10 totally Austin Valentine’s Day date ideas

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Still scrambling to find something to do with your true love on Valentine’s Day? Maybe you and your boyfriend or girlfriend have only been dating for a little while, or you aren’t sure how “serious” your relationship is. Check out these ideas of fun ways to save, splurge and have a very Austin-y Valentine’s Day.

VOTE NOW: It’s time to pick the cutest couple in Austin

Kasey Fagan submitted this photo for our “You’re My Butter Half” gallery.

1. Visit a food trailer
You and your sweetie can split a doughnut (or splurge on two) and get a chocolate-and-strawberries fix with the “Dirty Berry” at Gourdough’s on South First Street. Or take your cupcake for a “LuvCake,” featuring chocolate cake and strawberry cream cheese frosting, at Hey Cupcake! at The Picnic park on Barton Springs Road. The West Campus area by the University of Texas is also home to various trucks and trailers for lovebirds to explore.

2. Get your (responsible) drink on
Austin is home to a bunch of craft beer brewpubs located all over the city. Up north, you can have a Peacemaker at the Austin Beerworks taproom and brewery. Over on the east side, order The One They Call Zoe at Hops and Grain. And if your significant other is the light of your life, you might want to head down to Independence Brewing Company, where you can sip on a Power & Light pale ale. Not a beer snob? The Austin area is home to cideries, wineries and distilleries.

Hops & Grain allows brewpub customers to both buy beer to drink on-site, and buy beer to take home. Owner Josh Hare pours a pint. Emma Janzen/American-Statesman

3. Take part in the “sharing economy”
Dabble in Austin’s share of the sharing economy by renting an Airbnb for a mini-staycation, taking a ride-hailing service somewhere so you don’t have to drive or even checking out a B-cycle at one of the city’s 50 stations located in and around downtown.

4. Go on a mural photo tour
Fair warning: This is probably a popular idea anyway, so get ready to see some lines. But if you and your boo are feeling patient, you can show everyone who is your “butter” half near Poquito Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Of course, you can stop by the “I Love You So Much” wall at Jo’s Coffee on South Congress Avenue. Or display your “Puppy Love” at the MudPuppies on East Riverside Drive, like fitness writer Pam LeBlanc and her husband, Chris.

Fitness writer Pam Leblanc with her husband Chris at the Puppy Love mural at Mud Puppies on East Riverside Drive.

5. Share your love with the great outdoors
If February is anything like January, keep your fingers crossed for great weather so you can enjoy the fresh air. Try something new, get a backpack of snacks together and head out to the Greenbelt or McKinney Falls and get a little lost together. If clear paths are more of y’all’s thing, a romantic stroll on the boardwalk at sunset is a low-energy alternative and comes with a great view of the Austin skyline by the water.

6. Try and snag a last minute reservation
Best of luck to anyone still searching for the perfect restaurant at which to lovingly stare into another person’s eyes (unless you’re the type of couple that sits on the same side of the table). Restaurant critic Matthew Odam dishes on some Valentine’s Day specials worth checking into. If those don’t work out, he’s also played wingman and hooked us up with a list of romantic places to dine around Austin.

7. Catch a live music show 
Bob Schneider & the Moonlight Orchestra are hitting up ACL Live at the Moody Theater on Wednesday night.

Bob Schneider & Tosca String Quartet performed at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on July 15, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Not a Schneider fan? Watch The Lucky Strikes at Lone Star Court, Dale Watson & His Lone Stars at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, The Nightowls at 3TEN ACL Live, or the Peterson Brothers Band and Tomar and the FCs at Stubb’s Austin. And while it’s not quite a live music show, Cirque du Soleil Crystal at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park will feature the famous live performers on ice.

8. Watch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse
The Ritz and Village locations will host a Moulin Rouge movie party, complete with props such as blinking rings and glow sticks. The Lakeline and Slaughter Lane locations are hosting a Valentine’s Day feast while screening The Birdcage. The Drafthouse also set up a page on its site featuring links to buy tickets and movie-themed merchandise as gifts.

