Top 50 Places to See and Visit While in Austin Texas!

Visitors to Austin and Austinites alike, I have compiled a list of my favorite 50 must-see’s in Austin TX! Check it out! Join the conversation by commenting on what your favorite things are to do in our great city!

Historic Austin Sites:

1. Texas State Capital: 112 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701
2. Texas State Cemetery: 909 Navasota Street, Austin, TX 78702
3. French Legation Museum: 802 San Marcos Street, Austin, TX 78702
4. Texas Governor’s Mansion: 201 E. 14th Street, Austin, TX 78701
5. University of Texas Campus: Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78705
6. Neil Cochran House Museum: 2310 San Gabriel Street, Austin, TX 78705
7. Driskill Hotel: 604 Brazos Street, Austin, TX 78701
8. German Free School: 507 E. 10th Street, Austin, TX 78701
9. Susanna Dickinson House: 409 E. 5th Street, Austin, TX 78701
10. Bremond Block House District: visit the website for specific information at www.tshaonline.org
11. Treaty Oak: 507 Baylor Street, Austin, TX 78703
12. Madison Log Cabin: 2300 Rosewood Avenue, Austin, TX 78702
13. Daniel H. Caswell House: 1404 West Avenue, Austin, TX 78701
14. Littlefield House: W. 24th Street and Whitis Avenue, Austin, TX 78712

Outdoor Activities, Swimming Holes, and Parks:

15. Austin Nature and Science Center: Nature Center Drive, Austin, TX 78746
16. Zilker Botanical Garden: 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78746
17. Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary: 10807 Rawhide Trail, Austin, TX 78736
18. Lake Travis: www.LakeTravis.com
19. Mayfield Park: 3505 West 35th Street, Austin, TX 78703
20. Mount Bonnell: 3800 Mount Bonnell Drive, Austin, TX 78731
21. Barton Springs Pool: 2201 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78746
22. Hamilton Pool: 24300 Hamilton Pool Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
23. Shoal Creek Greenbelt: 2600 Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78705
24. Deep Eddy Pool: 401 Deep Eddy Drive, Austin, TX 78703
25. Segway Tours: www.glidingrevolution.com, www.segcity.com
26. Lady Bird Lake aka Town Lake
27. Emma Long Metropolitan Park: 1600 City Park Road, Austin, TX 78730
28. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, TX 78739
29. Inner Space Caverns: 4200 S. I-35, Georgetown, TX 78626
30. McKinney Falls State Park: 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, TX 78744
31. Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum: 605 Robert E. Lee Road, Austin, TX 78704
32. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve: 805 N. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin, TX 78746
33. Zilker Park: 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78746

Museums:

34. Texas State History Museum: 1800 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701
35. Elisabet Ney Musuem: 304 E. 44th Street, Austin, TX 78751
36. George Washington Carver Museum: 1165 Angelina Street, Austin, TX 78702
37. LBJ Library and Museum: 2313 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78705
38. Blanton Museum: East MLK Junior Blvd., Austin, TX 78701
39. Harry Ransom Center: 300 West 21st Street, Austin, TX 78712
40. Mexic-Arte Museum: 419 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701
41. O. Henry Museum: 409 E. 5th Street, Austin, TX 78701
42. Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History: 2400 Trinity Street, Austin, TX 78705
43. Austin Children’s Museum: 201 Colorado Street, Austin, TX 78701
44. Austin Museum of Art Laguna Gloria: 3809 West 35th Street, Austin, TX 78703
45. Texas Military Forces Museum: 2200 W. 35th Street, Austin, TX 78703

Assorted Fun:

46. Sixth Street
47. Austin Steam Train: 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park, TX 78613
48. South Congress Avenue
49. Austin Farmers Market
50. Pioneer Farms

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Why Austin Texas is a Good Place for Real Estate Investment

Recently I read an interesting article that was published by the Bloomberg press about alternative investments. A majority of people interviewed for the article described real estate as a great ‘alternative investment’, and maybe I’m a bit biased being a real estate agent in Austin Texas, but I’ve always thought that real estate is a ‘great investment!’

