2021’s Best Cities for Hipsters

tattooed hipster man with fedora and sunglasses

Brooklyn might be the epicenter of American hipster culture, but where else can the nonconformist crowd indulge its affinity for vintage apparel, vinyl records, banjos, and beards?

LawnStarter ranked 2021’s Best Cities for Hipsters by comparing the 150 biggest U.S. cities based on 23 anti-mainstream factors — from access to thrift stores, farmers markets, and record stores to urban gardening- and biking-friendliness.

Check out our ranking below, followed by some highlights and lowlights.

Table of Contents

City Rankings 

See how each city fared in our ranking:

OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScoreFashion RankLifestyle RankCulture RankFood and Drink Rank
1San Francisco, CA63.6430126
2Portland, OR62.8816371
3Oakland, CA61.2217293
4Fort Lauderdale, FL59.86110732
5Jersey City, NJ59.3451788
6Tempe, AZ55.51327485
7Huntington Beach, CA55.23430324
8Honolulu, HI54.8188613
9Providence, RI53.93916520
10New Orleans, LA533163111
11Santa Rosa, CA51.942112567
12Washington, DC50.688051016
13Salt Lake City, UT50.62871718
14Glendale, CA49.832741310
15Richmond, VA48.0119391414
16Seattle, WA47.397961125
17Ontario, CA46.4215372322
18Boston, MA45.878141535
19Long Beach, CA45.7325332023
20Cincinnati, OH45.634269415
21Sacramento, CA45.3848153421
22Anaheim, CA44.78723117
23Irvine, CA42.6253257719
24Atlanta, GA42.3350582512
25Rochester, NY42.1134142257
26Pittsburgh, PA42.0445261638
27Orlando, FL41.734366339
28Santa Ana, CA41.1423353637
29Salem, OR40.9222286043
30Spokane, WA40.4311542151
31Vancouver, WA40.04272912730
32Baltimore, MD39.8237323039
33Minneapolis, MN39.545693767
34St. Petersburg, FL39.112734433
35Grand Rapids, MI38.9432403541
36Fremont, CA38.8982210526
37Denver, CO38.6378132962
38Tampa, FL38.2354468724
39Miami, FL38.1873365229
40Tacoma, WA37.827773856
41Newark, NJ37.5210414975
42Yonkers, NY37.386574083
43Tucson, AZ36.1146454649
44Riverside, CA35.9663348540
45Worcester, MA35.2755475045
46Rancho Cucamonga, CA35.2660595134
47Boise, ID34.7741314184
48Buffalo, NY34.73852118108
49Madison, WI34.3268194398
50Modesto, CA34.1335606153
51Oxnard, CA34.0977508436
52Scottsdale, AZ34336714032
53St. Louis, MO33.78105617228
54San Diego, CA32.971292011261
55Las Vegas, NV32.1436712685
56Reno, NV31.9729921976
57Glendale, AZ31.87139413052
58St. Paul, MN31.691001154117
59San Jose, CA31.421251810386
60Durham, NC31.389706250
61Knoxville, TN30.8724889158
62Lexington, KY30.57703824120
63Oceanside, CA30.3587766348
64Austin, TX30.29108485774
65Philadelphia, PA30.141232459109
66Nashville, TN29.97116443989
67New York, NY29.6714210111104
67Elk Grove, CA29.6794528870
69Hialeah, FL29.55141248642
70Chula Vista, CA29.06917811047
70San Bernardino, CA29.0675647873
72Santa Clarita, CA29.03971184227
73Birmingham, AL28.85831272831
74Tallahassee, FL28.56201217354
75Fontana, CA28.3138839372
76Norfolk, VA27.4140937078
77Greensboro, NC27.3364897568
78Albuquerque, NM27.07655647122
79Winston-Salem, NC26.73691195544
80Bakersfield, CA26.15110829964
81Los Angeles, CA25.9413042104103
82Akron, OH25.78441036480
83Des Moines, IA25.73626868116
84Chicago, IL25.521382383135
85Stockton, CA25.3596859481
86Cleveland, OH25.26112756991
87Kansas City, MO24.48471172794
88Chattanooga, TN24.47581434555
88Lincoln, NE24.47905358131
90Fresno, CA24.388810110865
91Milwaukee, WI24.291185566119
92Mesa, AZ24.1611751150102
93Raleigh, NC23.14121909287
94Chandler, AZ23.138610812266
95Baton Rouge, LA231031417146
96Moreno Valley, CA22.99101869799
97Aurora, IL22.67741008997
98Gilbert, AZ22.6410611313460
98Huntsville, AL22.64661316771
100Louisville, KY22.51334965137
101Virginia Beach, VA22.41269810779
102Indianapolis, IN22.2114610512114
103Charlotte, NC22.212879100107
104Phoenix, AZ22.0414962132100
105Peoria, AZ21.592613413888
106Omaha, NE21.3112743123142
107Newport News, VA21.0412411012969
108Cape Coral, FL20.793914414663
109Augusta, GA20.375713010290
110Columbus, OH20.241396581134
111Grand Prairie, TX19.865114511977
112Irving, TX19.755912212496
113Aurora, CO19.639380141132
114Port St. Lucie, FL19.538412514482
114Mobile, AL19.537614810159
116Henderson, NV19.3213687136113
117Frisco, TX19.13611399592
118Plano, TX18.84102104137115
119Colorado Springs, CO18.439981135144
120McKinney, TX18.171091387493
121Fayetteville, NC18.1172109131125
122Garland, TX17.5652114125129
123Houston, TX17.4914496113121
124Fort Wayne, IN17.439211290128
125Brownsville, TX17.3582123145106
126Little Rock, AR17.2810713698101
127Overland Park, KS17.2649140133111
128Lubbock, TX17.14959980145
129Shreveport, LA17.02671505395
130North Las Vegas, NV16.97115106149118
130Detroit, MI16.971359582140
132Arlington, TX16.77104116115124
133San Antonio, TX16.1414584120141
134Tulsa, OK15.38111111118136
135Chesapeake, VA15.27120137143105
136Toledo, OH15.1414097116143
137Dallas, TX14.95141115126123
138Oklahoma City, OK14.8512212679126
139Sioux Falls, SD14.727114276138
140Jacksonville, FL14.26150128128110
141Anchorage, AK14.0913191114149
142Fort Worth, TX13.04134129106130
143Corpus Christi, TX12.88119133121133
144Montgomery, AL12.61113149109112
145Columbus, GA11.71143132142127
146El Paso, TX11.65147102139147
147Laredo, TX11.16114120147148
148Memphis, TN9.414814796139
149Wichita, KS9.2132146117146
150Amarillo, TX7.4137135148150
2021's Most Hipster Cities infographic

