Keep Austin weird. Keep Portland weird. America's two hippest cities have the same slogan (except that one's Portland, Oregon and the other's Austin, Texas) — but which city really is weirder?

1. The slogan

Austin got weird first — its small business association adopted the slogan around 2000, operates and published Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town.

Keep Portland Weird was unashamedly stolen from Austin in 2003 by Terry Currer, "the father of Portland's weird movement, according to The Oregonian newspaper. In both cases the slogan was intended to promote local businesses but has evolved into an all-encompassing motto that promotes individuality, expressionism, local art, as well as atypical lifestyle choices and leisure activities.

2. The facts

In 2014 an Austin blog put together an infographic that compared Austin and Portland in a series of categories to try to decide which city was weirder. Twelve different categories were used, including Most Tattooed US Cities and America's Craziest Cities. Portland came first in nine categories.


3. What's weird, anyway?

In Portland, the Voodoo Doughnut shop, World Naked Bike Ride, Zoobomb cycling events, yarn bombing, the defunct Velveteria Museum of Velvet Paintings (it's moved to LA) and 24 Hour Church of Elvis (permanently closed). In Austin, Willie Nelson.

Colourful graffiti on the side of a building in Austin, depicts popular Texan Willie Nelson. Photo / 123RF
Colourful graffiti on the side of a building in Austin, depicts popular Texan Willie Nelson. Photo / 123RF

4. The food

Unlike much of America, both Austin and Portland have excellent food. Austin wins the taco and BBQ markets — its signature foods. Portland's palate is more varied, especially for vegetarian/gluten-free. Al dente kale. Yum.

5. And the ...

Both places have amazing breweries. Portland got a head start, but Austin produces some very respectable stuff, and they're more willing to venture outside of using just hops. Portland also got a head start on decent coffee, but Austin has now got its act together and you don't need to lower yourself to Starbucks.

6. Nightlife

Read more about the artists and venues at

Austin has great music and bars. Portland has three all-vegan strip clubs. Your choice.