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Willie Nelson | © Bob Tilden / Flickr
Willie Nelson | © Bob Tilden / Flickr
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10 Famous People You Might Bump into in Austin

Picture of Sarah Karney
Updated: 28 January 2017
Austin, a city known for its laid-back, friendly, and “weird” vibe, is an attractive town to settle down in for many celebrities. The city offers the creative, collaborative atmosphere many stars crave while allowing them to live more reclusively and lavishly than they could in a city like Los Angeles. Here are ten celebrities you may see while out and about in the Texas capital.

Matthew McConaughey

One of the University of Texas’s most famous grads and lifetime fans, Matthew McConaughey still makes frequent appearances at the school’s football games. He famously showed off Austin’s skyline in a series of heartfelt Lincoln Motor commercials in 2014. He can also be seen volunteering with various organizations around town, such as Meals On Wheels and his own philanthropy, the “just keep livin” Foundation, which sets up health and mindfulness programs in inner-city high schools.

Sandra Bullock

Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock splits her time between Los Angeles and Austin, and she even filmed a large portion of one of her most well-known movies, Miss Congeniality, in the city. In addition to acting, she also founded a production company, Fortis Films, and in 2006, she opened the now-shuttered Bess Bistro in downtown Austin. Today, she owns a popular florist, coffee shop, bakery, and deli hybrid called Walton’s Fancy & Staple.

Elijah Wood

Often described by locals as a “mythical resident,” actor Elijah Wood is seen sporadically as he randomly pops up at restaurants and sometimes DJs events, but he spends most of his time away from the public eye. He currently resides in a $1 million Victorian mansion in the coveted, trendy Boudin Creek neighborhood that he purchased in 2012. In a recent interview, he says he hopes to bring more film opportunities to Austin.

Lance Armstrong

Austin is home to both Lance Armstrong and the headquarters of his nonprofit, LIVESTRONG Foundation, which provides support for those affected by cancer. He also owns Mellow Johnny’s, a hybrid bike shop, café, and cycling training center. Though deeply engrained in the city, there is no telling if Lance may be planning to leave Austin in the near future as he put his 8,000-square-foot (743.2-square-meter) home on the market for $8.25 million last year.

Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop © Bruce Turner
Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop | © Bruce Turner

Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker

The city’s premiere power couple, former tennis player Andy Roddick and model/actress Brooklyn Decker, live in a secluded farmhouse in West Austin with their son, Hank. Decker moved to Austin 10 years ago to be with Roddick, who grew up in the city and later returned. The couple stays busy by running the Andy Roddick Foundation, a nonprofit based in East Austin that provides high-quality summer enrichment programs for low-income youth.

Richard Linklater

This award-winning director not only made Austin his home but also the background of some of his most well-known films. He shot much of Boyhood, which earned him a Golden Globe for Best Director, and cult classic Dazed and Confused in Austin, and also helped found the Austin Film Society in 1985. Since 1996, the society has given out more than $1.5 million in grants to Texan filmmakers. Check out The Film Buff’s Guide to Texas to find out how you can access some of the filming locations of Dazed and Confused.

Dan Rather

Originally from Houston, news correspondent Dan Rather now splits his time between his New York and Austin homes. He has been awarded multiple Peabody Awards and Emmys and honored with the Edward R. Morrow Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. His daughter Robin is also an Austin resident and is well known for her philanthropic efforts in various facets around the city.

Terrence Malick

Director Terrence Malick will share his home and the “live music capital of the world” through his long-anticipated film coming out in March 2017. The film, titled Song To Song, stars Rooney Mara and Ryan Gosling as two Austin musicians and lovers struggling to make it in the increasingly expensive city. The release of this movie will finally give closure to multiple longstanding Austin mysteries, as residents have been wondering why A-list celebrities were popping up at local music festivals in 2011.

Willie Nelson

No list of Austin celebrities would be complete without the unofficial mascot of Austin – Willie Nelson. While he splits his time between his home in Maui and his ranch in Austin, he is the face of two of the city’s most famous murals, one declaring “Willie for President.” He hosts the summer’s biggest bash, Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic, every year at the outdoor Austin360 Amphitheater. Don’t have the chance to snap a photo with Willie himself at one of his shows? Visit the statue of his likeness at ACL Live at the Moody Theater on the street named after him – Willie Nelson Boulevard.

Willie Nelson © Bob Tilden
Willie Nelson | © Bob Tilden / Flickr

Your best chance of celebrity spotting in Austin will take place during SXSW – learn more about the history of this festival of all festivals.