Prepare yourself Mr. and Mrs. Californians, because while I’ll gladly find you a house to live in, I want to make sure you’re aware of what you’re getting yourselves into.
I’m going to ease you into the weirdness, so take your San Diego shades off and put on your Tae-Dye t-shirt:
1.) Austin City Limits, the country’s longest-running live music TV show, began broadcasting on October 14, 1974. A then-unknown Willie Nelson was the featured performer. Here’s a video of his first performance. You may or may not know this, but Willie Nelson has been known to smoke a little grass. And, I don’t mean burnt grass like your yard will be here in Austin, if you don’t water (just watch out for the water restrictions!)
2.) You might have Silicon Valley, we have “Silicon Hills.” So many tech firms have come to town that Austin now has the nickname “Silicon Hills.” IBM kicked things off in 1967, followed by Texas Instruments, Motorola, 3M, Dell computers, and numerous others. Nowadays, Austin is one of the leading sites for venture capital funding in the nation.
3.) Every spring and summer about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Austin, giving the city North America’s largest urban bat colony. Every night these bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge.
Austin has the largest urban bat population of any city in the country. Every summer, more than 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge, flying out at night to feast upon 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects. Rumor has it, Austin could be renamed Gotham City. Do you really want to live in the same city as Batman? Wait…nevermind…
4.) I’ll find you a home with the fastest rate of devaluation you’ve ever seen, even more than your home near San Andreas Fault! Beginning in 1989, local resident Vince Hanneman began piling hubcaps, bicycle frames, bottles, CDs, air-conditioning vents and other pieces of scrap in his backyard. More than twenty years and numerous zoning disputes later, the Cathedral of Junk is still standing and open to visitors.
5.) If you like living near celebrities, you’ll hate it here. Celebrities only visit around here. Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling and Elijah Wood like making an appearance in Austin. Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has a house there, and apparently likes to haggle cheese prices at the local Whole Foods. It’s also the site of Matthew McConaughey’s infamous 1999 bongo drums arrest.
Joe Rogan recently purchased a $14 million dollar lakefront mansion.
6.) If you like eating eating out of your car, you’ll love the food truck scene. Austin’s food truck scene started in the early ‘90s with a few family-owned taco carts on South Lamar Street. The movement took off in the 2000s, and between 2006 and 2011 the number of mobile vendor licenses tripled. Today, there are close to 2,000 food trucks throughout the city.
7.) You remember Winnie-the-Pooh? I bet you have NO CLUE where this is going. Alright, honey I’ll fill you in. On the last Saturday of April, thousands of Austinites come together for Eeyore’s Birthday Party. Named for Winnie-the-Pooh’s gloomy donkey friend, the gathering started in 1963 as a picnic for English Department students at the University of Texas. Nowadays, the mix of costumes, live music and general merriment makes it your best chance to see a drum circle comprised of Winnie-the-Pooh characters.
8.) My wife hates puns, so obviously puns are a regular at my house (punny, right). Austin also hosts the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, which draws pun-loving individuals from around the country. Contestants recite a pun-filled monologue in the “Punniest of Show” competition, then test their improv skills in the “Punslinger” portion of the event. This year’s winner attained a perfect score with a booze-inspired monologue.
Likes puns? You’ll Pho-cking love all of the Pho restaurants in town.
9.) Austin is the largest US city with no sports teams. It’s not that we don’t like sports, it’s just we don’t like PROFESSIONALS. And there won’t ever be one, if the whos-who of University of Texas have anything to say about it. Go BEVO!
10.) We might not have professional sports, but if you’re into racing (probably not) Austin is home to America’s only Formula 1 race, the United States Grand Prix, held every year at the Circuit of the Americas located southwest of the city. Built in 2012, the Circuit is a 3.4-mile course notable for its elevation changes, including a 133-foot hill on turn one.
The good news? It’s a good boost to the Austin economy. Well it used to be until the City of Austin decided to crackdown on the evil short-term rentals.
The bad news? For some reason, race weekends are also during UT football games, concerts, SXSW, ACL, and any other major event in Austin, making traffic even worse, if that’s possible.
11. The city’s official/unofficial slogan, “Keep Austin Weird,” originated with local librarian Red Wassenich, who uttered the phrase when he called in to a local radio show in 2000. Since then, the slogan has become a fixture on bumper stickers, store signs, and elsewhere around town. The phrase’s anti-gentrification message has also caught on in other cities, like Louisville, Portland and Indianapolis.
There’s another saying making the rounds “Don’t California My Texas.”
Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!
I love my Californians that use me as their real estate agent! 🙂
Heck, I myself spend a month every year in Lake Tahoe, California, so I can Texas up California too!
12. The one person who embodied that slogan for many Austinites was Leslie Cochran, a bearded, cross-dressing Miami native who ran for mayor three times. Frequently homeless, he was a fixture around town who inspired everything from refrigerator magnets to iPhone apps. When he died in 2012, Austin’s current mayor, Lee Leffingwell, proclaimed March 8, 2012 and every March 8 forward “Leslie Day
13.) Ready for one that’s partly your fault? Austin is the fastest growing city in the U.S., with a population spike of 3% in the past year. Many Austinites are saying this rise in population is causing Austin to lose its character (except for Realtors).
By the way, if you’re looking for a home in Austin and you’re ready to make other Austinites miserable, give me a call or text at (512) 799-7950
14.) If you don’t like tacos, you probably shouldn’t move to Austin. Austin and tacos go hand in hand.
