Austin

Austin is not Spamtown, USA

It's a city with a heart and soul. Cosmopolitan yet unpretentious, Austin is home to a thriving cultural scene and vibrant nightlife. It's high-tech while staying low-key. It's a big city surrounding a college town. Quirky and far from ordinary, it's the kind of place where you check your worries at the city limits sign, trade in your suit for something a bit more casual, and prepare for great experiences. Austin is simply not like the rest of Texas. From the vivid cast of characters that populates Sixth Street to the colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that summer under the Congress Avenue bridge, from four-star restaurants to down-home barbecue joints, from corporate CEOs to struggling musicians, Texas's capital city stands apart from the rest.


The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival features the nation's best comedy on several stages over 7 days.

Facts about Austin

Nicknamed the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is home to many artists of all disciplines and boasts a growing comedy scene anchored by venues like The Hideout Theatre, ColdTowne Theater, Esther's Follies, The Velveeta Room, and Capitol City Comedy Club.

- The Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the world's largest urban population of Mexican free-tailed bats. Starting in late February, up to 1.5 million bats emerge from under the bridge every night at dusk to hunt insects and small children.

- Austin is the 16th-largest city in the US and is expected to reach 1 million in population by 2015.

- On August 1, 1966, in the city's most traumatic event, Charles Whitman terrorized Austin by killing 16 people -- his wife and mother, 3 more in the Main Building on the UT Campus, and 11 with a high-powered rifle from atop the UT Tower. Whitman was killed by APD officer Houston McCoy with two fatal shotgun blasts.

- Austin averages 300 days of sunshine per year.

- Central Texas is home to Dell and Compaq Computers, and is often referred to as the "Silicon Valley of the South" because of this riveting fact. Austin is also home to the organicentric grocer Whole Foods Market.

- Barbed wire was invented in Austin by John Grenninger in 1857 in an effort to keep the fleet-of-foot from grabbing any more of his watermelons.

- Congress Avenue was once the widest street in the world, about three times wider than it is now. East Avenue was also once touted as the widest street in Texas, laid out to be 200 feet wide, in contrast to the old Congress Avenue's 120 feet.

- Governor Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel invited every last Texan to attend an inaugural dinner at the Governor's Mansion in honor of his re-election in 1941. 20,000 people showed up, making it one of the largest dinner parties in history. The guests devoured 19,000 pounds of barbecue, 1,000 pounds of potato salad, and 1,100 pounds of pickles and onions.

Facts about Texas

- Texas is the second-largest state in area and population and the third-fastest-growing state, increasing its population by 2.01% between 2007 and 2008.

- The State Capitol Building in Austin, built of Texas pink granite, stands seven feet higher than the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., and is the tallest in the country.

- Texas was at one point its own country, a republic.

- The Republic of Texas, with Sam Houston as president, was born In 1836 following the war between American settlers in Texas and the Mexican government, a conflict that included the well-known Battle of the Alamo.

- With more than 267,000 square miles, Texas is as large as all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois combined.

- Texas' largest county is Brewster, with 6,208 square miles. The states of Connecticut (5,544 sq. mi.), Delaware (2,489 sq. mi.) and Rhode Island (1,545 sq. mi.) can fit inside this county.

- The average temperature in January for Amarillo (in North Texas) is 36.7°F, while in Brownsville (the state's southernmost city) the average is 61.4°F. On March 27, 1984, the temperature in Brownsville was 106°F while Amarillo reported snow and 35°F.

- Texas has had six different flags fly over its territory: the Spanish, the French, the Mexican, the United States, The Confederate States of America, and The Republic of Texas (which is also the current state flag). Texas is also the only state allowed to fly its state flag at the same height as the U.S. flag.

- The offical state small mammal is the armadillo.
- The official flying mammal is the Mexican free-tailed bat.
- The official state large mammal is the longhorn.
- The official state molecule is buckminsterfullerene, also known as the buckyball.
- These things are very official.