Waterloo, Texas? Yes, that’s what Austin went by back in 1837 before Mirabeau B. Lamar renamed the city two years later in honor of the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin. (Now you know why local businesses like the ice house tack on Waterloo.) Austin residents—Austinites—are proud of the capital city, home to the University of Texas, Sixth Street nightclubs, Zilker Park’s Barton Springs and Mexican Free-tailed Bats. If you’ve ever wondered why so many crowd together on the Congress Avenue bridge during summer sunsets, you can blame it on Austin’s bridge bats (above).
What attraction in Austin should not be missed?: The 1888 State Capitol (right, 112 E. 11th St.), and in the summer, Barton Springs (2101 Barton Springs Rd, in Zilker Park).
What’s the latest story everyone’s gossiping about?: Bio Willie diesel fuel (right) from Austinite/Country singer Willie Nelson (wnbiodiesel.com).
Who’s the person in Austin everyone knows?: Kinky Friedman because of his 2006 race to be governor of Texas.
Who knows Austin’s history best?: Terry Brooke—he’s involved in land development, music and the University
Best Route to Historic Downtown: Take I-35 to 6th St. to Congress—that way you see a lot!
Austin’s Old West Attraction: Capitol Saddlery (1614 Lavaca), founded in 1930 by T.C. “Buck” Steiner.
Best Cowboy Bar: Broken Spoke (3201 S. Lamar), with a musical history dating back to Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.
Best Western Bookstore: Out of the Past Collectibles (5341 Burnet Rd.).
Best Western Art Gallery: Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (1800 N. Congress Ave.), with interactive exhibits and an IMAX Theatre film sharing the history of the Lone Star State.
Most Popular Local Event: Austin City Limits, held in September—locals get to attend, dreamers get to watch on PBS.
Best Spot to View Wildlife: Wild Basin Preserve (805 N. Capital of Texas Hwy.).
What radio personality do the locals listen to?: Sam & Bob on 98.1 KUET FM (for those who don’t know, that’s Sammy Allred and Bob Cole).
Best Place to Buy Land: Oak Hill, on U.S. Highway 290 and Williamson Creek, eight miles southwest of Austin.
Average House Cost in Austin: $200,000.
Average Temperature: It’s Texas—you never know!