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Austin Information


Population: City of Austin: 963,981; Austin Metropolitan Area: 1,249,763

The Austin metropolitan area is the 38th largest region nationally and the City of Austin is 16th.

Area: 218 sq miles

Austin extends about twenty miles from north-south and eighteen miles east-west, divided by I-35 (between Dallas and San Antonio) to the east. The Colorado River runs south of downtown.

Elevation: 550 ft

State: Texas

Time Zone: Austin is in the Central Time Zone. When it is noon in New York City it is one hour earlier (11:00 AM) in Austin. Daylight Saving time is observed April-October.

Industry: Austin has a strong high-tech presence. Austin's high-tech employment represents almost 15% of total non-agricultural employment. Although the region is gaining numerous biotech and software firms, the anchor of Austin's high-tech industry is hardware driven.

Climate: The climate is temperate, with 300 days of sunshine annually. Average temperatures range from 42 to 62 degrees in winter and 75 to 95 degrees in the summer. Rain falls evenly throughout the year. Snowfall is rare.

Weather: Check the weather at 512/451-2424 or www.kvue.com/weather/.

Find the time and temperature at 512/973-3555.

Public Holidays:

1 January - New Year's Day

Third Monday in January - Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday

January 19 - Confederate Heroes Day

Third Monday in February - Presidents' Day

March 2 - Texas Independence Day

Late March or April - Easter

April 21 San Jacinto Day

Last Monday in May - Memorial Day

June 19 - Emancipation Day

4 July - Independence Day

August 27 - Lyndon Johnson's Birthday

First Monday in September - Labor Day

11 November - Veterans' Day

Fourth Thursday in November - Thanksgiving

25 December - Christmas Day

When to Go

Spring brings cool, fresh, clear weather to Austin. In March and April, when temperatures average in the 70s, short-lived wildflowers bloom in extravagant color. March is also the month of the popular South by Southwest Music Festival, when hotel rooms are in short supply. Summer is dry and often very hot. Fall, finds temperatures falling back into the 70s and 80s, and gorgeous foliage to be seen. Winter is mild.

Area Code: The telephone area code in Austin is 512.

Business Hours: Banks and offices are usually open Monday to Friday 8 or 9am to 5pm. Some banks offer drive-through service on Saturday 9am to noon or 1pm. Specialty shops and malls open around 9 or 10am, Monday to Saturday; the former close at about 5 or 6pm, the latter at around 9 or 10pm. You can also shop at most malls and boutiques on Sunday from noon until 6pm. Bars and clubs tend to stay open until midnight during the week, 2am on weekends.

Dentist: Call the Dental Referral Service at 800/917-6453.

Doctor: The Medical Exchange ( 512/458-1121) and Seton Hospital ( 512/324-4450) both have physician referral services.

Emergencies: Call 911 if you need the police, the fire department, or an ambulance.

Libraries: Downtown's Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe St. ( 512/499-7599), and adjoining Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St. ( 512/499-7480), are excellent information resources. To find the closest local branch, check the Austin Public Libraries Web site: www.ci.austin.tx.us/library/.

Liquor Laws: 21is the legal age for drinking in Texas.

Lost Property: You can check with the police to find out whether something you've lost has been turned in by calling 512/974-5000. If you leave something on a city bus, call 512/389-7454; on a train heading for Austin or at the Amtrak station, 512/476-5684; on a Greyhound bus or at the station, 512/458-4463; at the airport, 512/530-COPS.

Luggage Storage/Lockers: At the Greyhound station, there's only one size locker. You can check your luggage at the Amtrak station.

Police: The non-emergency number for the Austin Police Department is 512/974-5000.

Post Office: The city's main post office is at 8225 Cross Park Dr. ( 512/342-1252); more convenient to tourist sights are the Capitol Station, 111 E. 17th St., in the LBJ Building, and the Downtown Station, 510 Guadalupe St. For information, phone 800/275-8777.

Safety: Austin has been ranked one of the top five safest cities in the United States

Taxes: The tax on hotel rooms is 15%. Sales tax, added to restaurant bills as well as to other purchases, is 8.25%.

