If you found yourself asking, “What’s up with the reference to Austin as America’s weirdest city?” then I can tell you’re not from around these parts. No disrespect, but folks even a little bit familiar with Austin know our city motto is — literally — KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD.
And I’m not even kidding. You see this logo (or some variation of it) on everything!
So what makes us so weird? Well, for starters, how many other cities even have a well-known motto? * That in and of itself is a odd thing, if you ask me — though truly, one need look no further than Leslie Cochran, Austin’s beloved would-be mayor and all around iconic figure, parading in his feather boa and bikini bottoms around South Congress until his passing in 2012 (RIP, Leslie) for proof of just how weird we can be!
And well, yes, it’s true: other cities have their oddities too. I know. Seattle, for instance, has a wall covered in used gum.
Chewed gum, covering an entire 50-ft wall. And Seattleites LOVE it. Ponder that.
And in Waikiki residents joyfully gather together every year to celebrate a canned meat product during their annual Spam Jam festival. (Fun fact: Hawaii consumes more Spam per capita than any other state in the Union.)
But I digress.
What really makes Austin so weird is what makes it so lovable. It is this amazing mishmash of people, tastes, cultures and lifestyles. It is cowboy-booted, traditional style side by side with a hipster chic aesthetic. It is craft beer, coffee houses, music and activity-centric fun! It is dive bars, wildflowers, cool architecture, Tex Mex food and outdoor living. It is world class academics, liberal politics (politically, Austin is a bright blue dot in the deep sea of red state Texas), football and BBQ. We’re known as the live music capital of the world, with the renowned SXSW and ACL music festivals bringing an eclectic mix of musicians and musical styles here annually. Austin is also home to the mostly only locally-known but still culturally significant traditions (some more significant than others) like Eeyore’s Birthday Party, Pecan Street Festival, and the Hispanic Heritage Festival, not to mention the intoxicating smell and taste of Lavender Fest in nearby Blanco. Oh, and as of 2012 we are home to Formula One racing at the Circuit of the Americas track.
Austin features a wide array of cool and unique neighborhoods, from funky to stately — there’s a little something for everybody! To get a better idea of some of our local communities, click here for a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown.
Austin is usually in one of the top spots on every “Best Of” or “Most Popular” list around, for a whole host of reasons. We are unique and diverse. Our economy is thriving and our real estate market is red hot — we’ve got people moving here in DROVES and it’s easy to see why.
We are AUSTIN. We are WEIRD. And we LOVE it.
* By the way, Portland: we know y’all have taken to using our motto and applying it to your city. That’s fine, we can share. But just remember it was ours first, and y’all are a bunch of copycats!! 🙂