If you’re like me, when you think “Austin,” you think “capital of Texas”—and that’s about it. If I had to uproot my whole life to move somewhere other than glorious Los Angeles, I’d go to New York, Hawaii or Intercourse, PA before it even occurred to me to consider Austin.
But then I thought about it and figured Austin would be a great place for me to relocate to under the witness protection program because that would be the last place Vinny and his henchmen would look for me (naturally they would assume that I’d gone to Weed, CA or Pie Town, NM based on my known interests).
So here are 10 things you need to know about moving to Austin if testifying against the mob has forced you to up and leave your hometown:
Since it’s the 11th-most populated city in the country, not to mention the fourth-most populated city in Texas, there’s plenty of opportunities to get lost in a crowd of 912,791 people. Or Austinites, as those in the know say.
As of 2012, the FBI officially considers Austin to be the second-safest city in the country. Of course, a lot can change in three years. Plus, that’s not taking into account what might happen if Vinny’s flunkies make an appearance here.
Not weather-wise; otherwise. Austin’s official slogan is “The Live Music Capital of the World” and its unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” What better place to go on the lam and assume a disguise? Other ways that Austin is cool is that it hosts international film festivals such as the SXSW Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival. And, if that’s not enough to prove that Austin is cool, the Nielsen Company says that Austinites read more blogs than any other American city. So there, you illiterate and offline rest of the country!
Speaking of weather, this city has a humid subtropical climate. In layman’s terms, it’s dang hot and muggy. Summer temperatures are in the high 90s or low 100s and winter temperatures are in the high 90s or low 100s. Kidding. Somewhere in the 60s. Except on January 31, 1949 when it hit −2 °F.
It Used To Be the Capital of a Country
Unless you were educated outside of the United States, you probably won’t know that Texas used to be an independent country. Yup. In 1836, Texas won independence from Mexico and became a bona fide country with a president, congress, and monetary system. Nine years later, in 1845, Texas joined the Union (not the Teamsters, silly, the United States). Too bad it’s not still a separate nation; how great would that be to claim refugee status from Oklahoma?
It Has Funky Nicknames
Like all the cool kids in school that you were never part of, Austin has several nicknames (and if you’re running from the mob, you’d best get used to pseudonyms):
- Bat City
- The Capitol City
- City of the Violet Crown
- Hippie Haven
- Blueberry in the Red State
- Liberal City of Texas
- The Big Nap
- Silicon Hills
It’s a Liberal City
Considering how conservative the rest of Texas is, it’s pretty impressive that Austin is so liberal. If you’re into public protesting, no better place to do it than in the capital of a state that executes more people under the death penalty than any other state in the country (530 people since 1982, for those of you keeping count). Well, at least if Vinny catches up to me and deep sixes me, he’ll get the stainless steel ride.
It’s an Income Tax-Free State
If nothing else on this list convinces you that Austin is the perfect place to move to, then this point should. Texas is one of seven states that doesn’t collect income tax. That’s good news if the witness protection program places you in a new life as a move theater usher.
It’s Barbecue Central
In Austin, barbecue is its own food group. Best places to check out: Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, and your local cardiologist.
It’s a Great Place to Become an Alcoholic
Everyone drinks in Austin all the time. I could have added “and drunk” to each one of these points—as in “It’s big and drunk.” This town is full of bars and every event is really just an excuse to drink: ACL, SXSW, S-Games, picnic at Hamilton Pool, fireworks on Lake Austin, drinking coffee and ignoring people at Spiderhouse, UT football games, watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse, playing video games at Pinballz Arcade, or going anywhere on Dirty Sixth.