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Discover the 10 Least Hipster Cities in the Country

Hipsters are everywhere, but you can get a break from these plaid-wearing bozos if you check out these 10 cities. We promise you funny mustaches will be few and far between.

David Cross

Content Editor

237 articles, 24 comments

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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

  1. El Paso, TX
  2. Jacksonville, FL
  3. Fort Worth, TX
  4. Oklahoma City, OK
  5. Houston, TX
  6. Charlotte, NC
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. San Antonio, TX
  9. Indianapolis, IN
  10. 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
  • Walkability
  • Bikeability
  • 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.

Source: Flickr user buckeyekes.

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 Outfits

Source: Flickr user Frank B Daugaard.

It’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?

Source: Flickr user Ruth_W.

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.

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posted on: March 11, 2013
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57 Comments

  1. Natalie

    Nice! Did you guys discover the top cities for hipsters in your research? Seems like Austin is number one, at least this week with SXSW going on. I can’t swing a cat around here without hitting someone in their ironic facial hair covered mouth.

  2. David Cross

    Natalie: On our way to figuring this out, we did find cities that were more likely to be home to hipsters. Austin came in as one of the likely places. The top or bottom spots, depending on how you look at it, went to: San Fran, Seattle, and Portland.

  3. ryan

    This list is wrong, el paso is across the border from juarez, mexico, those mexican hipsters are everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrywhere… sooooooooo annoying!

  4. Jackie

    So typical it’s sickening. San Antonio is more hispter than you know it. You probably are referring to the Alamo and Riverwalk. We are a lot cooler than those places. But only the locals really know where to go. So glad not be Austin. That place makes me want to throw up. Literally.

    • Chrissy in response to Jackie

      I actually think they’re probably thinking more outer areas, less central downtown areas, because no doubt that downtown area definitely has some super “hipster” joints. It’s just that they’re all “hole-in-the-wall” places, gems that are hard to find. Austin has a lot of those places for sure, but is also really trendy, like how they caught up on frozen yogurt and then SA trailed after. Lately I think Boba tea is coming into style, and SA needs to hurry up because the places here aren’t that great.

  5. Johnny

    Never, ever, ever trust anyone who drinks PBR!

    And for all those so called cool cities…which one is the safest large city in the U.S.A? El Paso, where you can get buzzed up and not worry about violence, just good times under the west Texas sky, and yes we love us some burnt cow! Orale!!!

    • Crash Blank in response to Johnny

      El Paso is safe unless you’re driving a car or trying to cross the street…. any street. El Paso would also top a list of the most myopic cities….long-range perspective in thinking or planning is sadly lacking around here.

  6. ML Squier

    You have it right. I live in El Paso. But the people are friendly here. Maybe the more hip people (think they) are, the less friendly they become.

  7. Shorebreak

    San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. It takes money to be “hip’.

  8. Wayne

    You mean NO city in Alabama made the list??? Sheesh…

  9. Pizza

    As a native San Antonian, now living in NYC (Harlem, to be exact) I find the hipsters in SA to be way more over the top in expressing hipsterism. This being said, I am a veg who enjoys a bike ride, but will not do either in SA or NYC due to proper infrastructure (especially Harlem). It’s annoying the clichés that surround hipsters, because, categorically, I fall into the criterium. However, hipsters are the most conforming and pretencius group of pseudo intellectuals u can find. They want to be to, for the sake of being KOOL. I label them as tools, because it’s not hip to want to be too kool for skool.

  10. HipsterHater

    Hipsters spelled backwards is sretspih, which is Yiddish for “jackass”.

  11. Hipsterhater

    Btw- there are cities in Alabama?

  12. Terry

    Would love to see a complete list…

  13. Dissenting Opinion

    I don’t get the point of this list? What is wrong with hipsters? They bring money into the cities they end up moving to. Property values go up in communities they live in, attracting businesses and development. People forget what places like Williamsburgh looked like before they were rezoned or redeveloped: rampant crime, drugs, and other undesirable qualities that prevent people from moving there. Also notice some of the cities on this list have some of those same problems. Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, and Jacksonville have consistently been rated as some of the most dangerous cities in the country. Does hipsters moving in push people out? Yes, but that is the fault of the city for choosing to address income inequality in a way that ignores the problem and pushes it out, not the people moving in who legitimately help the city.

