LivingTravelNicknames for Austin, Texas

Nicknames for Austin, Texas

Although the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau wants everyone to call Austin “The Live Music Capital of the World,” that’s really a marketing catchphrase, not a nickname. These are some of the other names for Austin through the years.

Ways to refer to Austin

Waterloo – The first European settlers in the area called their settlement Waterloo. The city was incorporated under that name, but was soon replaced when Austin became the capital of Texas.

City of the Violet Crown: According to the Austin History Center, this elegant name was coined by O. Henry in a tale titled (equally mysterious) Tictocq, which was published in The Rolling Stone newspaper in 1894.

Capital City – Obviously, it’s because Austin is the capital of Texas. Capitol City is sometimes spelled, but technically, “Capitol” is supposed to be used strictly to refer to the Capitol building, not the capital city.

River City – It is probably one of the many river cities in the world and it is because a large river runs through the city. In Austin’s case, it’s a bit strange, because the portion of the Colorado River that runs through the center of the city is contained in a series of dams. So the “river” in downtown Austin is Lady Bird Lake, and the portion in West Austin is Lake Austin.

ATX – Newcomer to the nickname list, it’s not actually pronounced as a word. Just say the three letters: ATX, as in “Welcome to ATX.” This one clearly doesn’t make sense, so don’t use it.

Bat City – The colony of bats that lives under the Congress Avenue bridge has become a de facto mascot for our city. This name appeals to some because it also reflects Austin’s penchant for keeping it weird.

Silicon Hills – This nickname appears mostly in glossy trade articles about Austin’s bustling high-tech sector. Although Austin has many tech companies, it is nothing like Silicon Valley in terms of scale.

People’s Republic of Austin – This nickname is actually just an insult in disguise. Many Texas lawmakers of a conservative lean resent having to spend time in this bastion of unbridled liberality, thus likening the city to communist China.

Moscow in the Colorado: This is another excavation of Austin’s leftist political leanings. It rarely snows here, and typical summer temperatures in the mid-90s would melt an average Russian. So the comparison doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. Also, while Austin may be more liberal than most of Texas, it is actually home to quite a few conservatives. InfoWars madman Alex Jones even lives in Austin.

Cranberry in Tomato Soup: Former Texas Governor Rick Perry referred to Austin as “a cranberry in tomato soup” during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. It was Perry’s attempt to say diplomatically that Austin is a bit strange (realizing he was speaking to an Austin crowd during South by Southwest). His comments were met with a generous round of boos from the audience.

Nicknames for parts of Austin

Dirty 6th – This derogatory name for the 6th Street entertainment district has popped up in recent years. The area has always been a bit unclean, but the name has stuck due to the perception that 6th Street is generally in decline.

The DragThis refers to the portion of Guadalupe Street near the edge of the University of Texas campus. The homeless are sometimes referred to by the not-so-nice term “crawling worms.”

Bubbaville – A term popularized by the late Austin American-Statesman columnist John Kelso, Bubbaville as a place may be in its late stages. It used to refer to the quiet parts of South Austin that were home to the working-class “bubbas.” There are a few remaining pockets of Bubbaville, but each year they are pushed further and further south.

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