Best Five Reasons Austin Is Way Less Cool Than Houston

Categories: Houston 101

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Photo by Kumar Appaiah
They may have kept it weird, but we keep it cooler.
I guess city rivalries are a standard thing in almost every state of the U.S. I grew up in the Houston area, lived in Austin through most of the 1990′s, moved back to H-Town, and then recently back to Austin after living in Houston for many years. I like both cities a lot, for different reasons.

But there's a lot of weird hard feelings and mean-spirited criticism of both cities by people that live in the other, and it seems dumb to me. Especially considering that there are a lot of ignorant fools from outside of Texas that think the whole state is populated with subhuman stereotypes, or that the whole area in unfit for human habitation. They think Texas sucks and that we're unsophisticated and stupid. Those are the morons we should save our disdain for, not people living a little less than 200 miles apart.

Rather than determine that one city is "better" than the other, it would be far more accurate to just say that they're very different in many key ways, and the things that make one place paradise for a person, might make it a hell for a different individual.


There is a really, really tired slogan for Austin - "Keep Austin Weird." Oddly enough, I generally see that bumper sticker or t-shirt being used by the most average-looking people you can imagine. Middle-aged dudes in khaki shorts and topsiders that look like they probably are executives at a bank somewhere, or their completely mainstream (but slightly different) equivalent.

When you're really weird, you don't generally need to advertise that. You just are.

That annoyance aside, Austin quit being un-self consciously weird years ago, perhaps decades ago. For good or bad, it went from being a magnet for oddballs from all over Texas and beyond to becoming a hip place to live. It went from being weird to being cool. And cool is only cool if you like it that way.

Yes, Austin is still a college town, and it still has a very lively local music scene. But its population has also boomed, with people from all over the world moving here in droves. That's fine, but it's killing a lot of the quirky, small town feel that Austin had been known for. Throw in gigantic music festivals like SXSW that seem to draw a mostly out-of-town audience while the locals avoid it, and this does not seem like the odd little college town with a great local music scene that it once was.


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93 comments
jpartida82
jpartida82

Austin people are annoying. You can't go out in Austin without someone telling you how much better Austin is than your city. I'm just there to go out and have a good time. Not listen to you try and convince yourself you made the right choice to move to Austin....and this is coming from someone born in Austin, but now living in Houston. Austin is fun, but I prefer the big city culture that Houston has. You don't find that in Austin.

Ricardo Buitron
Ricardo Buitron

Houston is the ex that got fat! ....Dallas rules! ...And keep that weird sh1t in Austin

Julie Pitre
Julie Pitre

I agree these articles are starting to make Houston look desperate. And I like Houston. I've lived in both places.

Evan Alltemus
Evan Alltemus

This is just laughable...I agree with other posts, what is with all of these articles lately trashing other Texas cities and praising Houston. Let's be serious for a second, everyone knows that Dallas and Austin are better than Houston. I've lived in Dallas and Houston...it's not even close. You look stupid with this article.

Aldo Aceves
Aldo Aceves

What part of Houston do you live in? Maybe you need to move

Aldo Aceves
Aldo Aceves

These articles are stupid. Is this what the Houston Press thinks proud Houstonians really feel? I've travelled back and forth from Houston to Austin and the Dallas/Ft Woth area for many years and all I see is one big Texas family.

Christopher Flores
Christopher Flores

Eh, Houston is alright, i lived in Austin for about 10 years but it's growing at a rapid rate. I think we can all agree that Dallas sucks! lol

Daniel Ramirez
Daniel Ramirez

For a big a city as Houston is, seems like it's trying really hard to be considered "cool".

Jennifer Boyd
Jennifer Boyd

Bottom line statements from this article: "When it comes down to it, neither Austin or Houston really "win" over the other. Both are cool places to make a home, depending on what is most important to a person. The coolest thing is that you can like both. These are two Texas cities, not warring city states. I love both for very different reasons."

Randy Lee
Randy Lee

As a native Houstonian who has lived in San Antonio and in Austin, I found this article HILARIOUS and TRUE! Houston is awesome and so are Houstonians!

Rachel Doyle
Rachel Doyle

I like Austin better....it is cleaner and the people there are more friendly and easy going.

Jason Goyer
Jason Goyer

I've seen way too many of these types of articles lately. The compulsion to obsessively compare ourselves to, and belittle a neighboring city so often seems evident of some deep seeded insecurity in the city's psyche. As a life long resident, please stop. Let Houston's identity be its own and let's talk about that instead of acting like Austin's uglier, bratty younger sister.

phuckly
phuckly

Dallas Sucks!!! That is all.

Jefferoni
Jefferoni

Okay so let me get this straight...


