The Best Cities for Hipsters in America

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?

Well, since you asked …

Finding the best cities for hipsters

It’s difficult to define the undefinable, but we did our best. 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? On a map, these spots trend toward the edges of the country with a few surprises sprinkled into the mix. Geographically, it looks a little something like this:

Best Cites for Hipsters

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The top 10 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*. San Francisco, CA

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*tied

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.

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9*. Madison, WI

madison wisconsin

*tied

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.

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8. Portland, OR

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.

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6*. Ann Arbor, MI

ann arbor mi

*tied

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.

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6*. Washington, DC

washington dc

*tied

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.

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5. Berkeley, CA

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?

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4. Fort Collins, CO

Fort Collins, CO.

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.

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3. Tempe, AZ

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.

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2. Minneapolis, MN

minneapolis

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.

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1. Seattle, WA

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.

Oh, and when you’re scoping out the best neighborhoods in Seattle, don’t miss the hipster havens in uber-cool Capitol Hill.

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The 50 best cities for hipsters

Looking to cast a wider net? Or perhaps you’re plotting a year of #VanLife so you can soak up the hipster vibe from coast to coast. Here are the 50 best cities for hipsters across the country.

Rank City Population Income Rank Studio Apartment Price Rank Local Business Rank Population (20-34) Rank Bikeability Rank
1 Seattle, WA 753,675 16 72 10 17 16
2 Minneapolis, MN 429,606 58 54 2 13 5
3 Tempe, AZ 195,805 66 33 34 3 8
4 Fort Collins, CO 170,243 53 44 41 10 6
5 Berkeley, CA 121,363 29 114 4 7 3
6 Washington, DC 705,749 25 83 19 15 20
6 Ann Arbor, MI 119,980 50 75 11 2 24
8 Portland, OR 654,741 39 66 7 47 4
9 Madison, WI 259,680 57 49 48 5 16
9 San Francisco, CA 881,549 11 123 1 27 13
11 Lawrence, KS 98,193 95 2 45 4 37
12 Eugene, OR 172,622 87 58 8 31 6
13 Denver, CO 727,211 48 94 15 28 12
14 Austin, TX 978,908 43 51 59 20 26
15 Boston, MA 692,600 42 124 20 6 13
16 Santa Clara, CA 130,365 7 125 42 32 16
17 Pittsburgh, PA 300,286 100 50 5 11 59
18 Salt Lake City, UT 200,567 63 69 63 14 22
19 Chicago, IL 2,693,976 73 90 23 37 9
20 Sunnyvale, CA 152,703 2 88 85 48 11
21 Jersey City, NJ 262,075 41 113 23 22 36
22 Tucson, AZ 548,073 105 11 55 43 23
23 Gainesville, FL 133,997 115 24 70 1 33
23 Redmond, WA 71,929 4 105 57 34 43
25 Schaumburg, IL 72,887 27 41 49 101 28
26 Richmond, VA 230,436 98 39 23 19 72
27 Lincoln, NE 289,102 77 19 77 40 41
28 Oakland, CA 433,031 34 120 28 55 20
29 Rochester, NY 205,695 120 36 9 30 68
30 Columbus, OH 898,553 86 45 65 26 43
31 Reno, NV 255,601 74 15 57 65 55
32 Flagstaff, AZ 75,038 69 62 89 8 43
32 Milwaukee, WI 590,157 109 47 36 51 28
34 Burbank, CA 102,511 36 100 29 70 37
34 Atlanta, GA 506,811 54 80 22 18 98
36 Orange, CA 138,669 19 111 18 77 49
37 Philadelphia, PA 1,584,064 103 89 26 44 15
38 Sacramento, CA 513,624 56 103 38 57 24
38 Baltimore, MD 593,490 94 64 27 45 48
38 Orlando, FL 287,442 91 71 6 29 81
41 Chandler, AZ 261,165 24 26 61 112 59
41 Providence, RI 179,883 108 107 16 23 28
43 Springfield, MO 167,882 122 4 72 21 64
44 New Haven, CT 130,250 110 91 59 16 9
44 Albuquerque, NM 560,513 93 13 51 95 33
46 Fargo, ND 124,662 90 12 91 12 81
46 Hartford, CT 122,105 124 38 36 39 49
48 San Diego, CA 1,423,851 31 106 40 35 75
48 Cincinnati, OH 303,940 107 6 21 36 117
50 Tampa, FL 399,700 79 28 30 80 72

The 10 worst cities for hipsters

What, you don’t drink PBR or ferment your own kombucha? OK, fine.

If the counter-culture makes you cringe, set your sights on the 10 worst cities for hipsters. We can almost guarantee you can go an entire week without spotting a newsboy cap or lumberjack beard in these ten hipster-free cities.

Rank City Population Income Rank Studio Apartment Price Rank Local Business Rank Population (20-34) Rank Bikeability Rank
1 Yonkers, NY 200,370 65 108 50 115 121
2 Mobile, AL 188,720 114 17 110 91 119
3 Memphis, TN 651,073 118 35 119 78 90
4 Jacksonville, FL 911,507 81 53 122 84 95
5 Little Rock, AR 197,312 99 8 100 99 123
6 Blaine, MN 65,607 26 52 125 119 103
7 Brooklyn Park, MN 80,389 46 60 117 107 90
8 Chattanooga, TN 182,799 101 22 108 85 103
9 Fort Worth, TX 909,585 70 46 116 83 103
10 Carson, CA 91,394 23 119 92 103 79

Methodology

To find the best cities for hipsters, we looked at cities with at least 50,000 people according to 2019 U.S. Census population estimates and ranked them on the following factors:

  • Earnings Potential: Median household income numbers according to the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Housing Affordability: The average cost of a studio apartment based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory as of April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
  • Prevalence of Local Businesses: The total number of local businesses per square mile. Businesses include coffee shops, breweries, music stores, vintage clothing and thrift shops, tattoo parlors, barbershops, organic food markets and farmers’ markets.
  • Percentage of Population Between 20 and 34 Years Old: Population breakdown from the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Bikeability: Bike Score for each city

We ranked each city according to these five categories and assigned a score for each one. We then added the scores for each city to come up with a final ranking. Our methodology allows for ties.

We excluded cities with insufficient data or rental property inventory.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Source: rent.com