Raleigh vs. Austin

Beautiful desert cactus growing in Austin.

When considering moving, many people compare Raleigh vs. Austin. The two cities have a lot in common – both are capital cities, while not being the largest cities in the state. Both are tech hubs, both have a great quality of life and both are in the south, and both offer mild winters and warm summers. No matter what city you are considering, it’s beneficial to get to know each one and how they compare.


Austin and Raleigh differ both in terms of square footage and city population. Austin is roughly 170 square miles with a population of just over 1 million. Raleigh is roughly 147 square miles, with a population of just under 500,000 residents. 

Getting Around

While Austin is slightly larger, the vast population difference has created massive commuting issues. In Raleigh, you can drive twice as far in half the time. Austin, however, has some really great transportation alternatives. The city is very bikeable and has gone so far as to reduce auto lanes to accommodate bikers. Some businesses even have incentives for their employees to bike to work. Likewise, Raleigh is on a roll when it comes to being bike-friendly with more than 100 miles of paved bike lanes. Austin also has a metro rail offering convenient transportation to and from downtown. 


Austin’s economy is incredibly strong due in part to being held up by multiple industries. Oil, technology, shipping, government, education, and tourism are all huge industries in Austin. This diverse range of industries means Austin is prepared to weather the ups and downs of a changing economy. Because Texas has no state tax and Austin is centrally located between the east and west coast, many large companies are finding it an ideal place to call home.

Raleigh too has a very diverse economy. One of the main industries here is higher education. Because Raleigh is part of a bigger region referred to as the Triangle and consisting of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, within an hour drive of Raleigh are the three largest universities in the state – Duke, University of North Carolina, and NC State. Like Austin, government jobs make up a large portion of the economy. And while their tech industry is smaller than Austin’s, it is still a hub within the state with many fast-growing tech startups making it their home.

Music Scene

It is no secret that Austin has a thriving music scene. With over 250 music venues, there is no shortage of places to catch a great act on any given night. Well-known musicians such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Schneider, and The Chicks all claim(ed) Austin as home. Festivals such as South by Southwest and Austin City Limits attract an influx of world-famous acts and music fans each year.

As a smaller town, Raleigh has a growing music scene. Rolling Stone recently named Raleigh as a “hotbed of independent music”. Due to the low cost of living and a large number of service jobs, musicians around the country are flocking to Raleigh. Young professionals, college students, and college radio are a driving force in the growth of hip music. Raleigh is also home to a number of music events such as Hopscotch Music Fest and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s yearly conference.


Both Austin and Raleigh offer a wide range of topography. Austin is located in the Hill Country and if you drive south or southwest you will encounter green rolling hills, bluffs with scenic overlooks, rivers that wind through small towns, and an abundance of native plants and colorful wildflowers. Within Austin, you have bodies of water such as Lake Travis and Town Lake. Austin offers the opportunity to be one with nature without leaving city limits. 

Just south of Raleigh, you can get familiar with North Carolina’s agricultural roots. Here, the soil is sandy and the terrain flat, being used as tobacco farmland years ago. To the north of Raleigh, you will encounter hills, overlooks, and a mountain feel. Drive roughly three hours southwest to encounter quaint beach towns such as Emerald Isle and Southport. And about four hours west or north and you will hit the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail.

Who Takes the Trump Card?

Both Raleigh and Austin offer beautiful scenery, a vibrant arts scene, and varied economies. Depending on what you are looking for you could easily be happy making your home in either city.

Life at Lakeside at Tessera

When considering a move to Austin, Lakeside offers a quality life just outside the city, while still being close to all the modern conveniences Austin offers. Find your dream home with Lakeside today!

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