I’ve noticed that endowment fund and pension fund associates are the most likely candidates to classify real estate as an alternative investment primarily because they’ve invested in stocks and bonds, however, in recent decades, they have started to expand their portfolios with alternatives. Some of these alternatives include:

  • Hedge funds
  • Private equity funds
  • Commodities
  • Venture Capital funds
  • Oil and gas properties
  • Master limited partnerships
  • REAL ESTATE

Obviously real estate investment is what really interests me, so I’m going to touch on some of the factors that drive this to be a smart diversification for your portfolio.

Texas currently has a population of around 26 million people, and state demographers are estimating that the population will more than double by 2050 (specifically about a 120% increase!) With this vast and rapid population growth, there is going to have to be a drastic increase in housing, apartments, infrastructure, offices, and shopping centers. Imagine what it will take to support this growth.

From the years 2000 to 2010, almost 50% of Texas population growth came from interstate migration, (you may have heard it called ‘domestic migration’ and it basically means moving from county to county, city to city, or state to state.) A major block of the people that migrated to Texas in this time frame came from Louisiana, California, Florida, Illinois, and Oklahoma.

With all of this estimated growth, where is it mostly going to happen? Texas is a huge state, largest in land mass of the lower 48, so it’s easy to assume that the growth won’t be all focused in one area, and some areas may see more dramatic shifts in population than others. Picture the state in your mind and let’s draw a triangle over a certain area of it…start up in Denton, go down to Houston, over to San Antonio, and back to Denton…it’s estimated that this triangle will see the greatest population growth…why? Opportunity.

Almost 70% of all the jobs in Texas are located in this triangle in the major metropolitan areas including Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Furthermore, close to 90% of the jobs are focused in the 25 major metro areas which mean that only 11% of jobs are located outside of the largest cities.

The State of Texas needs to build more homes. With the projected population growth, we will require more quality neighborhoods and new subdivisions for these homes. To fund these undertakings, we are going to need private equity investment and bank lending to provide capital. A shortage of lots and new homes, including low inventory of existing homes, is going to continue to push prices higher…which in my opinion makes real estate in Austin Texas a great alternative investment!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Do you think Austin Texas is a good place for real estate investment?  Call me today to figure out how you can grow your portfolio with Austin real estate.

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Top 12 Must-See Landmarks in Austin Texas

Think back to all of the great movies you’ve seen; most start with an awesome opening montage right? If the flick is set in LA, what will you see? Most likely, the Hollywood sign, bikini clad roller bladers in Santa Monica, and Rodeo Drive. What if it was set in Paris? You’d probably see an image of the Eifel Tower, the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, or a side walk bistro.

I think at some point everyone dreams of working in the films, so I’m going to use this as my opportunity to write an opening sequence for our beautiful city. See if you can find all of these sites while you are visiting…if you are moving here, give yourself a month to do them all!

Now…picture it…a bright, sunny day, not a cloud in the sky and…action:

1. Hi, how are you? This cool mural by musician Daniel Johnston is located at the corner of 20th St and Guadalupe.

2. Threadgills. Not only does this awesome little diner have excellent cobbler, it’s also the place where Janis Joplin got her start singing…check it out and feel the soul just oozing out!

3. Moonlight towers. There are only about 15 of these left in the city, and you might confuse them with cell towers, so be on the lookout. Back in the 1890’s, these towers were meant to provide light at night…the citizens of Austin were fearful that the constant light would make the produce grow continuously out of control, so the idea was jettisoned.

4. The Hyde Park Bar and Grill Fork. This piece of sculpture art is in a state of constant flux; the items that the fork holds up regularly change…you’ll see anything from French fries, a heart, and the UT Logo.

5. Austin Motel Sign. Located on South Congress, there isn’t too much to say about it…it’s just neat!

6. I Love You So Much. A love note written in graffiti, how much more romantic can you get? This note was placed on the side of Jo’s Coffee shop when the owners girlfriend thought that she was having a bad day and wanted to cheer her up!

7. Congress Bridge. If you’re fearful of bats…stay away! Come out between March and October to see the bats fly out from under the bridge; they help to keep the mosquito population low…I’ve not once been bitten while living in Austin! August through September is mating season, so the population is at its highest…you’ll be in for a real batty treat!

8. 360 Bridge. Climb the hill…look at the bridge. It’s pretty nifty…but please, don’t post your pictures of it…seriously, we’ve got enough HD pics to last a lifetime!

