Austin vs. Boulder: Cost of Living, Economy, and Things to Do

The Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado

Whether you enjoy snow-capped mountain tops or the rolling countryside, both Austin and Boulder offer their residents unique lifestyle opportunities and access to the beautiful outdoors. Let’s take a look at how these two youthful college cities match up.

Austin vs. Boulder Quick Stats

Boulder Stats

  • Total Population: 105,485 
  • Population Density: 4,112 people per square mile
  • Median Household Income: $80,243
  • Unemployment: 2.8%
  • Median Age: 29 years old
  • Average Commute: 19.4 minutes
  • Median Home Value: $919,700

Austin Stats

  • Total Population: 974,447
  • Population Density: 3006.4 people per square mile
  • Median Household Income: $86,556
  • Unemployment: 3%
  • Median Age: 34 years old
  • Average Commute: 27.5 minutes
  • Median Home Value: $461,500

Cost of Living Boulder vs. Austin

While the two cities have many similarities, the most significant difference is in the cost of living. Both cities have grown and expanded in recent years, but Boulder’s cost of living will impact your budget more than Austin’s. Not only are food, groceries, and transportation more expensive in Boulder, but the median home price is nearly double that of Austin. If you’re looking to move to a new city and buy your dream home, Austin is currently the more affordable option with a cost of living that is 20% lower than Boulder.

Austin vs. Boulder Size & Location

Boulder Geography & Population

With a Rocky Mountain backdrop, the north-central city of Boulder has a dynamic topography. Located within a 40-minute drive from Denver, the small city is tucked into the foothills with an elevation of 5,318 feet. While the city appears to be spacious, Boulder only encompasses 27 square miles and, as a result, has a population density of 4,199 per square mile.

Austin Geography & Population

In comparison, Austin is indeed a more spacious city. With 326 square miles, the capital city provides plenty of space for residents to enjoy the rolling Texas countryside. While the population of the immediate city is certainly higher, with nearly 1 million residents, the 326 square miles of land allow a density of only 3,006 people per square mile.

Austin vs. Boulder Things To Do

Downtown view over the water from Lou Neff point of Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail in Austin, Texas.

Boulder Culture & Entertainment

Whether you enjoy running, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, or rock climbing, Boulder is an outdoor lover’s playground. Each nook and cranny of the foothills provide ample opportunities to escape the immediate city and enjoy the natural environment. One of the most popular recreation destinations in the area is Chautauqua Park, a 40-acre public space filled with hiking trails and outdoor amenities.

In addition to outdoor recreation, Boulder provides entertainment, food, and sporting options for its residents and visitors. Pearl Street and the Boulder Theater are the two most visited locations in the immediate city to experience the local culture. And last but not least, don’t forget to catch an exciting weekend game at the University of Colorado campus.

Austin Culture & Entertainment

While the city thrives on outdoor recreation opportunities, Austin’s local culture and entertainment scene are hard to compete with. The city is known as The Live Music Capital of the World with over 250 music venues sprinkled throughout the city. In addition, the Texas food culture runs deep in this vibrant southern city.

The Texas Hill Country provides limitless opportunities for residents to explore and participate in nearby festivals, winery tours, and engaging family-friendly events. Most residents can be found cooling off in the hot Texas sun at Lake Travis or soaking in the Colorado River on the weekends.

Austin vs. Boulder Industries & Local Economy

Boulder Economy

While the University of Colorado Boulder has a strong presence in the small city, a handful of other companies and industries fuel the local economy. Due to its geographical location, Boulder provides researchers with easy access to the unique landscape and the nearby larger metro of Denver. As such, Boulder is home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Boulder is also a thriving start-up community and an appealing location for offices from several Fortune 500 corporations including

  • Ball Aerospace
  • Cisco
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • Oracle
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft

 Last but not least, tourism is a significant driver of the economy.

Austin Economy

Austin’s economy is centered around technology, defense, and pharmaceutical industries. In recent years, an influx of large companies has transitioned their headquarters to the capital city region. Some of the Forbes list companies worth mentioning are:

  • Google
  • Tesla
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • 3M
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Oracle

How to Choose Between Austin vs. Boulder?

Would you prefer to enjoy live music, water sports, and southern bbq? Or are the vast mountaintops and college sports scene calling your name? If you crave a vibrant, music-filled atmosphere with a lower cost of living, Austin might be your pick. If you prioritize outdoor activities, a close-knit community, and a focus on health and wellness, Boulder could be ideal. Regardless of your preference, both cities offer their residents a different lifestyle and opportunities to grow.

Life At Lakeside

If you’re feeling the Austin vibe, then contact Lakeside at Tessera to find your dream home! Contact us today, and check out what our Lake Travis community has to offer.

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