Georgetown is the New Austin

Charming and Historic Georgetown is the New Austin.  Yeah, I said it, and it’s not just because I grew up there!  I recently helped a couple relocate from California to the Austin Metro, yeah, yeah, it’s cliché by now.  They helped me realize that not everyone has to move to Austin proper to satisfy their needs for a vibrant and walkable downtown lifestyle.  Although Georgetown does not have towering condo towers (despite having a population of roughly 75,000 people) and gaggles of bars like you’ll find on Dirty 6th Street in Austin, it does have some of the most charming homes you’ll find and access to what many (including me) believe is the coolest and most beautiful town square in the USA.

For what it lacks in hustle and bustle, it makes up in character and history.  Georgetown is home to the oldest (yes, THE oldest) university in the entire State of Texas (and Texas is gigantic in case you haven’t heard<grin>), Southwestern University.

Southwestern University

Southwestern University is the oldest university in Texas, founded in 1840!

It’s also the County Seat of Williamson County, meaning a robust government & educational employment base are within earshot.  That’s why and how “The Square” was formed, around the Old Courthouse, itself a historical marker.

The Courthouse

The Courthouse

The Old Courthouse in Downtown Georgetown. Gorgeous, stately, and the focal point of The Square.

Funk Mobile on The Square The Square

The Square The Square

Along The Square you’ll stumble upon The Palace Theater which was built in 1925 (95 years ago for those slow with math).  My daughter has had many dance recitals in this majestic theater and today it remains booked with plays, musicals, and other performing arts throughout the year.  I recently revealed to my parents that I saw a 3-D version of “Friday the 13th” in 1982’ish, when I was 5 years old, yes FIVE, in this theater, thanks to one of my Crazy Aunts.  It’s always good to wait nearly 40 years to tell your parents about these types of experiences, fyi!

The Palace Theater

The 95 year old Palace Theater still hosts plays, musicals, recitals, etc.

Though the administration offices and County Jail have since moved away from The Square, the old County Jail remains as a Historical Marker.  I can remember driving by the jail on Austin Avenue when I was a kid and I could see the inmates in the windows wearing their brilliantly white outfits.  Now the building stands quiet and ominous along the main drag in Georgetown, except when it hosts the annual “Nightmare on Jail Hill Haunted House”.

Old Williamson County Jail

The Historical Williamson County Jail remains as a Historical Market just north of the Square and also hosts a public Haunted House during the Halloween Season!

You’ll have no shortage of dining and drinking options in and around The Square in Georgetown.  Patios, riverfront views, and street-side venues are abundant.  I’ll get around to writing a Happy Hour Cheat Sheet as I did for Leander & Cedar Park recently, until then, start doing your own sampling!  Perhaps my favorite attraction in Historic Georgetown, is the ability to walk around The Square from shop to shop WITH A BEVERAGE in hand!  Yes, it’s legal, and it’s awesome.

The City plays host to various other uniquely cool events throughout the year, namely the Annual Red Poppy Festival (no this is not an homage to heroin production) and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo!  This is Texas after all, so you have to throw in a rodeo!

Being in Central Texas, Georgetown does get hot in the Summer months, but even in all months of the year, you’ll find days when you can walk down to the San Gabriel River and splash around in Blue Hole Park, a popular swimming and lounging spot just north of Downtown.

Now back to the houses…those charming, adorable, and gorgeous houses!  There are a myriad of options in and around Downtown.  You’ll see them as you enter from the south on Austin Avenue and you’ll see them as you venture away from downtown primarily east and south.  Some of these homes are brand new, but the true charmers are of the early 1900s vintage.  These homes are an exclamation mark at the end of a long sentence describing a town that all of America recognizes as one of the most attractive and appealing.

House House Downtown Street Old House

So if you’re looking for a new home in the Austin area, don’t neglect this not so hidden gem 30 minutes north of Austin.  Charming and Historic Georgetown is the new Austin, a more affordable and realistic version, and I’ll challenge you to prove me wrong!

P.S.  Do some googling…there are tons of things about Georgetown I haven’t included, yet!