Making the Move to Austin Texas Fun for Your Family
As you move in to your new home in the Austin area, you’ll soon realize why the city was ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report as the best place to live in the United States. A favorable job market, available housing, good schools and a strong sense of community make Austin a great choice for you and your family.
Austin Area Overview
The Austin area is home to more than 2 million people and is among the fastest growing U.S. cities with about 40,000 people moving to the community in 2016. One reason for its growth rate: jobs. Austin ranked #1 as the next biggest U.S. boom town and was recently named the #1 tech city in the world. Housing, especially newly built homes, is benefiting from the area’s growth, with new home starts up 19.5% in the most recent quarter. Median prices for new homes have remained stable at around $300,000 as builders add more new homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range.
Austin also ranks highly for its educational opportunities, with 8% of its high schools rated among best in the nation. The area offers public, private, and charter school options for K-12 children. Higher education options are robust with the area hosting the University of Texas as well as 26 other universities and colleges to provide employers with highly educated workers.
The community offers a friendly culture built around its diverse population. The charm of the South, the feisty spirit of the West, and the savviness of the tech world combine to create a welcoming vibe throughout the area.
Family Activities Abound in Austin
Austin may be the Live Music Capital of the World, home of the Longhorns, and a great place for Mexican food and BBQ, but it also offers fun activities for families.
For outdoor lovers:
Travel to the heart of Austin and visit Zilker Park. With 350 acres, gardens, and a nature and science center, your family will want to visit year-round. Recommended activities include:Digging for dinosaur bones at the Science Center’s Dino Pit.
Riding the Zilker Zephyr through the park.
Playing hide and seek at the playground near the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden.
Going to a free show at the Zilker Hillside Theater.
Head to Lady Bird Lake for hiking or biking on the 10 miles of trails around the lake. Named after President Johnson’s wife, the lake offers a lot to do when the weather is nice, and in Austin, that’s about 300 days each year! Family options are:Riverboat cruises for lunch or dinner.
Kayaking or canoeing, or if you’re up for an adventure, paddle boarding. The lake prohibits motorized boats, so the water is quiet and serene.
Bat-watching during March and November. Austin is home to 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats who make their home under the bridge at South Congress Street. Watching them head out at sunset for their evening meal is an unforgettable Austin experience.
Get a taste of Austin quirkiness by visiting the Cathedral of Junk, an outdoor, multi-story sculpture made from an amazing array of objects including tool, toys, car parts, building materials and signs. Be sure to call ahead when you plan to visit, and set aside some time to fully enjoy the memorable sights and sounds in the sculpture.
For indoor adventures:
A visit to Austin’s Thinkery with 40,000 square feet of fun activities devoted to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) is sure to keep hands and heads busy. Programs are available for all ages from infants to adults, including a parent’s night out, a family night, and recently, a gingerbread workshop.
For full-out play, try Mt. Playmore, the largest indoor fun center in Austin. The nearly 20-foot tall play structure is called Texas-sized with good reason. Families can enjoy arcade games, rides, and made-on-site food from the kitchen.
These are just a few of the activities available in the Austin area. When you’ve settled in to your new home, be sure to take time to enjoy all that Austin has to offer newcomers.