Photo by Alexander Williams on Unsplash

The University of Texas at Austin continues its streak of high rankings for its high-quality educational experiences. The home of the Longhorns earned a coveted top three spot on U.S. News and World Report's just-released list of the Best Colleges in Texas for 2024.

UT Austin claimed No. 2 in Texas, and ranked No. 32 nationally. The public institution had an undergraduate enrollment of more than 41,300 students in fall 2022. The school, which costs $11,698 in tuition for in-state students and fees each year, ranks No. 9 for "Top Public Schools" by U.S. News.

In April, UT's Cockrell School of Engineering ranked No. 7 in U.S. News' ranking of the best graduate schools in the country, while McCombs School of Business earned the No. 20 spot among business schools.

UT Austin actually fared similarly in Niche'slist of top public universities, in which it ranked No. 6 nationally.

U.S. News' profile of UT Austin says the university prides itself on being a top-tier research institution.

"UT Austin has been a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities since 1929," the site says. "The university attracts nearly $800 million annually for research. Top accolades include the creation of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines and the worlds’ fastest supercomputers for open research."

The university also boasts a rich campus culture that encourages students to participate in different organizations and activities.

"Students can participate in more than 1,000 clubs and organizations or in the sizable UT Greek system," the site says. "The university has several student media outlets, and its sports teams are notorious competitors in the Division I Big 12 Conference. UT also offers hundreds of study abroad programs, with the most popular destinations being Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and China."

Ahead of UT Austin in the ranking is Rice University in Houston. The "Ivy League of the South" ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 17 nationally.

Just behind UT Austin is College Station's Texas A&M University, which placed No. 3 in the Texas rankings and No. 47 nationally.

U.S. News' top 10 best colleges in Texas in 2024 are:

  • No. 1 – Rice University, Houston
  • No. 2 – University of Texas at Austin
  • No. 3 – Texas A&M University, College Station
  • No. 4 – Southern Methodist University, Dallas
  • No. 5 – Baylor University, Waco
  • No. 6 – Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
  • No. 7 – The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson
  • No. 8 – University of Houston
  • No. 9 – Texas Tech University, Lubbock
  • No. 10 – University of St. Thomas, Houston

The full rankings can be found on usnews.com.

Photo courtesy of KVUE

University of Texas brings the heat with initial approval to study extreme temps

The Hot Seat

Researchers are looking for ways to better handle the record-breaking heat in Central Texas, and they should be getting a boost through a new federally-funded program. The request received initial approval, but still has to go through the legislative process and be signed into law by Mayor Kirk Watson.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) announced on Thursday the development of a federally-funded, 3-year research program at the University of Texas (UT) to study rising temperatures and their effects in Central Texas.

"We know everything going around us in terms of rising temperatures, the drought, smoke and the fires that are going on," said Dev Niyogi, a geosciences professor at UT and the lead researcher for the project.

Niyogi said they will be doing research over the next few years on these topics and collecting data.

"[The goal is to] translate global knowledge into local scale decisions that can be done by the city and community," Niyogi said.
Part of the research will include studying artificial intelligence (AI) and mathematical models. There will be up to 30 researchers from UT and 10 members from the City of Austin taking part in the program.

When it comes to addressing the rising temperatures, researchers will be looking at various phenomena such as the Urban Heat Island.

"Cities can heat our environment. We can do something with our city to cool the environment and, armed with this knowledge, we can start addressing neighborhood by neighborhood and start cooling our cities and developing resistance better for our system," Niyogi said.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Photo courtesy of KVUE

UT Austin weighs in on I-35 plans for potential campus expansion

Hat in the ring

Plans for the I-35 Capital Express Central project continue to move forward. As part of the project, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will reconstruct 8 miles of the interstate, including near the University of Texas at Austin campus.

"Remove the upper deck, to add two high-occupancy vehicle lanes that would not be toll lanes," said Dan Allen, executive director of real estate planning and strategy at UT Austin.

Allen said UT is interested in the land above the interstate between 15th and Dean Keeton streets.

"Recognize opportunities and figure out what's feasible. But that's our goal, to execute, to get the deck plaza all the way from 15th Street to Dean Keeton," he said.

Allen said this "deck plaza," also known as a "cap," would be made of concrete, steel and iron and could create as much as 40 acres of land.

"It would be a generational opportunity," he said.

