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10 Austin Stereotypes That Are Completely True

The world is full of stereotypes—here are 10 about Austin that are actually legit.

Natalie Grigson

Staff Writer

155 articles, 0 comments

You can’t always believe everything you read about Austin—but these stereotypes are pretty spot on.

1. It’s a Bunch of Liberal Hippies

Source: Flickr user ercwttmn

Source: Flickr user ercwttmn

These days, it may be more apt to say that Austin is filled with hipsters than hippies, but the liberal part still remains the same. Of course, not everyone is liberal, and not everyone is a hipster (there are still hippies around, after all), but for the most part, this one is right on the money.

2. Everyone Is in Tech

Source: Flickr user nicwn

Source: Flickr user nicwn

Speaking of money, Austin has it. A lot of it. One big reason for this is the booming tech community. Festivals like SXSW showcase Austin’s tech community, businesses like Dell, IBM, Apple, Google are in Austin, and the city was recently named one of the 10 best for tech startups in the U.S.

3. Everyone Is Beautiful

Source: Flickr user WDPG share

Source: Erik Thureson

Take a stroll in downtown Austin and you may not find yourself blown away by the city’s natural beauty, but you will definitely notice the natural beauty of its inhabitants. Maybe it’s because Austin is one of the fittest cities in America (as ranked by Shape Magazine), has a variety of healthy restaurants and health food stores, and residents have a natural sun-kissed glow year-round; or maybe it’s just that most everyone gives you a smile as you go by—after all, it is the South.

4. It’s Casual—on a Fancy Day

Source: Flickr user faster panda kill kill

Source: Flickr user faster panda kill kill

Sure there are those who get all gussied up simply to run errands in Austin—and that’s how you’ll know they’re not from around here. For the most part, the Austinite is a laid back creature. He likes to do things like “chill out,” he’ll tell you to “relax,” and shorts, flip flops, and a T-shirt? Why wouldn’t you wear that to the store—or to dinner… or the bar?

5. It Is Divided

Source: Flickr user mrlaugh

Source: Flickr user mrlaugh

This isn’t a fun one, y’all, but I’d be amiss to leave it out. Austin is divided, quite literally, by Interstate 35 (I35). On the west side, you have your various breeds of yuppie—hippies, liberals, the 20 conservatives left in the city, young money, old money—you get the idea. But cross I35 and it’s a different socio economic world. Some people say it’s getting “better”—and what they mean is, it’s becoming more like the west side.

6. It’s 10 Degrees Hotter than You’ve Heard

Source: Flickr user micklpickl

Source: Flickr user micklpickl

Have you heard that Austin is hot? Well, add 10 degrees and some humidity onto your idea of this, and you’ll understand what the weather’s like in Austin… in October.

7. Everyone Is a Musician

Source: Flickr user Kris Krug

Source: Flickr user Kris Krug

You know the stereotype of the guy who always walks around with a guitar? He shows up at the party—and surprise! He has his guitar. At a picnic—boom—it’s suddenly an acoustic show. Well, this is what Austin is like. Only instead of one guy, it’s everyone. And instead of a guitar, oftentimes it’s a full-on band.

8. It’s Proud

Source: Flickr user ms.akr

Source: Flickr user ms.akr

And by proud, I mean pretentious. Austin is all about Austin. Austin is so proud of itself; it is the most liberal city in Texas, it is the most unique, the most eclectic, the most fun, the most exciting, and so on. But the truth of the matter is, Austin has reason to be pretentious, because, you see…

9. It Really Is the Best City in Texas

Source: Flickr user Liang Shi

Source: Flickr user Liang Shi

So, maybe we are a little bit conceited in Austin, but it’s only because we’re awesome.

10. It Really Is as Weird as You’ve Heard

Source: Flickr user Brent Schneeman

Source: Flickr user Brent Schneeman

Where can you spend the day hopping from the Cathedral of Junk, to Chicken Sh*t Bingo, then to Alamo Drafthouse for a Nic Cage-A-thon, keeping an eye out for the flocks of wild parakeets—or no, perhaps those were just a few bats from the world’s largest urban bat colony—all the while fitting right in in your flip flops and khakis, your g-string and high heels, or perhaps dressing it up in your gorilla suit? Then only to retire to your trailer park home in the heart of Barton Springs—one of the trendiest real estate spots in town? Austin, Texas. The one and only.

