San Francisco is known for the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and deep rolling Hills. Austin is known for its music, hip vibe, and the Texas State Capitol. Both cities have many wonderful attributes and benefits. But, to truly compare Austin vs. San Francisco, let’s draw back the curtain and get a feel for the character of each.
Both cities are hubs for tech and the entrepreneurial spirit, though the flare for each is different. San Francisco is home to many technology startups and modern online brands that have turned whole industries on its head such as Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, Yelp, and Twitter and has even been dubbed a part of Silicon Valley. San Francisco is host to young people looking to dive headfirst into the startup world and make something of themselves. Austin on the other hand also has a robust presence in tech with headquarters for Dell, IBM, Apple, Amazon, and, most recently, Tesla. Austin has a more artistic grassroots outlook when it comes to entrepreneurial spirit. This outlook carries over to the music scene as well, which is full of musicians looking to make and share music simply for the art of it, rather than setting out with the goal to get famous. There are festivals and conferences that fit this vibe and continue to draw attention to Austin, including Austin City Limits and South by Southwest.
Let’s talk about San Francisco vs. Austin weather. Austin ranges from warm to hot most of the year. Fall and spring usually lasts about a month and a half (if Texans are lucky) and winter passes so quickly you will miss it if you blink. The average temperature in the summer hovers around 100 degrees and on cold days in the winter, the temperature may drop to the low 40s.
San Francisco is known for its near perfect year-round weather. A hot day in Golden Gate City is when the temperature reaches 70 degrees. San Francisco has a specific advantage though thanks to its location right on the bay with cool breezes coming in during the summer. Even in the winter it stays comfortable because the ocean retains the sun’s heat; although, evenings can get a bit chilly especially by the water.
It is expensive to live in San Francisco. Whole paycheck expensive. The population is dense making it impossible for new construction builds, in part because it is right on the ocean. Housing continues to increase in price as demand increases, making purchasing a home a challenging feat. Alternatively, housing costs in Austin are relatively affordable. This is due to the rise in the tech industry, more job availability, and plenty of land in the surrounding suburbs. Although the price of renting apartments has increased, it is still a renters market because of the amount of inventory available. If you are looking to buy a home, while it can be expensive in Austin proper, there is more availability and a lot less sticker shock than in the San Francisco Bay area.
As we have already talked about, Austin is hot. But, this can be easily alleviated by the many swimming holes in and around the Austin area. Lake Travis is a popular destination for many water activities boasting 271 miles of shoreline. Other popular places to take a dip include Barton Springs, Lake Austin and Campbell’s Hole.
Both San Francisco and Austin are foodie towns with lots of great eateries, coffee shops, and bars. Both cities also have designated wine country areas, Napa and Sonoma in San Fran and Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country near Austin. The Texas Hill Country has some of the most beautiful landscapes in Texas where you can enjoy day hikes or simply a day outdoors.
Austin is historically known for its underground Texas outlaw country and blues music. Today, the city has a lively and diverse music scene with ample opportunities to catch local and national talent at venues all over town.
San Francisco is known for its diversity, with a very robust Asian culture. This diversity and openness make it a great place to raise a family. Austin, while not as diverse as San Francisco, offers more land giving room for growing families to spread out a bit more. And no matter where you go in Austin, you can’t escape the southern charm. People are friendly and welcoming.