9. Go shopping
South Congress’ boutiques and shops are perfect for men and women alike, and they feature local brands such as Allens Boots. Prepare for lines, especially at a traditional store where you might get Valentine’s Day gifts, such as the Kendra Scott jewelry shop (hint hint).

Kendra Scott with her husband, Albert Koehler at the Kendra Scott store grand opening, Feb. 10, 2011. (Robert Godwin/American-Statesman)

10. Grocery shop and make your own dinner
Sure, Austin has great places to eat out, but in the city where Whole Foods was founded, why not break out the “Kiss the Cook” apron and whip up something delicious with your partner? Wheatsville Co-op is another option for staying local while you shop. If you go this route, plan ahead and stop by the store before Valentine’s Day. Need inspiration? Check out some great recipes from Austin360’s Addie Broyles over on Relish Austin.

Want more ideas?

President Trump: Here are 5 things you should know about Andrew Jackson

President Donald Trump (Kevin Hagen/The New York Times)

President Donald Trump – whose public admiration of former President Andrew Jackson is well-known and evident by the portrait he keeps of the 7th president in the Oval Office – said in an interview on Monday that he believed Jackson could have prevented the Civil War.

Trump’s analysis quickly drew criticism for its apparent historical illiteracy about Jackson’s life and tenure in the White House or the causes of the Civil War. So let’s consider it our patriotic duty to help the president know at least five actual things about Andrew Jackson:

1. Andrew Jackson died on June 8, 1845, at his plantation in the slave state of Tennessee.

Trump had told Zita: “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.” Most crit

President Andrew Jackson, the 7th president on the U.S. (AP Photo, file)

iques of Trump’s quote snarkily point out that Jackson couldn’t have stopped the Civil War because it started about 16 years after he died.

But let’s give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant, “Had Jackson been born later, he could’ve stopped the Civil War.” That, however, brings us to the next point: Jackson fiercely supported a strong union and central government. How much? To the point of preparing military action against South Carolina in 1832.

2. Jackson once dispatched Navy warships into Charleston Harbor to put a stop to talk of secession.

The Nullication Crisis of 1828 arose when Congress passed high tariffs designed to protect Northern industry, but Southern planters believed the taxes ultimately hurt their cotton trade. When the South Carolina Legislature voted to nullify the federal tax as well as a subsequent lowering of the tariffs in 1832, Jackson sent Navy ships into Charleston and threatened to hang anyone working to support nullification or secession. His vice president, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, soon resigned to become his state’s U.S. senator.

Based on Jackson’s history in office, and the additional crises that erupted between North and South over the next 30 years, it’s unlikely Jackson would have been able or would have even wanted to stop the Civil War.

3. Jackson was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because he was as tough as the wood that they used to beat people with.

Trump said of Jackson: “He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart.” The Native Americans he evicted from their tribal homelands in Florida and Georgia would tell a different story. After Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 into law, more than 45,000 Native Americans were relocated to the West during his administration.

4. Jackson hated the Electoral College.

Although Trump continues to trumpet his own electoral college win, his idol Jackson repeatedly lobbied Congress to abolish the Electoral College, likely because of the “corrupt bargain” struck during the election of 1824 that denied him the presidency in his first run for the White House. Jackson had won the popular vote, but he didn’t have a majority in electoral votes in the race with John Quincy Adams. The election was thrown to the U.S. House led by Speaker Henry Clay. Jackson lost the vote, and President-elect Adams made Clay his secretary of state. Jackson was elected president outright in 1828 with 56 percent of the popular vote.

5. In one of his last acts as president, Jackson formally recognized the Republic of Texas.

But Jackson held off on recognizing the Republic of Texas, which had legalized slavery, until after the election of 1836 to increase the chances that his vice president, Martin Van Buren, would win. Jackson wanted to avoid making slavery a bigger issue in the 1836 campaign, so Jackson didn’t recognize Texas until the last full day of his presidency, March 3, 1837.