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posted on: September 26, 2013
233,107 views, 40 comments

40 Comments

  1. Patrick

    10 bucks says you haven’t lived here long.

  2. molly

    …except the developers made you move away from your lovely trailer park because they decided to build condos on that spot…

  3. jennifer

    Born here. Raised here. Austin is way to overrated. I hate it here. Trying hard to get out!

    • JJ in response to jennifer

      Please try harder.

    • E in response to jennifer

      the city is so ruined. turning into another Houston. i lived in Austin in the 80’s when it WAS an authentically cool city. it’s still Texas, and they are still behind the times and it’s a hick place compared to any city in CA. every other vehicle is a giant pick em up truck, and it’s still a college town. NOT cosmopolitan.
      yuck ! the town is still full of Texans. YUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the land of guns, fake boobs, and boobs (the men).

  4. butt

    #’s 1 and 10 are mostly untrue. Austin is liberal, for Texas, but it’s way more conservative than, say, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia or New York. And even then, it’s got a very sizable population of libertarians, Ron Paul freaks, Alex Jones sympathizers and conspiracy theorists (but I repeat myself).

    And I think the most untrue thing about Austin is that it’s weird. Austin’s “weird” exactly like the picture: dudes wearing a funky gorilla costumes cause it’s fun kind of weird. Not “I wear a dress and dance on a bridge with scarves for tourists because I need to express myself and don’t know any other way to live” kind of weird (at least now that Leslie’s dead).

    2 – 9 hit the nail on the head though.

    • Sarcastic B*tch in response to butt

      Hence, the most liberal city in TEXAS. So yeah, that’s pretty accurate.

  5. john

    i love austin lived there for 5 years ,and had the best experience of my whole life, now 41 livin in PA, and never will regret movin to AUSTIN for that 5 years

  6. Roy S

    Pretty nead of you to put Leslie up there to remind all of us real Austinites (not the idiotic caricatures of 1 million plus people) that Leslie died a little over a year and a half ago.

  7. nick

    Ok, it is HOT here from June-September. But not in October. It’s beautiful in October here. Let’s not get carried away.

  8. Tanya

    This article is cute (though it could use an editor – there are some grammatical errors (eg amiss vs remiss)). I think Austin is one of the only cities that is composed mostly of people who love it – it is pretty hard to find a job here, so if you don’t love it here, you leave. Although most people who live here can find things to complain about, they would still rather live here than anywhere else.

  9. Jack

    It’s a far crappier city than you’d expect, but I agree that it’s probably the best city in Texas. It’s not so much a city but a series of highways intersecting one another, a college, a few residential areas. There’s no major public transportation besides a creepy, outdated bus system. If you want to go anywhere, it will take at least half an hour (walking or driving). Compared to Chicago or NYC, it doesn’t really feel like a city.

  10. Chris McDonald

    We have a new campaign in Houston called Keep Austin. We have our faults, but I love this city.

  11. klein

    yeah, I just wish I hadn’t told everyone how great it is 20 years ago when I was on the road all the time, now the traffic is in the top 10 worst…still the best city, period. if ya don’t think so, stay away, maybe take some of the bad drivers with ya.

  12. Wow

    Worst, overhyped city, but keep coming so I can make money on my home value. Terrible place whose last decent years were 2004-2005 or so. If you want a better version of what Austin is today (better infrastructure and more to do), try Dallas…. and no, not uptown…though that’s better than West 6th.

    keep thinking you guys are cool while the world around you rolls their eyes.

    • Sarcastic B*tch in response to Wow

      Yup. That’s why people keep coming here in waves. We are boring. There is nothing interesting. No need for anyone else to come here. Honestly, please don’t come here. There is no room for you. Especially if you
      re a yankee or a Goddamn californian.

  13. BoxerJen

    I LOVE Austin! I am a transplant from Houston and I can tell you that I can be myself here and no one really cares…In Houston, I was constantly ridiculed…even bullied.I know some Austinites wish outsiders would not come here, and while I am a transplant, I love and respect this community, whereas many that come here are indifferent to it and therefore have no real connection to it. As to the liberalism, This is a capital city, so there is some political diversity here…Yet in spite of that, Austin stands out as the “free spirit” among a conventional tribe (The rest of the state)! It’s funny, after I spent time here,when I visit other places in the state, I can feel the difference in the political/social vibe…and I suddenly feel the need for my guard to go up. Do NOT misunderstand me…I am a proud Texas girl (even though her politics make me cringe at times)…But I Love AUSTIN and say to those who don’t; You have a choice, If you don’t love it then leave it…and then leave it alone.

