“Keep Austin Weird” is the city motto in business, law, and leisure.
Austin, Texas, is a city of music and culture. It’s the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World,” it has one of the highest rates of restaurants per capita in America, and its residents care so much about their food that they have more than 40 farmers' markets scattered across town.
Austin is a vibrant city with a fantastic culture, and the city loves to keep it weird. So here are the strangest laws that are still enforceable in the city.
1. Encyclopedia Britannica is illegal in Austin
Texas officials have outlawed Encyclopedia Britannica.
You can get fined for owning any volume of the most popular encyclopedia. If you’re caught with the book, you can even face prison time. Encyclopedias are serious business in Austin. The main reason for passing this law could be because some volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica feature step-by-step guides on how to homebrew your beer. You haven’t heard it from me, though. Psst.
2. Milking another man’s cow is illegal
This one is just common sense, guys.
Don’t go around milking other people’s cows because you may get yourself a hefty $10 fine and a fun afternoon in police custody. The cow owner may have all sorts of feelings over the stolen milk, so your trouble may extend beyond the law and police. Just don’t milk other guys' cows. It’s not worth the hassle.
3. Dusting is Forbidden in Public if you’re using Feathers
Who would dust buildings with a feather? Someone in Austin, surely. The city has passed a law to prohibit anyone from cleaning outside buildings with any sort of feathers.
4. Sitting on a Sidewalk can get you in all sorts of legal troubles
You can get fined $500 if you’re resting on the floor in downtown Austin. If your feet hurt, better find a bench to sit down. Benches are safer for both your wallet and criminal file.
5. You can get a $5 permit to walk around barefoot
If you want to enjoy a stroll around Austin, make sure your toes are properly shod. Walking around Austin without shoes is a big no-no. If you don’t have a permit, that is. I’m not sure what side of this law is more bizarre. Is it the fact that that you can’t walk barefoot or that you can get a license for $5 to enjoy your no-shoes life? I’m getting my license, that’s for sure.
6. Give your victim a 24hr notice before you commit a crime
If you’re planning a breaking and entering into someone's house in Austin, your better give them a heads up. The law says that criminals have to provide a 24hr notice to their victim before committing a crime. I’m not sure if that’s out of courtesy or just to have time to move all your valuables. Nobody appreciates the gesture, though.
7. Strolling the streets of Austin with the intent of flirting is punishable by law
Austin has a way to stop men catcalling. Just make flirting illegal in public, and you’re good to go. If an officer suspects that you’re out and about, testing your pick-up art, you may end up in trouble with the law.
Austinites are always thinking up new ways to make Austin weird
The city embraces its quirks and somehow manages to make them even weirder. Whether it’s the obsession with breakfast tacos or the regular bat discussions, something strange is always happening in the city.
Austin has its own set of rules to live by, and the first one is: Keep Austin Weird.