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

view of downtown Seattle with the Space Needle and the volcano in the back

With a Space Needle and a dormant volcano as a backdrop, competing with the dynamic city of Seattle can be a tough job. However, Austin, a city that prides itself on standing out, is up for the challenge. So let’s take a look at Seattle vs. Austin and discover which one suits you best!

Seattle vs. Austin: Population

These two cities have become accredited as the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Austin rings in with a population just shy of 1 million, while Seattle follows right behind with nearly 725,000. The drastic differences in population between the two cities are found in the surrounding metropolitan areas. Austin’s surrounding metro holds 2.2 million residents, while Seattle’s is nearly double at 4 million.


Situated just a mere 100 miles from the Canadian border, Seattle is the northernmost major city in the United States. It is an outdoor lover’s playground with a landscape rich in lush forests, snow-capped mountain ranges, and coastal beaches.

The central city of Austin is nestled along the Colorado River, providing ample opportunities for hiking, biking, or paddling adventures. Lake Travis is an Austin staple, and locals and visitors frequently enjoy soaking up the sun and partaking in the vast recreation activities that the lake has to offer.

Housing and Economy

Seattle’s booming tech industry translates to a strong economy, but finding a place to live can be a challenge. The median home price in Seattle sits around $815,000, according to In contrast, Austin offers a more affordable housing market, with a median home price around $650,000. This significant difference means your housing budget will go much further in Austin. However, Seattle’s job market might offer higher salaries to compensate for the steeper housing costs.

Seattle Culture vs. Austin

While the landscape and outdoor activities are boundless around Seattle, there are no shortages of cultural opportunities to partake in. The city hosts multiple dominating sports teams, film festivals galore, and the iconic Pike Place Market. In addition, the art, museum, and historical scene is immense and will keep your weekends packed full of exciting city adventures.

Award-winning BBQ, lively art murals, and the title of “The Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin holds its weight in highlighting the diverse cultural features of the city. The largest university in the United States, proudly calls Austin home – The University of Texas at Austin. Giving this capital city a young, lively vibe full of opportunity.

Industries & Commerce

While the “Keep Austin Weird” small business movement has taken hold of the city, you can still find large Fortune 500 companies, such as 3M, Whole Foods Market, Oracle, and Google, that call the city home. The city of Austin still maintains its rooted stronghold of government and educational industries, but in recent decades has expanded to include the technology and business industries into its repertoire. As a thriving coastal city, Seattle’s economy and commerce revolves around trade and technology. Similar to Austin, major Fortune 500 companies have also found a home in the Seattle area. A local icon, Starbucks still graces the streets alongside Amazon, Nordstrom, and various global health organizations. With its prime location, Seattle serves as a gateway to Asia and trade with the rest of the world.

So, which city should you choose?

That’s a tough decision. Both cities offer opportunities for whatever activity or cultural experience you fancy. Whether you prefer the waterfront views of Seattle or the vibrant music scene of Austin, you’ll find plenty to do in both cities.

Leaning toward Austin? Don’t miss out on your chance to find your beautiful custom home with Lakeside at Tessera.

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