What you'll notice about Austin, which is different from other concrete jungle cities in Texas, is the large number of parks and nature reserves located near the center of the city. Austin is ideal for any outdoor enthusiast with valuable urban nature conservations, such as the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Please wait a moment and try again. Austin is much more culturally diverse and much more liberal than the rest of Texas.
All big cities are more diverse and liberal, but Austin is several times more liberal than them. That's what the saying means. I often hear that Austin isn't like the rest of Texas or that I couldn't live anywhere in Texas except Austin. Usually don't worry, Austin isn't like the rest of Texas enough when I'm meeting people, which is the only time this conversation has only come up in the entire time I've lived in Texas or outside of it.
Austin also has a highly educated workforce, thanks in part to the University of Texas and other local universities. Hence all the useless protests that lament the Dallasization and Houstonization of Austin and, of course, the Keep Austin Weird campaign. Austin is renowned throughout North America for being a center of cultural diversity; it would seem like an attractive place to live for any liberal-minded consumer of art based on that reputation, and the fact that it's in Texas (which has the reputation of, well, Texas) makes it much more interesting. Austin has a much better landscape, a much better downtown, and a much longer and more established tradition of liberalism than any other city in Texas.
It seems that you have experienced some hostility because of your assumption that people who come to Austin and other parts of Texas are bringing a different point of view than you. They arrived in Austin and discovered all these new things (for themselves), decided that these things MUST ONLY exist in Austin (within the state of Texas, that is) and they stayed there. San Antonio couldn't believe it when Austin started daring to say that he made better tacos for breakfast, and he's perplexed and a little hurt that Austin never invites San Antonio to his parties. Austin has also long been the technological hub of Texas, with 6,500 new companies and technology companies based here, including Dell, which was founded in 1984 by Michael Dell when he was at the University of Texas and helped start the city's technological boom.
The deal with the rest of Texas is a new phenomenon, dating back about 20 years or so, around the time when Slacker led Austin to be considered the cool guy.