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Austin, Texas- Capital and Silicon Hills
by Howard Giske

Austin is the capital of Texas, with a population of about 700,000, and 1.4 million in its metropolitan area. The city has been part of the internet and related technology boom, and sometimes bust. With the concentration of companies in the city it has been given the nickname, "Silicon Hills".

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) provides public transportation to the city, primarily by bus. Capital Metro is building a commuter rail system that is scheduled for completion in 2008. The 332-mile commuter rail line runs from the suburb of Leander to Downtown Austin. Capital Metro is planning extensive commuter rail lines in the future to be built. The system will be built on existing freight rail lines and will serve downtown Austin, East Austin, Northwest Austin, and Leander in its first phase. This new mass transit can certainly raise the value of accessibility of many areas in Austin homes and real estate.

Austin is located on the Colorado River, with three lakes created by dams in the city limits: Town Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Walter E. Long, all along the Colorado River. Austin has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters A great place to have a picnic and get panoramic views of Lake Austin is on Mt. Bonnell, which towers to the height of 780 feet, at least 250 feet higher than the surrounding area. It is located at 3800 Mt. Bonnell Road

The Austin City Limits Music Festival is an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park. Other annual events include Eeyore's Birthday Party and Carnaval in February. Austin also has a wide variety of theatre productions with dozens of companies producing a wide variety of work. Austin Lyric Opera is known for its opera productions, including modernistic works such as premieres of the Philip Glass opera, Waiting for the Barbarians. Other attractions in Austin include the Blanton Museum of Art, opened in 2006, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum across the street, opened in 2000. The Texas State Capitol is also worth visiting.

Austin's biggest employers include the State of Texas, The University of Texas, the SETON Healthcare Network, Dell, IBM and Freescale Semiconductor. Other high-tech companies in Austin include Apple Inc., and AMD. Buildings that comprise Austin's skyline are modest in height and somewhat spread out. The latter characteristic is due to a restriction that preserves the view of the Texas Capitol building from various locations around Austin. Austin's current tallest building, the Frost Bank Tower, opened in 2004 and stands at 515 feet and is located at the corner of Congress Avenue and 4th Street. Under construction are the 55-floor Austonian at 700 feet, and the 5th and Congress Tower at 705 feet tall. Many of these hi-rises are luxury condominium buildings. The University of Texas at Austin is also the flagship institution of The University of Texas System, and tends to give at least some parts of Austin the feel of a college town, since it has about 50,000 students. It has 16 schools, including a law school. Other institutions of higher learning include Austin Community College, and Concordia University.

About the Author

Howard Giske writes about Austin homes and nationwide real estate at

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