Austin is way less cool than Houston, but the cities are so different we really shouldn't compare the two, but I'll go ahead and give you five reasons why Houston is so much better than Austin anyways, but we really shouldn't propagate stereotypes of either city's residents, but here are just a few of the most negative over-generalizations I've noticed about people who live in Austin, but really it's wrong to create such animosity between Texas cities, unless it's towards Dallas, which everyone should hate, but I might be wrong about that because I've never actually spent much time there.


"When you're really weird, you don't generally need to advertise that. You just are." Same goes for being cool.

Leslie Morrow Loeser
Leslie Morrow Loeser

Kim in case you didn't notice Jacqueline also bombed my comments, so that's why I said something to her. I'm not quite sure how that's being bossy but whatever. This string of comments has gone juvenile...

newcaustic
newcaustic

Austin would be even more awesome if all the liberal hipsters assholes moved to brooklyn,portland,berkely,boulder or havana cuba for that matter.Then austin would be the perfect weekend destination every weekend.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

...God, 6th street every weekend sounds boring as hell.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

Yeah, people, get over!! It only took her three comments to qualify her statements with "it's my own opinion." That ends the argument right there, because opinions can never be wrong. ;)

Leslie Morrow Loeser
Leslie Morrow Loeser

Galveston is yuck. Jerick sorry. Corpus is nice. Nicholas it depends on where you live in the city. Where I live it takes me 3 hours to get to Austin; but it's a beautiful drive. Anyway you're stretching for a comment. I've already said Austin rocks what's your point?! And Jacqueline I have explored the surrounding areas withing 3 hours of Houston and in MY OPINION NOTHING compares to Austin & the hill country area. Get over people GEEZ!!!

Erik Pérez
Erik Pérez

I don't understand why this list needs to be made. Isn't there anything better to write about?

Brie VanKeuren Kelman
Brie VanKeuren Kelman

great article! Although I like Austin a lot, once I really got to know Houston, I've started saying "Austin really TRIES to be weird, whereas Houston just IS weird"

Evan Alltemus
Evan Alltemus

Haha, this article is so funny and a joke...I've been in Dallas, Austin, and now Houston...I never heard one comment in either city about them being better than Houston. The reason why is because they just know that Dallas and Austin are better cities so they don't even think about it.

Kathleen Connelly Carrico
Kathleen Connelly Carrico

Great article. Austin sits on the edge of that beautiful Hill Country but it is white bread. Houston has always reminded me of the Carl Sandburg poem "Chicago." Complex and fascinating.

Tyler Ray Henderson Sr.
Tyler Ray Henderson Sr.

Lived here 38yrs,,,boring,,,every other weekend im either on 6th Street in Austin or Bourbon Street in Nawlins,,,why cant Houston turn a block of downtown houston like 6th street,,,the food is Austin is better than Houston,,Lake Travis is beautiful,,,that wanna be lake in downtown houston looks like a swamp pit,,even the lake in Woodlands that the tour boat travel looks better,,,sorry

Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

Austin: overrated pit stop with lots of shitty music to bore yourself to Houston: giant cesspool you're welcome

Julie Pitre
Julie Pitre

Ummm. Austin totally hates Dallas. Have you lived in Austin?

Frank105
Frank105

Born and raised in Houston-moved to Austin almost 17 years ago-can't argue with any of your points. Just  glad they are only 2 ½ hrs apart!

Rocio Arevalo
Rocio Arevalo

Natalie-Crystal Arismendez ugh in studying, I dont have time to read but can u be a doll and read this for me? Lol

Cameron Almanza
Cameron Almanza

Cullen Coyne I'd still live in Austin if I had a choice.

Jerry West
Jerry West

Houston#1 currently waiting to move back to the from Austin when I retire in 31 months, can't wait

noahluck
noahluck

What the?  That article was actually well-written *and* well-reasoned.  This author needs to be promoted stat.

Rachel Rosenberg
Rachel Rosenberg

Worst article I've read yet, IMO, these are 2 cities you can't compare. Houston has judgement, Austin does not. In Austin you are accepted as gay everywhere. In Houston, being gay means a stranger might beat up to a pulp. Living in Houston means you hate Dallas, that's as far as it ever needs to go. No Paul Qui in Houston.

jpartida82
jpartida82

I lived in Dallas 3.5 years. It would be a lot better without the pretentious 30k millionaires. I'll take Houston any day over Dallas for the reasons listed here.

jpartida82
jpartida82

lol, I've lived in all 4 Texas cities...Austin, SA, Dallas and now Houston. No one compares to Houston. Houston is the best for all the reasons listed here.

tcsprencel
tcsprencel

@Jefferoni My thoughts exactly. If we're gonna run with this contrived Houston/Austin dichotomy, it should be noted that only one of these cities sits around hand-wringing about its coolness compared to the other.

chrislane
chrislane

Houston has an openly gay mayor and the sixth largest gay population in the US. The is homophobia everywhere in this nation, but Houston ranks pretty high as far as tolerance goes these days.

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