Photo by Mitchell Kmetz on Unsplash

Despite being one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation, interest in relocating to Austin is becoming less focused on the city, and more on the suburbs.

A new study by moving experts moveBuddha took a look at data from Austin’s metropolitan statistical area (MSA) from 2020 to 2022. Their analysts determined trends for when and where new residents are moving, as well as which city they’re coming from.

In a nutshell, most people moving out of Austin were moving out of the following areas: North Loop and Hyde Park (78751), south of Dessau in between I-35 and 290 (78754), Tarrytown and Old West Austin bordering the river on each side of Mopac (78703), the area south of Mopac and 183 holding Crestview, Allandale, Wooten and North Shoal Creek (78757), and Jollyville (78729).

The zip code that had the most “positive” search volume in 2022 was downtown Austin’s 78701. But moveBuddha doesn’t attribute that as the top destination of where people are moving, but as the default zip code that travelers and tourists search for.

Leander is the true winner for growth in the Austin area, according to moveBuddha and the U.S. Census Bureau. It was declared the fastest-growing city in all of America between 2018 and 2019. The increasing popularity of CapMetro’s rail line that leads into the heart of downtown Austin is likely a major factor into why Leander locals enjoy embracing the suburban life.

When looking at the data of where newcomers are moving from, it’s certainly not a surprise that Californians really do love our city as much as we do. The study found that for every 100 Austinites that thought about moving to San Francisco in 2020, a staggering 1,213 residents from San Francisco were considering making the opposite move. A similar ratio was discovered for residents in Silicon Valley’s San Jose.

The top five U.S. cities with residents that are moving to Austin are:

  • San Jose, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Houston, Texas

Even with the influx of transplants, waning interest in Austin since 2020 was not exclusive to just the Golden State. Residents in Atlanta, New York City, Brooklyn, and Washington D.C. were extremely attracted to the idea of moving to Austin in 2020, but as of 2022 no longer share that desire.

On the other hand, plenty of Austin residents are leaving the state for a city with similar progressive values. According to the report, Denver is where Austinites see the most interest in moving within recent years. Access to outdoor recreation, lots of local music, and enough “weird” vibes are the big draws for the Colorado city.

Most of the concerns with residents leaving the city have to do with cost of living increases, such as rising rent and housing affordability.

The top five destinations for Austinites moving out of the city are:

  • Denver, Colorado
  • New York City, New York
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

The full report and its methodology can be found on movebuddha.com.

U-Haul International/Instagram

Texas moves into top ranking in U-Haul’s list of growing locales

On the move

More movers hauled their belongings to Texas than any other state in 2022. And despite Austin's popularity with backpack-toting newcomers, heavier packers were mostly pointed toward Dallas and Houston, according to a new study.

In its recently released annual growth report, Texas ranks No. 1 overall as the state with the most in-bound moves using U-Haul trucks. This is the second year in a row and the fifth year since 2016 that Texas has earned the distinction.

U-Haul ranks the Houston suburbs of Missouri City and Conroe at No. 13 and No. 19, respectively, among U.S. cities with the most inbound moves via U-Haul trucks in 2022. The Dallas suburb of Richardson made No. 15 as the only other Texas city to make the list.

“The 2022 trends in migration followed very similar patterns to 2021 with Texas, Florida, the Carolinas and the Southwest continuing to see solid growth,” U-Haul international president John Taylor said in a news release. “We still have areas with strong demand for one-way rentals. While overall migration in 2021 was record-breaking, we continue to experience significant customer demand to move out of some geographic areas to destinations at the top of our growth list.”

U-Haul determined the top 25 cities by analyzing more than 2 million one-way U-Haul transactions over the calendar year. Then the company calculated the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a specific area versus departing from that area. The top U-Haul growth states were determined the same way.

The studies note that U-Haul migration trends do not directly correlate to population or economic growth — but they are an “effective gauge” of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents.

Outside of Houston, Missouri City is known for its convenient location only minutes from downtown Houston, according to its website. The city’s proximity to major freeways, rail lines, the Port of Houston, and Bush and Hobby Airports links its businesses with customers “around the nation and the world.”

Richardson moved up from its No. 22 ranking in the U-Haul study last year, when it was also joined by Grapevine (No. 15) and Carrollton (No. 25) - the latter two cities have dropped off the list. The Richardson Chamber of Commerce brags about the city’s 900 acres of parkland, extensive trail system, investment in the cultural arts, diverse array of neighborhoods, convenient Metroplex location, multi-modal transportation infrastructure, and high-tech business leadership.

The No. 19-ranked city of Conroe is “the perfect blend of starry nights and city lights,” according to the Visit Conroe website. Conroe offers plenty of outdoor activities, as it is bordered by Lake Conroe, Sam Houston National Forest, and W. Goodrich Jones State Forest. But it also has a busy downtown area with breweries, theaters, shopping, and live music.

To view U-Haul’s full growth cities report, click here.

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Queens of the Stone Age add 8 dates to winter tour, including Austin

queens of rock

Calling all Teenage Hand Models, Little Sisters, and Carnavoyeurs. Queens of the Stone Age are coming to town.

Joshua Homme and his bandmates have added eight new stops to their “The End is Nero” tour, and that includes Austin's Moody Center on Friday, December 8.

They'll also stop at Houston’s 713 Music Hall on Saturday, December 9, and Irvings' Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory on December 10. British rock band Spiritualized will open.