Highlights and Lowlights

San Francisco: The New Hipster Capital?

Step aside, Brooklyn. San Francisco is our No. 1 Best City for Hipsters and for good reason: The city known as “Baghdad by the Bay” (because of its rich cultural diversity) appropriately snags position No. 2 in Culture and the top spot in Lifestyle. It also boasts the highest number of uniquely San Francisco quirks (“local flavor” amenities).

Unfortunately, the city’s hipster fashion sense is slightly mediocre (No. 30) due to its poor performance in thrift-store access (No. 104). Clearly, most San Franciscans prefer new and shiny over shabby and chic. 

Where the 415 really sparkles: sustainability — the city ranks No. 1 in eco-consciousness, biking-friendliness, and car-free living. If you’re a hipster with a soft spot for the environment, San Francisco deserves to be on your short list. 

Keeping Portland Weird

If you’ve ever visited Portland, Oregon — or watched an episode of “Portlandia” — then it’s no surprise that Stumptown comes in at No. 2. 

Long regarded as a hipster hub, the city where you’ll find the dream of the ’90s very much alive offers everything a hipster needs to exist: easy access to vintage clothes and vinyl records (No. 4 in both metrics), vegan and vegetarian food (No. 2), specialty coffee (No. 3), and craft beer (No. 1). 

