On Baylor Street in Old Austin, the 600-year-old Treaty Oak stands as a testament to the area's heritage. Legend has it that the Treaty Oak was the site of treaty signings between Stephen F. Austin (the "father of Texas") and local Indians. While there is no official record of Austin ever being in the city that bears his name, Central Austin contains a rich set of historical elements ranging from residential properties to community sites and businesses that provide a clear picture of Austin from the late 1800s.
The primary schools for Central Austin are Casis Elementary, O. Henry Middle, Austin High School and the Dill Special Program. All are part of the Austin Independent School District (AISD). More than 77,000 students are served by the AISD, a recent recipient of 14 National Blue Ribbons and five Texas State Blue Ribbon awards for excellence in education.
Economy & Job Market
Built in 1893, the Great Granite Dam on the Colorado River was a milestone for Austin, bringing electricity to the city and with it more manufacturing business. Today, Austin is a center of technology and home to some of the biggest names in the computer industry, such as Dell Computer Corporation, Motorola, Inc., IBM, Tivoli Systems, 3M, Applied Materials, Helio Volt, and WorldCom. Rapid growth in the 1970s led to strong neighborhood, environmental and historic preservation, an integral part of the area's modern civic life.
Attractions & Points of Interest
Austin has its own professional symphony, ballet and opera companies; dozens of theaters, dance companies, vocal ensembles, and orchestras producing events year-round. Art museums, galleries galore and beautiful gardens replete with sculptures provide a never-ending canvas of enticing shapes and colors. The Austin Museum of Art, Laguna Gloria is also a popular destination.
Austin is hailed as the "Live Music Capital of the World" with more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation. By the time spring rolls around, Austin is awash in arts festivals incorporating music, food, the great outdoors or the great club scene, and all facets of the arts. South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits draw massive crowds from across the country, driving the city's "creative economy" and showcasing hundreds of musicians from every musical genre.
Between Town Lake and downtown Austin, 2nd Street District is an adventurous urban neighborhood with 225,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and entertainment venues, as well as living spaces. Architecturally, 2nd Street District has an eclectic modern urban style with a distinct Austin Flavor. Traffic from public, private and civic sectors naturally feed into 2nd Street District. The master plan for the public areas is being capably driven by the City of Austin. The city has invested in extra-wide, tree-lined sidewalks, making it inviting for window shopping, dining or people watching at a sidewalk cafe. Second Street is already well-traveled and will only become more active with pedestrian traffic coming from surrounding offices, the thriving warehouse district, the Convention Center, spirited public forums at City Hall, and people visiting surrounding museums and parks.
When it comes to food, Austin cuisine melds flavors from throughout the world, served in some of the friendliest restaurants around. Again, you might find yourself indoors at a swanky club sipping your martini, or lakeside with your locally brewed beer. In the city center, residents have access to the Central Business District, the Capitol Complex and the entertainment district as well as historic communities that surround the University of Texas.
Parks & Recreation
While the big city conveniences of Metro Austin are nearby, Central Austin retains the flavor of its humble beginnings. Austin and the surrounding Texas Hill Country offer locals innumerable opportunities to play: hike-and-bike trails, swimming holes, acres of parks, and local professional and collegiate athletics. The city boasts 14,300 acres of parks. The hills west of the city include more than 7,566 public acres. Hunting and fishing also are available on private lands near the city.
The 3.27-acre West Austin Park is still one of the most popular family spots in the city. A Moonlight Tower, one of the 17 fully restored towers remaining in Austin, still stands at the corner of 12th and Blanco Streets; an omnipresent reminder of how important it is to remember the heritage of Central Austin and preserve the quality and character of the neighborhood for future generations. The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, a 227-acre enclave, is just minutes from downtown. Other outdoor venues also attract visitors and residents alike, such as the Taylor Slough and Lime Kiln in Reed Park, Walsh Boat Landing and Westenfield Park.
Zilker Metropolitan Park is 351 acres of recreational activities ranging from volleyball and soccer fields to a nine-hole Disc Golf Course. Take a stroll down to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, which features works by artist Charles Umlauf. The Zilker Botanical Gardens, including the Taniguchi Oriental Garden, and Austin Nature and Science Center let children explore the outdoors and reacquaint adults with nature. Keeping in line with Austin's music tradition, Zilker Hillside Theatre is host to jazz and country concerts, along with the Zilker Summer Musical and Shakespeare in the Park during the summer. Hiking, biking, picnicking and swimming at Barton Springs Pool, the famous 1,000 foot-long spring-fed pool— with a year-round water temperature of 68 degrees—on the shores of Town Lake in offers fun for all ages.
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