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The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists

If you asked the Internet, it might tell you that Austin's a hipster-loving, small business-starting, traffic-riddled, undiscovered yet overrated place that keeps it weird. The web's traffic-baiting list-makers rank Austin as a leader in categories from fitness friendliness to porn consumption per capita.

But you're not asking the Internet, you're asking KUT News. And, as has been done a couple times now, KUT News has compiled a list of lists honoring, tweaking and trashing Austin over the past few months. Here's the third installment of The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists:

  • Big time for small business: Business website saluted Austin for business-friendly regulations and low licensing fees, ranking the city tops in the U.S. for small businesses. But the crowning stems partially from the state’s spartan regulation, as the survey also named Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio in its top 10.
  • Really, we do hear Houston’s nice!: A Huffington Post list of “overrated” travel destinations featured Austin at the top. The author contended that the city’s “sprawling” layout and “stressed” inhabitants make the destination better on paper than in the flesh, advising readers to visit Houston instead – which every Austinite we spoke to seems cool with.
  • A growing problem: Austin ranked second in economic growth in the year 2012, up from the number four spot last year. The study by the Milken Institute measured 200 large metropolitan areas using job numbers and wages to measure growth. And the metropolitan area – which includes Round Rock and San Marcos – ranked second in growth, per U.S. Census data. On top of all that, Austin was ranked the fastest growing city in the country last year by CNN.
  • Spirited city: Forbes called Austin one of the booziest cities in the country, citing a study that nearly 20 percent of Austinites were classified as binge drinkers. The survey, compiled by Experian Marketing Services, also found that five percent of Austinites were heavy drinkers.
  • One-way in:  U-Haul conducted a nation-wide survey of their one-way truck and van rentals, and found Austin was the sixth most popular destination for the restless in need of relocation. Austin beat out Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Kansas City, Missouri to round out the top 10. Houston garnered the most one-way tickets rentals, to the collective sigh of Austin’s loud and proud “Don’t Move Here” contingent.
  • Eastern promises: USA Today ranked East Austin as one of the 10 best neighborhoods “tourists haven’t found yet.” Parking is “easy,” businesses are “mom and pop” and it features an “up and coming” bar district in nearby Rainey Street. Wait until someone tells the locals!
  • Don’t mess with the fests: Austin City Limits and South By Southwest were both featured on Fuse TV’s list of the top music festivals in 2013. Fuse gave emphatic reviews for the networking opportunities – as well as plentiful partying  – during SXSW and praised ACL’s soon to be two-weekend format. But there was no love for Austin’s odd-fests-out: the Austin Psych Fest, Kerrville Folk Festival or Austin Reggae Festival, to name a few.
  • Work to be done: Austin’s open for business, and there is plenty of room at the conference table. Tech, government, manufacturing and construction work make Austin one of the best cities for good jobs, per Forbes. Austin’s “breakneck” growth has given us a low unemployment rate and a job growth rate of 3.2 percent.
  • Put a leash on it: Austinites love their pets. Travel website Priceline seems to have noticed: It named Austin the seventh most pet friendly city in the country, utilizing metrics like pet-friendly hotels and off-leash parks. Woof!
  • It is easy being green: Real estate website Redfin has Austin rounding out its list of the Top 10 cities with the greenest homes. Redfin points to Austin Energy’s suite of efficiency rebates and low-interest solar loans as reasons for bragging rights.

And that’s just scratching the surface. Know another one of Austin’s latest accolades? Leave it as a comment below. 

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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