Austin is named for one of Texas’ founders, Sam Austin. The city is billed as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” but those moving to Austin should know the city is about much more than music. Employment and growth in Austin is centered on tech. Those moving to Austin should know a few things before packing the van and hitting the road.
Moving to Austin
Timing Your Move: Summer in Austin can be hot. You often hear about a “dry heat” being better, but Austin heat isn’t necessarily dry. On occasion, you can have 100-degree temperatures and humidity. Try to move during the cooler months; November is a good choice as the weather is nice and there are no major festivals taking place. There is one possible upside to moving in the summer: Austin is less crowded. School is out, and the quieter roads might make bearing the heat worth it.
Avoiding Festivals and Traffic: Austin can become crowded during University of Texas’ spring break. This seems counter intuitive, but SXSW Festival takes place during this time. Also avoid moving during the Austin City Limits Festival in mid-October. In general, be aware that you are likely to get caught in serious traffic on main thoroughfares during rush hours.
The College Factor: Austin is a college town, so choose where you live carefully if you do not want to be living amongst students. The University of Texas is a large school with over 38,000 undergraduates, and a significant number of them live off campus. Keep in mind when scheduling your move that these students usually move, en masse, into the city in early fall.
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Austin is a relatively small city—compared with other behemoths in the state of Texas. Austin is home to around 790,000 people (the greater Austin area is home to more than 1.7 million). There are distinct neighborhoods with different character, but they may not vary as widely as neighborhoods in larger cities. If you are moving to Austin from Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, it will seem almost like a small town. The good news is that, even though Austin is a city that always seems to be growing, cost of living is fairly low.
Before moving to Austin, find all of the local news outlets to get informed of nearby happenings. Here are some resources to help you stay connected.
Founded in 1871 under its original name, the Democratic Statesman, the Austin American-Statesman has been cranking out daily news in the capital of Texas for over 140 years. With a daily circulation of over 125,000 and a Sunday edition that reaches in excess of 180,000 residents, the Austin American-Statesman is the biggest newspaper in the region. With its combined print and online presence, it reaches almost 70 percent of Central Texas’s population. Along with offering a wide selection of local, national and international news stories, the newspaper also focuses heavily on Austin’s colorful music scene. The offshoot website Austin360 focuses on local entertainment including music, movies, arts, theater, restaurants and bars.
This weekly newspaper is put out by The Austin American-Statesman news offices on a weekly basis and is its official Spanish-language publication. Ahora Si! reaches over 30,000 Austin residents, covering news and cultural stories with a distinctly Hispanic flavor.
The Austin Chronicle
Dating back to 1981, The Austin Chronicle is a relatively new publication compared to The Austin American-Statesman, and yet it manages to compete well with the much older, established press icon, reaching nearly 90,000 residents. A large part of its success is its appeal as an alternative publication, with coverage appealing to Austin’s LGBT and multicultural populations.
Despite the fact that it’s only printed once per week (each Thursday), it plays a major role in promoting daily cultural life and events in Austin. With emphasis on arts and entertainment, including reviews of local bars and restaurants, the newspaper is a must for anyone moving to Austin who wants to keep up with the happening pulse of the city’s alternative beat.
The Austin Times
Billed as a “multicultural news source,” The Austin Times is a relative newcomer to the local newspaper scene, having only been in existence since 1997. In that time, however, it’s managed to amass a respectable readership of over 20,000 per week. Published weekly on Fridays, The Austin Times covers news, politics, arts and entertainment, local business, health and sports, with an emphasis on Austin’s multicultural diversity.
Local TV News Channels
If you’re moving to Austin, you can also keep up with local news and cultural events by tuning your TV to these local channels.
- KEYE TV 42 (CBS affiliate)
- KVUE TV 24 (ABC affiliate)
- KXAN TV 36 (NBC affiliate)
- KTBC TV 7 (Fox affiliate)
- KLRU TV 18 (PBS affiliate)
- News 8 Austin (offering round the clock, 24-hour local news coverage)
- KAKW TV 62 (Spanish-language Univision channel).
Austin weather can be hot, frequently topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While it is primarily a dry heat, Austin can also be humid. There is no significant change of seasons in Austin; weather generally ranges between mild and sweltering.
The average temperatures from June to September top 90 degrees; in July and August the average temperatures top 95. Those moving to Austin should not be shocked to find temperatures over 100 between May and October.
On occasion, it does snow in Austin, but most years this won’t occur at all. It rains most in the late spring and early fall but rainfall isn’t usually heavy. Austin, in recent years, has had drought conditions.
The State of Texas conducts accountability rankings of schools by district. Of the 123 schools in the Austin Independent School District (AISD), 23 received the highest rating of “exemplary,” 33 received the next highest distinction of “recognized” and 48 were deemed “academically acceptable.” For the full 2011 District Accountability Report, visit the Texas Education Agency. For more on the AISD, go to AustinISD.org. Note that not all schools in Austin are part of this district.
Many moving to Austin are going because of The University of Texas, one of the top public universities in the US. US News & World Report ranks the school at thirteenth among public universities in the United States. The school ranges in the top 20 in terms of Business, Education, Engineering and Law graduate school programs. In the past, the school’s Petroleum Engineering and Latin American History programs were ranked number one.
There are a number of government websites that can make moving to Austin easier. From registering to vote to trash pick-up schedules, the following resources will help you settle in to your new city.
- The Official Website of the City of Austin is a great resource for new residents. Everything from finding a school or job to transportation and recycling programs is covered.
- You can find information on registering to vote from the Texas Department of State, Elections Division.
- Get a new license, title and other auto-related information from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
- The Texas Office of the Attorney General is where you can file a consumer complaint.
- The Texas Education Agency provides a variety of information on elementary and secondary schools in Austin and Texas.
- The Austin Chamber of Commerce links to many useful government sites and provides a wealth of information on Austin and upcoming city events.
- You can find out more about the economy of Texas—from taxes to searching for unclaimed property on sale—from the Texas Comptroller of Accounts.
- Sign up for community alerts and get your Lone Star State questions answered at the official website for the State of Texas.