Profile: Austin, Texas
Population: 1.6 million (metro)
USDA Hardiness Zone: 8b
Major Airports: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Companies With a Major Presence Here: Two of Austin's biggest employers are state government and the University of Texas. Manufacturers such as Dell, 3M, Advanced Micro Devices, American Achievement Corp., Texas Instruments, Motorola, Motive, Carbo Medics, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, Dresser Wayne, Freescale Semiconductor, Hospira, National Instruments, Samsung, Silicon Laboratories, Solectron Texas, Spansion and Heliovolt.
Austin is hip, trendy and high-tech. A laid-back college town, Austin is also the home of political movers and shakers. Often called Silicon Hills because of a proliferation of established technology companies and entrepreneurial startups, Austin thrives on cutting-edge creativity and innovation. That mindset has led to development of clean energy and biotech as important industry sectors.
The city easily melds history and tradition with an avant-garde energy that captivates residents. Even in economic downturns, Austin has maintained its value in terms of affordable housing, low inflation and promising job growth. There’s a push to revitalize downtown as a retail center, while the music and movie industries continue to expand their presence and importance as revenue sources.
Living healthy is fundamental, and many residents make good use of multiple hike and bike trails in an extensive city park system. Nearby Lake Travis provides recreational boating opportunities, and a short drive into the Texas Hill Country reveals spectacular vistas of hills, lakes, rivers and wildflowers.