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24 September . 2019

10 things to know if you’re moving to Austin

If you’re thinking about moving to Austin, these 10 things to know will help you get the lay of our land, which is quite beautiful, btw, with rolling hills, brisk swimming holes like Barton Springs, and Hill Country live oaks. 

Since Austin’s reputation precedes us, you probably already know that we’re a booming tech hub and the Live Music Capital of the World. But there might be some things in here that surprise you, like the fact that Austin has been named the world’s top beer destination, and we’re one of the best U.S. cities for homebuyers. Read on – and welcome to Austin.

Austin is the best place to live – and retire.  For the third straight year, U.S. News & World Report named Austin as the No. 1 Best Place to Live in the U.S. again for 2019. “The capital of Texas continues to receive interest from the tech industry, contributing to a strong job market and high desirability among Americans as a place to live,” U.S. News wrote. On a 10-point scale, Austin earned an overall score of 7.6, with an impressive score of 9 for desirability.  For those looking to retire, Austin ranks No. 4 nationwide on U.S. News’ Best Places to Retire in the U.S. for 2019. Austin is the No. 2 top U.S. city for "baby chasers," a term coined to describe the growing number of Baby Boomer grandparents who are moving to be closer to their grandchildren.

Austin is green.  Austin is the greenest city in Texas, says a WalletHub study that analyzed 26 “green” indicators, such as emissions per capital, smart-energy policies and green job opportunities. The City of Austin dedicates about 15 percent of its total land area to parks and other open, green spaces, and the city is home to several lakes, including Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin and Lake Travis. “The connection of Austinites to their city’s natural landscape is immensely strong, and this creates a unique sense of place,” writes the Green City Times. Austin is also a leader in using renewable energy and building energy efficient LEED qualified homes and commercial buildings. Sweetwater strives to be a green community as well, devoting roughly half of our overall acreage to parks, trails and natural open space. See how Sweetwater works to preserve our trees.

Austin is a great city for homebuyers. Austin ranks No. 1 and No. 2 in two new studies for homebuyers. Austin is the No. 1 large city in the U.S. for homebuyers, according to a new report from WalletHub, which evaluated 300 cities across the nation using 23 metrics for the local real estate market and the economic environment. Another study, by SmartAsset, ranks Austin No. 2 in Texas as a top housing market for growth and stability in 2019. SmartAsset explains that growth is a measure of how much the value of a home is likely to increase over time, while stability measures the risk that a home will experience a major loss of value. Sweetwater offers a wide variety of new homes, with prices from the high $300,000s to over $1 million. Styles include traditional single-family homes, custom built homes, and low-maintenance homes.

Austin is a rising tech city. Austin’s status as a major tech city continues to rise. In the past two years, Austin logged 97 tech company relocations, and that doesn’t even include new expansions by companies already here, such as Apple and Google. In all, Austin is home to more than 6,500 startups and established companies, with the largest concentration located in the Silicon Hills west of downtown. Major tech players here include Atlassian, Dell, HP, Intel, Cisco, IBM, eBay and Oracle.

Austin is a happy city. Austin is the happiest big city in Texas, according to a report from WalletHub, which analyzed 28 key indicators of happiness in 180 of the nation’s largest cities. “Location plays a hand in how bright or gloomy our days are,” WalletHub stated. “As this study aims to illustrate, moving to a certain city may help you be more content.” National Geographic has recognized Austin as one of the happiest cities in the U.S.

Austin is a top restaurant – and beer – city. Austin is the top food city in Texas and the No. 4 food city in the nation, says Jetsetter. “Texas is a comfort food haven, and Austin’s got the vibe to match it,” they write. “Music, booze, and good eats harmoniously collide in this southern foodie destination, which has been aggressively climbing ‘Best Of’ lists over the past few years.” For those who like their food on the go, Austin is the No. 2 food truck city in the U.S., with popular trucks including The Mighty Cone (serving savory wraps, not ice cream), Tommy Want Wingy and East Side King. For beer lovers, Austin is the top beer destination in the world in 2019, says the drinks publication VinePair. The Texas Hill Country surrounding Austin is also growing in stature as a wine region, with more than 50 wineries drawing five million visitors each year.

Austin is a music city. Austin’s status as the Live Music Capital of the World will hardly surprise anyone. That’s been the city’s official slogan since 1991, after it was discovered that Austin had more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation. As for the “world” claim, it wouldn’t be Texas without a little braggadocio. Austin’s 250 live music venues host more than 1,900 bands and performing artists who live in and around Austin. Downtown’s Sixth Street is a hotbed of live music venues, and you can also find great music at restaurants such as Stubb’s Bar B Q, and even at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Austin has helped start or grow the careers of major artists including Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan, with the latter immortalized with a statue at City Hall.

Austin is a festival city. With its youthful culture driven by the University of Texas, and its love of live music and the great outdoors, it’s no surprise that Austin is one of the top festival cities in the U.S. Austin’s best known festival, South By Southwest, or simply SXSW, was founded in 1987 and has grown into an essential global springtime gathering celebrating the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries. With more than 2,000 official performers from more than 60 countries, SXSW is Austin’s highest revenue-producing event, outside of athletics and other events associated with UT. Other major Austin festivals include the Austin City Limits Festival, which draws  approximately 450,000 people each October. Founded in 2013, Austin’s JMBLYA festival has grown into one of the nation’s premier rap music festivals. 

Austin is an education city. Home to The University of Texas at Austin, Austin is still the quintessential college town. Consistently ranked among the Top 10 public colleges in the U.S., UT-Austin enrolls more than 50,000 graduate and undergraduate students each semester, and employs more than 3,000 teaching faculty members. UT-Austin offers nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with more than 12,400 course and 400 study abroad programs. The Austin area also offers some of the best public school districts in the nation. Sweetwater is proud to be part of the highly regarded Lake Travis Independent School District, rated as the No. 2 Best School District in Travis County by Niche. Lake Travis ISD has an A rating from the Texas Education Agency and an A+ overall grade from Niche.

Austin is a great place to work. With an economy strongly anchored by education, state government and a booming tech industry, Austin is one of the best cities in the U.S. for job seekers, according to a study by the personal finance website WalletHub. The career website LinkedIn says Austin ranks first among the U.S. cities attracting the most workers, and Inc. magazine recently named Austin as the best place in the nation to start a business. Austin is an especially attractive city for Millennial job seekers, with the relocation website Nestpick recently naming Austin as America’s No. 1 Millennial Dream City.

Learn more about moving to Austin with our Relocation Guide.

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