Before the interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito even aired on SiriusXM satellite radio, a partial transcript highlighting the Jackson quote appeared online, courtesy of Politico correspondent Edward-Issac Dovere on Twitter.

With graduation, UT caps a tragic, turbulent 2016-17 academic year

Incoming freshman Maxwell Gaddy, from Midland gets help from his father Chris and sister Jenna, 16, moving into Duren Residence Hall on the UT-Austin campus on Aug. 19, 2016. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

As May approaches, so does the end of another academic year at the University of Texas. Over the course of the last several months, a lot has happened on the Forty Acres: Campus carry, protests, demonstrations, a farewell to Charlie Strong, a memorial for Haruka Weiser and, more recently, a drive-by shooting on campus. Here’s a quick recap of some major things that happened during the 2016-2017 academic year:

August

UT honors victims of 1966 tower shooting for 50th anniversary:

On Aug. 1, victims of the 1966 sniper attack were honored at the UT Tower. A memorial was also placed near UT’s turtle pond, with the names of the 15 people who were killed by engineering student Charles Whitman. Survivors, the student body president at the time and the police officers who were involved with the incident attended the commemoration ceremony. This 50th anniversary coincidentally fell on the same day that the campus carry gun law went into effect.

Campus carry law goes into effect:

On August 1, Senate Bill 11, legislation also known as “campus carry” went into effect, permitting the concealed carry of handguns by license holders on campus.

Campus carry is protested with sex toys:

What better way to start off the first day of a new school year than with a protest with dildos. “Cocks Not Glocks” showed their opposition to the new campus carry gun law by brandishing the sex toys on backpacks and holding a rally on campus. In August, the event organizers said they hoped students would continue to carry the items until the law was repealed — the dildo-carrying ended shortly after the protest and the law remains on the books.

September

Bevo XV makes debut:

The young calf made his appearance as the new mascot of UT on Sept. 4 at the football game against Notre Dame— the Longhorns beat the Irish 50-47 after double overtime.

Security officer shot at Sigma Chi party:

On Sept. 11, a security guard was shot in the foot at a fraternity party by a party guest – who was not a student – who had earlier been thrown out of the party for causing trouble. The guard who was shot has sued Sigma Chi, accusing the fraternity of not doing enough to prevent the shooting.

October

Anti-affirmative action bake sale held:

On Oct. 26, the Young Conservatives of Texas held a bake sale that protested the affirmative action policy in college admission. The item prices were listed differently based on gender and race.

November

UT students organize anti-Trump protest:

The day after Donald Trump won the presidential election, hundreds of UT students gathered at the UT Tower for a rally that turned into a daylong march throughout downtown Austin.

UT fires head football coach Charlie Strong:

After three seasons and a record of 16-21, the lowest winning percentage in Longhorn football history, Strong was fired on Nov. 26. Many football players and members of the UT community were upset with this decision— several players reacted on Twitter, thanking Strong and saying bye. It wasn’t long before Strong was hired as the new University of South Florida head football coach and Tom Herman took over the Longhorn football program.

Matthew McConaughey give students a ride:

Alright, alright, alright! If you were lucky enough to call a SURE ride on this night, you may have had Matthew McConaughey as your golf cart driver.

Not to mention, McConaughey also co-taught a film class in the College of Communication, “Advanced Producing: Script to Screen”— Professor McConaughey?

February

The Ellen Show comes to UT:

On Feb. 7, UT students got in formation and put together their best Beyonce costumes in hope of winning two tickets to the Grammys from The Ellen Show. Sophomore Collin Wang won the contest by recreating Beyonce’s underwater pregnancy photo.

March

First Latina, physically disabled student body president is elected:

Fourth-year government and Mexican-American studies major Alejandrina Guzman made UT history when she was elected as the 2017-2018 student body president. Guzman and her running mate Micky Wolf captured 54 percent of the vote after a campus-wide run-off.

Survey released: 15 percent of female undergraduates say they have been raped:

A shocking report was released toward the end of March, detailing sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and harassment. Key findings of the random and voluntary survey also found that 12 percent of undergraduate women said they had experienced attempted rape and 22 percent of students reported having experienced sexist gender harassment from UT faculty or staff.

