Ugh! Hipsters! Sometimes, we feel like they’re EVERYWHERE, spreading their hipster disease and handing out bottles of Haterade to battle anything that has a modicum of popularity.
In recent weeks the Movoto bloggers have had one too many run-ins with plaid-shirt-loving hipsters for our liking. We know we live near San Francisco, but it’s gotten out of hand.
While swapping stories, one of our novelty real estate brethren suggested figuring out the best places to go to escape the dive-bar-bound, thrift-shopping fashionistas. Or the least hipster cities in the country. So we did. Enjoy.
The Ten Least Hipster Cities
- El Paso, TX
- Jacksonville, FL
- Fort Worth, TX
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Houston, TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Memphis, TN
- San Antonio, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Dallas, TX
As you can see, if you’re looking to go hipster-free, the south is a good starting point. Here’s how we came up with our list.
Anatomy of a Hipster
To create a list of the least hipster cities, we first needed to get inside the mind of your average hipster. We scoured the Internet and swapped stories, and came up with a list of criteria that cities needed to become hipster havens. Once we figured out what these criteria were, we turned our findings on its head.
We ranked cities based on the prevalence of these factors.
- Young people
- Vintage Stores
- Dive Bars
- Vegetarian Restaurants
- Artsy jobs
- Vinyl stores
With criteria in hand, we looked at the 30 most populous cities in the country and ranked each cosmo. The final list is based on the average of each criterion.
Being Hip is a Young Person’s Game
We’re not saying there aren’t aging hipsters, but let’s be clear, most hipsters are relatively young. In this case we used Census data and pulled the percentage of each city’s population that was between the ages of 20 and 34. We felt this gave a good representation of coming-of-age hipsters, and those who are comfortable in their roles as hipster Yodas.Columbus, Ohio edged out Boston, Massachusetts for the city with the largest percentage of 20 to 34 year olds—which isn’t surprising considering C-bus, as the locals call it, is pretty much The Ohio State University. According to the Census Bureau, 37.9 percent of Columbus’s population is the right age to be hipsters.
On the other hand, only 15.8 percent of Houston, Texas’s population is between 20 and 35 years old.
Let’s Go Ride a Bike
Oh, boy, do hipsters love bikes. We can’t fault them too much. Bikes are pretty sweet. What’s not sweet are those clowns riding around on fixed gears with no brakes. We get that in some cities you can easily slide to a stop, but around San Francisco, it’s just stupid.
For this criterion we looked at Bicycling.com’s best biking cities. If you’re into biking, you should check it out. This gave us an idea of how each city ranked for bikeability.
Portland snuffed Seattle, in what you’ll see is a trend in this piece. Portland ranked as the second most bikeable city by Bicycle.com, while Seattle ranked fourth. For the purpose of our list, this meant Portland earned the top rank, followed by Seattle.
There wasn’t any particular city we marked as having the lowest bike score. If a city fell outside of Bicycling.com’s top 50 list, we assigned the city a standard score.
Long Walks in Uncomfortable OutfitsIt’s important for hipsters to live in cities where they can walk places. In other words, they like to be close to EVERYTHING. Which is pretty nice, if they weren’t complaining about how everyone else is also there. Oh, the irony of being a hipster.
New York City beat out San Francisco for the most walkable city on our list. We are betting it’s because of all the hills we have around these parts.
Jacksonville ranked as the least walkable city.
To come up with our score, we used WalkScore, a website that ranks each city from 1 to 100 on its walkability.
The ‘90s Are Now Vintage
Fashion is smashing! So says Smash Mouth—whom most of us still feel some love for. But seriously, to be a hipster you have to dress the part. This means you have to wear things that make no sense—such as a knit winter cap and a sleeveless shirt, or frames without lenses.
In other words, hipsters love—love—vintage stores.
For this criteria we looked at the percentage of vintage stores per person in each city. We calculated this figure using good-ol’ standby Yelp.
When it comes to trying to look cool by wearing old clothes, Portland drubbed rival Seattle.
El Paso, however, has the fewest vintage stores per capita. Without the flame, there’d be no moths, folks.
Dive Bars: Where PBR Flows Like Water
Hipsters love dive bars the way cats love catnip. They’re dirty and serve cheap beer–especially PBR which hipsters will swear is the best, despite the fact that even smelling it will give you a hangover.
We can’t be held responsible if you decide to wander into one of these establishments.
For this criterion, we again divided the number of dive bars in a city by its population. This gave us dive bars per capita.
Portland squeaked by San Francisco to claim most dive bars per capita.
If you hate dive bars, you should visit Jacksonville.
These Faux-Chicken Nuggets Taste Like Real Chicken Nuggets
You don’t have to eat meat. It’s a perfectly acceptable lifestyle choice. But hipsters have the tendency to lord their non-meat-eating ways over the rest of us. It’s worse with vegans, a splinter group set on making you cry over your medium-well Kobe beef burger.
To get the most out of this category we found the number of vegetarian restaurants per capita—again relying on Yelp.
Portland edged out Seattle (again) for the top spot—which surprised absolutely none of us.
El Paso, on the other hand, had the lowest number of vegetarian restaurants per person. We expected something like this from a city in a state known for its love of all things cooked-cow.
How Can I Transfer My Record to My iPod?If hipsters could carry around record players instead of iPods, they would. They love vinyl. If you didn’t know, it’s a sound quality thing. Vinyl just sounds better than MP3s or CDs—or so we’re told. We’re also told that vinyl is a dead technology. For the record, however, we still think phonographs are sweet. Can’t hate on a hipster with a phonograph—that’s dedication.
Seattle finally took a spot from Portland in this category. Good job Seattle! (You can start your slow clap here.)
What city has the least vinyl stores per capita? El Paso.
Starving Artists Working at Restaurants
How many artists do you know who are flaky? The Movoto bloggers guess that about a third of so-called artsy people are about as trustworthy as the Superdome’s electrical power. (Commercial conspiracy!)
Using Census data we looked at the percentage of people in each city who worked in arts, entertainment and recreation, and accommodation and food services.
Our hometown of San Francisco took the top spot here, with 12.2 percent, followed by Detroit. For comparison only 6.9 percent of Houston’s population works in these fields.
El Paso Calls Jacksonville Hipster
After we looked at all our data, we found that El Paso barely beat Jacksonville for the least hipster city in the country. El Paso had an average score of 26.25, while Jacksonville’s number added up to 25.625. It was a close one, but we think it was Jacksonville’s love for vinyl that lead to the city’s downfall.
Who is Movoto Real Estate, you might ask? Movoto is a national online real estate brokerage. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes, CBS News, and The New York Times.