smart spending

Secret celebrity hideaways

Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
  • Median cost of a home: $189,600
  • Per capita income: $30,063

Unlike Taos and Livingston, Austin is big enough to have its own airport, making it easier for people to come and go.

"I think that celebrities like Austin because it's a smaller city but has a sort of big-city cosmopolitan feel to it. It's a very welcoming town, and it's a very laid-back town," says Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau spokeswoman Beth Krauss. "Celebrities don't run into a lot of paparazzi here."

Music festivals are just some of the reasons the celebrity set comes to Austin, it being the home of South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. A host of stars from the film industry, sports and music have made Austin their home away from home, and they stay at hotels such as the exclusive Hotel Saint Cecilia, which blocks members of the public from its bar.

Celebrity names who want a bigger share in keeping Austin weird can buy a home for relatively cheap; the median home value in Austin in 2009 was $189,600.

Some celebrities do have more long-standing ties to the state capital. Actor Owen Wilson grew up in Dallas, and his career took off when he met director Wes Anderson at the University of Texas at Austin. Rapper Nelly, director Tom Ford and singer Ciara were born in Austin, and cyclist Lance Armstrong has a bike shop and foundation in Austin. Actress Sandra Bullock owns a restaurant, Bess Bistro, and a bakery, Walton's Fancy and Staple, there.

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