  14. brad

    Lived there when it was cool at 175,000 people from 72 to 82. Glad I moved on to Dallas. They are way too proud; although I love my Alma Mater, Couldn’t pay me to live there now with the pretentious ignorant liberals. – they think they are so cute but have no clue. LMAO

  15. me

    the divide is the most accurate, and it represents the racist division of austin. the people saying its getting “better” basically means that there is extreme gentrification taking place causing the majority of the black community to basically RUN from austin. So for black people… Austin is pushing us out.

  16. orbitboy

    The only items that are even remotely true are 5, 6, 8 and 9–and none of those are anything to brag about. “Best city in Texas”? That’s like saying the Big Mac is the best item on the menu at McDonald’s… so what? 1, 2 and 3 are completely ridiculous. Austin is liberal compared to Waco and San Angelo, but it’s becoming more conservative by the day.

  17. AustinNativeSoftwareGuy

    This list is a bunch of bullshick written by an ignorant moron who hasn’t been here long….weird ended in 94 (its waaaay over by now and has been replaced by “corporate”). The hippies left..many of the old school ones moved out to Llano /Johnson City/Fredericksburg…we don’t even have drag worms anymore (author probably doesn’t even know what that is). We are being overrun by morons from Cali, Ny, Fla and Jersey. There is still not enough job growth to keep up with the mindless sheep moving here because they saw it on Oprah. The housing market is over inflated and blatant untruths are published about its prominence in the media and by the Austin Board of Real Estate liars. Cool places like Town Lake and Zilker are often so packed it’s just a hassle to go. Countless old Austin treasures are being bulldozed left and right. You can’t park downtown in many areas without a neighborhood permit now like Boston and San Fran (pathetic). Everyone is not a musician…EVERYONE is a WANNABE REALTOR like everyone is an actor in LA. Many of the natural treasures are being threatened including the Barton Creek Watershed which is seeing East/West Coast BIG MONEY developers attempting to eliminate parts of the Save our Springs (SOS) ordinance that preserved so much of the land from development. Much will be paved in the near future. Traffic is horrible. The crime rate has jumped big time because we are getting the trashy/criminal people from the lovely aforementioned states heading here because they heard it was cool. Many longtime Austin natives are leaving in droves to make room for the sheep previously mentioned. Lake Travis is at an all time low level. Population demands on water are going to be a HUGE problem. Bring your own lifetime supply of water if you move here. You’ll need it. It isn’t all bad but it is not what this article portrays. Wonder what they stand to gain by writing these lies?

    • June in response to AustinNativeSoftwareGuy

      These are the most truly insightful words I have seen in all of this diatribe. We lived in Austin for over 30 years (1967-1998) and watched it go from super cool, interesting and beautiful to just another big, crowded city, now governed by the carpetbaggers who came swarming in there during the 1980’s boom. We loved it passionately until the outsiders completely transformed it into the nightmare it now is. We moved to a tiny coastal town and never looked back. Most of our kids still live in that area and love it, but they don’t really remember what it was!

  18. Jay

    I love all of Texas from El Paso to Beaumont , Texarkana to Brownsville and Dalhart to Bay City. Austin is proof that we are friendly and welcoming to everyone in Texas. We even tolerate liberals, but please either love it or leave it. My relatives were in Tennessee for the revolutionary war and in Texas when it won it independence from Mexico. I would rather live in a shack in Fort Stockton that a Penthouse in Manhattan. That is not to put down New York it is just to show you the heart of a true Texan. Even if you arrived yesterday you can have the heart of a true Texan and if you don’t please be very quiet or go back where you came from.

  19. anony123

    RIP Leslie Cochran. I hope the city finishes your bronze soon!

  20. Bill

    I was raised In Austin and it is the greatest city in the country. And, no, it’s not weird at all. The only liberals are the wannabe fakes and the liberal arts dept. of UT.

    • June in response to Bill

      WRONG! Most of my family still lives there, they are every one of them a liberal! And they are not alone, not by a long shot!

