America’s Best Cities for Hipsters

13 November 2013 by


Everyone has an opinion and is entitled to it. You know who really has opinions though? Right! Hipsters.


Photo credit: reddit

You see these people all over the place – mostly biking or walking in skin tight jeans, working on their new art project while trying to keep their long, sweeping bangs out of their face all the while shunning mainstream culture and politics.

What is a hipster though? Can you even define one? Probably not since a definition would be too mainstream for a “real” hipster. Our take on a hipster is a counterculture type hanging out in coffee shops, breweries and listening to indie music.

We compiled a list of 13 features we deem high on the list to becoming a hipster and broke down the 60 largest cities in the United States to find the best cities for hipsters. We researched and analyzed each category in the cities and came up with a list. We ranked each city for prevalence of each factor in relation to the total population. For instance, New York City is going to have hundreds, maybe thousands more live music venues than Austin, TX but only because NYC is much larger per capita. Thus we broke down each number and based it on the number of factors per person. Each category is broken down and explained below. Grab your best (or worst) plaid shirt and a PBR. Let’s get down to business.

The Categories

In order to create a list of the things hipsters like and don’t like, we had to do some serious research and take feedback. Once we thought we had enough information, we created the categories.

We ranked the top 60 U.S. cities based on the frequency of these factors:

  • Young People

  • Tech Savvy

  • Bikeability

  • Live Music Venues

  • Art Museums

  • Vintage Stores

  • Thrift Stores

  • Urban Outfitter Stores

  • Vegetarian Restaurants

  • Breweries

  • Coffee Shops

  • Gyms

  • Chain Restaurants

Those are the categories we used and each is broken down and discussed further. The rankings for each city were tallied and the results are displayed at the end.

Young People – Aged (18-35)

Your typical hipster is in their twenties. That’s not to say there aren’t older hipsters or hipsters in their teens but most are in their twenties, finding themselves and going against the mainstream. Most teenagers are too busy trying to fit in rather than be different and standout. We dug into some numbers and found the cities with the most young people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the cities with the most 18-35 year olds are Austin, San Diego, Denver and Seattle.

The bottom of the list was populated by blue collar cities and tourist destinations. Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Tampa and Cleveland tend to be an older demographic. Thus, these people hate hipsters and their hipster ways. This is just fine because hipsters hate the older demographic as well.

Tech Savvy


Photo credit: reddit

Hipsters tend to be trendsetters, tech savvy and educated. For our list of the most tech savvy cities, we turned to Travel and Leisure. They recently put together a list of tech savvy cities so we didn’t have to. Hey, if we don’t have to do the legwork, good with us. Plus it’s good to give a fellow blogger some solid links.

As we said above, we are using the top 60 most populated cities in the U.S for this list. That means at least 25 cities are not represented since their list only had 35 of our biggest cities. As such, we gave any city not on the Travel and Leisure list the same standard score. Why? Because.


Everyone knows hipsters like to ride bikes, walk or skateboard wherever they go. Some in the mainstream may even think hipsters hate or shun modern forms of transportation. Use gas and oil to get around? Nay, they say. Let’s ride our bikes and skateboard in the middle of streets. But, I digress. had a solid list of the 50 best biking cities in the U.S. so we used that list for bikeability. Hey, why not? They did all the research and they seem to be an authority on the subject. We trust them.


They listed Minneapolis as the best biking city in America followed by Portland, Seattle and San Francisco. I guess if you like hills and workouts San Fran is in there. Hey, that’s how the list goes. Same goes here as with the Tech Savvy category. Any city not represented was given the same standard score. Why? Again… because. So there.

Live Music Venues


Photo credit: reddit

Live music is where it’s at, man. Hipsters love live music, fresh air and the outdoors. If you’ve got live indie rock in your town for the night – boom – you’ve got hipster paradise. Hide yo wife, hide yo kids.

(For the rest of these posts, we went to the authority on finding local places, Yelp.) Nashville outranked San Francisco for the most music venues per capita. Anaheim, Vegas, Oakland and Seattle round out the top 6. If you don’t want to hear live music try El Paso, Fresno or Jacksonville. These cities seem to hate live music more than your grandparents. And get off my lawn!

Art Museums

Many hipsters are Liberal Arts majors in college due to their creativity and ability to think outside the box. It is not uncommon to see many hipsters in the art and music fields once they leave school. We figured, if there are a lot of art museums in the city, there are probably a good number of hipsters.

Nashville came out on top with the most art museums per person followed closely by Washington D.C., San Francisco, Anaheim and St. Louis. Not a fan of art? Try heading south. Jacksonville, Fresno, El Paso, San Antonio and Houston all feel the same way as they have the least amount of art museums per capita.

Vintage Stores

If it’s got the vintage look, hipsters want it. Jeans with holes and tears in them, vinyl records, plaid shirts, Converse shoes which look like they were made in 1970. You name it, if it’s vintage, it’s hipster.

For this category, we looked at vintage stores per capita. You may see a theme here as Nashville came out on top again edging out Anaheim, Portland and Frisco. Oakland, Minneapolis and Seattle round out the top 7 for vintage stores. El Paso, Tulsa, Memphis and Jacksonville think vintage stores shouldn’t exist.

