Round Rock was named for a large round rock that marked a convenient low-water crossing point for Brushy Creek. The town was initially named Brush Creek but given its current name in 1854. The Chisholm Trail passed through the town. This is why there is a street named Chisholm Trail parallel to I-35 today. Chisholm Crossing Park is where the historic cattle trail crosses the namesake creek. The town became a bedroom community of Austin with the construction of Interstate 35. It became a “super suburb” or independent city in its own right when Dell relocated here in the 1990s. This fueled the growth of Georgetown to the north and led many Austin residents to commute to the town if they didn’t decide to move here.
Round Rock, Texas has received a number of distinctions. It has been named among the fastest growing cities in Texas with a population of over 50,000. It had a population of 100,000 in 2010 and 135,000 in 2020. It was the thirteenth fastest growing city of its size according to 2020 census data. Why has the city been growing this fast? It is mostly due to the presence of Dell Technologies. That high-tech employer employs roughly 16,000 people by itself. Then there are the suppliers located in the area, the Premium Outlet Mall and a number of local employers.
It has been named one of the most livable cities in the United States. That is because it has a very low crime rate for a city over 100,000. This is why Niche.com named it the fifth safest city in the nation. It has one of the lowest property taxes in the central Texas region, too. It has a lower than average sales tax rate on consumer goods, because it gets so much money on computers and peripherals sold online and shipped from Dell’s facility. Thrillist named it one of the nation’s coolest suburbs. LendEDU named it the third best place to raise a family. SmartAsset named it eighth on their list of best places to live the American dream.
The city received an average walk score of 24. The most walkable neighborhoods are Mesa Park, Chisholm Valley South and Greenhill. Chisholm Valley South received a walk score of 52 and bike score of 42. Mesa Park is almost the opposite. It has a walk score of 46 and bike score of 52. The city has an average bike score of 36.
The original downtown area sits at the intersection of McNeil Road and Interstate 35. Highway 79 is just north of downtown. The city straddles the Balcones Escarpment. That fault line separates rich blackland prairie from the rocky hills that give Texas Hill Country its name.
Round Rock is a twenty minute drive north of downtown Austin up Interstate 35. The north Austin suburb is separated from Austin by Texas State Highway 45. Pflugerville is to the south, while Hutto is to the east.
Highway 1 which runs parallel to I-35 passes through this Austin suburb, as well. Route 45 runs east-west through the town and connects it with other north Austin suburbs. Jollyville is located to the west. Pflugerville is located to the southeast; that’s the home of Typhoon Texas Waterpark Austin. Hutto is directly west.
The largest park in the city is Old Settlers Park. That’s at the northeast corner of the city. The Play for All Abilities Park is in the Ashton Oaks neighborhood.
Round Rock has annexed a lot of land over the years, creating a patchwork of incorporated areas. For example, there is a moderately large subdivision along Farm to Market Road 1431 that is part of Round Rock. Yet the neighboring Southwest Williamson County Regional Park and surrounding subdivisions are not. The Chandler Creek subdivision and other neighborhoods within the MUD district are not inside of the city limits. This means they don’t pay Round Rock taxes. Yet you’re close to the Round Rock Premium Outlet Malls.
There is a Texas State University campus and Austin Community College campus in Round Rock. The Texas A&M Medical School is located in this north Austin suburb. However, you’ll have to go to the Dallas-Fort Worth area if you want to go to Texas A&M’s law school. The UT Austin campus is twenty miles to the south.