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Is Austin, Texas, The Best City In America? By Laura Begley Bloom of Forbes Magazine

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What is it about Austin, Texas? This southern city keeps making headlines. Austin was recently voted the No. 1 place to live in America for the third year in a row — based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life. It was named the fastest growing large city in the U.S. It ranked No. 4 of the best large cities to start a business. It was chosen among the top 15 cities in the United States to visit. And its home state of Texas took the top spot in a study of the best states for female entrepreneurs.

It’s no secret that Austin, Texas is a hotbed for technology, startups and innovation. There are so many tech companies that Austin has been nicknamed “Silicon Hills.” Apple recently announced that it is creating a $1 billion campus with the capacity for 15,000 employees, making it the largest private employer in Austin. A hiring surge from Facebook is turning Austin into the third-largest U.S. hub outside of the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. And in the past couple of years, Google and Oracle have opened offices downtown.

A huge part of the appeal: Austin is one of the most significant cities in the country for entrepreneurship and a recognized hub for startups. “Austin attracts annually about a billion dollars in venture capital investment and another billion dollars in corporate entity investments,” says Angelos G. Angelou, who used to be the vice president for economic development for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, as well as its chief economist. He’s now CEO of AngelouEconomics, a technology consulting firm that advises cities trying to attract investment, as well as companies looking for new locations.

Laura Lorek is the publisher and cofounder of Silicon Hills News, which covers technology in the area. When she launched the site in 2011, she says she covered just about every startup in town. “The growth in startups and startups culture has been incredible,” says Lorek. “Now, there are so many, I don't know them all.”

For more of this great article go to Is Austin, Texas The Best City in America?

A Sampling of...."14 Best Things To Do in the Texas Hill Country" by Charity De Souza

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The perfect blend of picturesque landscapes and small-town charm, the Texas Hill Country offers a range of fun-filled activities for the entire family to enjoy. Boasting an abundance of outdoor adventures and historical landmarks, you’ll find both man-made and natural attractions equally appealing. Lined with wide-open vistas and beautiful hills, the Texas Hill Country offers visitors an escape from the big city stress. From enjoying the outdoors in a state park to paying homage to music legends and cooling off at a water park, here are the top things to do in the Texas Hill Country.

Stroll the picturesque Garner State Park. Located in Concan, Garner State Park is a family-friendly tradition since 1941 that boasts 1,774 acres of beautiful Hill Country. It’s here that you’ll find the famous 1940s-style jukebox dances in the summertime and the perfect landscape for an overnight camping trip. Spend your days hiking the 11 miles scenic trails, or get out on the water in a tube or kayak as you soak in the crystal clear water views of Frio River winding through the park.

Take a dip in Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve. Located in Dripping Springs, Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve is a natural wonder that was created thousands of years ago. It emerged when the surface of an underground river collapsed and is now a place that adventurous travelers can explore. One of the top attractions in Dripping Springs, you can oak in the pristine natural beauty of the area and take in the views of the emerald green waters, limestone cliffs and cypress trees that surround you, as the refreshing waters offer the perfect respite from a warm Texas sunshine.

Pay homage to music legends at Gruene Hall. Gruene Hall was built in 1878 and is the oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall in Texas. Retaining its original design, visit this 6,000-square-foot dance hall to find 1930s advertisements adorning the walls as live entertainment fills the air. Playing host to a long list of music legends such as George Strait, Willie Nelson, and Lyle Lovett, it has been the home where music icons come to pay respects and try out new material.

Float down Guadalupe River An ideal place to go tubing, visitors can explore Guadalupe River State Park in Spring Branch, where the four-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River offers ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Pitch a tent at one of the campsites near the water and soak in the beautiful natural landscapes that surround you. Spend your days out on the water, where swimming, fishing, tubing, and canoeing are popular activities. For those who prefer to stay on land, there are also 13 miles of biking and biking trails to explore.

Driftwood, Wimberley & Dripping Springs The city of Dripping Springs is located around 25 miles west of Austin and represents "The Gateway to the Hill Country". The area offers outstanding views of rolling hills and deep creeks, an annual music festival, an oil vineyard, music venues, crafts beer and vodka distillery. Meanwhile, nearby Driftwood offers an abundance of serene Hill Country livin' mixed with up and coming vineyards, destination restaurants and music venues, the most famous of which is The Salt Lick Barbecue. Wimberley is another small town jewel in the Hill Country. This quaint town has always been a magical place, full of artisan shops and spring-fed waters. it continues to flourish over time, as new restaurants, shops, and distilleries pop up. Somehow, the small-town vibe has been preserved.

"Come on down, put your feet up and sit a spell! Everything's better in The Texas Hill Country!"