Austin is the capital city of the state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. The city is located in Central Texas on the eastern portion of the American Southwest. It is the 4th biggest city in the country at approximately 800,000 individuals. In the year 2006, Austin was selected as the second Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine and third during 2009. MSN also dubbed it the "Greenest City in America." It ranks second on the list of cities with the best individuals, based on CNN Headline News and Travel & Leisure magazine. During the year 2009, Austin was chosen as the least stressful large metro area by Forbes magazine.
Austinites take great pride in their individuality and eccentricities in lifestyle, beliefs and character; never taking themselves too seriously. This particular city is the only one within the state of Texas which enables women to appear in public topless. One of its local motto is "Keep Austin Weird," and this particular statement not only encourages diversity but is likewise meant to improve and support independent and local companies. SoCo, a shopping district which stretches down South Congress Avenue from Downtown, is overflowing with many restaurants, coffee shops, and cultural events. Amongst the yearly events include the O. Henry House Museum, that hosts the annual O. Henry Pun Off - a pun contest where contestants show amazing wit. Various events comprise Carnaval Brasileiro during February, Austin Reggae Festival and Art City Austin in April, Spamarama, and Eeyore's Birthday Party. Austin City, which is called The Live Music Capital of the Globe, has a dynamic music scene which revolves around the various nightclubs located on 6th Street and annual film/music/interactive festivals called South by Southwest (SXSW). Zilker Park is also the home of the three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival (the longest-running concert music program on American television,) each year. The television show and festival both attract musical artists from all-over the globe.
The city boasts more than fifty public swimming pools, which are spread out all over the city. The most popular pools within the city comprise the Deep Eddy Pool, oldest man-made swimming pool in Texas, and Barton Springs Pool, that is the biggest urban area natural swimming pool within the nation. In 2004, The Austin Parks and Recreation Department was given Excellence in Aquatics award during 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards in the year 2004 from the National Recreation and Park Association. For parks, the Hippie Hollow Park is the only officially sanctioned clothing-optional public park within Texas. It could likewise be a good location for everybody to go rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming, exploring, and hiking along the greenbelt. Zilker Park forms part of the greenbelt along the Colorado River.
Among the largest companies in Austin comprise the United States Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004), St. David's Healthcare Partnership, IBM, the State of Texas, Seton Healthcare Network, the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, Texas State University-San Marcos, and the University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas. At the core of Austin City's economy is High Technology. Each and every year, there are thousands of graduates from the computer science and engineering programs at the University of Texas at Austin. These graduates often work at technology and defense industry sectors. Amongst the high-tech companies which absorb them are: Hewlett-Packard, Google, Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, Samsung Group, National Instruments, Cirrus Logic, Applied Materials,3M, AMD, eBay/paypal, Apple Inc., Silicon Laboratories, Hoover's, Sun Microsystems and United Devices.