Awards and Accolades

Round Rock wins praise. The City of Round Rock has been fortunate enough to be honored in many areas for its community and its work.


From Money Magazine’s 2nd Best Place to Live to one of America’s safest cities, see the accolades others have given Round Rock.

No. 4  on the Top 25 Best Places to Live in the Southwest

A fast-growing suburb of Austin, Round Rock, TX, is home to 129,785 residents (and counting) who enjoy all types of livability perks, including an award-winning park system, safe neighborhoods, and ample career opportunities with industry-leading employers like Dell Technologies, Emerson Automation Solutions and Toppan Photomasks. 

Clay Madsen Recreation Center and Allen R. Baca Center recognized as best in Central Texas

The Clay Madsen Recreation Center and Allen R. Baca Center for Senior and Community Activities were recognized by Senior Resource Guide as the Best of 2022 in the Central Texas region. This year’s recognition is the seventh time the Baca Center has taken home an award in the Best Senior Center category and the first win for CMRC under the Best Place to Get Fit category. 

Rock’N River named 2022 Water Park of the Year

Talk about a big splash! Rock’N River Water Park was recently named Water Park of the Year by the Texas Public Pool Council at their annual conference.  This award was bestowed on the City of Round Rock’s flagship aquatics facility in recognition of the impacts made to youth and families of Round Rock.

City earns national awards for excellence in financial reporting

Round Rock received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the City’s most recent annual comprehensive financial report (ACFR), and the Outstanding Achievement Award for its latest popular annual financial report (PAFR).

Round Rock wins second consecutive “Leading the Way” award

The City of Round Rock has once again earned the ETC Institute’s “Leading the Way” award for its outstanding achievement in the delivery of services to residents.

Library receives Achievement of Excellence Award for fifth consecutive year

On the heels of opening a new 66,000 square foot state-of-the-art library building, the Round Rock Public Library has received the 2022 Achievement of Library Excellence Award from the Texas Municipal Library Directors Association for the fifth consecutive year.

No. 1 best place to live in America

According to a 2022 assessment by Bankrate, Round Rock is the No. 1 place to live in America. The annual list cited a variety of reasons Round Rock found itself at the top of the ranking, including a low relative cost of living, local tech job market, high resident well-being ratings and abundance of public parkland.

Round Rock tops multiple rankings

In 2022, Niche listed Round Rock as the #18 Best City to Buy a House in America, #19 Best City to Raise a Family in America, #25 City with the Best Public Schools in America and #29 Best City to Live in America.

No. 3 best city to start a family

The team at LendEDU scored Round Rock as the No. 3 best city to start family in the U.S. based on education, cost of homes, crime and safety and percentage of young families.

No. 1 best place for renters in the U.S.

When it comes to the country’s best cities for renters, Round Rock ranks No. 1 in a 2022 study from RentCafe.

Round Rock ranks among safest cities in America

The 2022 edition of Smart Asset’s Safest Cities study ranks Round Rock as the No. 14 safest city in America — one of 8 Texas cities to make the list.

No. 1 best indoor water park in the country

In 2023, Kalahari Resorts was voted best indoor water park according to USA Today America’s largest indoor water park and expanding outdoor water amenities, Kalahari’s 223,000 square foot Round Rock resort and convention center opened in November 2020.

Library receives Achievement of Excellence Award for programming, services

The Round Rock Public Library received the 2021 Texas Achievement of Library Excellence Award from the Texas Municipal Library Director’s Association, an affiliate of the Texas Municipal League. This is the fourth year in a row that the Library has achieved this honor.

Ninth most-livable mid-sized city

Round Rock is the ninth most-livable mid-sized city in the U.S. according to a 2020 study by financial technology company Smart Asset.

Leading the Way Award

ETC Institute awarded the City of Round Rock with its “Leading the Way Award” for its outstanding achievement in the delivery of services to residents in 2022.

Round Rock named among most recession-resistant cities

Strong. That’s what a recent SmartAsset ranking has to say about Round Rock’s local economy in 2020. The study, which lists Round Rock at No. 11, looked at cities across the country to determine which were best situated to weather an economic downtown taking into account employment, housing and social assistance.

