Do you listen to indie rock? Are your politics progressive? And have you ever rocked an ironic mustache or dyed your hair gray — on purpose? As much as you loathe labels, you, my friend, are a hipster. Look, we get it. You’re unique. A true individual. And you should never be lumped into a group of like-minded folk. How is it even possible to determine the best cities for hipsters?
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Well, since you asked …
Finding the best cities for hipsters
It’s difficult to define the undefinable, but we did our best to determine the best cities for hipsters. First, we looked at the percentage of the population between the ages of 20 and 34. Then we crunched some numbers, from a city’s median income to the average rent price for a studio apartment. The bike-a-bility score came into play, along with the density of hipster-friendly businesses. Think: local coffee shops, craft breweries, record stores, organic markets … you get the picture.
So where are the best cities for hipsters? Here are the best cities for hipsters in Arizona and how they rank nationally:
No. 3: Tempe
No. 22: Tucson
No. 32: Flagstaff
No. 41: Chandler
No. 81: Phoenix
No. 85: Mesa
The 10 best cities for hipsters
While there are some surprises in our top 50 (we see you there, Schaumburg, IL), the top 10 features the usual suspects. You’ve got tech hubs, college towns and a few places that really take their coffee seriously. Oh, and a couple of ties (hence our pair of number 6s and 9s).
So load up that vintage suitcase with your vinyl and beard oil (just not together) and set your sights on one of these 10 best cities to live the ultimate hipster lifestyle.
9 (tie). San Francisco, CA
Our first No. 9 should come as no surprise — though with the recent influx of Silicon Valley bros, perhaps San Francisco isn’t as much of a hipster given these days.
From seaside parks that are perfect for puffing those American Spirits to a slew of beloved coffee outposts like Ritual Roasters and Sightglass Coffee, this city has endless hipster-friendly hangouts. You’ll also find a killer indie music scene and more tattoos than you can shake a wrist arrow at.
As hip as this city is, coolness comes at a premium. SF is easily the most expensive city on our top 10 — and ranks up there among the most expensive cities in America. However! If you work at one of the many successful hipster-driven startups in town, you’ll be fine.
While the average rent for a wee studio is a whopping $2,639, the median income here is an incredibly healthy $112,376.
9 (tie). Madison, WI
Madison is a cool Midwestern city — no, that’s not an oxymoron. Home to the University of Wisconsin, which has been showing up on lists of the best party schools for years, Madison also draws more millennials than any other city. So why are the young and hip flocking here? The beard-sporting, PBR-drinking set knows that Madison is a hub for music, art, food and beer.
To make the city even more attractive, the cost of living is lower than the national average. Rent prices for a studio here are among the lowest on our top 10, at around $1,190 per month.
This scenic “green” city also offers ample outdoor activities, festivals and bike paths.
8. Portland, OR
Portland is the city that put hipsters on the map, and “Portlandia” helped cement the city’s claim to fame (much to the dismay of actual Portland hipsters, who definitely don’t love the “h” word). The city not only boasts forests, mountains and nature galore, it’s also an absolute haven for local coffeehouses, divey music venues, craft breweries and the like.
Unfortunately, the secret has been out for quite a while now and Portland has seen a steady influx of transplants led by the hipster set.
The good news? Prices haven’t caught up to some of the more cost-prohibitive Western cities … yet. Expect to pay around $1,358 for a studio apartment in Stumptown.
6 (tie). Ann Arbor, MI
Located on the other side of Lake Michigan from Madison, Ann Arbor has a lot in common with its neighbor to the west. Home to the University of Michigan (another top party school), this college town reaps the benefits of housing nearly 45,000 coeds.
With an impressive number of coffee shops per capita, you’ll also find endless indie rock shows, trendy foodie destinations and more fixies than you can shake a spoke at.
So how much will it cost you to call Ann Arbor home? Studios aren’t exactly cheap here — remember, you’re competing with 45K coeds for a place to live. Budget around $1,536 for your monthly rent.
