Both Houston and Austin are thriving centers of economic growth and vibrant culture. Both have great food, great music, great art, great nightlife, and plentiful recreational opportunities. And you know what’s really cool? The two cities offer all that greatness in their own wonderful ways:
- Houston is a metropolis; Austin is a comparatively small city.
- Houston has the energy industry and the best medical center in the world; Austin has the tech industry and one of the best large universities in the world.
- Houston has great ethnic cuisine; Austin has unrivaled barbecue.
- Houston has bays, beaches, and bayous; Austin has hills, rivers, and lakes.
- Houston is known for its rap scene; Austin is known for its indie scene.
- Houston has professional sports teams; Austin has some of the best festivals and conferences in the world.
Lest you get the impression I think either city is a utopia, here are some bad things:
- Houston is friggin’ hot; Austin is friggin’ hot.
- Houston has terrible traffic; Austin has terrible traffic.
- Houston is growing and gentrifying way too fast; Austin is growing and gentrifying way too fast.
- Houston has a lot of fratboy douchebags who landed $200,000-per-year oil-industry jobs right out of college and truly believe climate change is an Al Gore-perpetrated hoax; Austin has a lot of tech-industry insufferables who think it’s inherently virtuous to work 19 hours per day and who achieve tumescence at the mere mention of “Big Data.”
And really the only thing you need to know:
Austin is way too cocky about its coolness; Houston is trying way too hard to be viewed as cool.
There. I settled it. No further hand-wringing required. You can love both cities, hate both cities, love one and hate the other, love-hate both…really any combination of emotions and cities is allowable here. Just please kindly shut up about which is cooler, because if we all keep arguing over who’s cooler, we all end up sucking.