Lifestyle, Reviews
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Matching up cities of the US to Australian cities

Whilst exploring the States, I often couldn’t help but compare certain places to parts of Australia. Of course every destination is unique, but I liked to observe similarities and thought it would be fun to share my thoughts on what parts of Australia are most similar to those in America.

New York – Sydney

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They’ve got the famous landmarks next to the water (Statue of Liberty – Sydney Opera House), the famous bridges (Brooklyn Bridge – Harbor Bridge) and have a big city, tourist feel. Both very modern and contemporary, they ooze effortless cool and are both great places for young people!

San Fransisco – Melbourne

The artsy cities of the two countries. Melbourne is filled with quirky cafes, unique shops, graffiti art and alternative people and I found San Fran to be very similar. They both have large China Towns and are both famous for their trolleys/trams.

Miami – Gold Coast

Fabulous beaches, an amazing club scene and year round warm weather makes these two perfect holiday destinations. The Gold Coast also hosts Australia’s 5 major theme parks and Florida is known for their theme parks too.

Boston – Brisbane

Even though Boston is a lot older than Brisbane, I noticed a lot was similar. A mix of old and new architecture was obvious in both, with modern buildings but beautiful old churches. They are both also fairly small cities and known as the ‘walking’ cities.

Washington D.C – Canberra

Ok so you probably saw this one coming. The two capital cities are both very similar. The US has the White House, Australia has the Parliament House and both have an abundance of famous monuments, galleries and museums. Surprisingly, Canberra can also be known as a party town filled with young students as there is no alcohol tax in the countries capital state. Washington also has a cool neighbourhood in Georgetown known for similar things.

HAWAIIAN Islands – Whitsunday Islands

White sand beaches, turquoise waters and beautiful island chains. Paradise comes in two different forms.

New Orleans – Darwin

More so for the natural aspects than the city as a whole. New Orleans in Louisiana has swamps and alligators, Darwin in the Northern Territory has bushland and crocodiles.

San Diego – Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a small town known for being very laid back. The chilled out surfing town is dominated by free, nature loving people (hippies if you will). San Diego was like that but in a city version. Relaxed, filled with young people and with many beautiful beaches they are each on my list of favourite places in the world.

The Grand Canyon – The Kimberley’s

Both beautiful natural wonders carved out of vibrant red rock. Whilst one is definitely more famous, I think the other is just as amazing.

Santa Cruz – Geelong

On the water, beautiful beaches and amusement for all ages. Santa Cruz along the Californian coast is a popular stop along the Highway One road trip trail and Geelong is right near the famous Great Ocean Road. Both have carnival like foreshores with family friendly activities and are close to major cities (Melbourne and San Francisco, which just so happened to match up too).

I could name a million and one things that are different about Australia and the US, but that was my take on some similarities in certain places. I didn’t include places I have never been in either of the countries, so I’d love to know if anyone thinks of any other ones that could be added to this.

Happy Travels!


  1. Joe Vogo says

    In terms of population, tourism, landmarks and economic significance, Sydney is the one Aussie city that can be closely compared to New York. However I would say Melbourne and New York have their striking similarities, both cities are grid cities, both claim to be the arts and cultural capital of their respective countries. I can’t help but be reminded of Carlton or Fitzroy whenever I am going for a night out in the Lower East Side. Soho for some reason always reminds of the busy lane ways in Melbourne (Similar historic architecture) and Collins Street, as well as the fashion conscious attitudes of suburbs like South Yarra and Toorak. Melbourne also had a surge of art deco architecture in the 1930’s. With Melbourne’s population and financial performance set to overtake Sydney in the coming decade, I feel Melbourne will be a stronger comparison to New York City.

    • I do agree with you on that Joe! Melbourne definitely has a lot of similarities to New York City as well. It was a hard one to call. I did have a lot of flashbacks to Fitzroy while wandering around Williamsburg in Brooklyn as well. Love your input, if I do a remake of this post I may just change it around 🙂

  2. Bryce says

    Interesting comparisons.

