As I walk through the streets of Austin, the culture is palpable, buzzing all around me. I work right on the corner of 7th and Congress, so I get to take in the nature of the city every day — and no two days are alike. Within the span of 10th to 7th, I’ll see a street musician belting Willie Nelson, a businessman dressed to the nines, a biracial family walking to the Capitol for a picnic, and an artist adding their touch to a mural. The Capitol building, with an undeniable resemblance to its Federal counterpart, sits squarely in the middle of the urban downtown area as if to keep the up-and-coming atmosphere around it grounded in its history.
Lining the edges of Congress Street, old buildings turned into hip offices, businesses, hotels, and restaurants beckon the artfulness of blending old and new. Yet, while Texas is known as a red state, the community of Austin comes together to break down those traditional conservative roots. There are often marches in the street for children kept at the border, women’s rights, and other fundamental issues. Even though it is the capital of Texas, it’s a city that bases its values on love and friendship and is doing its part to open the rest of the state’s eyes.
Most people will know Austin for its quirky energy, its eclectic breweries, its ginormous music scene, and its self-proclaimed slogan of “Keep Austin Weird,” but the ever-changing city is so much more than that. Much like New York City, Austin has that same je ne sais quoi that makes everyone, from newcomer to passer-through, feel like a local, but at a much slower pace. From its exquisite upscale hotels to its unique art scene and outdoor activities, Austin is unlike any city in the world.