Thanks to a roster of high-profile festivals, you might first think “music” when Austin comes to mind. And you wouldn’t be amiss: The city is known, after all, as “The Live Music Capital of the World.” But Austin, the fast-growing state capital of Texas, is much more than its rich music scene. It’s an eclectic college town, a haven for independently owned businesses, a liberal pulse in a conservative state. Populated by a colorful, dynamic mix of longtime locals and newer transplants who strive to “Keep Austin Weird,” the city is perhaps less eccentric than it wishes it were—especially given all the new high-rise condos around—but the point is that it strives to be different, thereby attracting interesting new businesses, ideas, and people. (Plus, it is still home to “chicken sh*t bingo.”)

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