Prefer to get around on a unicycle? Move to Portland, No. 2 for both biking-friendliness and car-free living. And if the city’s tattoo parlors run out of ink, cycle on over to Salem (No. 14 for tattoo-parlor access) — Google says you can get there in just over 5 hours, but you’ll need at least two wheels.

It’s Not Hipper in Texas

If you prefer to stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to, head on over to Texas. 

Five of our bottom 10 cities hail from the Lone Star State, including Fort Worth at No. 142 (sorry, Funkytown), Corpus Christi at No. 143, El Paso at No. 146, Laredo at No. 147, and Amarillo finishing dead last. Overall, the state fared the worst in our ranking.

In fact, nearly all Texas cities in our ranking landed in the bottom third. Austin, once popular among hipsters but now a yuppie and tech hotbed, is tops among Texas cities at No. 64. East Sixth remains the last hipster stronghold in the city, but plans to restore Austin as “hipsturbia” are in the works, so hold your breath, yuppies. 

Bottom line: You’re still likely to find far more cowboy hats than fedoras in Texas, and vintage clothing more often means well-worn jeans here.

Surprising Findings 

California Counter-Culture

Besides San Francisco, two other Golden State cities climb to the top 10: Oakland, a Bay Area suburb, finishes third, while Huntington Beach, part of the Los Angeles metro, ranks seventh.

Both are especially ideal for a hipster diet: In the Food and Drink category, Oakland is third, and Huntington Beach is fourth, the latter boasting the highest number of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods locations per 100,000 residents in the country. 

Need to work on your flexibility? Oakland is No. 1 for yoga-studio access. It’s also No. 1 for specialty coffee so you can load up on the caffeine before or after your morning stretches. 

Overall, California deserves Lena Dunham’s approval, as seven additional cities rank in the top 25. San Diego (No. 54) and Los Angeles (No. 81), however, border on mainstream living.

Hipster No More?

Where did other iconic hipster cities land? Seattle sits comfortably at No. 16, Denver at No. 37, Austin at No. 64, and New York at No. 67. Chicago sadly slips to the lower half at No. 84.

That’s not to say these famously hipster cores have lost their bohemian charm. Hipsters usually tend to cluster in neighborhoods rather than spread out throughout a metro. 

In Seattle, for instance, Capitol Hill is home base, while in Chicago hipsters gravitate toward Wicker Park. In New York, of course, the Williamsburg neighborhood (in the Brooklyn borough) has become synonymous with hipsterism.

Our ranking focuses on the entire city, not just a few blocks. You may need to zoom in on the map to find flannel and vinyl.

Methodology

We ranked the 150 biggest U.S. cities from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 150) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Fashion
Thrift Stores per 100,000 Residents3060.51Max. Value
Vintage-Clothing and Consignment Shops per 100,000 Residents3014.99Max. Value
Tattoo Parlors per 100,000 Residents20.426.65Max. Value
Barber Shops per 100,000 Residents12.8547.52Max. Value
Lifestyle
Environmental Consciousness31198Min. Value
Biking-Friendliness31200Min. Value
Car-Free-Friendliness31150Min. Value
Yoga Studios per 100,000 Residents10.540.7Max. Value
Culture
Record Stores per 100,000 Residents103.53Max. Value
Music Venues per 100,000 Residents1015.1Max. Value
Antique Shops per 100,000 Residents1028.87Max. Value
"Local Flavor" Spots per 100,000 Residents3027.32Max. Value
Art Galleries per 100,000 Residents1061.66Max. Value
Art Events per 100,000 Residents10.34725.12Max. Value
Food and Drink
Locavore-Friendliness31150Min. Value
Urban Gardening-Friendliness31150Min. Value
Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants per 100,000 Residents2014.13Max. Value
Farmers Markets per 100,000 Residents2018.34Max. Value
Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Locations per 100,000 Residents202.5Max. Value
Coffee Roasteries per 100,000 Residents206.35Max. Value
Craft Breweries per 100,000 Residents208.21Max. Value
Dive Bars per 100,000 Residents2015.35Max. Value

Sources: BreweryDB, Eventbrite, LawnStarter, TheThriftShopper.Com, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Yelp

Main Photo Credit: giorgiomtb / www.shutterstock.com

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