Austin vs. Kansas City: A Showdown

We’re pitting bats against fountains + crowns against hearts.

City Editors Travis, Figi, and London

KCtoday City Editor Travis visited us in Austin last month.

Photo by KCtoday

Table of Contents

Here’s a question for you: which is better, Austin or Kansas City?

We recently had a visit from our friend Travis, City Editor at KCtoday, and we found ourselves comparing the two metropolises. Which town has the more passionate sports fans? Which excels in offering public green spaces? And the real kicker: which has better barbecue?

After a healthy debate, we decided to put this rivalry to the test. You voted for the categories you wanted us to compare, so it’s time: Bat City is going head-to-head with the City of Fountains.

Alright, alright, alright, Austinites — are you ready to rumble?

The Congress Avenue Bridge as seen from the hike and bike trail along the water.

We may be biased, but we think Austin’s downtown is one of the most beautiful in the US.

Photo by ATXtoday


I’m told Kansas City has an extensive parks system, with 221 parks in the metro area alone. Swope Park is more than 1,800 acres — twice the size of Central Park.

Although Kansas City sits on the Missouri River, waterfront access is limited compared to Austin. Plus, you can’t beat our 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, or the other 130+ miles of trails + greenbelt that weave through our city.

Top that off with our almost perpetually sunny weather and the fact that the world’s largest urban bat population lives right in our downtown, and I think we can hand this one to ATX.

(London Gibson, ATXtoday)

A group of fans downtown during the Super Bowl win in Kansas City,

If this crowd of Chiefs fans watching their team win the Super Bowl in 2020 is any indication, we’re going to bet Kansas City has a pretty strong sports scene.

Photo by KCtoday


Texas is known for its football (ever heard of “Friday Night Lights?”), and Austin bleeds orange for their Longhorns. However, fans are seldom as hype (and never as loud) as they are for the Chiefs at Arrowhead. Also, if we’re comparing college sports, KC roots for two teams, KU + Mizzou (though never at the same time).

On the soccer front, Austin FC has a brand-new stadium and has performed well both seasons. Yet in comparison, Sporting KC has been around since 1995 + hoists two championships. The KC Current also just broke ground on the world’s first pro women’s stadium.

While Austin has Kansas City beat on pro basketball, KC wins baseball with the Royals and as the birth place of the Negro Leagues. Score one, Kansas City.

(Travis Meier, KCtoday)

A close-up of brisket at the Hot Luck Festival

Austin’s smoked meats scene is unmatched — just take a look at our lineup of annual barbecue-themed festivals.

Photo by ATXtoday


Sure, Kansas City has good barbecue we’ll even say great barbecue — but can it hold a candle to Aaron Franklin’s signature marbled brisket, or a smoky sausage from Terry Black’s?

Okay, okay, we hear the ribs from Gates BBQ are pretty life-changing, but we’re not willing to budge on this one. We’d take Texas’ delectable dry rubs over KC’s saucy staples any day.

(London Gibson, ATXtoday)

🏆 Champion: Austin, TX

No surprise here, we’re handing the crown to ATX. But don’t take our word for it — here’s what readers had to say about the Capital City.

“Live in KC and just recently visited Austin. Very cool city that is not like the rest of the state, much like KC. Loved 6th St and S Congress in ATX. UT campus is also great.”

“KC - The food halls are a great secret! Austin - Nothing better than Congress St bats!” — Charlie M

“I have lived in both. Loved Zilker Park, Lake Travis/Austin/Lady Bird. Loved the Chuy’s on Barton Springs (but like the one in the Plaza too.) I’m a little old for Sixth Street but it seemed like the music scene there was fantastic. The traffic in KC is MUCH better than Austin’s. The overall number and variety of restaurants in Austin way outnumbers the choices in KC. Liked visiting the State Capital and State Museum.” — Gareld B.

“The music scene is pretty awesome in Austin and Sonia lady bird lake! KC BBQ and Sports can’t be beat!!” — Cheryl S.

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