Travel & Destinations

Austin, Texas and Prescott, Arizona—A Comparison of Two Fabulous Cities

If you love Austin, you’ll love Prescott Arizona
…The Connections You Never Knew

“Home is not a place…it’s a feeling.”

After recent visits to both Austin and Prescott, I realized if you love one, you’ll easily love the other, the synchronicity is astounding and you feel, well, right at home. Of course, everything is bigger in Texas! But the home town values and love for this land runs through each city like the river that feeds it.


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Texas Capitol, Austin, TX

Austin replaced Houston as capital of the Republic of Texas in 1839. Its landmark feature is the Capitol Dome designed by Detroit architect Elijah E. Myers. Austin, whose original name was Waterloo, is named after Stephen F. Austin, contains 271.8 mi² and the fourth most populous city in Texas, eleventh in the country.


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Yavapai County Courthouse, Prescott, AZ

Prescott, capitol of the Arizona Territory from 1864 to 1867 and 1877 to 1889, landmark feature is its Yavapai County Courthouse, designed by William N. Bowman, and the square that surrounds it. Named in honor of William H. Prescott, an historian and author popular during the Civil War who studied the conquest of Mexico and Peru, Prescott comprises 45.16 mi².

Rowers on The Colorado River, Austin, TX


The Colorado River runs through Austin. Austinites live at 489 feet, enjoy water sports, hiking, biking, camping and getting out of town to stargaze.

Hassayampa River, Prescott, AZ

The Hassayampa River feeds Prescott. Prescottonians live at 5368 feet, enjoy water sports, hiking, biking, camping and, with some of the best light pollution reduction policies in the country, need only go a few blocks from city center to stargaze unencumbered.


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The Driskill, Austin, TX

The Driskill, at 604 Brazos remains an Austin landmark, thanks to many renovations. LBJ waited at the Driskill for Presidential election results. The Driskill Grill remains a must-taste old school steakhouse. It won’t surprise you to learn the hotel’s history crosses borders. During a Mexican Civil War, a botched attempt for Emperor Maximilian, aka Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, younger brother of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I, to replace the elected President Benito Juarez, the Emperor’s wife, Carlotta of Mexico, fled to Europe. Ferdinand had commissioned 8 mirrors, now displayed in The Maximilian Room on the mezzanine, adorned with his wife’s image, Carlotta, the most beautiful woman on earth. She never saw the mirrors; he never saw her again.

The Hassayampa Inn, Prescott, AZ

The Hassayampa Inn hosted Barry Goldwater’s campaign after he launched his campaign from the steps of the County Courthouse as the 1964 Republican Nominee for President. The word Hassayampa is a Native American word that means “the river that flows upside down.” Old folklore predicts that anyone who drinks from the river can never again tell the truth. Based on his success, I don’t think Mr. Goldwater ever drank from it.


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6th Street, Austin, TX

6th Street is the historic entertainment district in Austin, Texas, previously named Pecan Street. Austin’s original naming conventions had east–west streets named after trees and north–south streets named after Texas rivers. The diversity of options is widely celebrated. From drinking bars to upscale restaurants to country bars with local music, there’s something for everyone.


Matt’s Saloon on Famous Whiskey Row, Prescott, AZWhiskey Row, as proclaimed on an historic sign on site: “By the early 1870s a full block of saloons, gambling halls and hotels made this the wildest part of town. Some of the saloons brewed their own beer and most drinks sold for 12 ½ ¢ (one bit) each. On July 14, 1900 a disastrous fire swept the row and destroyed four and a half blocks of the business district. The Row rebuilt quickly and still serves as a focal point of Prescott.” At one point, the block hosted 40 saloons! On Friday and Saturday nights, it’s still the wildest part of town. The largest dance floor with line dancing and two-step is at Matt’s Saloon.


University of Texas, Austin, TX

University of Texas – Austin, Hook ‘em Longhorns, founded in 1883 is the flagship of the UT system. They aspired to be “a university of the first class” and succeeded. Now they remind faculty and students “What starts here changes the world.” Home to 51,000 students and 3,000 faculty, they blend tradition and innovation to “provide students with a robust collegiate experience.”

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, founded in 1925, Prescott campus, established in 1978, probably the least known yet one of the most successful aeronautical universities, holds the motto “You know where you’re going, we’ll help you get there.” This makes particular sense because only if you know to look for them could you find them. With only seven highly specialized fields of study covering the “operation, engineering, research, marketing, and management of modern aircraft and the systems that support them” they remain premiere in each field. In the 2017-2018 academic year, the two campuses enrolled nearly 34,000 students. 96% of Embry Riddle students are employed or in graduate school the year following graduation. The class I met reported 99% employment or grad school on the day of graduation. Truly world class determination to succeed.


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Austin Farmer’s Market

The Sustainable Food Center Farmers’ Market held in Republic Square in Downtown Austin every Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

Prescott’s Farmer’s Market

While some Farmer’s Markets are held weekends in the hospital out-patient parking lot across from the YMCA, the larger summer market is held at Yavapai College’s Parking Lot D Saturdays from 7:30am to noon. 1100 E Sheldon Street.


In both Austin and Prescott, Cowboys love this land, their gear and, most importantly love their families.

John, Jackie and Patti at Dry Gulch


Austin slogans include “Live Music Capitol of the World” and “Keep Austin Weird.” Prescott slogans include “Everybody’s Hometown” and “Christmas City”

Little Known Facts:

Austin has the largest urban bat colony in North America, approximately 1.5 million Mexican free tail bats nest under the Congress Avenue bridge whose nightly migration each night draw crowds. Austin is also one of the sunniest cities with an average 300 sunny days annually.

Prescott averages only 277 sunny days. One in 30 people are actively in addiction recovery, the highest in the country. The tallest house in Northern America, Falcon’s Nest, is on the slope of Thumb Butte, Prescott. And there’s a thriving punk scene in addition to the cowboy conglomeration.


Located 5 miles southeast of downtown, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is conveniently located. While Prescott’s Regional Airport, Ernest A. Love Field flies to LA and Denver, daily, the fastest and least expensive way to get between the two cities is to take Southwest Airlines between Austin and Phoenix and drive up the mountain (or take the shuttle). If you like Austin, you’ll feel right at home in Prescott.


Gail Clifford

Gail Clifford, MD, a physician for more than 25 years, has traveled to five continents and all 50 United States. An avid traveler she has enjoyed trips with her parents, her siblings, and her daughter. Travel writer, photographer, coach for other professionals interested in the next step career... she is an avid adventurer.

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