April

One-year memorial held for slain student Haruka Weiser:

On April 3, UT held a memorial ceremony for Haruka Weiser, the 18-year-old dance student who was found dead on campus in Waller Creek in 2016. Since her killing, the university has made it a priority to enhance safety and security on campus.

UT football gets 43-inch tv screens instead of name plates

Paper name plates are a thing of the past for the Longhorn football program. 43-inch flat screens were installed on every player’s locker, each costing about $10,500. Also, glowing locker doors were implemented!

Gregory Vincent announces he will leave UT for his alma mater:

On April 20 , Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, announced that he would be leaving UT in July to be president of his alma mater, Hobart and William Smith— after 11 years of diversity and inclusion work on the Forty Acres.

UT Recreational Sports celebrates 100 years:

On April 21, the university celebrated a century of RecSports, which has grown to 500,000 square feet of recreational space and 47 club sports. UT was one of the first colleges in the country to organize an intramural sports program.

Gunshots on campus:

On the morning of April 27, gunshots were reported on campus and UT police began investigating what they believe was a drive-by shooting. The suspect and the target were thought to be unaffiliated with the university, officials said. Several UT students took to social media to complain about the lack of timeliness when it came to alerting students about the incident and the vagueness of the emergency alert. UTPD notified the students, faculty and staff about the incident nearly an hour after it had taken place.

May

UT stabbing attack on students leaves 1 dead, 3 others injured

First-year student Harrison Brown was killed and three others were hospitalized after a stabbing attack on the University of Texas campus near Gregory Gym around 1:30 p.m. on May 1.

UT Police Chief David Carter identified the suspect in the attack as 21-year-old UT biology student Kendrex J. White of Killeen.

Carter said his officers saw a man, later identified as White, with a “large, bowie-style hunting knife.” One officer drew his gun and told White to get on the ground, which he did, before taking him into custody.

Within about a block, three more people were found stabbed, Carter said.

UT students and employees have been expressing annoyance on social media that they heard about this from campus media, local media and the UT community before a campus alert went out.

Austin for 51st U.S. state? We have the population to back it up

We get it, we get it: Austin isn’t always like the rest of Texas. Certain folks love to call the city “the People’s Republic of Austin,” due to its liberal policy bent and undying embrace of the strange. Though we’re not likely to implement a Maoist political structure at City Hall anytime soon, comrades, the Live Music Capital of the World does actually have enough people to encourage dreams of statehood.

RELATED: BookPeople tweets SXSW clapback to keep Austin weird

Austin’s population is so large that if it were a state, it would be the 45th largest in the U.S., according to a study by LawnStarter, a local lawn care service. Why grass-cutters are concerning themselves with comparative demographics, I’ll never know. Nonetheless, the company used city and U.S. Census data to count Austin’s teeming masses at 943,795 people, higher than those of Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. Poor Wyoming only has 585,501.

MORE: Map shows 24 high rises set to change Austin’s skyline

The study is quick to point out that land-wise, these beautiful states are all massive compared to ATX. If you plopped 326-square-mile Austin in the middle of Alaska (a sprawling, 656,424-square-mile snow beast), it would look like one of those little birds hitching a ride on a hippo. Even delicate, syrup-drenched Vermont is 30 times larger than Austin when it comes to area, at 9,615 square miles.

Now, there are much larger cities in the U.S. Austin is only the 11th largest, and Houston, Dallas and San Antonio all pack more people in than we do. However, the entire Austin metro area is the country’s fastest growing, and it recently hit the 2-million-people mark. Factor in our distinct cultural identity and the fact that even the European Union sees potential for us to stand on our own feet, and we could basically start shopping for our own constitution.