    Not only that, but they also tend to personally invest in their communities by starting local businesses like the vegan diners, vinyl shops, and thrift stores. Those are tax dollars for the city and job creation for the community. This is in addition to “hip” work with non-profits and civic-minded community programs, be they art-related or not, which hipsters also seem to flock to. Are they building their own insulated communities in these cities? Yes, but so does every other subculture or group that moves to a city.

    You’re also quite wrong about El Paso. It’s a developing hipster community. It’s a stone’s throw away from Marfa, has a number of dive bars that cater to indie bands (Black Market, Lowbrow Palace, Percolator, Lips), and it’s own music festival (Neon Desert).

  14. MWnyc

    I don’t know — seems to me that Houston, San Antonio and even DFW must have hipster enclaves somewhere.

    Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Charlotte, on the other hand, are exactly the sort of cities that hipsters FLEE as soon as they can.

    I suppose that means that hipsters will soon be moving to Jacksonville and Indianapolis – ironically.

    • That Guy in response to MWnyc

      Houston absolutely has hipster enclaves all over the Inner Loop. Can’t throw a brick without hitting one.

  15. Louis

    As a person who lives in San Antonio, I actually agree with this list. San Antonio doesn’t really have that many spots for biking. It doesn’t help that everything is so spread out here. I mean, if you don’t have a car, you’re totally out of luck. I live on the far west side and it takes me at least 30 to 40 minutes to get downtown in a car. Also, there are very few accessible Vegan Restaurants (most are on the north side). Personally, though, the one thing that San Antonio out does Austin on is Culture and Historical sites.

  16. Skip William

    You obviously have never been to most of the cities on your list, especially San Antonio.

  17. Sally

    yeah, stay away from those walkable and bike friendly cities….they might turn you into a hipster! More surefire ways to avoid being hipster is to drive everywhere, eat fast food, buy everything new (even when you can easily make it at home), purchase any and all things disposable, and only eat at chain restaurants whose owners don’t live in your community, and only shop at big box stores. Since quality of life is suddenly synonymous with “hipster”, the new goal should be to have the lowest quality of life possible!

    • Stan in response to Sally

      Movoto: 2007 called and wants their rant back.

      But more specifically, Sally, I think you’ve touched upon something crucial to consider. In the ’60s there was a corporate culture backlash (in response to McCarthyism), and those folks were demonized in the mainstream, corporate funded media with the word “hippie” and ridiculed. In the ’90s it was a similar movement (in response to failed Reagan era policies) and “slackers” became the derogatory term for independence from corporate influence. Now we are seeing another anti-corporate movement, and understandably so. But those folks are demonized as “hipsters” and hated by the mainstream (corporate sponsored) media for…well…wearing odd clothes? Hmm.

      Sometimes when you dogpile on a group of people, you inadvertently lay with some pretty vicious dogs.

  18. Keep Houston Houston

    Houston actually has a decent hipster cache. The historical homeland is the Rice/Montrose area, but they’ve lately been moving to the East End. Swamplot had a post up today about a house off Lockwood listing for 400k, which is clearly the beginning of the end. Meanwhile you also have the Heights which is where hipsters go when they turn 35 and decide to have kids and open a yoga studio.

    The reason Houston makes this list is because the city limits go on forever and ever and ever, and that urban core (which has a substantial hipster component) is surrounded by a whole lotta mixed-class, mixed-race, auto-oriented suburbia. 6-lane arterials and 24 hour tacos as far as the eye can see. Basically, the hipster concentrate gets diluted in greater Houston. Like homeopathic remedies.

  19. Jansen

    In MY day, being a hipster actually meant something. Around San Francisco, hipsters were engaging in retro and vintage and being eclectic and sampling backwards past the nineties into the eighties/seventies/sixties/fifties. Things like art nouveau were making a comeback, etc. etc. Vinyl DOES sound better by definition of the media. That being said, today’s hipsters, rather than being iconoclastic, just emulate previous hipster generations from before. For wanting to be so different and apart, they look so much the goddamned same. It’s like the new punk look but all growed up into a twenty something look.

    And you know what? We all have the freedom to pick and choose what we want. You want to fit into the new mainstream? Kudos. You’ll have a lot to talk about with others around you. Just stop being so goddamned douchey about it. That’s probably my biggest beef. The flipside of my iconoclasm is I get no dates. However, I do treat people nice, at least on an individual basis.