6 (tie). Washington, DC
The second No. 6 on our list may come as a surprise. D.C. is often characterized as a hotbed for politics and not much else, but it’s also home to a lot of young people — including a slew of hipsters.
Don’t believe us? Belly up to a local watering hole like American Ice Co., order a beer served in a mason jar (try local DC Brau) and then catch a show at the nearby venue like the 9:30 club. Now, report back: Are you not surrounded by hipsters? You’re welcome.
Ready to call the U.S. capital home? Find the best DC neighborhood for you (there’s even a quiz), and start packing your bags. You’ll pay around $1,686 in rent for a studio, but you can probably afford it — the average income here is $85,203.
5. Berkeley, CA
We know what you’re thinking: Is a hippie the same as a hipster? Not exactly, though admittedly there is some overlap. While you’ll still find plenty of tie-dyes, nature marts and protesters in Berkeley, you’ll also find a growing number of handlebar mustaches, cuffed pants and V-necks. Immerse yourself in all of the above here in the home of UC Berkeley — and beyond.
Hipsters flock to Berkeley to soak up all that eclectic culture and proximity to San Francisco Bay.
Remember those “cost-prohibitive” Western cities we referenced in the Portland section? Yeah, this is one of them. While paying $2,250 every month for a studio apartment may sting — it’s not quite as bad as San Francisco, which is around $400 more per month. Silver lining?
How do you feel about quaint houses from the 1800s? Vintage trolleys? Craft beer? Pretty great, right? Well, Fort Collins‘ Old Town historic district has it all — so hipsters have taken notice.
From grungy rock clubs to more than 20 craft breweries, it should come as no surprise that witty banter and counter-culture vibes are taking over this northern Colorado city.
Let me guess, you’re stuck on the 20-plus craft breweries … we don’t blame you. This is, after all, the home of Fat Tire brewer New Belgian Brewing Co.
If you’re ready to set up shop in this cool corner of Colorado, we’ve got some good news: Rent prices are the second-lowest among our top 10. You’ll pay just $1,150 a month for a studio here.
3. Tempe, AZ
Isn’t the desert a little too hot for hipsters? Nope, not according to our data.
Located just east of Phoenix, Tempe attracts a ton of millennials for its unique neighborhoods, eclectic eats, plentiful dive bars and low cost of living. There’s also a strong indie music scene, plus Tempe Town Lake, an ideal place to cool off on a paddleboat or kayak.
If you’re not afraid of the brutal summer sun, this hidden gem has a lot to offer beyond tattoo shops and vintage stores. The low cost of living in Tempe is no joke. At under $1,000 ($993), monthly rent prices for a studio apartment are the lowest on our top 10 list.
Surprised to see the better half of the Twin Cities in the number two spot? Clearly, you didn’t know that Minneapolis is the unofficial hipster capital of the Midwest. Consider yourself schooled.
The City of Lakes is known for its proximity to parks, lakes (duh) and the Mississippi River, but it’s also home to a thriving contemporary art scene. And there are record stores. A LOT of record stores. Not to mention coffee shops, vintage stores and horn-rimmed glasses. Okay, we made that last one up. Plus, Minneapolis was recently named one of the best cities for millennials to live in.
So yes, it gets cold here. Really cold. But now you have a good reason to wear that vintage scarf and wool fedora that’s been collecting dust in the back of your closet. If you don’t mind the occasional May snowfall, budget around $1,236 every month to rent a studio apartment.
1. Seattle, WA
Sorry Portland, Seattle is the country’s best city for hipsters. If you smoke a pipe, rock vintage specs and frequent indie-rock house parties — you’ll feel right at home here. While Portland may have a few more coffee shops and Madison may beat out Seattle on breweries, it simply doesn’t get any more hipster than the Emerald City.
Need more convincing? How about an impressive bike score and a healthy annual salary that puts you just shy of six figures? For a city of this size — and cool factor — rent prices are a relatively reasonable $1,481 per month.