Transit Information: Call Capital Metro Transit ( 800/474-1201 or 512/474-1200 from local pay phones; TDD 512/385-5872).

Public Transportation

Austin's public transportation system, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (www.capmetro.austin.tx.us), is excellent, including more than 50 bus lines and a variety of ticket prices. five (Arma) 'Dillo routes: Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, and Silver are free. You'll need exact change or fare tickets to board the bus; free transfers are good for 3 hours on weekdays, 4 hours on weekends. Call 800/474-1201 or 512/474-1200 (512/385-5872 for TDD) from local pay phones for point-to-point routing information.

Flights come in at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, eight miles southeast of downtown at the intersection of highways 71 and 183, I

It takes about twenty minutes to get downtown by taxi (Yellow Cabs; tel 512/462-9999; or by SuperShuttle vans 512/258-3826; while the #100 bus runs approximately once an hour to the campus and downtown (Mon-Fri 5am-10pm, Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 8am-9pm)

'Dillo Express, also run by METRO, is a free downtown trolley system, running along three routes, including one out to the UT campus, every ten to forty minutes between 6.30am and 7pm on weekdays.

Bicycles can be rented from Bicycle Sport Shop, 1426 Toomey Rd (Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm; tel 512/477-3472).

Walking is an easy and pleasant way of getting around; organized walking tours leave from the south entrance of the capitol (March-Nov Sat 2pm, Sun 9am: 512/478-0098).

Telephones

The country code for the United States is 1. The area code for Austin is 512.

Directory & Operator Information

For assistance from an operator, dial "0". To get a local or national telephone number, dial 411; in a few places it is necessary to dial 555-1212. If you want to charge a long-distance call to the person you're calling, call collect by dialing "0" instead of "1" before the 10-digit number, and an operator will come on the line to assist you (the party you're calling, however, has the right to refuse the call).

International Calls

International calls can be direct-dialed from most phones; dial 011, followed by the country code and then the local number (the front pages of many local telephone directories include a list of overseas country codes). To have an operator assist you, dial "0" and ask for the overseas operator.

Arriving

By Air

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) ( 3600 Presidential Blvd., 512/530-2242), This ultra modern facility is 8 miles from downtown Austin on the site of the former Bergstrom Air Force Base.

Some sample flying times are: 2 hours from New York, and 9 hours from London.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

By Bus

Capital Metro Bus ( 512/474-1200; 800/474-1201 outside Austin) provides daily bus service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to several major stops in town, where you can transfer to any one of the sixty other bus routes that cover Austin and surrounding areas. Look for the Airport Limited Route #100 bus at the Capital Metro bus stop on the 2nd Level Concourse of the Barbara Jordan Passenger Terminal. (Buses run every 60 to 70 minutes, 5 AM to 10 PM weekdays, 7 AM to 9 PM Saturdays, 8 AM to 9 PM Sundays.)

By Car

Take Route 71 (Ben White Blvd.) heading west and U.S. 183 heading north to get to downtown Austin. The drive time will be anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the time of day.

By Shuttle Van

Super Shuttle ( 512/258-3826 in Austin; 800/258-3826 outside of Austin) provides 24-hour shared-van service from the airport to Austin. Expect to pay from $8 to $15 per person, depending on your destination.

By Taxi

Austin has several taxi companies; all provide 24-hour service at a standard rate .

By Bus Greyhound Bus Lines () connects Austin with Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and other cities in Texas and beyond. The bus station is located near the Highland Mall and I-35 at 916 E. Koenig La. ( 512/458-4463).

Arriving By Car

Austin is located in central Texas at the intersection of Interstate 35, (running north and south through the city), and Texas Highway 290 (east and west), within easy driving distance of the other three major Texas cities. From Dallas, Austin is about a three-hour drive south on I-35 (195 mi), and from San Antonio about an hour's drive north (78 mi). From Houston, take Texas Highway 290 west; it's 166 miles to Austin.

Arriving By Train

Amtrak (250 N. Lamar, 512/476-5684; 800/872-7245 for reservations) provides passenger rail services aboard the Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle, with routes linking Austin north to Chicago, south to San Antonio, and to destinations between Orlando to the east and Los Angeles to the west.