IN OTHER NEWS:

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For National Walking Day, 5 things to know about improving your health by walking

Bob and Linda Larimore enjoy their walk along the Hamilton Greenbelt on Nov. 10, 2016, with their dogs, Sam and Calli, both rescue dogs. SUE KNOLLE FOR LAKE TRAVIS VIEW LAKEWAY

Is it National Walking Day already? Yes, it is — and to give you more reasons to appreciate getting off the couch and into your best pair of comfy shoes, the good folks at Seton Healthcare have outlined five things to keep in mind if you want to improve your health through walking:

 

1. It’s great for your heart

Aerobic exercise, such as walking, will increase your heart rate and help lower your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. The advantages of walking, health experts say, is it provides benefits without high-intensity stress on your body.

“For most people, establishing a long-term habit of walking is more feasible compared to running or other more intense exercise,” says Seton Heart Institute cardiologist Raymond Bietry.

A study in the American Heart Association journal, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, found that the more runners and walkers took to the streets and sidewalks, the more their health benefits increased.

2. It’s good for your mind, too

According to the Arthritis Foundation, walking can:

  • Releases endorphins that can help fight depression and improve your mood.
  • Releases serotonin, which can help you relax and get the most amount of deep sleep at night
  • Strengthens your muscles, promotes joint health and can prevent bone loss for people with osteoporosis.
  • Help fight against memory loss and lower the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Make time for 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day

The American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

You’re busy, so how can you pull that off? Try these tips:

  • Have a set walking time
  • Walk with a partner or your dog
  • Bring music with you via your smartphone or an MP3 player.
  • Break it up into multiple small walks, as long as each session lasts about 10 minutes

4. Work walking into regular activities

 

  • Instead of looking for the closest parking spot, park further out and walk.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible.
  • If you’re walking the dog already, add hand or ankle weights to amp it up.

“No matter how slow you go, you are lapping anyone on the couch,” Bietry said. “So start with small lifestyle changes and go from there,” he said.

5. Make walking a habit

Try these tips:

  • Set realistic goals. Use a pedometer, smart phone app or journal to track your progress. Raise the bar once they are met, and keep going.
  • Soft, breathable clothing and walking-specific shoes are key to walking in comfort.
  • Be safe. For early morning or night-time walks, wear reflective gear.  Carry a flashlight and walk in familiar areas. Always let someone know where you are and carry a phone for emergencies.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to protect against harmful UV rays.  If it gets too hot, or rain interferes, head to the mall for an indoor option.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Torchy’s Tacos lands on ‘11 absolute best taco shops’ online list

 

Austin’s taco scene has again put the city in the national spotlight, this time in a list of Tasting Table’s “11 All-Time Favorite Taco Shops in America.”

Tina Phan/American-Statesman. 10.4.13. Statesman restaurant critic and reporter reviews several Austin Eats vendors during the first weekend of ACL on Friday, October 4, 2013. Trailer Park taco (fried chicken, green chiles, pico de gallo, lettuce, tomato, cheese), $5, from Torchy’s Tacos.

Torchy’s Tacos made Tasting Table’s list, coming in at No. 10 out of 11, beating out Salvation Taco in New York City. Curiously, Torchy’s was the only Texas spot to make the list, while two New York spots, three California restaurants and even a Massachusetts taco shop also made the list. (Calamari and beets on tacos? Um, OK.)

More: Austin airport travelers ate 693,375 breakfast tacos in 2015

“This famous spot is known for its unique flavor combinations like green chile pork and fresh ingredients like avocado salsa,” Tasting Table raves. “The best part? Breakfast is served all day, so you can have Austin’s favorite egg tacos no matter when the craving hits.”

More: This Austinite is bringing ‘Austin-style’ tacos to New Yorkers

No disrespect to Torchy’s (It’s been put on taco “best-of” lists before, and President Obama even ate there once), but if any list is going to highlight the best tacos in Austin, it should also include places like Maria’s, Guero’s Taco Bar, Veracruz Tacos, Taco Joint or La Fantabulous.

More: Take a taco tour around Austin

At any rate, any exposure to Austin’s taco scene is good, especially considering the Great Breakfast Taco War between Austin and San Antonio.