QOTSA is touring behind its latest album, In Times New Roman. Released in June, the album went to number one in four countries, including six charts in the U.S. — Vinyl, Independent, Alternative, Digital, Rock, and Hard Music album sales charts. Hailed as a return to the band’s hard rocking roots, it deals with such light-hearted subjects as Homme’s divorce from Distillers founder Brody Dale.

The tour launched on August 3 in Michigan and has the band criss-crossing the U.S. before heading to Europe for the month of November.

Judging by intel from the band’s recent stops, fans should expect a setlist that pulls from QOTSA’s entire, 20-plus year history, including fan favorites such as "No One Knows," "Little Sister," and "A Song for the Dead."

Tickets go on sale Friday, September 22 via livenation.com. Various pre-sales are also available.

Newly announced dates for The End is Nero Tour include:

12/05/23 - Phoenix - Arizona Financial Theatre
12/06/23 - El Paso - Abraham Chavez Theatre
12/08/23 - Austin - Moody Center
12/09/23 - Houston - 713 Music Hall
12/10/23 - Irving - The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
12/12/23 - Albuquerque - Revel ABQ
12/15/23 - San Diego - Viejas Arena
12/16/23 - Los Angeles - Kia Forum

Frozen Treat Fest brings cool Austin pastry chefs into the spotlight

treats for a cause

Austin really loves its chefs, regularly offering up guest chef series and festival lineups. And even though dessert can be a literal cherry on top of a great meal, the names of our pastry chefs show up on fewer lists and posters. No more, says cocktail bar and restaurant Holiday, which is bringing a sweet group together for one last summer hurrah.

Saying goodbye to summer season, a frozen treat pop-up will bring together five award-winning local pastry chefs. They'll show off their dessert-making skills at the Frozen Treat Fest on Thursday, September 21.

The brilliant chefs that will be crafting delicious frozen concoctions for the fest include Holiday's own Chef Peter Klein, who recently transitioned from famous Italian spot L'Oca d'Oro, as well as Chef Margarita Kallas-Lee, the co-owner of Pasta Bar and Sushi by Scratch Restaurants. Kallas-Lee will give guests a sneak peek at of her new dessert and to-go shop concept Wolf and Wheat.

Thai Fresh and Gati chef Jam Sanitchat will show off her gluten-free vegan ice cream cake topped with a delectable peach compote. This ice cream has been getting recent attention as Toy Joy and sweet shop Yummi Joy expand into a bigger space.

Two James Beard Award nominees will also be in attendance: the ambitious New Waterloo director of culinary projects Amanda Rockman will debut a blueberry cobbler sundae, while Oseyo's Laura Sawicki will share her banana-milk gochugaru swirl fudgesicles.

Holiday's Frozen Treat Fest will begin at 5 pm, and tickets ($15 per person) will be sold at the door on the day of. All ticket sales from event will go to Jane's Due Process, a nonprofit providing support for people under 18 that need contraceptive care and information on out-of-state abortion care.

New York Times names 2 must-try Austin eateries to coveted 50 most exciting restaurants list

NYT's favorite Houston restaurants

The New York Times has included four Texas restaurants — including two from Austin — on its new list of “The 50 places in the United States that we’re most excited about right now.”

Austin's representatives are Mexican seafood restaurant Esteand Malaysian comfort food eatery Wee’s Cozy Kitchen, near the University of Texas. They're joined by Houston's Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers, a Southern restaurant from Gatlin’s BBQ owner Greg Gatlin, and El Hidalguense, a Mexican restaurant in the Spring Branch district.

Published Tuesday, September 19, the list mixes newer restaurants that have opened since 2022 with more tenured establishments. Overall, 28 states are represented. Texas’s four spots rank it third, with New York and California tying for first with five entries each.

“Despite the upheavals in recent years, this is an expansive moment for independent restaurants. We can’t help but feel that cities and towns in the United States are better to eat in today than they have ever been,” the article states.

Food reporter Priya Krishna writes the entries for all four Texas restaurants. Este chef-owner Fermín Núñez earns recognition for adding global touches like hummus and brown butter to his Mexican seafood dishes. Krishna praises Wee’s Cozy Kitchen for the way chef Wee Fong Ehlers serves dishes like curry laksa in a West Campus gas station “past the cases of Coors Light and off-brand iPhone headphones.”

Este has already received regional attention, earning a spot on Bon Appetit's best new restaurants list last week, and an honorable mention onTexas Monthly’s list of 2023’s best new restaurants (as did Gatlin's). Prior to opening Este last year, Núñez earned a Food & Wine Best New Chef award for his work at Suerte, his masa-focused Mexican restaurant in Austin. The Houston restaurateur Greg Gatlin has made a number of media appearances, including serving as a guest judge on a barbecue-themed episode of Top Chef and in Netflix’s High on the Hog documentary series.

At Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers, Krishna praises the biscuits, barbecue shrimp, fried catfish, and “warm-hug hospitality.” “From the cozy booths to the televisions mounted on the walls, it’s a place where you’ll want to stay a while. Just don’t leave without having the cobbler,” she writes.

Turning to El Hidalguense, Krishna feasts on the signature roasted goat and caldo de res. “This is the rustic cooking of Hidalgo, a state in central Mexico whose famously colorful houses are depicted on the restaurant’s sign and splashed onto the table decorations. Grab a big group, order several platters of meat and enjoy the kind of Mexican cooking that you can’t easily get elsewhere — and that’s saying something in Houston,” she writes.