Alert
Close

Take AARP’s Smart Driver course and you could save money on your car insurance. Learn more

Highlights

Close
Technology and Innovation

 

 

Think You Know AARP Caribbean Cruise Sweepstakes

 

 

AARP Auto Buying Program

 

 

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

 

 

Military and Veterans Discount

 

 

AARP Real Possibilities

 

New Book

Dating After 50: How to get back in the game

Dating After 50 For Dummies

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Webinars

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

 

Home & Community Webinars

Family & Caregiving Webinars

Popular Articles

Viewed

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Poll: Are You a Real Techie?

Best Places to Retire 2012

Great Quirky Places to Retire

10 funky and artsy cities that free spirits will love

AARP list of quirky places where you can retire- a music festival in Austin, Texas

Austin has a rich music and arts scene. — Photo by J. Dennis Thomas/Corbis

Austin, Texas

The question that free thinkers have about Austin, long a traditional oasis of liberal edginess, is whether or not its soul has grown staid. We think not. Originality remains a badge of pride here, as do progressive political stances (gay rights, for example), green living, large and convenient parks, and artsy festivals.

This metro area of 1.7 million, on the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country, sprawls along Interstate 35, about 200 miles south of Dallas.  One reason Forbes magazine called Austin “recession proof” in 2008 is the job market at the University of Texas (enrollment 50,995), which attracts top talent in fields like medicine, computer science and engineering. UT joins Austin Community College (45,000 students) and Texas State’s campus in San Marcos (30,803) to anchor a young metro area that ranks among the most literate U.S. cities.

Austin’s urban design follows Complete Streets, a national network advocating shared roads usage. It is bicycle-friendly and has a high ratio of total parkland per 1,000 residents. One standout is Barton Springs, where the limestone bed of Barton Creek has been quarried to make a large natural swimming pool.  It’s an essential stop in Austin’s scorching summer.

Austin boasts excellent ballet and dance companies, the Austin Museum of Art, and UT’s Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, the largest university art museum in the United States. But the real musical action is at Austin’s honky-tonks. Texas dance halls and bars like the Broken Spoke, Continental Club and Antone’s showcase iconic Texas musicians, including Joe Ely and Asleep at the Wheel, plus up-and-coming acts. 

Big annual events include the South by Southwest festival in spring and the Texas Book Festival in late fall, featuring hundreds of authors and panel discussions.

Crime is much lower in Austin than it is in most other Texas cities. Traffic congestion is an issue and feeds the high use of mass transit and foot and bike commuting.

The availability of doctors is below average here, and there are not many hospital beds per capita. But Austinites have low mortality from heart disease and cancer, and low rates of obesity, cholesterol problems and hypertension. Maybe abiding by the unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” also keeps the locals young.

Next Page: A dreamy locale with quirky street cred. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Video Extra

$100 A Day: It's not only the inexpensive living. These lovely places have culture, greenery, and friendly, welcoming communitites for retirees on a budget.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

1-800flowers.com (1-800flowers.com)

Members save 20% or $20 on purchases of $79.99  from
Fruitbouquets.com.

Collette Vacations

Members save up to $200 per couple on select tours with Collette Vacations.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

This program is supported by a generous grant from Toyota to AARP Foundation.

*Upon completion, you may be eligible to receive an auto insurance discount. Other restrictions apply.

Consult your agent for details.