There are number of opportunities that could go there, and Allen said a big part of this would connect the east and west part of the city – a concept being explored by number of cities.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Photo by Jody Horton

Longhorns watch parties, robot bartenders, and all-you-can-eat seafood top Austin's tastiest food news

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


This week, the opening on Austinites' minds is that of the college football season. Sorry for the psych-out, but there's food news coming. The Longhorns' first game is on September 2, and there should be no shortage of places to drink a beer and watch the game. The following three are a little fancier than your staple neighborhood sports bar.

The newest option will be Victory Lap, which opens on the same day, unveiling its masculine vintage interior with lots of smart, upscale design snuck in. Wax Myrtle's, always ready with a theme, is joining the fray. It's showing the game on all its TVs and offering drink discounts, plus 50 percent off wings and pulled pork sandwiches. Live DJ sets will add excitement to every game this season. On East 6th Street, Lefty's Brick Bar is a great place to start the party. Enjoy themed cocktails, $2 draft beers, and lawn games, as well as free wings when you share the event on Instagram.

Other news and notes

Kinship Milk Tea, a bottled beverage company by UT Grad Caitlin Cash, was selected as a participant in Whole Foods Market's Local and Emerging Brands Accelerator Program (LEAP). That means the company will be considered for placement on Whole Foods shelves and a potential $25,000 equity investment. The participants were narrowed down to 10 from 1,000 new applicants, so even if Kinship doesn't win, this is Austinites' heads up that this brand is going places.

Yes, robots taking jobs is a little scary, but when the job is pouring beers in massive venues, not too much has been lost. TendedBararrived in Austin at Circuit of the Americas first, in June of 2022. Now it's expanding to college stadiums including those at Texas A&M and UT. These drink-making machines eliminate the need to shout an order over a crowd or carry a payment option. They also make more than 100 drinks, so don't worry — your super-customized drink order is as available as ever.

Die-hard fans of Barlata may not have made it back since El Ravaltook over, but here's a nudge: a series called "Sundays in Barcelona" brings brunch to the contemporary Spanish restaurant, with items like jamón conserva, boquerones (anchovies), eggs and paella, and cold shellfish platters. Live entertainment will lend an even more Spanish vibe, for total immersion. Reservations are recommended on OpenTable.

Upscale neighborhood restaurantLenoir offers a spin-off to its popular old-fashioned Backyard Beefsteak Dinner on September 3, this time with a coastal twist. The all-you-can-eat Backyard Beach-Steak Dinner features a raw bar with ceviche, as well as whole grilled fish, seasonal sides, desserts, and more. Beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages will also be available for purchase. A portion of funds from the event go to Austin Pets Alive!, a leading no-kill shelter. Tickets ($95, discounts for kids) available on Resy.

UT Austin/Facebook

UT Austin earns No. 6 ranking on new list of best public universities in U.S.

Longhorn pride

The University of Texas at Austin has risen in the ranks in a highly anticipated new list of the country's best universities.

Niche, an education review and ranking website, has deemed UT Austin the sixth best public university in the U.S., up from No. 8 last year. The university receives an A+ grade in five of the 12 ranking categories, including academics, athletics, and student life. It gets an A for the diversity, value, and professors, an A- for the campus, and a C+ for dorms and safety.

UT Austin also ranked highly in other categories, including:

  • No. 1 of 405 Best Hispanic-Serving Institutions in America.
  • No. 3 of 931 Best Colleges for Communications in America.
  • No. 8 of 454 Best Colleges for Sports Management in America.

More individual rankings can be found here.

UT Austin regularly ranks highly on lists of the best colleges and universities in the country, including those published by Niche, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report.

"The University of Texas at Austin provided a great overall university experience," a student wrote in a Niche review. "Campus life was lively, with tons of student activities and organizations available. My professors included leaders in their fields and genuinely interesting academic leaders."

Topping Niche’s national list is Yale University, followed by Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Dartmouth College.

UT Austin comes in at No. 2 on Niche’s list of the best colleges in Texas - but it's the best public university in the state. Here are the top 10 Texas schools:

1. Rice University (Houston)
2. University of Texas at Austin
3. Texas A&M University (College Station)
4. Trinity University (San Antonio)
5. Southern Methodist University (University Park)
6. Texas Christian University (Fort Worth)
7. Texas Tech University (Lubbock)
8. University of Houston
9. University of Texas Permian Basin (Odessa)
10. Baylor University (Waco)

“Choosing where to go to college is easily one of the most significant — and expensive — decisions of a person’s life. Niche’s mission is to ensure that every college-bound student has access to easy, transparent and free resources … to help them find their best fit,” Luke Skurman, founder and CEO of Niche, says in a news release.


