We learned recently that Texas A&M got more monies than Texas did in the past year and that made many people feel validated and warm inside. Others decided to point out the finer print and insist the accounts are misleading. But not all of us are so hung up on monetary significance. The real values placed upon institutions of higher learning cannot be measured in fiduciary units, ledger sheets, and hard numbers. They lie in the very fabric of the towns that embrace them. Since we can't settle this on the football field, we've settled it on the streets of Austin and College Station.
Ways College Station is better than Austin
Arts & Entertainment
Festivals: Chilifest is simply superior to SXSW. If you enjoy massive crowds, nonexistent parking, and overpriced everything while listening to nerds talk about technology under the guise of a music festival, then we suppose SXSW is fine. But if you just want some good ol' fashioned country songs out in the sunshine with plenty of homemade chili, take the kids on out to Snook for a family-friendly affair.
Music scene: Houston (run by Aggies, by the way) has a richer musical history than Austin, and College Station is practically a suburb of Houston. College Station has also given us Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett.
Cutting edge: "Keep Austin Weird" was so 20 years ago. The truth is that Austin's increasing gentrification/sprawl has neutralized its edginess while the rapid changes Texas A&M has undergone combined with the destabilization of the collective Aggy psyche has rendered College Station far weirder of late.
Better craft beer scene. The selection at HEB is second-to-none.
College Station is closer to Houston (see next bullet if this angers you)
College Station is closer to to Dallas (see previous bullet if this angers you)
College Station is closer to Shreveport (affordable bowl game experience!)
Meanwhile, the commute time to downtown Austin is roughly same from College Station as it is from Round Rock
- Cyclist-friendly: people will help you get your bike out of a tree.
- Public transit: take the bus system to Northgate to drink if you live off-campus. It's responsible and included in your student fees!
- Outdoor activities: why force yourself to choose between 67 frisbee golf courses? They're all pretty much the same when you think about it. Just check to make sure you're allowed on the grass first. Can't hurt to be careful.
- Better tech sector: Dell and IBM are nice and all...if you're a fan of the '90s. But the future is in College Station and it's called Hyperloop. B/CS is also the birthplace of the best-selling Dude Perfect app.
Dining & Shopping
- Better restaurants: chain establishments ensure a safe, predictable dining experience at a reasonable price. Who wants to pay $17 for a burger out of a truck when you can pay half of that in a familiar setting? College Station also boasts more Arby's per capita than Austin. Each city has one. What's that? You love chicken fingers? Well, there are 47 different options on Texas Avenue alone. Breaded, fried, crispy...you name it.
A vibrant vape scene. College Station now boasts a hookah lounge and at least three vapor shops. But don't take my word for it, listen to Debo P. from Austin talk about TooTer's in College Station:
Coming from Austin, where there is a vape shop at every corner, I am extremely impressed with Tash and her minions! In fact, I have friends in Austin who want me to bring them #tootersvapeshop juices! Plus I found out they do ship juices!
BBQ: sure, you could drive out to the country and wait in line. But none of those trendy hill country places scattered outside of Austin that you see on The Food Network are an Aggie Tradition. Best just to have one socially acceptable BBQ establishment to avoid confusion.
Establishment cleanliness: fewer grungy resale shops, more clean chain retail outlets. Think of College Station as the Target clearance section (tasteful and reasonably-priced, if a bit jumbled) as opposed to Austin, your retired hippie-turned-realtor-who-loves-turquoise-shit neighbor's annual garage sale.
The plain truth is that Austin isn't a recruiting advantage at all. Sure, every Longhorn everywhere loves to crow about how it's a prime destination for the best high school athletes in the country. But when's the last time you saw a high school football star stop for a kombucha shot on his fixed speed on his way to a vinyl sale? Think about it. Football players are just regular folks too, apart from their freakish athletic skills, and they just want all the familiar amenities they've grown up with.
College Station: stay in your comfort zone. It's not a bad place to be!
How else is College Station better than Austin? Let us know in the comments.