9. Hyde Park Gym Arm. No real good way to describe this one…just…drive by.

10. Central Market’s big oak tree. For those who don’t have a gorgeous tree in our yards, you can always come and visit this one. Located on North Lamar, this tree is great for climbing, picnicking under, or just reading a book. On Friday’s, CM puts on a live music show in the background.

11. Stevie Ray Vaughn sculpture.

12. Angelina Eberly Canon sculpture. So back in the day when we were an independent nation, our president, Sam Houston wanted to move our fair capital to Houston…I wonder why? After trying all of the legitimate government tricks, and not having much success, Houston sent a team to steal the government archives in the midst of the night. Luckily for Austinites, Angelina Eberly, a local innkeeper, heard the commotion and decided to investigate. What she found shocked her…Houston’s men were loading the archives onto wagons and trying to steal away! She ran down to the town canon which was located at 6th and Congress to sound the alarm…which she did so quite literally! Angelina shot off the canon, blowing a hole into the side of the land office, and causing enough of a ruckus to alert the sleeping city! The Austinites chased down Houston’s men, took back the archives, and there you have it, we are still the state capital today! Thanks Angelina!

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Why Austin is a Beautiful Place to Call Home!

Austin’s Inner Beauty

So last month I made the trek back east to visit my sister and her family…and I’ve got to tell you, Pittsburgh is a beautiful city! I grew up there, and go back quite often to visit, so it isn’t like I am unfamiliar with the landscape, but seriously, getting off the plane and seeing how GREEN everything is…it kind of just slaps you in the face…especially coming from Central Texas. Not to mention, there are huge, soaring trees, and every yard is manicured…I don’t think these people do much else other than take care of their yards….I mean, seriously, every inch is landscaped to perfection.

Now granted, my sister does live in the suburbs, but even driving through the city, all the lawns are pristine…these people must spend every moment of their time watering and weeding and mowing.

This thought makes me want to bring up a point about Austin that I’m somewhat loathe to admit…we aren’t the prettiest city out there…although we definitely have the soul and inner beauty! I say this because for those of you who are visiting for a weekend or on the fence about moving to Austin…we may not make the greatest first impression, but give us a chance to prove what true beauty is and I think you’ll find we’re a keeper!

Austin sits at the convergence of two types of landscapes; to our west we have rugged hill country where you’ll find an abundance of cedar, oak, and brush. To the east, there are vast rolling plains…think flat. The native plant life that grows here are somewhat flat, scraggly, and bushy…some would say weed-like…and it doesn’t help that we’ve been suffering a horrid drought. If something decides to take up root…we let it!

Another thing about Austin, the homes to the East, South, and especially in central Austin, are somewhat small; 1200-1700 square feet…although they have tons of charm and character! You’ve definitely got to be committed to living the ‘urban’ life if you settle in these areas, and if you don’t mind showering in a small stall, or sharing a single bathroom, you should be ok! The homes in these areas are typically 60 years or older; some of them are a great buy because of the fact that they need some TLC and updating…remember, up until about 15 years ago, this town was really just a college town!

Our downtown, urban core saw its main growth between the 50’s and 70’s, and some of the design ideas of that era…well…let’s just say they leave some room for improvement; but if you can get past the façade, you’ll find what’s inside really is awesome. The restaurants and shops contained within these older buildings are sure to impress, though I can see how a visitor driving by might not get it.

And yes, you may ask, what about the suburbs…well, they are definitely more maintained and manicured…so if this is your thing, we’ve got that; but you’ll still want to check out and get familiar with the feel of downtown.

It’s funny, but when I moved here 5 years ago, I wasn’t the least bit impressed by this city…so I can see how an outsider looking in might view us; I’ve been there, but now, now I think Austin is gorgeous and I love its laid back atmosphere and homey feel. I love the fact that we have greenbelts throughout the city and the river (although technically speaking, it’s dammed up, so really it’s a lake!) I love the charm of the older homes, and the pecan and oak trees in the front yards. I love that we have hills to the west and prairies to the east; and I especially love the clear, blue, open sky!

Austin is a great place to call home; I love it here…and if that gives me rose colored glasses, well…then I’m happy to be looking at a rose colored world!

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