Best Five Reasons Austin Is Way Less Cool Than Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Yes, many of the local places and pastimes that seemed to mark Austin as a unique city are still around. You can still go cool down at Barton Springs, or see the bats on Congress, and there is live music happening all over town, but it seems more like a Disney World replication of the Austin of years ago. Seeing families with children all over town makes it seem like you're in some sort of approximation of what a "cool college town" would be if it were sanitized for suburban consumption. It's hard to put my finger on it, but the spirit of this town has changed a lot, and I suspect that it will continue to.

Houston, on the other hand was never burdened by an image as a hip weird place where "anything goes!" It always seemed to be considered a good place to raise a family and make a living by Texans, but hip it was not.

Austin is the sort of place where everyone you meet is an "artist" of some sort, and everyone is self consciously trying to broadcast how weird and edgy they are... While producing very little.

Houston wears its weird more secretly. It remains hidden, not self promoted as much, and then one day you realize that the quiet normal looking guy you work with has created art or music that's really cool and strange without most people even knowing it.

I've known quite a few idiots that can't conceive of living anywhere except for a small handful of cities. Places like San Francisco, Portland, New York City, Seattle, and unfortunately Austin also seem to be on that list.

Anyway, while Austin has long attracted a certain dubious fame as a hip city, Houston never has. But let's look a little closer at the things Houston has to offer a person.

5. Houston has Great museums and a good art scene.

Let's just get that one out of the way first. Houston has many exceptional museums. I've been going to the Natural Science a museum and the Museum of Fine Arts since I was a kid. I took summer art classes at the Glassell School of Art, and have hung out at the Menil Collection museum since I was young. There's a Printing Museum, the Children's Museum, and countless galleries throughout the area. Then you have the Commerce Street Art Warehouse, and the Orange Show, two longtime havens for local artists of all types. Houstonians have the opportunity to see work by contemporary artists, or head to see work by artists like Andy Warhol and Van Gogh. The city has an enormous art presence. It's also known as a hotbed of folk art, as places like The Orange Show, Beer Can House, and Art Car Museum demonstrates. Houston also has a vibrant street art scene, and if we're talking about music, the often dissed city has had a huge impact on popular music, particularly the hip hop world.

Austin is full of artists of various types, and it would never seek to insult the creative people in this city, but its museum presence is negligible compared with Houston's, which is world class. Musically, its got a lot going for it, but a Austin can't touch Houston in regards to museums or other artistic venues.

4. Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in America.

Yes, even more so than New York City, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. This is probably shocking news to some people outside of Texas, but would not surprise most Houstonians who've bothered to look around town in the last couple of decades. Houston is full of people from all over the world, and is truly an international city now. There are many areas of town that offer cultural experiences brought from places like Russia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, and the list goes on and on. Perhaps the most notable effect this has had on the average Houstonian is the emergence of one of the nation's best food scenes, but more on that later. It is common to hear people conversing in many different languages, and this melting pot of nationalities has infused Houston with a wealth of multicultural experiences to enjoy. The idea that Houston is some sort of cultural wasteland populated by lily white faces with red necks is utter bullshit.

Austin, on the other hand, still has a majority white homogeneous population. In a brilliant recent article in Texas Monthly, writer Cecilia Balli brought up the fact that it's one of, if not the top, most segregated major cities in Texas. Minorities still live behind certain invisible geographic lines in this city, and seeing anyone that's an immigrant from another country is rare unless they're in town visiting, or going to UT. It's just not a diverse mixing pot of people.

What you see a lot of here are a cross-section of white people. Austin's not even as influenced by Hispanic culture as many other Texas cities are. Austin seems to be full of youngish white folks, a lot of whom are pretty comfortable, having come from nice middle or upper middle class backgrounds. They tend to be more socially liberal than young people in some other Texas cities, and some may look "weirder" - getting a few tattoos, piercings and a weird haircut while they spend their parents' money pursuing an art degree or whatever. They'll hang out at Austin music clubs, and keep it all weird, until they hit their early thirties and clean up their acts to assume their entitled positions of privilege (that were waiting like the wings of an angel to catch them if they fell the whole time). Then they'll have kids with whimsical names, and will trade in their Fuck Emos shirts for khaki shorts and flip flops.

One will hear a lot of political and social outrage from these young Austinites, it's like a real life version of some pissy Facebook community. Of course, there are minorities and white working class people making this city roll along, but those Peter Pan type young Austinites sure are plentiful. A lot of time they're just waiting tables and biding their time before they can cash in their trust funds and move to some other urban paradise like Portland, which strikes me as an even more affected "weird" city. Grow thy beards and ride thy unicycles. Please just do it somewhere outside of Austin. We've got enough of that crap here already.

I guess my point is that Austin seems full of entitled white kids play-acting at struggle, while the people that really ARE struggling (minorities and working poor whites) either can't afford to live here anymore, or are too busy trying to survive to go check out some fucking music festival. Houston offers a lot more things for people of all types, and socio-economic groups to enjoy.

Which brings us to...

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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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