  21. Sarah Chambless

    I’m a Texan, plain and simple. Maybe not what you’d typically think, being that I’m from the Houston/Galveston area, a bit more urban than one might expect.
    I moved to Austin just over five years ago and feel quite at home! There is enough of a “southern” feel (although I don’t consider Texas ‘the South’, we’re Texas after all). We’re also , in Austin, accepting of other mindsets and cultures. The city is beautiful…and different…and culturally sound.
    Is there a political side? Yep, its the capital of our great state. But I have many friends of many different beliefs. And, you know what? It works here. People come together for the greater good. I will never live anywhere else!

  22. IAMME

    I’ve been in Austin since 1983. When I hit 42 they made me move out of town to the country.

  23. Kimberly

    Some of these stereotypes are still just stereotypes, sorry. Some are right on, but some need some refinement.

    I am one of the few native Austinites here – yes, we are now very few – and I have been here for 32 years. I have seen the city in its heyday and its amazing growth spurts that followed. But if you were to meet me, I’d immediately disprove points 1,2, and 4. I’m a strong conservative working in the North Austin fashion industry – and bringing classy, upscale fashion back into Austin’s laid back culture is my thing (I will admit the laid back part). I do love Austin – I love all the things you can do here as well as the people. Our fitness culture is a perk, and as I am gluten intolerant, I appreciate how the city is one of the best places to live if you have this problem.

    However, every year, I find SXSW overhyped, rents skyrocketing, overcrowding everywhere, and the city getting more and more dangerous on the roads. We need some serious reworking of our infrastructure, and until then, I keep my downtown presence to a minimum. I never really feel safe there. Which leaves #9 also disproved.

  24. David

    Yes, WAY over-rated! We lived there for 8 years and now live north of Dallas. We came to Austin from southern California in 2005, drawn by “Top 10 PR Propaganda Lists” like this one that made Austin seem like a poor-man’s Malibu. We are now enjoying the suburbs north of Dallas and meeting normal, decent, family-oriented, down-to-Earth, people. The best part of Austin is the PR people and their ability to hype the city as the hippest, coolest, greatest place on Earth. The biggest Kool-Aid drinkers of this delusion are born and raised Austinites themselves. Many of whom, have never lived anywhere else. Tell them that the best cuisine in the world is delivered out of a hot dog truck near the Congress Avenue Bridge and they will stand in line for an hour in intense heat drooling like Pavlov’s dogs for a lousy cupcake. Tell them that they are privileged to swim in a cold, algae infested concrete pond and they will act like they are in Maui on the road to Hanna. The worst part of Austin is the people, particularly those originally from Austin. Despite the outward appearance of diversity, the UT Alumnus driving his Mercedes with the personalized Longhorn license plate and the freak show hippie wearing a thong from a second-hand store both suffer from the “Look at Me Disease.” Austin has the highest concentration of pompous, pretentious, self-absorbed, narcissistic, posers anywhere in America. These people are worse than ostentatious, they are Austintatious. If you must move to the Austin area for a job, live as far out in the northwest suburbs as you can stand to commute, join a medium sized church, meet fellow outsiders and 2nd class citizens like yourself, and avoid people who wear burnt orange. Finally, don’t stop planning your escape!

    • Couldntbemoreserious in response to David

      Please share your views with everyone you know. EVERYONE. The world must know of your experience and direction! I beg of you! The more people that move here, the more pompous and pretentious it gets. The flock of yuppies and over-compensating, self-entitled arrogant U.T. grad students from all over are ruining everything.

    • CAW in response to David

      Best comment of the bunch (including the article itself).

      signed,

      Texan in (self) exile

    • mattt in response to David

      @David, speaking of pompous and over-rated….we’re happy you moved away :)

  25. Paul Lykins

    I lived in Austin 90-91 and grew up in SAT. Loved the people,food,music..Loved it all and I sometimes wish I never moved from it but life has its own plans and I love the paradise I have now in SE Florida. Great food,new craft breweries popping up everywhere; 2 within 10 minutes, one close enough to bike to, good people & awesome nature, but not so much music. But the beach is 10 minutes away and the Keys 2 hours so I’m good.

  26. Mike

    Reading the article & commentary made me smile.
    Reminded my of San Diego 40 years ago. Greatest
    place in the country to live; then. Now live in small town Florida. San Diego memories are some my best!

  27. That Guy

    Never saw one decent band in Austin while I was there, a hundred venues with a hundred crap bands, and every year there was a new crop of crap.

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