 

Hate Austin rent prices? Online list says Leander is cheaper

 

We all know it’s expensive to live in Austin. One recent study suggested that it takes a yearly salary of at least $52,578 to afford a home here, something that is becoming increasingly more difficult to afford if you’re a single man or woman.

A house on Garden Street is for sale on Thursday November 19, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

But take heart, those of you who rent homes or apartments in Austin: At least you weren’t paying the area’s highest rent prices this past month. That honor goes to Leander, our neighbor to the northwest. That’s right, it was cheaper to rent a domicile in Austin than it was in Leander, at least, according to rental site Zumper.

Zumper released a report this week detailing the drop in rent prices throughout the Austin area, a swath of land that includes all the way from Georgetown to San Marcos. The report found that for the month of March, Austin had a median one-bedroom rent of $1,080 a month, while renting the same domain in Leander would set you back $1,110. Both are still much higher than the $887 state median, however.

The cheapest rent in the Austin area for March belonged to San Marcos, at $860 a month for a one-bedroom.

Read the full report here.

Related:

 

 

Love books? Austin ranked best Texas city for readers

If you’re a book lover and you live in Austin, you’re in the right place, according a Texas book publication.

Lone Star Literary Life ranked Austin the No. 1 “bookish destination” in Texas. The publication noted Austin’s ties to the poet O. Henry (he lived here in the 1880s) and the “Philosophers’ Rock” sculpture at the entrance of Barton Springs Pool, which represents authors J. Frank Dobie, Roy Bedicheck and Walter Prescott, who used to gather at the pool for “Austin’s first literary salon.”

Red Carpet Books operates a popular booth along Congress Ave for people to shop for bargain prices during the Texas book Festival Saturday October 17, 2015. The Texas Book Festival celebrates 20 years bringing as one of the largest and most prestigious literary festivals in the country. The annual festival features over 250 nationally and critically recognized authors, exhibitors, live music, local food trucks, family activities, and countless opportunities to meet authors and fellow book lovers on the Texas State Capitol and surrounding grounds.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Another top reason why Austin’s great for readers? The Capitol City is home to the Texas Center for the Book, a nonprofit which supports promoting literature and literary programs throughout the state. Austin’s status as home to several universities is also a statement to its literary prowess: The University of Texas alone has 17 libraries, plus the Harry Ransom Center, which is home to the archive of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez. Austin is also home to 20 public library branches offering books and education to citizens, and the new Faulk Central Library is set to open in May.

Of course, the list also mentions the Texas Book Festival which takes place in the fall in and around the Texas State Capitol. The festival, founded by Laura Bush, recently hosted appearances by Jenna Bush Hager, Lois Lowry, Diane Guerrero, Maria Semple and more award-winning writers and authors.

The marquee at BookPeople during a book signing event with Bruce Springsteen on Thursday December 1, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

And a ranking of Texas book-friendly cities wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Austin’s bounty of independent bookstores like BookPeople, BookWoman, Malvern Books, Resistencia Bookstore, South Congress Books, Austin Books & Comics, MonkeyWrench Books, and Brave New Books. BookPeople, Austin’s largest independent bookstore, hosts more than 300 events every year, hosting authors and visitors like Bruce Springsteen, Hillary Clinton, Kenny Rogers, Wendy Davis and more.

PHOTOS: Bruce Springsteen at BookPeople in 2016

Austin’s not the only bookish area in Texas—also ranked in the top 10 (in order) are Houston, Dallas, Abilene, the Permian Basin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and Angelina and Nacogdoches counties in East Texas. See the full list of “Texas’s Top Ten Bookish Destinations” here.

 

Ranking: Austin is No. 1 ‘super cool’ city, thanks to SXSW and food

 

Austin is weird. Austin is the best capital city to live in, according to U.S. News and World Report. Austin’s restaurants land on many year-end “best-of” lists. Austin is one of America’s most generous cities, according to GoFundMe.

rbz-city-skyline-01

And now, a new list from Expedia ranks Austin as the “coolest U.S. city.”