No. 2 best place to live

Round Rock ranked No. 2 on the 2020 Money list of Best Places to Live. Round Rock’s robust economy and excellent public school system were emphasized, along with a great support network for businesses large and small. The article also noted quality of life amenities like Old Settlers Park and the Dell Diamond.

No. 3 top performing city

The Milken Institute ranked the Round Rock-Austin metro area third in the nation in its 2020 Best Performing Cities series, which tracked the economic performance of metros across the country for more than two decades.

No. 5 best place to buy a house

Best city in America to buy a house in 2019? Niche, a company that researches and collects reviews on cities, ranked Round Rock No. 5. The researchers considered multiple factors in determining the ranking, including a location’s home values, taxes, crime rates, and the quality of local schools.

Round Rock named top choice for sports events planners

Talk about a big win for the Sports Capital of Texas! SportsEvents Media Group, the leading industry publication focused exclusively on helping sports event planners produce excellent competitions in the United States, announced that the Round Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau has been recognized as a 2019 Readers’ Choice Award winner.

City earns second AAA bond rating

The City of Round Rock earned an upgrade to AAA – the highest credit rating possible – in October 2018. The upgrade marked the second time in less than a year the City’s fiscal worthiness has been recognized with an AAA rating. Round Rock is one of only eight cities in Texas with AAA ratings for both General Obligation (GO) and Utility debt. There are 36 Texas cities with an AAA rating for GO debt, which is supported by property taxes.

Round Rock ranked No. 2 best baseball town

Talk about a hometown home run! Round Rock was named the No. 2 “Best Minor League Baseball Town” in 2018 by financial technology company, SmartAsset. The ranking has included Round Rock each year since its initial publication, coming in at No. 1 in 2015 and 2016, and No. 2 in 2017. In April 2018, Baseball America ranked Dell Diamond as No. 4 on a list of the top Minor League Baseball parks. The rankings were compiled with a focus on one simple question: “In all of your travels, which park would you be most likely to return to if you were a fan?” The publication lauded the Fireball Grill, serving up burgers made with beef raised on owner Nolan Ryan’s farm, as well as the venue’s spa party area and rocking chairs.

City earns highest honor for financial reporting

In August 2018, the City of Round Rock was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for its most recent comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents “a significant accomplishment by a government and its management,” according to the GFOA.

Round Rock ranks among top cities for living the American dream

The sky’s the limit in Round Rock, which in 2018 ranked as one of the top cities nationwide to live out the American Dream. Round Rock ranked No. 5 on the list compiled by SmartAsset. The financial technology company based its 2018 findings on homeownership rate, diversity rate, upward mobility rate, median home value and unemployment rate. Round Rock scored in the top third of cities in four out of the five metrics.

Round Rock rates safest city in Texas, No. 5 in nation

Niche, a company that researches and collects reviews on cities, pinpointed the safest cities in the country in a 2018 ranking, and Round Rock ranks No. 5. The researchers analyzed public crime data — including larceny, vehicular theft, and homicide rates — from sources like the U.S. Census and the FBI. They also considered over 100 million reviews from users, who rated how safe they feel in their cities. The only other Texas city to make the top 10 was Plano, at No. 9.

Round Rock ranks No. 13 on “Best Cities to Raise a Family”

Quality schools, fun events, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors are just a few reasons Round Rock is a great community to raise kids, and data used in a recent study proves that we’re among the top family-friendly communities in the nation. Niche, an organization dedicated to “providing students, families, and professionals with deep insight into big life decisions,” ranked Round Rock No. 13 on their recent list of the 2018 “Best Cities to Raise a Family.” The rankings took into account the quality of Round Rock’s public school system and also factored in affordability, safety, outdoor activities and more.

No. 3 best city in America to start a family

One kid might be cryin’ and one kid screamin’, but at least when you’re in Round Rock, you’ve got the peace of mind that you picked one of the best places in America to raise that crazy family of yours! Yep, that’s right. Round Rock has once again found itself atop a city ranking, and this time, it’s for something that’s near and dear to our hometown heart – family.

