Mar 19, 2022 - News

Newcomers guide: What to know about Austin

Willie Nelson in performance.

Willie Nelson performs at the Texas state Capitol in 2021 during a rally for voting rights legislation. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Once known as Waterloo, Austin is a college town, a tech town, a music town and, of course, a capital town.

Between the lines: There's no shortage of lovely nooks and neighborhoods, but finding a place that fits your budget is the trick.

Where to buy your first house: Try Wells Branch, Pflugerville or, nearer in, Southeast Austin.

Who you gonna call: Sidewalk falling apart? Garbage wasn’t collected? If you're in Austin and need help with any non-emergencies, call 311.

What to watch: "Slacker," Richard Linklater's 1990 plotless, zeitgeist-capturing film about young Bohemians.

  • Of note: Cult classic "Office Space" was shot in ATX.

What to read: The "Path to Power," the first volume of Caro's magisterial Lyndon Baines Johnson biography, which tells you everything you need to know about the Hill Country.

  • Billy Lee Brammer's "The Gay Place," an LBJ-inflected novel about politics set in Austin.
  • "Waterloo," a satire of slackers and politicos by Karen Olsson.
  • "Christmas in Austin," the second volume in a fictional family epic by Benjamin Markovits.

Horns up: Our heroes are University of Texas football player Earl Campbell, the late blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughan and the pioneering politician Barbara Jordan, and the incomparable Willie Nelson.


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