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A Great Place — for Anyone and Everyone

Central Texans are a diverse group: famous musicians and renowned athletes, successful entrepreneurs and glamorous socialites call Austin home. But no matter what kind of lives they lead, Austinites have plenty of reasons to love this city.

Many “best places” lists are published each year, and Austin always ranks well in a variety of categories. We’ve got some of the best music, of course, and some of the finest recreation in the country, much of it available year-round. Our culinary star has been on the ascent for the past decade or so, and we’ve begun receiving national attention from critics and foodies alike. But our most significant achievement may be our steady business climate, which has withstood the economic storms that have damaged many other cities. We continue to enjoy strong employment levels buoyed by an impressive talent pool and a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit.

We've collected a few recent rankings so you can see why — work, live or play — Austin is one of the best places to be.


Main Article

Everyone Loves Austin!

We make Austin what it is, and Forbes magazine recognized our collective spirit, calling this the “city most likely to grow and prosper during the next decade.” Our employment levels and population growth, along with the constant influx of college graduates, make this a vital, thriving metropolitan area. Businesses love our economic climate and the entrepreneurial spirit of our population. Business Review USA chose Austin as the “eighth best place to live and work in the U.S.,” noting the University of Texas and South by Southwest Conference as outstanding opportunities to collaborate and recruit. BusinessWeek named Austin the “12th best place to live” this year. The “live music capital of the world” scene, along with our open recreation spaces, air quality and low unemployment, all contribute to our success. The Milken Institute ranked Austin as the “fourth best performing city,” based on jobs, wages and technology performance. These factors, and many more, kept Austin on a relatively steady course during the nation's recent economic contraction.

So, who loves Austin the most?

  • Those who are looking for work may find that they have a friend in Austin. Ajilion professional staffing named Austin the “second best place to find a job in the U.S.,” based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor, including unemployment, number of businesses hiring, education and diversity of industry.
  • Austin is a great place for those entering the workforce. American City Business Journals ranked Austin as the “best place to start a career.” They noted our high job growth rate, low unemployment among 16- to 34-year-olds, and educated workforce as primary considerations in their decision.
  • Eco-friendly entrepreneurs may want to find their way to Central Texas – the Brookings Institute included Austin as one of the top metropolitan areas for green job creation. Employers and employees will be pleased to learn that Austin boasts the “fifth best employment outlook in the nation,” according to a survey by Manpower. This comes as no surprise, since Austin's total employment numbers are the best in a decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – one of only five cities in the nation that can boast this achievement.
  • Small businesses are well aware of Austin's robust economic climate. American City Business Journals named Austin the “best area for small business creation and development” in the country. Our population growth, employment levels and small-business success rates make Austin uniquely poised to serve and encourage entrepreneurship.
  • Techies love Austin, as noted by KLG advisors. Our strong supply of talent, low cost of living and low employment costs make Austin a significant player in the IT market.
  • Mun2 ranked Austin as the second best city “for young Latino Americans to live, work and play.”
  • Veterans will find a lot to love in Austin. After they come home from serving our country many choose to begin a second career, and Austin ranked fourth on the list of best places for military retirement by USAA.
  • Those indefatigable folks who both raise kids and hold down jobs have a lot to love here too. ForbesWoman ranked Austin as one of the “50 best U.S. cities for working mothers.” Our low cost of living, earnings for women, and quality of physicians helped us move up nine places on this list.
  • Singles love Austin, named the “second best place for dating in the U.S.,” by They noted that our area is loaded with fun, inexpensive things to do and a wealth of places to eat, meet and mingle.
  • Foodies will find plenty of friends in Austin. We tend to eat out 22% more than the national average, and whether you like tacos from a truck or linen napkins and four-star service, there's something for everyone in the Texas capital. We boast four Four-Diamond restaurants for serious epicureans, along with many nationally recognized eateries.
  • Barbecue lovers rejoice! You don’t have far to go for the best in the nation. According to Bon Appétit magazine, it’s right here in Austin, at Franklin’s Barbecue on 11th. This young (two-year-old) eatery is surprising everyone, even getting favorable reviews from critics at the New York Times.
  • Whether you're on a vacation or a staycation, this is the place to be. Our area includes ten AAA Four-Diamond award-winning hotels. Included on the list are off-the-beaten-path resorts and spas as well as downtown digs, so travelers can choose just the right style and ambiance without having to forgo top quality service and amenities. And whether you go for the fun and funky or the stylish and elegant, Forbes has named Austin as one of the “10 best U.S. cities for a weekend vacation.” It seems our beer, barbecue and live music make this an irresistible place to visit. And don't forget Fido – named Austin the seventh “best place to vacation with your pet.”
  • Men love Austin too. Men's Health magazine ranked Austin as the sixth best place in the nation for men to get and stay in shape, reviewing data on exercise, heart disease, diabetes, depression and air quality to find the healthiest locales.


Sidebar of Related Information

The Top 5 Austin Hotels: Style Edition

There are plenty of brand-name hotels in Austin, and many of them are excellent. But we like things “weird” around here, so we’ve put together a list of places that best exemplify the funky, laid-back style of our little corner of Texas.

  • The Driskill — Named the “best place to pretend to be a cattle baron,” this 1886 landmark is where Texas style and luxury blend effortlessly into a truly authentic Austin experience. If you need to impress, this is the address.
  • W Austin — The sophisticated worldwide brand has finally opened a location in the capital of Texas, and it’s been well worth the wait. But the interior may surprise you — the experience of the lobby and its jewel-toned bar is more akin to visiting a rock star’s swanky pad than what you would expect from a 250-room, four-star hotel. Whether you're stopping by for a drink or spending the night, the W Austin is well worth checking out.  
  • Lake Austin Spa Resort — This nationally renowned respite was named the “#1 Destination Spa in North America” by Condé Nast Traveler in both 2008 and 2010, and by Zagat in 2009. Whether you stay for a week or a day, a trip to Lake Austin Spa is an absolute must for anyone who needs to get away from it all and recharge their mental, physical and spiritual batteries.
  • Hotel San Jose — This swanky So-Co hotel has become a fixture in the hippest neighborhood in Austin — a far cry from the once run-down, pre-war buildings that served as everything from a church Bible school to a brothel.
  • Hotel Saint Cecilia — Opened in 2008 by the same hotelier that developed Hotel San Jose, this chic urban space gives a nod to the Austin music scene, with vinyl records and turntables in every room. Named for the patron saint of music, it has quickly found favor with the many musicians who pass through Austin.