  20. viva juarez

    Of course El Paso is number 1. The city in the mid to late 90s had so much potential. But of course the city’s arts that were youth based were crushed by overzealous catholics and a draconian police force. One word describes the EPPD, corrupt. (shh they sell and do blow like crazy, i have had experiences directly and indirectly that have lead me to that conclusion) And in order to pose as police officers doing their jobs, they prey on the average citizen jamming them up and rolling them out any chance they get. There is however a sweet litte dive bar there called the Tap and even when I last went around midnight one weekend about a dozen cops came in and harassed everybody. That city is no place for the arts or young people to hang out. Stay in your homes, turn out the lights and watch tv till you pass out from a food coma getting pregnant for the fourth time. You suck el paso!

    • Sam in response to viva juarez

      Typical Juarez people that love to talk trash about El Paso. What happens in Juarez when you drink? You have more than three times the number of stupid brawls between drunks, more than three times the car accidents and this is not even mentioning the stupid cartels (both Sinaloa and Juarez) that have every bar under their stupid extortion payroll, where they are likely to kill everyone in those bars if the owner does not pay. If you don’t like El Paso go back to that messed up place you call home – Juarez!

    • Sunset Heights in response to viva juarez

      Go back to Juarez and take your poor manners with you.

  21. Rillo Ramirez

    I’ve lived in el paso. A lot of hipsters. A lot. Most are internationals. San antonio not soo much. Too many kids who don’t know anything but hustling dope, having kids, living throught the system. It’ll be different soon I think. Hope.

  22. Robert P. Chankla

    I can’t stop laughing …too funny. Being from El Paso, I agree, with everything! It is safe to get buzzed and yes the city does favor cars over bicycles. It’s only been in the last two years that PBR has been around, prior to that it was only served in one bar. We only have two record stores because we don’t have money. Beer here is expensive, even on a Monday you will get charged 3 dollars for light beer at some places. We don’t have dive bars, we have old bars the last of which stopped selling quarts, 4 years ago. Those were fun times. It is getting better, kids are starting to realize that there is such a thing as good beer and don’t have to drink Bud light all the time. It’s also true that you probably forgot to take into account all of the Mexican hipster kids, but that is fine since most of them just visit on the weekends or on their way to the university. FYI, they have hipster meetings at The Tap once a week. I love El Paso… where the living is easy and getting into trouble is even easierrrr!

    • timmy in response to Robert P. Chankla

      THREE WHOLE DOLLARS FOR A LIGHT BEER – AT A BAR!?

      Must be nice, I’m in LA. Five bucks minimum.

  23. Megan

    I feel like Charlotte has a good chance of becoming more hipster in the next decade. I know a lot of people who moved to Charlotte after graduating from college.

    Probably the thing that is holding Charlotte back the most is the typical widespread city layout that most of the South has.

  24. LV_loco

    ELP is cool enough on the westside and downtown areas… even central has hip bars (see Joe Vinny & Bronsons) If you went out and actually walked around the UTEP area you would NOT say El Paso is anti-hipster

  25. Rantypants

    Are you kidding? DFW has plenty of hipsters. Your criteria is flawed.

  26. Mark

    So all the Texas cities are places where there are no NERDS and Idiots. Well I’m glad my Texas cities made this list. keep your NERDS and idiots that think they can can safe the planet. stay where you are at who needs you.

    • Really, guy? in response to Mark

      I think I just found one of the idiots.

  27. YetWave

    The survey is waaay off on its thumbs down to El Paso for lack of vintage clothing stores. They rethere, in abundance. However, they are designated in Spanish. They are called “Ropa Usada”

  28. BookmanBob

    Sorry guys, you REALLY missed-it by putting S.A. on your Short List as a top 10 least hipster etc… I’ve lived in Illinois, Chicago, New Mexico and Louisiana…now Texas. I’ve got to say that San Antonio is one of the Best All-around COOLEST and Most Fun places to visit and party, any time of the week, month or year! Try it before Slamming it okay? If you don’t like it then you need to look me up-email me and i’ll show u the sights! L8Trs!

