We’ve been anticipating a visit to Austin, Texas since we started our pet travel adventures more than a year ago. It’s a city that consistently appears on lists of the most pet-friendly places and is known for being hip and eclectic.
We were thrilled to find it lived up to it’s billing, and then some. There are dog parks, a dog beach, and pet friendly trails, restaurants, and parks – and people are out enjoying life with their dogs everywhere you go!
The vibe of a city is determined by it’s people, economy, and the recreation and entertainment options that exist there.
The People: Named in Forbes.com’s Ten Best Cities for Young Professionals in 2010 and home to the University of Texas means Austin’s residents are young, vibrant and active. Celebrating their liberal and tolerant mentality, as well as a commitment to support local businesses, Austinites have made “Keep Austin Weird” their unofficial motto. There is a friendliness about this place that rarely surfaces in a city of this size.
The Economy: In January Austin was named the 3rd best job market in the US by Forbes.com. Contributing to this ranking is their low unemployment rate and the presence of several large employers; ExxonMobile, AT&T, Dell, and WholeFoods are all headquartered here.
If you’re curious about the economic health of a place, just take a look at it’s skyline. Is growth spurring demand for new office and residential space? Austin has added a number of new skyscrapers to it’s collection over the past few years – and more are under construction.
Recreation and Entertainment: Austin shines in this category as well. If you like music, this is the live music capital of the world. If you you like to eat out (with your dog, of course!), you’ll find more than 80 pet friendly restaurants in Austin. And, if you like the great outdoors, you’ll find miles of hike and bike trails, numerous lakes for boating and kayaking, more than 200 parks, and some of the best golf in the country.
I think it’s pretty clear that we fell in love with Austin – with the emphasis on all things pet friendly we didn’t really stand a chance! But there is more to this than just personal preferences. Our excitement comes from finally experiencing a place that reflects our vision of what being pet friendly means.
Ages ago, we wrote our manifesto explaining that our ultimate goal is “to shift our society’s consciousness from an overall attitude of “pet tolerance” to one that openly embraces and welcomes pets in all aspects of our lives.” We believe that by including our pets in our day-to-day activities we can help them reach their greatest potential. It’s evident that this is taking place in Austin.
Imagine dogs at restaurants lying quietly under tables. Imagine dogs in large, unfenced, off-leash areas under voice control with no misbehaving. Imagine off-leash dogs, bikers, and runners sharing the trails without incident. These things are happening every day in Austin.
The opportunities you’ll find in Austin to train, socialize, and exercise your dog on a daily basis are unmatched by anywhere we’ve been to date. And, we’re not the only people attracted to this environment. The cities of this nation are constantly battling to draw new residents. My question is, why aren’t more of them taking a look at Austin’s playbook?
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