100 Reasons Why I Love Austin

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Austin. It’s such a unique and beautiful place. If it weren’t, the lifers wouldn’t being saying, “Welcome to Austin, please don’t move here.”

I didn’t grow up with Buzzfeed “best of” lists. I grew up in a small town with school colors of maroon and white, our band trumpeting the Aggie fight song, and an A&M watch that sang along to the tune. By high school, though, UT was nearly the only Texas school landing on my exam score submission lists, and by September 2005, my senior year, it’s the only school that got my application. It wasn’t just UT that caught my heart. It was Austin itself.

Living only 2.5 hours away, I really didn’t know much about Austin, but after only a couple of visits, I was hooked. My first memory – as a 17-year-old – is visiting Central Market on North Lamar. I had never been to anywhere of its kind. (Remember, still a bubble small-towner at that point.) I was overwhelmed by the place, fascinated that you could grind your own peanut butter, and took home a sample recipe card that I still have to this day. Then it was a pit stop to Lucy in Disguise. That had to be the most unique place I’ve ever stepped foot. Add to the list: fried pickles from Threadgills, walking SOCO, a tour of the UT campus and watching the bats fly out from the Congress bridge while staying at the Radisson hotel. And that was just the start.

No matter where the city grows or goes, I can always think of at least 100 reasons why I love Austin:

  1. The University of Texas. What starts here changes the world.
  2. Burnt orange and Bevo.
  3. The iconic UT Tower. Horns up!
  4. The Drag. Because if you went to UT, well, the Drag.
  5. Hi, How Are You? mural.
  6. Greetings from Austin mural.
  7. Hope Outdoor Gallery. (RIP original location)
  8. All of the city’s murals and art.
  9. Touring South Congress.
  10. Lucy in Disguise.
  11. The bats at South Congress Bridge.
  12. Patios. All of them.
  13. BYOB spots, including Peter Pan mini golf.
  14. Tex-Mex.
  15. Margaritas and Mexican Martinis. Polvos’ pitcher margs to Trudy’s Trifecta.
  16. Chuy’s creamy jalapeno and happy hour. And Elvis.
  17. Basically, all the cool places that started here. Torchy’s, Alamo Drafthouse and more.
  18. Dinner on Lake Austin, including Hula Hut.
  19. Dinner on Lake Travis, including The Oasis.
  20. Lake rats. People, not actual rats.
  21. So many water activities in general.
  22. Kayaking Town Lake.
  23. The Town Lake trail and all it has to offer.
  24. Ninja Style Kung Fu Grip.
  25. Trails everywhere.
  26. The active lifestyle of the city.
  27. The outdoor lifestyle of the city.
  28. Barton Creek Greenbelt hiking.
  29. Bull Creek Greenbelt waterfalls.
  30. Hamilton Pool, even with a reservation system.
  31. Hill Country adventures.
  32. Wineries in said nearby Hill Country.
  33. The craft brewery scene.
  34. The number of nearby State Parks.
  35. Nearby caverns. All of them.
  36. Hiking Enchanted Rock.
  37. Floating the river in the summer.
  38. Everything around Austin in general. That includes San Antonio.
  39. Endless amounts of activities to do, including free ones.
  40. Summer movie nights on the lawn.
  41. Zilker Theater in the summer.
  42. The Texas State Capitol and its magnificent trees.
  43. A love of trees and the tree-hugger mindset.
  44. Treaty Oak.
  45. All of the city’s museums and history.
  46. Statues, art features and installations.
  47. The guitars at the Austin airport.
  48. The Stevie Ray Vaughan statue on Town Lake.
  49. The Willie Nelson statue at ACL Live.
  50. Country roots and places like Threadgills.
  51. The Broken Spoke and Donn’s Depot.
  52. Austin City Limits on PBS, including that backdrop.
  53. Music. So much music. So much live music.
  54. Waterloo Records.
  55. Festivals of all kinds.
  56. Bob Schneider all day long.
  57. Any musical artist from Austin!
  58. Unplugged at the Grove.
  59. Blues on the Green at Zilker Park.
  60. ACL Festival at Zilker Park.
  61. Trail of Lights at Zilker Park.
  62. The Zilker Zephyr at Zilker Park.
  63. Zilker Park!
  64. Deep Eddy pool.
  65. Barton Springs pool.
  66. The free side of Barton Springs to bring your dog.
  67. The love for dogs and animals.
  68. Red Bud Isle and access to dog parks.
  69. Huts Hamburgers buy-one-get-one free burger night.
  70. Food trucks.
  71. Central Market on North Lamar. My original love.
  72. Whole Foods and HEB too.
  73. The all-natural, vegetarian and vegan attitude.
  74. BBQ. The Salt Lick especially.
  75. Creative spirit of the city.
  76. Entrepreneurial spirit of the city.
  77. Shop small attitude.
  78. Keep Austin local. 512 and 78704.
  79. The close-knit community.
  80. Casual lifestyle and less-stress attitude.
  81. Family-friendly vibes.
  82. Friendly people. Don’t go ruining that!
  83. Accessibility to DFW. Because you know, home.
  84. Native Austinites to help us accurately remember how Austin “once was.”
  85. Adopted natives and local icons.
  86. Matthew McConaughey and his bongos.
  87. Hippie vibe… however that’s channeled today.
  88. Keep Austin Weird. (RIP, Leslie)
  89. Tattoos!
  90. Sixth Street and even its new predecessors.
  91. Pedi-cabs because Uber didn’t always exist.
  92. Bicycles.
  93. Parmer, 360 and all the classic roads used for said cycling.
  94. The 360 Bridge and overlook.
  95. Mount Bonnell hike and overlook.
  96. Looking at houses on Stratford or Balcones Drive.
  97. Classic neighborhoods like Tarrytown.
  98. Any other Austin classics that I’m forgetting in this list.
  99. Camp Mabry, its planes and the Texas Military Forces Museum.
  100. Texas. Because you can’t get this great city without this great state!

For me, Austin was my portal to an entirely new world, and I sure would hate for someone else to miss that opportunity. You may not get to pick where you grow up, but you definitely get to pick where you want to spend the rest of your life.

I love you, Austin.

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