  29. David

    Hipsters in Texas drink Lonestar, not PBR. Alcoholics drink Miller Light, Bud Light, and Coors Light only. LOL

    • That Guy in response to David

      Yes and no. Hipsters in Houston tend to drink whichever is cheaper (between the Lone Star and the PBR), and that’s often the “dollar Peebers.” Hard to find a Lone Star for less than two bucks in this city.

  30. Mike

    Dear list maker you sound old. Honestly this critique is super dated.
    Plaid shirts, dive bars and PBR are your descriptors for hipsters? Super tired points.

  31. shunjackson

    Other “Top Ten” lists that San Antonio has taken top honors in: Hotest City, Fatest City, Sweatiest City, Drunkest City and yes, Stupidest City. I get those others, but what’s a hipster?

  32. Sid

    Hipsters are simply yuppies with training wheels. I don’t take the whole thing seriously its just a matter of time… They have all the materialistic trappings of yuppies except they like artsy stuff instead of new expensive stuff. Hipsters evolve into yuppies , like the majority baby boomer hippies turned into yuppies after the 60′s.

  33. Charlie Shake

    Thats a bunch of bologni! El Paso its hipster! More than anyone can imagine. Sunset Heights its the most hipster area in town, especially the Westside. In every bar we see hipsters hating anyone, on every show we hear annoying hipster music, we even got shitty art shows full of hipster for crying out loud. El Paso least hipster? Huh! I WISH!

  34. Matt

    One of the main parts of Jacksonville – Riverside – is incredibly hipster. Lived there for a year and all people talked about when discussing Riverside was how hipster it is. Definitely some hipster there.

    • Joe in response to Matt

      Would have to agree. I was stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL for three and half years. Riverside, Springfield are very very hipster…quit a few in San Marco, Murray Hill,Ortega just about any neighborhood that has a historical society in Jacksonville you will find a lot of hipsters. I was actually surprised to see this city on such a list. Southside of Jacksonville would be your safest bet of not seeing them, but even there you are going to see at least a handful or so, but all-in-all Jacksonville hipsters ain’t AT ALL as bad as say the snobby ones in Chicago and LA… just my two cents. :)

    • Adam in response to Matt

      Yes, RIverside has hipsters. But Jacksonville is a large city (over 800k people – and the metropolitan area has over 1 million). Those hipsters are a drop in the bucket. And as hipsters go, they tend to be about 5 years behind the times anyway.

      I love Jacksonville, but think most of the city beyond the urban core and the beaches is a wasteland.

    • Geoporgie in response to Matt

      Jax rocks. @ Anon right on the spot concerning the size of Jax. Once you get outside, yeah, its waffle house city. But the urban neighborhoods are gems and dive bars dont include live music, otherwise Jax winds up the numbers. Anyhow, go ahead and poop on Jax, we know its hot.

  35. Anon

    Everything about this is so out-of-touch it’s embarrassing. From, well, the fact that this even exists, to the huge lump of unrelated things/people within your ridiculous operational definition of hipsterdom. There are too many flaws to count, but I’m particularly amused by one of the cities on your list, due to the fact that a record label/store, and its annual namesake music festival exists/takes place in one of the cities listed. You’d no doubt stamp said label/store/festival with a capital H (though i shudder at the thought), but how would someone like you know a thing like that?

    • Willy in response to Anon

      I agree. Arlington, TX has my favorite record store in the country, Forever Young. What a dog-sh*t article written by somebody who needs to label everything. Why? WHY?!?!?! WWWWWHHHHHHYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????

  36. Rivers

    Sorry but there is no such thing as hipsters.

  37. Nick

    I live in the DFW area and there are hipsters douchebags everywhere!! San Antonio is awesome though!

  38. Willy

    Wow this is the most ridiculous waste of time ever… Oh no wait, me commenting on this ridiculous waste of time is now the most ridiculous waste of time ever. Those criteria pretty much identify EVERYBODY.

  39. Steven

    I live in Indianapolis and I was walking downtown, and I saw at least 10 hipsters.

  40. travis

    You’ve obviously never been to Charlotte NC,it’s almost equivalent to Portland/Austin scenes.The city that once was ghettos,in the last 5 years has taken on a new role. In select areas,the city has now become one of the biggest hipster cities of the south east.

  41. Richard Torres

    El Paso is an acquired taste. It is very nice here. We have hipsters but luckily there are also plenty of real people here. However, art ,culture and th elusive “cool” factor is where you find it.

 

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