    I’ve been to all the major cities in Australia and traveled through LA, San Francisco, Chicago, NY, and Boston.

    I’d actually say that Melbourne is possibly more similar to Chicago than San Francisco – I think maybe culturally it’s closer to San Francisco in terms of arts and being a bit more left-leaning politically, however Melbourne has a larger skyline than San Francisco which is beginning more and more to look like that of Chicago (albeit being about 200m shorter still – though that may change in the next 20 years too). Chicago and Melbourne also share the same passion for sport, which I don’t believe is as big in San Francisco.

    Though I haven’t been to Dallas, I wonder if Dallas is more Brisbane’s match (albeit the population difference – Brisbane 2.3 million vs Dallas 6 million in their respective metro areas). I think Brisbane and Queensland in general shares the political conservatism of Dallas and Texas. Brisbane is also considered a New World City in terms of becoming one of the major midsize metro cities in the world that punch above their weight in terms of economy and global influence. Admittedly Dallas’ economy is larger but they both strike me as boom cities that have really taken off in the last few decades.

    Perth wasn’t mentioned in this review, which was a shame as it’s one of the most important cities in Australia and also one of the nicest. Perth reminds me of a smaller, less polluted and less crazy version of LA. Their difference in size is significant (2.1 million in Perth vs 13+ million in LA). However, they are both metro cities with huge sprawling metro areas along the coast, nice Mediterranean dry summers, moderate winters, heaps of sun and great beaches.

    Adelaide is another great and relatively important city in Australia that didn’t get a mention. I think there are some parallels between Adelaide and Austin, Texas. Both are small to medium-sized metro cities (Adelaide at 1.3 million vs Austin’s 2 million). Both cities are state capitals, both have very well planned CBDs (downtowns), both have high tec industries/investment and both have strong arty scenes.


  3. Bryce says

    Just another thought – Brisbane has a larger skyline than Boston, due to Boston’s airport height restrictions, but Boston has a much larger metro area of around 4.3 million. Boston also is very different culturally – arguably closer to Melbourne – left-leaning/unionist, highest performing universities (think Melbourne Uni and Monash in Melbourne and Harvard and MIT in Boston). Also, both Melbourne and Boston both have a plethora of old heritage buildings, thanks to their British migrants, whereas Brisbane has less and feels much more modern.

    But thanks for the article – was a great question to explore.

  4. Melbourne = Boston: culture
    Sydney = San Francisco: economy
    Adelaide = Philadelphia: city surrounded by parkland
    Perth = San Diego: lifestyle
    Brisbane = Atlanta: subtropical business hub
    Gold coast = Miami: beaches, tourism, and high rises
    Darwin = New Orleans: crocs and gators in swamps and rivers
    Cairns = Honolulu: Beach, mountains, laidback
    Newcastle = Pittsburgh: Steel industry
    Canberra = Washington: Capitals
    Hobart = Seattle: rainy
    Geelong = Detroit: motor industry
    Wollongong = St. Louis: industrial city
    Townsville = Jacksonville: capitals of sorts, business industry
    Sunshine Coast = Tampa Bay: Less touristy but pretty
    Launceston = Portland NQR

  5. Instant Hotel on Netflix brought me here – HaHa, Great Show!! Being an American wanting to travel to Australia some day, I couldn’t help but wonder what the city-to-city comparisons might be. Thanks for posting this and looking forward to an update some day!

    • Oh did it? Wow! That is so interesting. I wrote this some time ago so I definitely think it is due an update. Thanks for reading, I hope you get to visit for yourself one day 🙂 Thanks, Caitlyn.

  6. I always thought that San Francisco is a bit like a big version of Hobart. Both are hilly port cities, and though SF is a lot bigger, it somehow doesn’t feel like it. SF and Hobart also have nearly identical climates. SF is a bit wetter, that’s about it.

    • That is a very interesting comparison I love it! I haven’t been to Hobart, but will definitely link the similarities when I get to visit next!

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