Thrift Stores

thrift store

This is similar to vintage stores but we thought we’d throw this category in there too. Nashville, Anaheim, Portland, Frisco and Oakland are the top 5 cities in the U.S. in thrift stores per capita. Tulsa, Cleveland, Memphis and El Paso have the least amount of thrift stores per capita.

Urban Outfitter Stores

Now, for those who don’t know, Urban Outfitters is a trendy clothing store. The stores typically advertise and cater to hipsters and trendsetters though we’re not 100% this is the case anymore because the store is going a bit mainstream. The “real” hipsters may tend to stray from this store now but it’s on the list anyway.

California cities dominated the top of this list with Oakland, Long Beach, Anaheim, Frisco and San Jose topping the list. Boston, Nashville and Seattle round out the top 8 cities. Texas cities fill the bottom of the list with El Paso, San Antonio and Fort Worth the three least likely to have an Urban Outfitters store.

Vegetarian Restaurants

Eating meat isn’t always popular with the hipster culture. In fact, many hipsters are vegetarian or vegan, even going so far as to grow their own food. Should you wander into a natural or whole foods market, you will be overwhelmed by hipsters.

Surprisingly Nashville took the top spot again, followed by Anaheim, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Portland and Orlando. Should you decide to eat some meat, head down South to Texas or Jacksonville, FL as those cities are the least likely to have vegetarian restaurants.



Hipsters love the cheap beers – PBR, Budweiser and the like – but they also fancy themselves as beer aficionados. Craft beers and breweries are right up their alley. There was a recent article in the LA Times stating much of the same. If there is a brewery around, hipsters are working there and hipsters are drinking there. It’s the hipster hangout. So where are the most hipster breweries?

Again, Nashville is tops followed by Portland, Seattle, Anaheim, Boston, Denver, San Fran and St. Louis. Don’t care for craft beers or hipsters? El Paso, Tulsa, Fort Worth and Oklahoma City are your places.

Coffee Shops

Along with craft beers, hipsters love their coffee shops. Similar to Starbucks but without all the mainstream. Small, local coffee shop on the corner? Hipster heaven. Go in and see them sipping their lattes, punching away on their keyboards and judging everyone. Don’t want to be judged while you drink your morning cup of joe? We recommend staying from places in Anaheim, Nashville, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland and Minneapolis.



Although many hipsters are in shape and have very little body fat, they rarely go to gyms. Most hipsters tend to look similar with men and women looking slender. Male hipsters stray from gyms as to avoid looking mainstream and too masculine compared to their female counterparts. For this list, we looked at the cities with the least amount of gyms per capita.

Surprisingly, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Tucson, Columbus and Kansas City have the least amount of gyms per capita. Nashville, Anaheim, San Antonio, Orlando, Miami and Atlanta have the most gyms.

Chain Restaurants

Since many hipsters are vegetarian or vegan and tend to not eat meat while shopping extra healthy, we thought the presence of chain restaurants would be a huge turn off for hipsters. Nothing says “not hipster” more than eating processed meats and cheeses from a greasy grill. Home-made french fries, maybe, but not from an over hyped, mainstream chain restaurant.

Which cities are least likely to have chain restaurants? Columbus, Tucson, Chicago, Virginia Beach and Charlotte tend to have the most local spots while Anaheim, Nashville, Orlando and Atlanta have more chain joints.

Most Likely Hipster Cities


We found the top hipster cities in the U.S. to be:

  1. Portland

  2. Seattle

  3. San Francisco

  4. Denver

  5. Boston

  6. Nashville

  7. Anaheim

  8. Minneapolis

  9. Washington DC

  10. Oakland

  11. Atlanta

  12. Austin

  13. San Diego

  14. Kansas City

  15. Los Angeles

Take Away

This is obviously the most scientific study ever done on hipsters and their culture. So there you have it, the most hipster cities in the U.S. Is it shocking to anyone that Portland, Seattle and San Francisco top the list? I mean, San Francisco basically started the hipster culture back in the 60’s, Seattle has been hipster for a while now and Portland has a TV show, Portlandia, based on its hipster ways.


Photo credit: reddit

As noted, hipsters are trend setters and stray from the mainstream. They like to show off their uniqueness and creativity. The hipster impact on the self storage industry is likely minimal. Anything worth owning for hipsters is most likely in their possession at home. Why would they keep something sooo cool locked up in a storage unit others won’t be able to see? On top of that, the self storage industry is trending mainstream now with over 50,000 storage facilities in the U.S. alone. Heck, there are even several storage reality TV shows with a legion of followers. Self storage seems too popular for a hipster. Although, we can see some hipsters having signed Elvis Costello memorabilia, unopened cans of PBR from the 80’s, Dapper Dan hair product or snake oil stored safely.

Our research indicated El Paso, Jacksonville, Memphis and Tulsa were the least hipster in the country. Not surprising since these cities are in the South, more likely to contain BBQ and raw meat and have the least amount of the young people demographic.

Think our findings are wrong? Have more input? Would you add or remove a city from the list? Let us hear it in the comments!


SSF Team

SSF Team

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