In the year 2000, Red Wassenich a librarian at Austin Community College had no idea that he had coined what would become his city’s official slogan. Unlike the previous catchphrases “Live Music Capital of the World” and description, “A Blue Dot in a Red Sea,” this three-word phrase effortlessly captured its vibrancy. Despite its brevity, it seemed to sum everything that made the city so unique in a way that nothing else had before.
So much so, that it caught on like wildfire. Soon, it would become emblazoned on tie dye t-shirts and bumper stickers. Local stores began to hang signs of it on their walls and in their windows. A few years later, it the AIBA (Austin Independent Business Alliance) adopted it as the city’s formal rallying cry. So, what is the unifying phrase that all Austinite’s agree depicts their city best? Put simply and succinctly—Keep Austin Weird.
Keep Austin Weird
This weirdness is what separates Austin from nearly all of her other neighbors. It is the one thing that Austin sets it apart from Texas and much of the South as a whole. It’s rebelliousness. Paradoxically, at its core, this rebelliousness makes Austin quintessentially Texan. If one were to travel across the second largest state, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t brag about their state’s history as a former self-governing Republic.
However, the residents of Austin have managed to up their neighbors in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, by rebelling against the more traditional and conservative culture of the rest of Texas. As such, the city has long been a haven for all those who were a little to the left of cultural morays that they grew up with.
Austinites Break the Mold
Over the years, those counted among the city’s residents have included the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Janis Joplin, and Willie Nelson. Unlike more conventional singers like San Antonio country star George Strait, these remarkable musicians break with the mold. Among their crowds, you’d have to search hard to find the All-American jocks or the beauty queens that Texas is rife with. As such, Vaughan, Joplin and Nelson epitomize main the difference between being an Austinite and a Texan. As strange, awkward and unique as they were, they helped lay a foundation for all the rebels that would come after them. And thus, aid in the creation of the weirdness that would distinguish the city’s population from those who inhabited the rest of the state.
And not Just Famous Austinites, All Austinites
But don’t just take our word for it. The city’s residents themselves often express these sentiments. On, Reddit, the most Austin website ever, both natives and transplants express what they love about their home. One native Austinite claimed that they promised themselves that they would never move out of the city unless it were to a place significantly cooler. For this person, the only place that could come close was Florence, Italy. But after a few years eating alfredo and drinking Tuscan wine, this prodigal child returned home because as he states, “Austin rules too hard to stay away.”
Austin is Where the “Cool” People Go
Others, from other regions of Texas, claimed that for many the city of Austin carried its own legend–level of mystic as the place where the “cool” people went. A transplant from Corpus Christi corroborated this claiming that many they knew had moved to San Antonio and Houston, but others had kept driving until they found “this little place.”
We Know People Want to Move to Austin, But…Why?
While it is clear that people from both all over the state and the country want to move to Austin, the question we have to ask is why? But lucky for you future relocator, for this, the Redditors have an answer as well. A few transplants claim that they came to Austin for its independent film and theater scenes. In fact, one claimed that they came to Austin specifically to work as an editor; stating that it would be easier to find work with the many of the startups than joining the rat race in Los Angeles.
College Students Move Here to Attend UT and Stay
Many others claimed that they had moved to Austin for UT and decided to stay. As all applicants who are ranked in the top 5% percent of their classes are given automatic admission to the University of Texas at Austin, it stands to reason that those transplants add to an extremely capable talent pool. And as the city had a booming tech scene, there are plenty of jobs to keep them occupied.
You Can Have the Best of the City and Country World
And yet another still claimed that the main draw was that on any given day they could find themselves taking a dip in one of Austin’s many pools or kayaking down the river. For most cities, even in Texas, you have to choose either the bustle of the city or the tranquility of the country. But as Austin is situated in the middle of the gorgeous Texas Hill Country, Austinites don’t have to make that choice.
Others are Searching for Kindred Spirits
But one of the main reasons why Texans move to Austin is because they are in search of kindred spirits. One Redditor echoed this by saying that he had come to Austen to find love. While the craft beer and blues were an added bonus, he was truly seeking was a partner with whom he could fall down a conversational rabbit hole then spend hours gleefully trying to get back on topic.
