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This post is a collaboration with Lawnstarter. They provided the stats from their Hipster City research and I added the info about each city.
Last month I received a fun email from LawnStarter about one of their studies. It featured the best cities for hipsters and I was immediately intrigued. After an exchange of emails, I received their permission to share the results of their study along with the criteria they used to determine which cities are the best for hipsters.
I’m adding some additional info and a brief overview of each of the top ten hipster cities in the US. Looking for a fun way to explore some of America’s best cities? This is your guide!
What Is a Hipster?
Hipsters are non-conformists, people who enjoy living outside the cultural mainstream. They value progressive, independent thinking, counter-culture, art and indie music and films, creativity, intelligence and witty banter.
Hipsters appreciate eco-friendly everything, thrift stores, vintage clothing and craft beers, among other things.
The term “hipster”, in its present form, first appeared in the 1990s and became prominent in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Although the meaning has shifted, Harlem jazz clubs of the 1940s created the word. The first hipster is recognized as Harry “the Hipster” Gibson, the stage name for a Juilliard trained musician.
LawnStarter compared 150 of the biggest US cities, based on anti-mainstream factors. Those factors were each assigned a number between 1-3. The cities were ranked based on their overall scores, out of 100 possible points.
- Thrift stores per 100,000 residents
- Vintage clothing and consignment shops per 100,000 residents
- Tattoo parlors per 100,000 residents
- Barber shops per 100,000 residents – many male hipsters sport a beard or mustache
- Environmental consciousness – includes sustainability and eco-friendly lifestyle
- Biking friendliness
- Car free living
- Yoga studios per 100,000 residents
- Record stores per 100,000 residents
- Music venues per 100,000 residents
- Antique shops per 100,000 residents
- Local flavor spots per 100,000 residents – local flavor refers to places unique to that city
- Art galleries per 100,000 residents
- Art events per 100,000 residents
Food and Drink
- Locavore friendliness – locavore refers to eating foods sourced from the local region
- Urban garden friendliness – co-op gardening where the whole community benefits
- Vegan and vegetarian restaurants per 100,000 residents
- Farmer’s markets per 100,000 residents
- Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods locations per 100,000 residents
- Coffee roasteries per 100,000 residents
- Craft breweries per 100,000 residents
- Dive bars per 100,000 residents
Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US
And here we go. Based on the criteria above, the top ten hipster cities in the US are…
1. San Francisco, CA
This city is the cultural, commercial and financial center in Northern California.
With a population of 873,965 as of 2020, it is the 4th largest city in the state and the 16th largest in the US.
San Francisco is famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, steep streets, cable cars and Alcatraz.
It ranked high in bike friendliness, local flavor spots and the culture and lifestyle categories.
Fun fact: The gold rush that began in 1848 resulted in many ships left abandoned in the port. The city tore the ships apart and repurposed them for homes, banks and businesses.
2. Portland, OR
Portland sits on the Columbia and Williamette Rivers, in the shadow of snow capped Mount Hood.
With a population of 662,549 as of 2020, it ranks 1st in the state and the 27th largest city in the US.
Portland is famous for green parks, bridges and bicycle paths, eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses.
It ranked high in bike friendliness, vintage clothing, craft beers, vinyl records, vegan and vegetarian foods and specialty coffees.
Fun fact: The city founders couldn’t agree on a name for the community, in 1842. They flipped a coin to determine whether the city name became Boston…or Portland. Visitors can view the Portland Penny at the Oregon Historical Society downtown.
3. Oakland, CA
Oakland sits on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.
With a population of 435,224 as of 2020, Oakland is the 8th largest city in California and the 45th largest in the US.
Oakland is famous for its sports teams, the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors, renewable energy, diversity (one of the top five most diverse cities in the US) and local foods.
It ranked high in the food category, yoga and specialty coffees on the hipster scale.
Fun fact: Lake Merritt in Oakland has a sea monster in it. Sightings began in the 1940s. According to witnesses, the beast is a Loch Ness style creature with humps, spikes and a long tongue. The best place to catch a glimpse of the Oak Ness Monster is from the docks of the Lake Chalet Restaurant.
4. Fort Lauderdale, FL
This city is on Florida’s southeastern coast.
With a population of 182,760 as of 2020, it is the 10th largest city in Florida and the 142nd largest in the US.
Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beaches and boating canals, The Strip…a promenade running along oceanside highway A1A, upscale outdoor restaurants, boutiques and luxury hotels.
It ranked high for urban gardening, vintage clothing and consignment shops, and in the culture and food and drink categories.
Fun fact: Due to its many canals, Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America”. Bonus fact: This city and I share a name. My maiden name is Lauderdale.
5. Jersey City, NJ
Jersey City lies in northeastern New Jersey. Its eastern waterfront faces the Hudson River where it meets Upper New York Bay.
With a population of 292,449 as of 2020, it’s the 2nd largest city in New Jersey and the 87th largest in the US.
