Austin vs. St. Louis: City Relocation Guide

Image comparing Austin Texas and St. Louis Missouri.

Austin vs St. Louis: two riverside cities with a deep appreciation for music and food. But how do the Live Music Capital of the World and the Gateway to the West compare? We’re looking at both cities in detail to better understand their similarities and what sets them apart so that you, dear reader, can decide which city comes out on top—we’ll keep our biases (somewhat) secret.

Austin vs St. Louis Quick Stats

Austin Stats

  • Population Density: 3006 people per square mile
  • Median Household Income: $75,752
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
  • Median Age: 35 years old
  • Average Commute: 24.5 minutes
  • Median Home Value: $565,223

St.Louis Stats

  • Population Density: 4,886 people per square mile
  • Median Household Income: $72,562
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.40%
  • Median Age: 36
  • Average Commute: 23.8 minutes
  • Median Home Value: $155,721

Cost of Living in Austin vs. St. Louis

It’s time to get out the old calculator for a cost of living comparison. On the whole, St. Louis is cheaper than Austin. Residents there save on most things, including clothing, leisure activities, and dining out. And both renters and homeowners have lower housing costs (utilities included) than those in Austin. The median home values above give you an idea of the gap.
That said, there are a few discrepancies in the cost of living comparison. For one, grocery prices are lower in Austin than in St. Louis. This is one of the more extreme examples, but a bag of tomatoes can cost on average 54% less in the Texas capital. Austin residents also benefit from cheaper public transport and higher salaries, which can slightly tip the scales.

Austin vs. St. Louis Size and Location

Spanning 305 square miles, Austin is a significantly larger city than St. Louis, which covers just 66 square miles. Considering that, it’s no surprise that Austin has a bigger population (nearing a million), but it’s worth noting that its population density is a fair bit lower than St. Louis’s.

Austin Geography and Location

Austin is located in the Texas Hill Country, a region of the state known for its granite hills, caverns, and scenic trails. This means Austin residents can take advantage of having exquisite nature right on their doorstep. And with a number of state parks within easy driving distance, many do!
Slightly closer afield, the mighty Colorado River flows through downtown Austin, offering riverside views and providing year-round entertainment in the form of urban trails, boating excursions, and waterfront dining.

St. Louis Geography and Location

Known as the Gateway to the West, St. Louis was where explorers Lewis & Clark set off to explore the West in the 19th century. The Gateway Arch is a monument to this history and is the city’s most recognizable feature, standing at 630 feet alongside the banks of the Mississippi River. The Arch was also recently named a National Park, and now has the distinction as the smallest National Park in the United States—the next smallest is still about 5500 acres bigger!
The Mississippi is central to St. Louis’s geography and marks the state boundary between Missouri and Illinois. The massive waterway is multipurpose: serving as an important, historic trade route but is now beloved for riverboat tours and other leisure activities. Further inland, you’ll find Forest Park, one of the top most visited urban parks in the country—it’s bigger than NYC’s Central Park.

Austin vs. St. Louis Things To Do

Austin Culture and Entertainment

It’s no coincidence that Austin is known as the live music capital of the world. Every year, the city hosts world-class festivals, including South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits. Besides the festivals, Austin is home to hundreds of venues where local and international artists come to play. Meanwhile, locals can always find smaller acts performing nightly in bars across the city.
You can also expect to find some of the finest grub in the city, from traditional barbecue to innovative Tex-Mex, being sold out of food trucks. In keeping with the city’s unofficial slogan of “Keep Austin Weird”, there are always one-of-a-kind cultural events on the calendar, whether it’s a melted cheese fest or yoga with goats!

St. Louis Culture and Entertainment

St. Louis is certainly not lacking for culture and entertainment. With both a professional baseball and hockey team—the Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues—the city is a sports fan’s dream. Combine that with a rich local brewery scene, and you’re talking sports nirvana.
Ironically, St. Louis and Austin are also home to America’s two newest professional soccer teams. Austin FC debuted in the MLS in 2021 while St. Louis City SC is currently in the midst of their inaugural MLS season (2023). Both have proven to be worthy additions as their soccer-specific stadiums see sell out crowds week in and week out.
Music is also central to St. Louis’ culture and identity. The city even has a signature sound and STL is no different. The St. Louis blues attract people from far and wide hoping to hear it at local clubs and venues.

Austin vs. St. Louis Industries & Local Economy

Austin Economy

Austin currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the country, driven in part by the tech industry. Tech giants like IBM, Apple, and Dell have bases in Austin and are major employers. The city is also known for its fertile startup ecosystem, where small companies can launch and thrive.
Other notable employers in the city are Whole Foods, the state government, and the University of Texas.

St. Louis Economy

St. Louis has a diverse economy, and its top industries include healthcare, energy, manufacturing, and financial services. Anheuser-Busch brewery, the largest brewing company in the world, is also headquartered in St. Louis, employing over 10,000 people. On top of that, the city is a hub for both rail and water transport.

How to Choose Between Austin vs St. Louis?

There’s no question that both Austin and St. Louis are great places to live. The two cities have some things in common: they both have rich culinary and musical scenes. But their differences can help you choose which city is right for you. The blend of Midwestern and Southern values may make St. Louis feel like a great choice, while those looking for a more nature-oriented lifestyle or trendy vibe will feel right at home in Austin.

Life at Lakeside

If you’re leaning towards Austin after reading this city face-off, get in touch with Lakeside at Tessera to learn more about our beautiful homes and unique community. With top-rated schools, recreation amenities, and homes on Lake Travis, it’s a perfect place to kick off your boots.

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