A version of this article originally ran on our sister site InnovationMap.

Pat Green/Facebook

Pat Green kicks off 2023 Texas Football season as Longhorn City Limits headliner

Green and Burnt Orange

The 2023 Texas Football season kicks off this Saturday, September 2. But the festivities aren't limited to just football – the Longhorn City Limits concert series will be back, too.

Longhorn City Limits is a series of free concerts held on the LBJ Lawn at the University of Texas at Austin before every home football game. Country star Pat Green will headline the first concert of this year's series, joined by special guest Gus Clark & The Least Of His Problems.

Clark will get the live music started at 11 am, and Green will take the stage at approximately 12:30 pm.

This year's Longhorn City Limits concert series is presented by Still Austin Whiskey Co. The distillery will have the Still Austin Music Lounge set up every gameday to offer fans 21 years old and older a full menu of drinks, including the Still Austin Horns Up Bourbon Lemonade on ice. Fans will also have the opportunity to get limited-edition swag curated by Still Austin.

Tito's Tailgate will also return for a second consecutive season, located in front of the LBJ Fountain. The location will offer Tito's cocktails on tap.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Iconic Mexican restaurant hatches new West Austin spot for more grilled goodies

A Fresh New Fresa's

Beloved Austin restaurant Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon, known for its fresh Mexican fare and poultry-forward, wood-grilled menu, is expanding its coop with a new location in West Austin. The latest location is at 3600 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. and is open to the public as of October 3.

Patrons can expect Fresca’s signature al fresco ambiance, interior design, and expansive menu of grilled dishes and more at this Loop 360 eatery. Familiar design, like the vibrant aesthetics crafted by Austin architect and designer LEVY DYKEMA, are paired with new features like its new 6,000-square-foot space and breathtaking views of the West Lake Hills. The restaurant includes indoor dining space for 160 guests, seating for 38 guests on the patio, and some additional bar seating.

“Having served fellow Austinites for over a decade, we’re grateful to bring our concept not only to a new neighborhood but to my neighborhood,” said Fresa’s co-owner Margaret Vera in a press release. “We can’t wait to share the new space with the community. We really tried to create a space that captures the spirit of Westlake and the Hill Country.”

As a resident of the West Lake Hills herself, Vera is excited to bring the Fresa’s experience and its well-known patio vibes to the neighborhood, which is full of loyal customers, who often had to venture to other locations.

“The Hill Country backdrop is an added bonus,” Vera tells CultureMap. “We actually built a new patio into the previous space to make eating wood-grilled meals and sipping margaritas over the sunset possible.”

Guests can enjoy regular live entertainment, drink specials, events, and music on the Fresa’s 360 patio, much like the programming at the South First Street location. Seasonal menu items such as wood-grilled wings and a ceviche tostada are available to order through October. Fresa’s 360 will also offer other typical items from the concept’s rotating holiday menu, like Thanksgiving dinners and tamales, throughout the year.

Since opening its first and most famous location on North Lamar Boulevard in 2012, Fresa’s has continued to elevate the dining experience for guests, solidifying itself among a list of must-eat places in Austin. Plans for more locations, including a fourth sit-down spot in Mueller, are on the horizon for 2024.

Fresa’s 360 is open seven days a week. Dine-in hours are 11 am to 10 pm Monday through Friday, and 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday and Sunday. To-go window hours are 8 am to 10 pm daily. The happy hour menu is available from 3 to 6 pm Monday through Friday.

Fresa's 360 interior

Photo by Jane Yun

Fresa's 360 location is open now at 3600 N. Capital of Texas Highway.

Beyoncé brings dazzling Renaissance Tour to big screens with new concert film

big-screen bey

“The goal for this tour was to create a place where everyone is free ...and no one is judged.”

So declares Queen Bey in a just-released trailer for RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ, a new documentary and concert film coming to major movie theaters on Friday, December 1 across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The new film chronicles Houston-born Beyoncé's journey from concept to performance as she treks across the globe in her worldwide, 56-performance, 39-city Renaissance tour.

Houstonians (and fans who made the drive) are still buzzing from the two-day H-Town homecoming (read our review here) that near-capacity crowds pack NRG Stadium for the often breathtaking, three-hour shows that featured a cameo by fellow Houston-born superstar Megan Thee Stallion.