The travel company ranked 21 cities, giving points based on attributes like the availability of a Lyft ride, the amount of farmer’s markets in the city, low crime rating, music/arts/food/drink festivals and population age.

Austin was the only Texas city to make the cut. It scored a 26 out of a possible 28 points by Expedia’s scale, and the company found plenty to like about the Lone Star State’s capital city.

More: Spring break destinations? New York Times recommends Austin

“The only uncool thing about Austin can be the weather, and it takes care of that with awesome watering holes (ahem, Barton Springs), cool places to crash (hotels like Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt), and killer cold treats (Lick Ice Cream, anyone?),” Austin’s description on the list reads.

Other highlights of living in Austin, according to Expedia:

  • A crime rating of 35 out of 100, according to Sperling’s Best Places
  • A great restaurant scene
  • South By Southwest Festival, Art City Austin and the Mexican Experience
  • South Congress’ shopping district (which is growing smaller by the day)

However, some parts of Austin aren’t that “cool” to the people who live here. A recent New York Times article says that “the coolness factor” that drives many startups and hip bars to build in East Austin is what’s leading to the rapid gentrification of the city’s east side.

Plus, there’s always the traffic, which any longtime Austinite will blame on the rapid influx of Californian transplants.

 

 

The University of Texas is great, but is it safe?

 

Sure, the University of Texas at Austin is currently ranked by some online lists as one of the best universities in Texas, but is it safe for students?

Incoming freshman Maxwell Gaddy, from Midland gets help from his father Chris and sister Jenna, 16, moving into Duran Residence Hall Friday morning on the UT-Austin campus. The University of Texas at Austin Campus welcomes more than 7,400 new students as they begin the arduous task of moving into campus houses Friday morning August 19, 2016 as part of Mooov-In, a 23 year old tradition. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Incoming freshman Maxwell Gaddy, from Midland gets help from his father Chris and sister Jenna, 16, moving into Duren Residence Hall Friday morning August 19, 2016 on the UT-Austin campus.
RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A new study by education data site Niche compiled a ranking of the state’s 60 safest college campuses using the most recent data available from students and the U.S. Department of Education. The study ranked the universities based on reported campus and local crime rates and reported alcohol, drug and sexual assault arrest rates.

More: Austin ranked among best college destinations in the country

UT Austin’s campus is ranked 49th out of 60, but that ranking is a bit misleading. According to the findings, there are no reported crimes per 1,000 students; no reported residence hall date violence incidents per 1,000 students; no reported residence hall rapes per 1,000 students; and only one instance each of drug and alcohol-related arrests per 1,000 students. And these studies only take into account reported events and can’t calculate how students feel currently (just yesterday a town hall was held on the school’s supposed toleration of racism and discrimination.)

Texas Southern University, in last place, only had one crime reported, one alcohol-related arrest and two drug-related arrests.

More: 9 Texas colleges on ‘shame list’ are ‘absolute worst’ for LGBTQ students

Compare those rankings to Baylor University, at No. 35, with a student-reported safety ranking of 4/5, a local crime rate grade of C+, and no reported instances of residence hall date violence incidents or reported residence hall rapes. Baylor has been embroiled in sexual assault scandals, and recent court filings say head football coach Art Briles and his staff cast a blind eye toward players’ misbehavior and allegedly tried to sweep sexual assaults and other criminal deeds under the rug.

It’s also worth noting that 90 percent of all sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault, and 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Also, the University of Houston-Victoria landed at No. 31, but as a former Victoria resident, I wouldn’t feel safe walking alone at night on some of those streets where those residential areas are located. So the rankings are all relative, it seems. The best bet for everyone is to always keep an eye out for your safety at all times.

Ranking: For students seeking a sugar daddy, UT is No. 3 among colleges

Other University of Texas campuses landed on the lists, including the medical branch in Galveston (No. 12), UT-Dallas (No. 16), UT-El Paso (No. 21), UT-Rio Grande Valley (No. 27), UT-Permian Basin (No. 29), UT-San Antonio (No. 44), and UT-Arlington (No. 53).

Read the full ranking and methodology here.