You might think you know a thing or two about beautiful Austin, Texas, but let us tell you: for every thing you know about the city, there’s a lot more that you don’t!
If you’re plotting a visit to Austin, and you want to wow your fellow travelers with your knowledge of the city, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about this bustling Texas metropolis.
1. It Wasn’t Always Called Austin
Austin wasn’t always called Austin! The city’s original name was “Waterloo,” but it was ultimately renamed in honor of the “Father of Texas” and the republic’s first secretary of state, Stephen F. Austin.
2. It’s Been Populated Since 9200 BC
Long before the area that is now known as Austin existed, it was occupied by indigenous groups like the Tonkawa, Comanche and Lipan Apaches. In fact, the area has been populated since way back in 9200 BC. That is some serious history!
3. It’s the Home of the Largest Urban Bat Colony in North America
Austin is the home of the world’s largest urban bat colony. Each year, from March to November, the city’s Congress Avenue Bridge becomes the home of more than 1.5 Mexican free-tailed bats. When those bats take flight to hunt at dusk, it’s a sight to behold. Bring your camera!
4. It’s The Only City on Earth that Still Uses Moonlight Towers
A moonlight tower is a structure designed to illuminate areas of a town or city at night. While these structures used to be quite prevalent, Austin is the only city in the world that still uses them!
5. It’s the “Live Music Capital of the World”
Austin is known as “The Live Music Capital of the World”—and for good reason. The city is home to a substantial 200 live music venues, more than 2000 bands, and massively popular festivals like Austin City Limits. If you love live music, you’ll love Austin. It’s that simple.
6. It Has the Only Legal Nude Beach in Texas
Fancy a dip sans swimsuit? Austin is the only city in Texas where you can do so legally, thanks to the nude beach at Hippie Hollow at Lake Travis.
7. It’s a Popular Filming Location
Austin is a long way from Hollywood, but it’s a very popular filming location nonetheless. A number of high-profile films were shot in the city, including Miss Congeniality, Dazed and Confused, Boyhood, Spy Kids, and Kill Bill: Volume 1. In other words, it’s the kind of city film buffs will love!
8. It’s One of the Sunniest Cities in the U.S.
It’s always sunny in Austin. Well, almost always. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the city gets roughly 219 sunny days a year—so don’t forget to pack some sunscreen!
9. The City Celebrates Eeyore’s Birthday
Every year, on the final Saturday of April, people in Austin give Eeyore, the downtrodden donkey from Winnie the Pooh, a reason to smile by celebrating his birthday. This surprising celebration was originally intended as a picnic for English Department students at UT Austin, but has since taken on a life of its own!
10. It’s a Dog-Friendly City
Traveling to Austin with a four-legged friend? Good news! The city is wonderfully dog-friendly, with 12 off-leash parks, and a number of hotels and restaurants that will happily welcome your canine companion.