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Haven’t you heard the news? Nashville is the new Austin. Fueled by strong job growth, a nascent creative class and a rise in chef-driven restaurants (the city even has a TV show named after it), Music City is threatening the Sun Belt darling’s long running status as the it emerging American city. Not so fast, we can already hear our Austin friends screaming. The Hill Country metropolis may have matured over the years but it’s still a weird and wired culture vulture’s paradise brimming with innovation and culture. So which city is better? Here’s a totally unscientific look at Austin vs. Nashville:

Plus: Find out 15 things you should never say to an Austinite


Nashville: The Upland South has a cool, subtropical climate and four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid while winters are relatively mild (average daily high in January is 46.9 degrees) with an average snow accumulation of just 6.3 inches but lots of grey skies. What we really love are spring and autumn; temps hover in the low 70s in both April and October.

Austin: Bring on the heat, baby! Austin has a semi-arid climate which means lots of sunshine (almost 2650 hours per year to be exact). The average daily high in January is 62 degrees—you can’t beat that—while spring and fall bring bearable heat. On the other hand, summers can be downright hot and humid with temperatures frequently rising to levels north of 100. Yuck.


Nashville: They don’t call it Music City for nothing. The country music capital of the world boasts live music all over town and is home to fixtures like the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium. Add to the mix institutions like The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Schermerhorn Symphony Center and you’ve got a winning scene.

Austin: This town’s also got live music coming from all corners including 6th Street and at legendary venues like the Paramount Theatre, Victory Grill and Hole in the Wall. We also love it for its myriad festivals including Fun Fun Fun fest in November, Moontower Comedy Festival in April and South By Southwest in March. You have heard of that, right?



Nashville: Southern comforts rule in this Upland South metropolis so if you’re looking for skillet fried chicken or cheese grits you’ll find them here. But Nashville’s culinary star is rising fast. Food and Wine Best New Chef winner Erik Anderson operates The Catbird Seat here and the New York Times has raved about joints like Marche Artisan Foods and Pharmacy Burger.

Austin: That Tex-Mex, those BBQ joints! The Texas capital isan undeniably delicious place to strap on a bib and gorge yourself silly. In addition to local cuisine, the city boasts restaurants helmed by award-winning chefs including Congress, Uchi and Uchiko and La Condesa plus 2015 James Beard Award nominated Barley Swine and Franklin Barbecue.



Nashville: In 2013, Forbes ranked the city no. 5 on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. It is the epicenter of the music world, but its largest industry is health care including more than 300 health care companies. Fortune 500 companies with Nashville offices include Dell, HCA and Dollar General. Oh and if you want to make Bibles, this is the place to do it!

Austin: Another Forbes list winner, Austin was named #1 in Best Cities for Future Job Growth in 2012 with a projected annual job growth of 4.0%. Even better, the city is considered a major center for hi-tech including local offices from big names like Apple,  3M, Cisco Systems, Google and Facebook. Did we mention Whole Foods is headquartered here?


Nashville: Have you been to Tennessee? It’s a pretty gorgeous state and there are mountains, lakes, rivers and waterfalls all within a few hours drive. Closer to home there is more than 12,000 acres of open space and 108 parks including Percy Warner Park, Shelby Bottoms Nature Center & Greenway and downtown’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

Austin: Let’s get soaking wet! Austin is home to more than 50 public swimming pools including Barton Springs—the nation’s largest natural swimming pool in an urban area and Hippie Hollow, a clothing optional beach at Lake Travis. The city is also in the heart of Texas hill country which means stunning hikes, wineries and vistas are within a stone’s throw.

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Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

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