin’s views from the top of a high-rise rather than a hill.
“Keep Austin Weird” is the Austin’s unofficial motto, a protective plea to preserve the city’s legacy of off-beat charm. The slogan was adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote the small businesses that provide the local color and quirk that tourists and citizens love about the city. Austin has its creative entrepreneurs largely to thank for its contagious energy and harmonious diversity. Shops selling turquoise cowboy boots share a block with bustling coffee shops, historic used bookstores, and steel skyscrapers.
When you get to know Austin on one of the mobile workshops at Congress of Cities, you’ll see the forward-thinking side of the city that makes it so attractive to professionals and creatives. Austin deals with the same challenges that a lot of cities face—increasing demand for resources and affordable housing, environmental concerns, and transportation strains—and has met many of these challenges with remarkable optimism and imagination. You’ll be inspired to visit an urban redevelopment, which was recently an industrial section of downtown. You’ll learn how the Austin Public Library contributes to Austin’s Zero Waste goal. You’ll see first-hand how Austin powers 5,000 homes with solar energy. Take notes on what Austin does best—create a city as ambitious and inventive as its population.
This November, come be a part of the buzz about America’s “It City.” Prepare to be swept away by the beauty, quirks, and vitality of Austin.
by Mari Andrew