Just last week, we got the chance to take a virtual trip to Central Texas when we spoke to Nermeen, a renter who lives in Austin. Nermeen is incredibly proud of her town and is excited to show it off to all of you. Let’s see the top seven reasons why Austin’s the place she calls home.
1. Silicon Hills
Nermeen starts with a critical thing for all of us – jobs! She’s a huge fan of the Silicon Hills – Austin’s tech scene. In her view, it’s got incredible depth and breadth – interesting companies doing everything you can find in the Silicon Valley – but no state taxes.
That sounds pretty great…
It’s like the festival to end all festivals. SXSW (or South By if you’re a local) is one of the largest festivals in the country, and proud host to the intersection of film, music and interactivity.
Hosted over the course of 10 days each Spring in venues across Downtown Austin and Austin’s North Side, SXSW includes over 2,000 musical performances (not a typo – that’s more than two thousand!). The filmmaking portion of the event includes showings of 150 films, selected from over 7,000 submissions, and over 700 speakers discussing various aspects of the filmmaking journey.
And, of course, Nermeen is a fan of the tech side of the conference too – it brings together thousands of technology professionals each year for speaking events, product launches and more.
3. University of Texas at Austin
Like many who live in Austin, Nermeen was first drawn there by the amazing University. A “public Ivy” and one of the best schools in the country, UT is the pride of Austin and has an outsized presence and impact on the city.
The campus, located in central Austin, spans more than 400 acres across the North Side, West Campus and Central Austin neighborhoods. It’s home to over 50,000 students and 15,000 professors and staff. UT sports are a huge draw (Hook ‘em Horns!) and great entertainment. And, the city benefits broadly from the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research and a work hard/play hard student culture that has promoted and supported a great bar scene in the area.
Austin has an incredible richness of outdoor activities across the city and one of the best aspects of the city for Nermeen. She’s a huge fan of Barton Springs and the other wonderful public spaces in Zilker Park – amazing spaces for swimming, kayaking and other outdoor pursuits. Town Lake, Lake Austin and, a little further out of town, Lake Travis, are great for watersports of all kinds.
Beautiful Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve is an oasis in the heart of the city, close to the Tarrytown, Oakmont Heights and Rosedale areas. Make sure to check out the peacocks for which it’s known. And of course, there’s the famous bats – can’t forget them!
5. Austin Public Library
Nermeen has a true insider tip for anyone considering living in Austin – check out the Public Library. Not just a place to check out some books (though that’s amazing by itself), the Austin Public Library, and particularly the Central Library on Cesar Chavez near the Civic Center neighborhood, has amazing events and activities. Tons of lectures on different topics, galas held in the event center, a life sized chess board and more!
6. Food trucks
Many cities can boast a healthy food truck scene, but according to Nermeen, few can rival Austin’s. Austin doesn’t just have a wide range of food trucks patrolling the city. Yes, it has that, but it doesn’t stop there.
Austin actually has an incredibly rich array of food truck parks, which is an ingenious solution to the age old challenge of finding something for everyone to eat from a single food truck’s limited menu. These parks are located all over the city, but some of the more prominent ones are in South Congress (Thicket Food Truck Park), Rainey Street in Downtown Austin and The Picnic Food Truck Park near Zilker Park and Town Lake.
7. Zilker Park at Christmastime
Zilker Park is beautiful, yes – but it really shines at the holidays for Nermeen. She loves it that time of year for the trail of lights, the light show, the huge Christmas tree, and the food trucks and the music. Sounds wonderful!
Thanks for your tour of Austin, Nermeen!
We’re excited to look for a place there – you?
Loving Austin but need to do some more research? Check out our other local guides here, including other great Texas cities like Houston. The right home for you is out there, and we’ll help you find it.