In its latest study, LendEDU ranked Round Rock the No. 3 best city in the nation to start a family.

Williamson County ranked 4th-healthiest county in Texas

Residents have access to high-quality clinical care, high quality of life ratings and low unemployment to promote healthy lifestyles.

Round Rock ranked No. 4 among “Best Affordable Places to Live” in America’s editors looked at cities across the country, evaluating not only cost of living but its own LivScore. According to the editors:

“Most Round Rock residents spend less than 28 percent of their salaries on housing and about seven percent less on groceries and utilities than the average American, according to The Council for Community and Economic Research. Health care and other living expenses hover at or below the national average as well, leaving residents with plenty of money to enjoy the many things there are to do in and around Round Rock.”

Round Rock ranked 9th fastest growing city in America

Round Rock has again been ranked one of the fastest growing cities in America. This time by Zippia.

Their analysis looked at the growth rates for cities over the last five years, according to the American Community Survey, which is released by the U.S. Census Bureau annually. With this data, all 303 cities with populations of 100,000 or more were ranked from highest growth rate to lowest.

No. 12 best city for your retirement used the following criteria to rank the top American cities for retirement: cost of living; crime rate (violent and property crimes); walkability; health care quality; state and local tax burden; personal well-being for seniors; weather (temperature and precipitation); and the vitality of the local cultural scene. Round Rock ranked No. 12, tops in Texas.

Round Rock listed among nation’s coolest suburbs

Apartment Therapy deemed Round Rock one of the “coolest suburbs” in America for 2019, noting the availability of “diverse dining options, awesome coffee shops, walkable areas, outdoor recreation, unique boutiques, family-friendly activities, a sense of community, and a lively arts scene.”

“Quite a few people who have their sights set on living in Austin end up in Round Rock, Texas,” according to the article. “The reasons for this switch are all but self-evident. From culture to recreation, the suburb has a ton to offer.”

More from the article: “Round Rock remains a relatively affordable option. Niche recently listed the city as the fifth best place to buy a house in the U.S., while just a few years ago Livability put the city among the top 10 most affordable places to live. So it makes sense Round Rock is one of the fastest-growing cities of its size in the United States, according to WalletHub. Thankfully, Round Rock still has a small-town vibe. You’ll find plenty of southern hospitality here, from longtime residents to the new folks moving in next door.”

Round Rock named among America’s most caring suburbs

Round Rock is the 8th most caring suburb in America, according to the Movoto Real Estate Blog in January 2015. The blog editors looked at the suburb’s student-counselor ratio, crime rate, number of community services and mental health counselors and other criteria when putting together the list. According to the blog, “this little city just outside of Austin shows almost as much love as its bigger neighbor. Not only does it have a student to counselor ratio of just 15 to 1, but it also—somewhat surprisingly—has some of the most carpooling residents in the country.”

Round Rock among top 10 fastest growing economies

Some cities have the best of everything: the jobs, the schools, the museums, the nightlife, you name it. They know the recipe for attractiveness. Round Rock is one of those cities, according to a recent study of socioeconomic growth by WalletHub released in September 2015. The company compared 515 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 10 key metrics, ranging from population growth to unemployment rate decrease. Round Rock ranked No. 10 overall.

Greater Austin Area named 2nd Best Metro Area for STEM Professionals

In January 2015, named the Austin-Round Rock Area the 2nd Best Metro Area for STEM Professionals — science, technology, engineering and math.

Round Rock ranks No. 6 best mid-sized city in U.S. to raise children

Round Rock ranks No. 6 among mid-size cities in the United States as the best place to raise children, according to a recently released analysis., which published the rankings on Aug. 5, 2014.

Round Rock named Cheapest City People Want to Live

Round Rock was ranked the “cheapest city you will want to live in” by Kiplinger in September 2014, citing the “big-city salaries and small-town prices” as major attractors for people of all ages.

