You’re probably intrigued by Austin for its live music, breakfast tacos, and sunshine-y weather. It’s a pretty cool place to call home and a really fun city to visit!
And while we all know it’s the capital of Texas and the recipient of the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, here are few lesser known cool facts about Austin, Texas.
10 Cool things You Didn't Know About Austin Texas
1. Austin is home to the only nude beach in Texas.
Ever heard of Hippie Hollow Park? It’s located on the shores of Lake Travis, about a 30 minute drive from downtown Austin. It is the only legally recognized park in the state of Texas that is 100% clothing-optional.
Wondering if folks actually take advantage of that clothing-optional rule? I’ve been once or twice, and let me tell ya: they really do. 😉 photo via Travis County Parks
2. There are 30 "Texas Capitol View Corridors."
These are basically restricted windows where builders can’t put high-rises that would block pedestrian or highway views of our gorgeous State Capitol.
Ever wonder why some buildings in downtown Austin are designed at funny angles? It’s so that they don’t restrict the legally guarded views of the capitol. For instance, the 5th and West building is a triangle shape, which was designed so that it doesn’t block the viewing corridor.
3. Austin just got its first pro sports team...and it's a weird one.
Leave it to the weirdest city in Texas to get a soccer team as or first pro sports team.
Why not football, basketball, or maybe a nice baseball team, you ask? Because those are average American sports, and we are not an average American city. Soccer is one of the lesser-watched sports in the United States, and I freaking love that Austin is now home to an MLS team.
4. The Austin Library made Time Magazine's list of "World's Best Places" when it opened in 2018.
It really is quite a site! This epic library took 4 years and $125 million to build, and it includes a cafe, gift shop, art gallery, sweeping views of the Austin skyline, a floating staircase, a 350-seat event center, and a rooftop garden.
5. Lady Bird Lake is the same thing as Town Lake...and it's not really a lake.
Old-time Austinites still call it Town Lake, although the name was changed to Lady Bird Lake in 2007 to honor the former First Lady.
And no, it’s not an independent lake. It’s part of a chain of reservoirs on the Colorado River. Lady Bird Lake that was formed in 1960 when the Longhorn Dam was built. Now it’s a long, 6-mile stretch of water that’s perfect for rowing teams to use early in the morning. There’s also a lovely 10 mile trail that goes around the entire lake.
6. Austin is home to the largest bat colony in North America.
It’s located underneath the Ann Richards Congress Bridge. You can see actually see the bats emerge every night!
The bridge was reconstructed in 1980 and accidentally designed in a pattern that’s perfect for housing Mexican Free-Tailed Bats. These little critters live inside the bridge from March – October and fly out over the city at sunset to eat up to 30,000 pounds of insects every night. Thanks, bats!
7. The original town of Austin was basically the size of downtown.
It was bordered by the state capital building (north side) and the Colorado River (south side). The east and west borders of the city were marked by Shoal Creek and Waller Creek. And, just like today, Congress was the main north/south street in downtown.
8. There's only one Formula One racetrack in our nation, and it's in Austin Texas.
And if you’re not into F1 racing, there are all sorts of other events that take place there. Check out the Peppermint Parkway at Christmas or year-round concerts.
9. Austin has the tallest all-residential building west of the Mississippi River.
The Independent is that zig-zag building in our skyline (also called the “Jenga building.”) It’s 58 stories tall. (But watch out: 6 X Guadalupe is currently being built, and it’s going to be a whopping 66 stories tall.
10. Austin is home to the oldest swimming pool in Texas and the largest natural swimming pool in the nation.
Deep Eddy Pool was built in 1915 and served as a swimming pool of a resort. The bathhouse was built in the Depression era. (It was destroyed in a flood but rebuilt in 1936, and you can still visit it.) Meanwhile, Barton Springs pool is the largest natural swimming pool in the nation. It’s 3 acres large and is filled entirely from natural springs!