Austin is a diverse and vibrant U.S city with a unique blend of hippyness and entrepreneurship that’s intertwined with Mexican culture to create a special kind of weirdness, in a good way! ‘Keep Austin Weird’ is the slogan adopted by locals who are proud of their diverse hipster city and celebrate its uniqueness.
The cultural capital of Texas, Austin named itself the Live Music Capital of the world and has a thriving cultural, art, and music scene. The coffee culture is in full swing and the food scene is about to take off in a big way but that’s not all it has going for it, Austin is a family friendly city with a low crime rate and it’s green, both in terms of open spaces and green energy.
Once a college town, Austin has grown rapidly in the last decade with over 100 people per day moving into the city at one time. This has created even more diversity and a thriving expat community exists, comprised largely of Hispanics due to the relative closeness of the Mexican border but European digital nomads and U.S entrepreneurs have been flocking to Austin too. The diversity and creativity along with the relatively low cost of living are what draws people in, Austin being more affordable than most other U.S cities and very favorable when compared to the top European cities.
Ranked as one of the best places in the U.S to bootstrap a business (achieving first place in 2015 and 2016), Austin is renowned for being an important tech startup hub. This entrepreneurship spirit, where locals go out of their way to support small businesses, draws the digital nomads in, along with the great internet, a multitude of dedicated co-working spaces, and work-friendly cafes.
Austin might be known for its Tex-Mex and oak-smoked barbecue but the food scene has really blossomed in recent years and continues to grow – It’s an exciting time for foodies in the city as cuisine from all over the world gets served up in ever-more tasty and unique ways, the legendary park-and-eat food truck experience being a fun way to eat your way around the world and the city! Austin is also known for being a party-town where anything goes meaning it can get pretty crazy on the weekends with the students in town and bachelorette parties taking place. The number of bars is overwhelming and the city has more than 250 live music venues to keep people entertained with every genre of music imaginable, it’s a city with something always happening.
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Best Time to Visit Austin
Austin can boast 300 days of sunshine each year thanks to its subtropical climate. Summers are hot, humid, and often overpowering and Winters warm and pleasant compared with the harsher Northern temperatures. Most people visit during Spring or Fall to enjoy the optimal temperatures and the festivals, the city having two high-seasons for tourists; March until May and September to October. If you wish to avoid the crowds as well as the heat the best time to visit Austin is in February or late November.
March-May: Winter comes to an end in March and the Spring weather can be enjoyed as the temperatures rise day by day with May feeling a lot like Summer to most people. The downside to Spring is the showers – The rainfall is short yet sharp with May being the wettest month and flash flooding a possibility. Spring is the ideal time to visit, especially in May when the flowers are in full bloom but those who suffer from pollen allergies should plan to visit in the Fall instead.
The South by Southwest festival (SXSW) which takes over the city in March is a sure sign that the tourist season has started. The 2 week Austin Rodeo is a family-friendly event which has people flocking in from all over the state in March. From April the festivals really get into full swing with Art City Austin, the Moontower Comedy Festival, Austin Reggae Fest, and the Austin Food & Wine Festival all taking place. May is another busy month with the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, the Pecan Street Spring Art Festival, and The Finding Euphoria Fest where camping, yoga, music, and spiritual workshops all mesh together.
June-August: These unbearably hot and humid Summer months are Austin’s low season with most tourists choosing to stay away to avoid the sweltering sticky city. June sees some torrential rain which, combined with the heat, creates some spectacular thunderstorms but July and August are dry.
The Summer months are fairly quiet in terms of outdoor events – it really being too hot to do anything other than swim – but the Fun Stop 5K + Fest can be fun to watch as people run, walk, jump, or skip around the city dressed in fun costumes in the slowest race you’re ever likely to see. In July the annual 4th of July Fireworks and Symphony takes place at Lady Bird Lake and August welcomes Austin Pride Week, the largest LGBTQ awareness and fundraising event in the whole of Central Texas. At the end of August, Bat Fest marks North America’s largest colony of bats taking flight from the Congress Avenue Bridge, this being the reason Austin is also known as ‘Bat City’!
September-November: From the end of September the temperature starts to fall and the city becomes bearable once again with some pleasant cool evenings though rain and thunderstorms should be expected. November is a popular time to visit the city as the warm daytime weather is glorious and the chance of rain and thunder has mostly gone though nights can be a little chilly.
After the Summer lull, the city re-awakens with an array of outdoor cultural activities from September onward. Two film festivals start September off and the popular Austin City Limits Music Festival takes place over 2 weeks at the end of the month. At the end of October, the Austin Film Festival is held across several downtown locations and there’s also the F1 Grand Prix race followed by the Austin Celtic Festival in November.
December-February: Winters are mild and relatively dry, December being cool rather than cold with some grey days mixed with bright sunny days. January is the coldest month but it can still feel pleasantly warm to those from the Northern parts of the U.S, Canada and Europe!
In December the city lights up with the Trail of Lights festival and the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is an 11 day festive shopping event that draws in over 40,000 visitors to the city. Straight after New Year celebrations, in the first week of January, hundreds of local bands participate in the Free Week festival and then the buzz of Brazil enters Austin in February for the Carnaval Brasileiro. Next, it’s the 5 day OUTsider festival, a progressive art, film, and music festival that celebrates the LGBTQI community before going full circle into the Spring festivities.
Tal Gur is a world traveler and personal development enthusiast. An adventurer at heart, after trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, Tal spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey continues as a location-independent blogger, lifestyle entrepreneur, and coach. Tal’s published two books: One Year to Freedom, a 1-Year Roadmap to Living Life on Your Own Terms; and, his most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living – 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World.