Portland vs. Austin

Funky pop art on an office building in Austin.

“Keep Portland Weird”. Sound familiar? That’s because Stumptown’s slogan originated in Austin. “Keep Austin Weird” was coined in 2000 in Texas’ capital city to promote small and local businesses. In 2003, Terry Currier, an icon of Portland’s music scene, brought this slogan to Portland to promote individuality, local art, and atypical lifestyle choices, and leisure activities. The same slogan, two different meanings. 

For those looking to make a move from Portland to Austin, let’s look at some of the other ways these two eclectic cities compare.


Austin has seen massive growth over the past decade, surpassing one million residents in 2020, and has been the fastest-growing metro city in the country for the past nine years. This population explosion has been a major focus for the city’s economy, reshaping everything from residential real estate to traffic flow. 

While Portland is also growing, the growth rate pales in comparison to Austin. With roughly 662,000 residents in 2020, Portland is a little over half the size of Austin. The city still remains the largest in the state, but not the fastest growing, increasing only by 1% in 2020 with approximately 7,800 new residents. 

Job Market

One major factor in the growth of each city is the job market. As of November 2020, 35 tech companies have moved their corporate homes to Austin due to no state taxes, inexpensive housing options, and lack of government regulations. Attracting major players such as Oracle, Facebook, Tesla, Apple, and Amazon, Austin has been dubbed “Silicon Hills” and opened up a wide array of career opportunities for those who work in tech, manufacturing, or warehousing. 

Portland’s job market supports numerous industries with the main focuses being healthcare, manufacturing, and active apparel. In the Portland area, four of the top ten employers in the area are healthcare providers. Manufacturing in the Greater Portland area makes up 11% of Portland’s workforce, with the majority of companies specializing in manufacturing high-tech electronics. Because Portland is surrounded by natural beauty and rugged terrain there is a focus on athletic and outdoor apparel. Portland is home to the highest number of small athletic apparel companies in the country as well as larger companies, such as Nike and the North American headquarters of Adidas.

Beautiful Scenery

When comparing Portland vs. Austin both cities bring their own strengths to the table. Austin prides itself on being part of the Texas Hill Country while Portland is surrounded by cascading mountains and just a short drive from the Oregon Coast. 

Within Austin, you have beauties such as Lake Travis, the “crown jewel” of Central Texas, Barton Creek, and Town Lake. Parks within Austin, such as St. Edwards Park, Zilker Park, and McKinney Falls State Park offer residents the opportunity to hike, swim, canoe, and rock climb. Surrounding Austin, there are small towns offering tranquil Texas beauty, such as Fredericksburg, Llano, and Dripping Springs.

Likewise, Portland has an abundance of natural beauty, both within city limits and the surrounding areas. Part of the Willamette Valley, a 150-mile long valley, Portland is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains, the Oregon Coast Mountains, and the Calapooya Mountains. Just 80 miles west of Portland is the Oregon coast and an hour east of the city is the Columbia River Gorge, ideal for hiking, camping, sightseeing, and leisurely drives. Within Portland is Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country and home to over 80-miles of hiking and walking trails.


Looking for entertainment? Both cities offer a multitude of family-friendly activities. Fully immerse yourself in Texas culture, when you visit the Bullock State History Museum, where visitors can learn about everything from Texas’ role in the Civil War to Austin City Limits. Get into the Longhorn Spirit by attending a University of Texas sports event or spend a day at Barton Springs Pool, a 1000-foot natural limestone pool perfect for swimming, fishing, or sunbathing.

In Portland, take a picnic and spend the day visiting Pittock Mansion where you can experience the city’s history and progression through one of its most influential families. Visit the International Rose Test Garden, the oldest official and continually operating rose garden in the country. Or head to the Grotto, a catholic sanctuary constructed in 1924 where visitors can enjoy lush botanical gardens spanning 62 acres.

“Keep Portland/Austin Weird”

While these two cities share the same slogan, they share many other similarities as well as differences. Both offer wonderful opportunities and benefits, it simply comes down to preference as to which city will suit you best.

Life at Lakeside at Tessera

When considering a move to Austin, you can’t beat living at Lakeside. Just a short drive outside of Austin, Lakeside offers entertainment and easy access to Lake Travis. Contact us today to discover your dream home.

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