Most cities tend to feature some sort of cultural life, whether it’s a certain style of cuisine, unique history or a vibrant music scene. But some cities stand out as melting pots of alternative lifestyles, food trends, edgy design and cool behaviours that seem to be ahead of the curve of the rest of the world. Although it may be difficult to define just what, exactly, a hipster is, certain cities manage to convey a distinctly “hipster” flavour because they promote the arts and music, welcome residents who want to pursue more environmentally-conscious or alternative lifestyles, or attract people simply because they want to be a part of the larger hipster movement. These hipster cities can be found not just in the United States, but also all over the world.
15. Vancouver, Canada
Although Vancouver may seem like a businesslike city, it also hosts several hipster enclaves like Gastown, which is home to artists, independent shops and start-ups, as well as trendy restaurants and bars. Another of the city’s hipster hotspots is South Main, which features a lot of independent coffee shops.
14. Melbourne, Australia
The neighbourhood of Fitzroy in the Australian city of Melbourne is home to a vibrant hipster culture. The local Fringe Festival is an organization that promotes local independent artists. The area also has ample gardens and parks and avant-garde fashion shops. As far as food is concerned, the area is home to many very trendy cafes that have organic, vegan and gluten free options, and the all-important perfect cup of coffee can be found in one of its trendy cafes.
13. New Orleans, Louisiana
This legendary and historic Southern city is one of the newer hipster enclaves. New Orleans has for many years featured a vibrant art and fashion scene. Of course, its music scene has also always been well-recognized – it’s the birthplace of jazz – but more recently, it has been tailored to the hipster culture by attracting indie and folk musicians. NOLA also offers unique and trendy cuisine at one of its many popular restaurants and cafes and drinks are plentiful at the city’s cool cocktail bars.
12. Stockholm, Sweden
Sweden is known for its hip music scene as well as its cutting-edge fashion and interior design. The neighbourhood of Sodermalm in Stolkholm (“SoFo”) is the centre of a lot of the country’s up-and-coming art and design. There are vintage boutiques alongside shops that carry cool modern Scandinavian fashions made by independent designers. Beyond fashion and interiors, the neighbourhood also has a lot of vibrant cafes featuring the latest food trends.
11. Montreal, Canada
Montreal’s relatively low cost of living compared to other Canadian and East Coast cities, combined with trendy apartments in picturesque old buildings and a unique art and fashion scene, have helped it become a hipster hotspot. Lots of markets in the summer and eclectic cuisine from all over the world ensure its place in the hearts of foodies. The city has many trendy bars, restaurants and coffee and tea shops, as well as venues that promote indie music.
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The up and coming Amsterdam Noord district in this densely populated Dutch city is filled with old industrial warehouses and shipyards that have been repurposed into offices and art studios for trendy start-ups and artists. Of course, Amsterdam is home to a vibrant arts and music scene with lots of trendy restaurants, music festivals and a huge flea market. The city also has very popular beer bars and locals and visitors can easily get around the city on foot or bike.
9. Austin, Texas
Austin features more historic architecture than other modern Texan cities like Dallas and Houston, making it a picturesque setting for artsy types. And its hipster reputation hasn’t exactly been hurt by the fact that Austin hosts the music festival South by Southwest, which has effectively made it a more hipster destination in recent years. Austin also features plenty of unique bars and restaurants as well as lots of popular food trucks.
8. Barcelona, Spain
Spain’s second largest city is well-known for its art. Locals travel by bike throughout the city, and many parks and streets provide pleasant strolls for locals and tourists alike. Beyond Gaudi’s famous architecture, Barcelona’s art scene has been attracting artsy types for decades and continues to appeal to local artists who set up their studios in the city. The city’s fashion scene and trendy cafes help round out Barcelona’s hip offerings.
7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
In recent years, Buenos Aires has been attracting the hip from all over the world to its trendy (and affordable) neighbourhoods, especially Palermo, which is filled with beautiful old homes and apartments that have been expertly restored and can be rented or purchased for reasonably low prices. Palermo is home to endless cool cafes, small corner grocery stores, and many independent artists and fashion and jewelry designers who set up trendy shops, co-ops and stalls in the neighbourhood’s weekly outdoor arts and fashion market. The area also is home to tons of bookstores and eclectic street art.
6. San Francisco, California
It should come as no surprise that San Francisco, the longstanding capital of hippie culture, is also a hipster-friendly city. The city’s interest in being green and its large offering of restaurants that feature trendy foods and photo-perfect farmer’s markets help attract the environmental and health-conscious. Its legendary music scene also attracts many indie musicians.
5. Seattle, Washington
Traditionally known as being home to “grunge” movements and one of the centers of the tech geek world, Seattle has also evolved to include hipsters. It is, after all, a hotspot for coffee culture, bookstores, record shops and fresh seafood and produce. There are also plenty of breweries and trendy bars and restaurants.
4. London, England
London has food stalls, bookstores, art galleries and theatres galore. The Bankside neighbourhood, with its many parks and green spaces, is an especially popular spot for hipster culture. East London’s Shoreditch neighbourhood is another hipster enclave that is home to a lot of creative designers and media gurus. This neighbourhood is where trendy bars, cool boutique hotels, warehouse parties and nightlife can be found in abundance.
3. Portland, Oregon
Perhaps one of the most well-known hipster cities – after all, Portland was the inspiration for the satire television comedy “Portlandia” which gently and lovingly pokes fun of the city’s every facet – Portland promotes its image as a green city. It is a green city even in the most literal sense, as it is located near many wilderness parks and offers its inhabitants ample green spaces within its urban environment. It’s not uncommon for residents to have their own backyard “urban farms,” and if they don’t have a green thumb to grow their own food, farmer’s markets are abundant in the city. The low cost of rent allows people in Portland to live comfortably and focus on artistic endeavours. Plus, lots of trendy cafes, talented baristas, bookstores including the worlds largest second-hand library, and friendly people make it an appealing place to visit.
2. Silver Lake, Los Angeles
Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighbourhood is another notorious hipster hangout. In stark contrast to the excesses of the rest of LA, Silver Lake is home to loads of indie rock music venues. It’s filled with modernist architecture, locals who wear plenty of vintage and retro clothes and hang out in the area’s many trendy coffee houses.
1. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
The neighbourhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn is not just considered the centre of hipster life in the New York City area, but is also one of the most famous hipster neighbourhoods in the world. The residents of the picturesque neighbourhood like to travel around by bike and live in trendy lofts. Stores in Williamsburg sell vintage vinyl, and after dark there are plenty of nightlife options, ranging from cool beer and wine bars to live concerts that highlight some of the next big artists in the indie music scene. Williamsburg is also foodie central, with trendy cafes and restaurants as well as a giant food market called Smorgasburg.