“Kiplinger has done a great job of combining cost of living factors with economic prosperity and quality of life,” Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw said. “We’ve been working for years to diversify and grow the Round Rock economy, and give our citizens options to work where they live. Our economic development partnership between the city and the chamber has been a great part of making that happen.”

The criteria considered by Kiplinger for the ranking was the cost of living, strength of the local economy, and the job market.


The City of Round Rock stacks up well against the competition. City of Round Rock employees are dedicated to providing the best service to our citizens. Their dedication can be seen in the many honors and awards the City has received in the last several years.

The City of Round Rock has won the following Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards:

2020 – Public Safety

The City of Round Rock was recognized for its annual Back to School Celebration, hosted by the Round Rock Police Department. The free event provides school supplies, sports physicals and fun for families.  The Back to School Celebration has helped the City target at-risk youth and improve the relationship between the police department and community. Although the 2020 event had to be canceled due to COVID-19, a record 13,000 attended the event in 2019. 

2019 – Public Works

The City of Round Rock used an innovative approach to rehabilitate corrugated metal pipe culverts. Instead of the traditional method of excavating the roadway and removing the pipes to replace them, the City sprayed concrete onto the existing metal pipes. Round Rock also pioneered a strategic way of applying the concrete to prevent bottom deterioration. Not only were these techniques effective, but the projects were completed with minimal design time, reduced installation expenses, no road closures and lower maintenance costs.

2017 – City Spirit

The City was honored for the Love the Rock program, a day of service made possible by the coordination of more than 35 churches of numerous denominations, the City of Round Rock, neighborhood associations, and the solid waste collection company. Together, they assembled 1,200 volunteers to work on more than 200 homes of those in need, including the elderly, disabled, people recovering from surgery or illness, and single parents. During the 2016 event, a record-breaking 555 tons of garbage along with 93 tons of brush were removed. Using tools from the City’s Tool Lending Center, volunteers mowed and weeded lawns, trimmed trees and bushes, hauled heavy items, and much more. The clean-up event alleviated 37 standing code violations and prevented numerous more. Love the Rock did more than beautify a neighborhood; it truly changed residents’ quality of life.

2015 – Communications

The Texas Municipal League selected Round Rock as a winner of a Municipal Excellence Award for the City’s Fire Safety Videos: Rock Solid Safety Program. The City won in the Communications category for cities over 25,000 population.

The vignettes use humor to deliver serious safety messages about summer safety, fireworks and the like.

2012 – City Spirit

The City of Round Rock was presented the 2012 Municipal Excellence Award in the City Spirit category for cities of more than 15,000 population at the Texas Municipal League Annual Conference and Exhibition, held in Grapevine on Nov. 13-16. The award recognized the city for its Play for All Abilities Park.

The Play for All Abilities Park has been a community-wide effort and a dream come true for Round Rock and surrounding communities. Through the Play for all Foundation, the City’s Park and Recreation Department, local civic clubs, city staff, and professionals and parents who have worked with children with special needs, Round Rock was able to design a beautiful park to serve the children of Williamson County, including its 7,945 children with a disability. The mission of the park is to provide a safe, fun place to play and develop new skills for children of all abilities. The park is distinguished from other parks because it features equipment and playscapes that easily accommodate children with special needs. Used for therapy and learning, as well as play, €”the park includes all ability swings, an all abilities playscape, a sensory pod, and even a village with mini-versions of Round Rock businesses to help children learn life skills.

2010 – Public Works

In many cities, maintenance of the water system’s valves is not performed regularly. However, the City of Round Rock recognized that the best time to locate, repair, or exercise a valve is not during an emergency. So the city developed a valve maintenance program to annually inspect and exercise the water system’s valves and to create a data file with the repair records of each valve. The program features an online site that allows the city to manage maintenance progress, graph performance, highlight problem areas, and view valve and water line records before going into the field.

Overall, the program saves the city time and money and improves services to customers by ensuring that valves are accessible in emergencies, increasing the life span of valves, providing detailed repair records, improving isolation in water systems, locating missing and closed valves, and ensuring that valves are in the correct position.

