Round Rock, Georgetown

These two cities have grown exponentially in the past decade and account in large part for Williamson County being one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S.

Formed in 1851, Round Rock is aptly named for a geologic feature in Brushy Creek — a large round rock. The downtown area still carries an Old West vibe, but Round Rock owes a lot of its current vitality to the new economy — technology, in particular. Round Rock is home to computer giant Dell Technologies with some 16,000 employees.

Over the past couple of decades, Round Rock’s growth has been driven by other companies locating in the area and by families seeking more affordably priced housing. IKEA, the popular Swedish furniture retailer, has its only Central Texas store in Round Rock and it draws thousands of shoppers every day.

Population in Round Rock recently topped 112,000, its popularity due in part to a string of “best places to live” honors in national magazines. Promoters have tagged the city as the “Sports Capital of Texas” with its sports fields, recreation centers, golf courses and the Dell Diamond complex, which is home field for the Round Rock Express, a minor league affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.

Teravista and Mayfield Ranch are among the most popular master-planned communities in Round Rock, but there are many other subdivisions to choose from.

North of Round Rock is the city of Georgetown, an historic gem with numerous downtown architectural jewels from the Victorian era. Georgetown is also home to Southwestern University, a private college dating back to 1873 when it was formed by the United Methodist Church as a non-sectarian school. The 700-acre campus near downtown also features fine historic buildings. A new science center was recently completed with a $500,000 nuclear magnetic resonance imaging instrument for student’s to explore.

Southwestern University is a major employer, but Williamson County is by far the largest employer with 1,700 workers. Georgetown’s economy is largely driven by government and healthcare companies.

The development of Sun City Texas, a 7,000-acre master-planned community with more than 12,000 residents northwest of downtown, has appealed strongly to affluent adults and retirees. Its economic impact has strongly advanced Georgetown as an appealing residential market. Wolf Ranch is another popular master-planned community.