Creatively Speaking

Austin trumps NYC & LA as one of the best cities to be an artist

Austin trumps NYC & LA as one of the best cities to be an artist

Art City Austin painting by Carly Weaver
Austin is the no. 4 best city in the US to be an artist. Photo by Alicia Vega

If your creative juices are flowing, you're in luck. Austin recently landed on the list of the best cities to be an artist, pulling ahead of creative hubs like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Based on data compiled by, Austin ranks no. 4 in the U.S. for artists, just behind Atlanta, Seattle and San Francisco.

And it wasn't just our thriving live music scene or affinity for festivals that earned Austin a high spot on the list. "Austin cracked the top five because a lot of young people call it home, and employs a lot of artists," the study says.

The study ranked the 50 most populous cities in America, based on five categories. Cost of living, percentage of population ages 20-34, people working in the arts industry, number of museums and galleries, and households with income higher than $200,000 were taken into account.

Austin's "bustling nightlife" and "warm weather year-round" (we're not talking about you, Snowpocalypse!) are cited as pluses for the artistic community, as is the city's high percentage of young adults (which, according to the study is 30 percent).

Since the study accounts for affluent citizens, too, the creatively inclined can put the "starving artist" notion aside. Austin ranked no. 11 for households with income higher than $200,000 — tied with Charlotte, North Carolina.

See how Austin compares to the top 10 (and the remaining 40 cities) here.