Jersey City is famous for Liberty Island National Park that includes Ellis Island Immigration Station, the views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan, being the Diner Capital of the Country with 525 diners, its iconic Colgate Clock and an incredible food and art scene.
The city ranked high for art events and the fashion, culture and lifestyle categories.
Fun fact: In spite of New York having legal jurisdiction over her, the Statue of Liberty is actually in Jersey City.
6. Tempe, AZ
Tempe is located just east of Phoenix. Rising above the city is Hayden Butte, a mountain dotted with centuries old rock art.
With a population of 203,923 as of 2020, Tempe is the 8th largest city in Arizona and the 117th largest in the US.
Tempe is famous for Tempe Town Lake, Tempe Beach Park, one of the longest standing juried arts festivals in the state, and 100+ bohemian shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the downtown area.
Tempe ranked high in the arts and the fashion, food and drink and culture categories.
Fun fact: The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece, a gorge located between Olympus and Ossa.
7. Huntington Beach, CA
Huntington Beach is located southeast of Los Angeles.
With a population of 197,417 as of 2020, it is the 23rd largest city in California and the 127th largest in the US.
It is famous for surf beaches, Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Central Park and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve with its wetlands and dunes that shelter hundreds of bird species.
Huntington Beach ranked high in art events, urban gardening, number of Trader Joe and Whole Foods locations and the fashion category.
Fun fact: Huntington Beach Pier extends 1,850 feet, from Main Street into the Pacific Ocean. Ruby’s Diner sits at the end of the pier. It is an extremely popular restaurant with surfers.
8. Honolulu, HI
Honolulu, on the island of Oahu’s south shore, is the capital of Hawaii and the gateway to the island chain.
With a population of 341,302 as of 2020, Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and the 57th largest in the US.
Honolulu is famous for its iconic crescent shaped Waikiki Beach backed by palm trees and high rise hotels, Diamond Head volcanic crater and Pearl Harbor.
Honolulu ranked high in art events, local flavor spots and the lifestyle and culture categories.
Fun fact: The only royal palace in the US, Iolani Palace is located on Oahu. The palace had electricity before the White House did, and was the first palace in the world to contain flushing toilets.
9. Providence, RI
This capital city of Rhode Island is home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
With a population of 180,609 as of 2020, Providence is the largest city in Rhode Island and the 145th largest in the US.
Providence is famous for its beautiful outdoor spaces, historic spots and the delicious food in its Little Italy area.
Providence ranked high in the food and drink, culture and fashion categories.
Fun fact: Providence has the most coffee and donut shops, per capita, of any city in the country.
10. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is located in southern Louisiana on the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico. Its nickname is the “Big Easy”.
With a population of 388,424 as of 2020, New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana and the 53rd largest in the US.
New Orleans is famous for its round-the-clock nightlife, live music scene, spicy cuisine, Mardi Gras and its blend of French, African and American cultures.
It ranked high in local flavor spots and the cultural and food and drink categories.
Fun fact: Lake Pontchartrain Causeway near New Orleans is the longest continuous bridge in the world, as declared by Guinness World Records. It is 28,543 feet long.
Which Hipster Cities Have You Visited?
So…do you consider yourself a hipster?
I believe I am! The definition certainly fits me, especially this year with my Wild Woman theme. Read my Wild Woman Manifesto.
On this list, I’ve only traveled to New Orleans, twice. It’s one of my favorite US cities to visit with its rich culture, beautiful architecture and fascinating stories.
What fun to go on a big adventure, visiting all ten of these hipster cities. I’m definitely interested!
And speaking of visiting, pop over to see LawnStarter’s study post HERE on hipster cities. They have other fun studies too such as Best Cities for Cat Lovers and Best Cities for Carless Weekend Trips.
LawnStarter is a startup company that makes lawn care easy, affordable and reliable. They have a blog for lawn care…and these fun studies.
Which of these ten hipster cities have you visited? And which one would you most like to explore?
Fun Hipster Books from Amazon:
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14 Replies to “Top Ten Hipster Cities in the US”
I never would have guessed most of these qualified as “hipster,” but sadly I’ve never been able to visit any but San Francisco. Such a fun post!
San Francisco is high on my list!
Although these are all fantastic cities, I wouldn’t have thought of some of them as “hipster” cities! Especially Tempe and Jersey City. Super interesting.
Some surprised me too!
Apparently, I am not as much of a hipster as I thought I was. I haven’t visited any of these cities! Is it possible to be a small town hipster?
I think so!
Interesting take on these cities! So, I guess the vibe is very relaxed and free there. I have been to Honolulu, but I didn’t pick up on the Hipster vibe…too busy at the beaches. I’m sure it is there!
I’d like to visit all ten and check out the vibes!
I have been to 4 of the hipsters cities! That is a fun study!
That’s awesome! I’ve only been to New Orleans.
I’ve been to 7 of these hipster cities in the U.S. would love to explore all of them…great energy!
I’d love to visit all ten too!
I’ve only been to Ft. Lauderdale. I can see why a lot of these made the list! These are all beautiful places to visit.
I’d love to visit all ten cities!