Popularly known for the slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” Austin is known for its eclectic mix of edgy, countercultural and bohemian. Having heard many positive things about Austin, I’ve thus far been very pleased with what I’ve seen during my first visit to the southern city. In many ways, it reminds me of Portland, OR–though Austinites claim Portland has stole their “Keep Austin Weird” catchphrase. In addition to its claim to the title as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin is also the host to the famous South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival, one of the biggest music festivals in the United States.
Centrally located in Texas, Austin sits on the Colorado River and feeds into three man-made lakes: Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Walter E. Long. Aside from its strategic location on the river, Austin’s location is also of ecological and geological interest. Straddling the inactive Balcones fault line, Austin is divided into a flatter east side with clay-dominated soils and a hillier west side bordering the Texas Hill Country.
Besides the vibrant music scene, Austin is also defined by two characteristics that I hold dear: it’s a highly bikeable, foodie town. Food trucks have sprung up in abundance and food options from cheap, hearty meals to the upscale and experimental are all available within a short biking distance. A collection of hip neighborhoods, both established and up-and-coming, I dipped my toe in downtown historic Austin (loved the architecture there), the beloved Zilker Park, rough and edgy East Austin, and the eclectic and trendy South Congress area. It seems as if Austinites have a knack for making amazing hangouts and eateries out of seemingly nothing. From eating at a scrap-shack looking food truck with some of the best fish tacos of my life to biking past the rough but popular bar areas of East Austin, it’s been fun to explore.