15.) Austin has been ranked the No. 1 city in the U.S. for dogs and dog owners by the Pets at Home website. It’s home to 12 off-leash parks, swimming holes, and tons of dog-friendly restaurants and hotels. Now, if you’re a dog person, that may sound like great news. BUT if you don’t fancy stepping on poop, unexpected dog licks, and Austinites putting dogs on a higher pedestal than people, then you may or may want to think twice and wagging your tail into Austin.
16.) Austin really is the Live Music Capital of the World. The slogan became official in 1991 when it was discovered that ATX had more live music venues per capita than anywhere else. There are more than 1,900 bands and performing artists in the city, and nearly 200 live music venues around town.
17.) Austin is one of the sunniest cities in America, getting on average about 300 clear days a year.
18.) The greater Austin area contains 10 extinct volcanoes. They used to be violent underwater volcanoes called “explosion craters” by geologists. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, one of these “extinct” volcanoes could come back to life. Its’ highly unlikely, but then again Donald Trump is our President and Hillary Clinton was 2nd place. So, anything can happen.
19.) Nerd Alert: Austin boasts the highest annual bookstore sales in the U.S. at $195 per household. You might think that’s a good thing, BUT if you think YOU are a “know it all”, wait until you play a game with an Austinite.
20.) Austin was recently rated one of the “drunkest” cities in America by “Men’s Health,” mostly for its impressive/alarming ranking as 23rd in the nation for DUI crashes, eighth for DUI arrests, and second for binge drinking. According to the poll 61.5% of residents had consumed at least one drink in the last 30 days. That doesn’t seem like much but apparently it’s more than any other city! Even Vegas, Wow! Whether it be a good or bad title depends on who you ask, still a fun and interesting fact about Austin, Texas that most people are unaware of!
21.) Austin has its own personal Bigfoot. His name is Hairy Man, and he, of course, lives on Hairy Man Road.
Another Weird Austin Fact
21.5) My in-laws across the street from an interesting statue. Here’s a pic I took during the mask mandate:
The statue is off of Westlake Dr. in West Lake Hills. It’s a very pretty drive along the lake.
22.) In 1884, three years before Jack the Ripper began terrorizing the streets of London, Austin, was the home of the first known serial killer in the world, the Servant Girl Annihilator.
23.) Austin has a popular food truck turned restaurant called Gourdoughs. If you aren’t familiar with the Spanish term “Gordo” it means “overweight/fat. Not only that but everyone’s favorite item is called “Blue Balls.”
24.) After the tacos and fried donut restaurants, this may come as a shock to you, but Austin likes to call itself a fit city. Which might have something to do with its 220 parks, running and biking trails, lakes like Austin and Travis, more than 250 gyms, yoga studios, healthy restaurants, and health food stores.
25.) I’ll have to be delicate with this one, since my kids, nephews, and nieces refer to my father-in-law as Grandpa Bevo. The UT mascot, Bevo, made his debut in 1916 during the Texas 21-7 win over Texas A&M. The Aggies branded Bevo with a 13-0, and, as the story goes, some Texas fans turned the 13 into a B, made the hyphen an “E”, inserted a “V,” and left the “O.” Poor Bevo. We’re now on Bevo Number 14. 39. OK, just one more Bevo fact: His owners, Betty and John T. Baker, say they spend more than $3,000 a year on food and maintenance alone for the formerly known “Sunrise Studly.”
26.) Texas has no laws that stop women from going topless in public. However, no other city in the state has a place designated for nudity. Hippie Hollow is a clothing-optional beach located on Lake Travis. Texas is a conservative state all-in-all, but Austin is pretty liberal.
27.) You might cry a river after you hear about this next “weird’ fact about Austin. The Colorado River runs through downtown. Another fun and interesting fact that those who don’t live in Austin, Texas may not know is that the Colorado River runs through it. However, the river is dammed so it’s called Lady Bird Lake. The name is in honor of Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States who was a resident of the city.
28.) The areas historical tornado activity is 99% greater than the overall U.S. average. An interesting, not so fun, fact if you are planning on moving to Austin, Texas. However don’t be fooled or frightened by this fact, even though tornado activity is 99% greater than the average, tornados are not very common!
29.) Austin welcomes nearly 20 million tourists each year, according to the Austin Business Journal. That number exceeds Disneyland, which had 16.2 million visitors in 2013; the Eiffel Tower, which has about 7 million visitors annually, three-quarters of which are foreigners; and Niagara Falls, which sees about 12 million people. Austin tourists aren’t stingy with their money either: Visitors spend more than $4 billion each year.
30.) Have you heard about the traffic in Austin? If you’re from Los Angeles or New York, you’ll probably think Austin traffic is nothing, but everyone else is surprised to learn that your morning and evening commute might make or break your day.
Just put on your favorite podcast or audio book and you’ll get to your destination in no time. You’ll be happy to know if you’re moving here at the time of this article, the shelter in place mandate has alleviated a lot of traffic. Things are somewhat getting back to normal, but everyone in town would agree, the lighter traffic has been nice!
31.) I know I’m about to shoot myself in the foot, because you’re REALLY going to want to move here. The median home value in Austin is $350,800. Austin home values have gone up 7.4% over the past year and they will rise 3.2% within the next year.
I tried my best to scare you away from moving to Austin, BUT if you’re insistent and ready to come eat tacos and be “weird” then call or text me at 512-799-7950 and I’ll find you the perfect house. You bring the pre-approval letter and I’ll bring the tacos!