2008 – Public Safety

Two Round Rock police officers, Marc Gray and Larry Hayes, assigned as school resource officers at the local high school, took the call of duty a step further by obtaining teaching certificates so they could actually teach Criminal Justice classes at the school. They developed a curriculum that would teach students about law enforcement and increase public safety through education while building a bond among police, students, parents, and the community.

The officers, who are the first in Texas to be certified teachers actively teaching while on duty as police officers, created three sections of course work: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Fundamentals of Criminal Law, and Criminal Investigations. This program saves the school district the cost of a teacher’s salary, and the additional courses offer more elective options for students.

Since the officers began teaching, their class rosters have doubled and their classes routinely fill up quickly.

2006 – Communications

Unlike many employee orientations, Round Rock’s New Employee Orientation Program is educational, fun, and a celebration of new faces in the organization. Orientation is divided into three separate days of activities, including an explanation of the city’s benefit package, a discussion of Round Rock’s philosophies and objectives, and a city tour. Two additional features are the New Employee Buddy Program, in which a current employee is paired with a new one to serve as a mentor and a friendly face, and the Orientation Graduation to honor employees who have successfully completed their six-month probationary period. New employees quickly feel like they are an important part of the city organization, and current employees are eager to become involved as buddies.

2005 – Public Works

In the City of Round Rock, the Brush Recycling and Mulch Management Program provides brush recycling, produces mulch, and reduces landfill space. The program not only saves the city more than the $90,000 a year previously allocated for brush and disposal services, but also now produces a profit of $32,000 a year. Citizens either bring in trees and brush to the Recycling Center or receive curbside recycling for a nominal fee that is added to their water bill. The city then uses this refuse to produce organic mulch, which is available at no charge to city residents and is used by city departments for landscaping and to protect existing plants and trees. This successful program has long-term value to Round Rock because it is cost-effective, environmentally friendly, beneficial to both residents and city departments, and an efficient use of city resources.

2005 – Public Safety

The Round Rock Police Department implemented a program to help citizens who have a high probability of needing emergency assistance. The program prevents the damage and expense associated with forced entry to their homes when they need help. The police install a real estate-style lock box, which holds a key to the residence and requires a code to open, at the homes of the elderly, bed-ridden, and those with disabilities or serious medical conditions. Thanks to this program, emergency personnel can enter a home quickly without resorting to breaking a door or window. Thirty lock boxes were initially donated by Lowe’s Home Improvement Center and Supra Product, the manufacturer of the boxes, and by April 2005, the program had expanded to forty-five lock boxes in the field. They have saved time, money, and lives.

2004 – Communications

The City of Round Rock has found video presentations to be a successful tool in marketing the city as a tourist destination and as a location for sporting events. One such effort that proved to be beneficial is to bid on the hosting amateur athletic events coordinated by the Texas Amateur Athletic Foundation, the sports organization involved in coordinating bids for amateur athletic competitions across the state. Used to entice the voting members of the TAAF, the video proved to be successful in demonstrating the ability of the city to host tournaments. The return on investment in producing high-quality video presentations is offset by the economic benefit to the city, estimated to be in the millions. As an added benefit, the video is used on the city’s monthly cable access television show, Take Five, to inform and educate the residents on the upcoming events and the importance of these events to the city. Making the residents aware of the events has led to increased involvement by some residents in parks and recreation programs offered by the city – making Round Rock the Sports Capital of Texas.

2000 – City Spirit

The third time was the charm for Round Rock’s recruitment of minor league baseball. Two previous attempts to bring minor league baseball to the city had failed. But, the third time the city’s can-do spirit and family-friendly atmosphere proved to be the winning combination. A record turnout of 12,179 voters – four times the previous high for a city election – passed a referendum allowing the city to finance the stadium with $8.65 million in revenue bonds backed by hotel-motel taxes and $16 million in cash from team owner Nolan Ryan and others. The first-class stadium saw record attendance in its first year of operation and has become a tremendous source of pride for the city.

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