Tickets for the concert film — a joint production between Parkwood Entertainment and AMC Entertainment — are on sale now at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com. Fans can also find tickets at Cinemark, Regal, Cinepolis and Cineplex, all of which will screen the movie. Tickets will also be available at numerous movie theatre circuits in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico later this week, according to an announcement. Admission for all standard showtimes will start at $22, plus tax.

RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ is a must for any Beyhive member — as well as those who want to reminisce attending the epic shows, or those who missed her tour stops. The big-screen treatment is fitting: short of seeing the shows live, there is no better way to take in the Renaissance tour's dazzling effects, lasers, and pyrotechnics, mind-bending visuals on huge screens, unforgettable costumes (A.I.!), Megan's surprise, and of course, Queen Bey riding through the air atop a glittering Reneigh, her trusty, mirrorball, shimmering steed.

Fans can look forward to multiple showtimes daily on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, for a minimum of four weeks, according to press materials. RENAISSANCE will also be available in IMAX (the ideal viewing) at AMC and Dolby Cinema at AMC, and other branded premium large format screens.

Kicking off atthe opening show in Stockholm, Sweden and documenting each stop to the grand finale in Kansas City, Missouri, the film captures rarely seen, behind-the-scenes moments of a Beyoncé tirelessly working and preparing and sharing tender moments with her children and family.

Meant to further articulate her “everyone is free/no one is judged” mantra, scenes will depict the more than 2.7 million fans from around the world who dressed in silver and shiny outfits, took part in her Joy Parade, and nailed the Mute Challenge at each show.


Find RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ tickets at at amctheatres.com and Fandango.com.

'Top Chef' contestant and Tiny Grocer hero open new restaurant in Hyde Park after long wait


Anyone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed today should consider hustling over to the new side of the renovated Hyde Park post office. Formerly just a government building, on October 3 it welcomes French bistro Bureau de Poste and the second location of the extremely popular Austin shop, Tiny Grocer.

Bureau de Poste was preceded by much excitement, thanks to the stellar reputations of Tiny Grocery founder Steph Steele and Top Chef contestant Jo Chan. The new location at 4300 Speedway combines the local favorite grocery store with a more robust menu and seating than the original deli — although it, too, will serve made-to-order sandwiches and pre-made items.

Bureau de Poste Austin dishes

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Now grocery shopping comes with a side of delicious French food.

The grocery portion will sell more than 3,000 products curated by Steele, alongside a coffee bar, wine, and Swedish Hill and Gati gluen-free pastries. The floral, kids, pets, and nonalcoholic beverages (including mixers) will be larger than the original store. Notably, it is the first-ever outside retailer for Made In cookware.

The restaurant portion elevates the concept from a shopping destination to a place to sit and spend some time. Chef Jo Chan, best known for work at one of Austin's fanciest restaurants, Eberly, and her time on the cooking competition, now debuts some of her more international tastes that she recently developed while traveling. Some of the very French dishes on the menu include escargot, French onion soup, and beef tartare.

The sides come together over a desire to build a community gathering place and be deeply involved not just with the quality, but with the customers. Of course, Tiny Grocer already has its loyal fans, and a grocery store always lends itself to repeat visitors; the duo hopes that Bureau de Poste will also start accumulating some regulars.

Some more dishes to note: A release claims that Bureau de Poste will be the first restaurant in town that offers skate (a ray-like fish) regularly, and Chan's roast chicken partially recreates famous dishes from Zuni Café and Barbuto, where Chan used to run the kitchen.

The clafoutis — a baked custard with seasonal fruit and crème fraiche whip — is the chef's tribute to famous chef Julia Child, who was known for making French cooking approachable to Americans at home. (Austin only has one degree of separation from Child, whose book inspired Austin-born blogger Julie Foster to learn to cook in a personal triumph that later became a memoir and a feature film.)

Best of all, if guests were particularly charmed by an ingredient at the restaurant, they may sometimes find it on the grocery shelves.

Bureau de Poste will operate daily from 5-10 pm, with an additional brunch service on weekends from 10 am to 3 pm. Tiny Grocer operates 8 am to 10 pm daily. More information about Tiny Grocer is available at tinygrocer.com, and more information about Bureau de Poste is availalbe at bureaudeposteatx.com. Reserve on OpenTable.