POPULATION: 1.3 million in metropolitan area; 690,000 within city limits; the 16th largest city in the U.S.

AREA: City li mits: 232 square miles; Metro area: 2,705  square miles.

This story first appeared in the September 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

OUTDOORS: The active city has 220 parks, including the 360-acre Zilker Park, the 68-degree spring-fed swimming hole Barton Springs and a 10.1-mile hike-and-bike trail around Town Lake. Austin’s three lakes (Lake Travis, Lake Austin and Town Lake, also now known as Lady Bird Johnson Lake) have a combined shoreline of 405 miles and total water surface area of 20,693 acres.

WEATHER: 300 days of sunshine annually; 68.5 degrees average year-round temperature; 32 inches of rainfall annually.

HISTORY: Founded in 1838 by Jacob Harrell along the Lower Colorado River; named for Texas colonist Stephen F. Austin.



TAXES: 8.25 percent sales tax, no state income tax.

• The Lone Star State’s capital, Austin is home to the State Capitol of Texas, which stands 302 feet high — 14 feet higher than the nation’s capitol in Washington (not an accident).
• The University of Texas, located just north of downtown, is one of the nation’s largest public universities with nearly 50,000 students.
• Locally called “Silicon Hills,” Austin is headquarters for Dell Computer Corp. and major operations for IBM, Samsung, Freescale and Advanced Micro Devices.
• Dubbed the “live music capital of the world,” Austin is home to musicians including Willie Nelson and the Dixie Chicks, and the city offers nearly 200 live music venues.
• Austin’s night scene’s three main strips are Sixth Street, the Warehouse and Red River Entertainment Districts.
• With up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats roosting under the Congress Avenue Bridge from March through October, Austin is home to North America’s largest urban bat population

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