Everyone’s Reason is Different, Which Makes Austin Unique
The sheer diversity of their responses showed that they epitomized exactly what the city represents—weirdness. For native Texans, the added bonus is that Austin offers the best of Texas, without the extremes that make much of the state intolerable for many who don’t fit the typical Texan archetype. It seemed that many people were either drawn to the city’s cool mystic or were fleeing from less tolerant areas. It seems as though the blue dot in the red sea made it the perfect place to relocate for anyone in a marginalized community. For those who wanted to live their day to day lives as freely as they wished but could still ride back to their hometowns for Thanksgiving if they so choose. Because in Austin, flying your freak flag is not just an option, it is practically a requirement.
Lower Cost of Living and Access to Nature
For relocators coming from out of state, the main draws over cities with similar vibes on the coasts were the lower cost of living and access to nature. Also, for others looking to break into the various art scenes, Austin provides a vibrant yet significantly less competitive.
Events and Festivals Galore
Yet Texas natives know that while smaller towns and even other big cities in Texas have their charms, none can compare to the sheer number of events and festivals that Austin hosts throughout the year. If you’re in doubt to the accuracy of this, google festivals in Austin. Every single month on the city’s events calendar lists at least three major festivals or events. While the city is most famous for SXSW, over the years, other festivals have come to join it. The most well-known being Carnaval Brasileiro, OUTsider Festival, and the ABC Kite Festival.
Austin is Committed to Diversity
The first two are a tribute to Austin’s ethnic diversity and LGBT rights. In contrast, Austin’s neighbor San Antonio has just one main festival—Fiesta. While Fiesta rightfully celebrates the past by honoring the heroes who fought at the Alamo, Austin’s festivals are about pushing the city forward and honoring its ever-changing demographics in real time.
Austin is Cheaper than Dallas and Jobs Pay More
But that isn’t Austin’s only draw over its competition. While the cost of living in Austin may outpace many smaller towns in Texas, it is still 4% cheaper than its northern neighbor Dallas. All this despite the fact that the median salary in Austin is much higher than those in Dallas. So, if you are an aspiring young professional living outside of the capital, you may want to reconsider relocating because Austin is definitely the place to be.
Austin is One of the Fittest Cities in America
While the slogan “Keep Austin Weird“ is often attributed to its liberal attitude, it is also a reflection of its one of its other paradoxes. Although Austin is smack dab in the middle of the South and has an amazing food scene, it is one of the fittest cities in America. This stands in stark contrast to its neighbors Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Houston, El Paso, and Dallas which all rank in the top 10 of Men’s Health’s Fattest Cities. Austin, in contrast, ranked 96th out of 100.
So, we have no intention to fat shame; we can’t help but point out that it seems as though Austinites have cracked the code on how to enjoy its traditional faire while remaining healthy. So, for those who grew up on good ole Texas eats, yet would like to keep both their six-pack and TexMex, they know the Austin is the place to be.
Texans Come to Austin to Live in the Coolest City in the World
While people from all over the country have made Austin their home, native Texas transplants come to a double dose of home with a splash of freedom. They come to make a home in Texas’s blue paradox living the life they’ve always dreamed up in the coolest city in the world. They come to work, eat, kayak, party and fall in love. All in the hopes of joining in on what makes Austin uniquely herself—being weird.
Considering a Move to Austin?
Whether you’re coming from Texas or from outside the state, we can help. We relocated to Austin from San Francisco about 10 years ago now and absolutely love it. Austin is a vibrant city with a great vibe and friendly people. And, most people aren’t from Austin, so you don’t have to worry about high school cliques. Everyone is very welcoming to new people.
To learn more about Austin, check out our Guide to Relocating to Austin. Then, check out our Austin Home Buyers section to learn how we’re different than your average buyer’s agent. We don’t focus on one particular area of Austin. Instead, we work with you to determine the best place for you and your family and help you find a great deal on a home there. When you’re ready to speak to an agent, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Relocation Survey.