Want to roll out of bed and pick up a cup of single-origin java from a coffee shop on your corner? Or grab a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich from a food truck parked down the street? Does a dream weekend include foraging for organic veggies at a farmers market and watching the latest hot indie band play on a small stage through the wee hours of the morning? Then, my hipster friend, Los Angeles’ Silver Lake is the neighborhood for you.
[Curious about the residential character of the top neighborhoods? See dozens of editor-selected images of Silver Lake listings in Los Angeles and Mission District listings in San Francisco on Yahoo! Homes' blog, Spaces.]
Silver Lake takes the top spot on Forbes’ inaugural list of America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods. Nestled between Echo Park and Los Feliz, the trendy community boasts some of the nation’s most lauded food trucks and farmers markets, a multicultural blend of residents with eclectic professions, and a booming arts scene. Even the buildings exude an avant garde aesthetic a hipster could love: Silver Lake is home to some of the most celebrated modernist architecture in the country, including Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House and John Lautner’s Silvertop.
“It is amazing how many artists, musicians and designers and more traditionally ‘hipster’ occupations live in Silver Lake,” says Dabney Lawless, a vice president of Nextdoor.com, a private social network for neighborhoods. “It just blows every other neighborhood away.” In other words, if you want to slurp Pabst Blue Ribbon in your skinny jeans, you won’t be alone.
Behind the numbers
To compile our list, we took a quantitative approach to determining the places in which hipsterdom is most likely to flourish.
The San Francisco-based startup Nextdoor.com helped us dig through data on more than 250 neighborhoods in the biggest U.S. cities. We assessed each area’s walkability according to Walkscore.com; the number of neighborhood coffee shops per capita (with some help from NPD Group’s report); the assortment of local food trucks (and their ranking according to Zagat’s); the number and frequency of farmers markets; the selection of locally owned bars and restaurants; and the percentage of residents who work in artistic occupations. We also factored in Nextdoor’s Neighborhood “Hipness” Index, which is based on how often words associated with hipness (for example art, gallery, designer, musician) appeared on each Nextdoor neighborhood’s site pages, and Nextdoor conducted a survey in which members sounded off on their communities.
[Also on Yahoo! Homes: America's hippest cities.]
And now for the top 10, crowned by Silver Lake.
1. Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA
The eclectic enclave boasts some of the nation’s most lauded food trucks and farmer’s markets, a booming arts scene and one of the largest creative class communities in the country. Silver Lake is also home to some of the most avant garde Modernist architecture in North America.
[Check out the residential character of the neighborhood: Dozens of editor-selected images from several Silver Lake properties for sale on Yahoo! Homes' blog, Spaces.]
2. Mission district, San Francisco, CA
"What we love about The Mission is the amazing diversity and lack of pretense in this historically hip neighborhood," says Dabney Lawless of Nextdoor.com. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and food trucks abound in San Francisco's oldest 'hood. It also has the largest concentration of street art and building murals in the city.
[Check out the residential character of the neighborhood: Dozens of editor-selected images from several Mission properties for sale on Yahoo! Homes' blog, Spaces.]
3. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
The East Coast birthplace of hipsters has shopping, restaurants, nightlife, a thriving music scene, food trucks and great transit options, from the water taxi to streets easily traveled by foot. It also has rising prices: rents in the Brooklyn hood are higher than some downtown hoods in Manhattan.
4. Wicker Park, Chicago, IL
The Midwest Mecca of hipsterdom started attracting artists and young adults in the late 1980s. Nestled around a park, this artists' community is known for its galleries, music venues, boutiques and food options. It's also home to a smattering of Victorian mansions built by wealthy 19th century merchants and beer brewers.
5. Pearl District, Portland, OR
The Pearl District is known for its art galleries and studios. It also has quite the java culture, with the second highest concentration of coffee shops per capita on our list. Farmer's markets include the massive Downtown Portland market. Like Williamsburg, gentrification has led to higher costs-of-living in the area, with luxury high rise condos emerging on the streetscape and warehouses converting to massive loft residences.
6. H Street Corridor, Washington, D.C.
"Politico" hipsters flock to this D.C. hood, separated from the rest of the city by the H Street Bridge. Revitalization efforts ramped up in the area, also known as the Atlas District, in the mid 2000s and today the enclave is known for nightlife that includes dance clubs, rock venues, burlesque shows and restaurants like Sticky Rice that offer patrons a game of speed bingo alongside their meals. The H Street Festival also adds to the hipness.
7. East Austin, Austin, TX
East Austin has unseated South Congress and Travis Heights as Austin's newest hipster home base, according to Nextdoor.com. It not only touts some of the most highly rated Mexican eateries in the country but also coffee shops, a farmers market, and food trucks like the East Side King parked outside of bars and music venues every night.
8. Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA
Seattle, oft times credited as the West Coast birthplace of the hipster craze, has several cool kid neighborhoods. Capitol Hill landed on our list, but it was in close competition with the up-and-coming Ballard neighborhood (walkability tipped the scales). Known for both its hipster and gay communities, a good cup of coffee is a given in Capitol Hill -- the area had the highest coffee shop per capita ranking on our list -- and gourmands have access to fresh finds at the local farmer’s market. Bars, fringe theaters and impromptu street parties make the area a nightlife destination.
9. The Uptown, Oakland, CA
Gritty up-and-comer Uptown made this list thanks to its fast-paced growth. New restaurants, bars and coffee shops have been opening weekly, and arguably the some of the best farmers markets in the country take place here. The district was deemed the city's entertainment center in the early 2000s and since then art galleries, an improv theater, and several medical marijuana clubs have sprung up to cater to the growing community.
Forget the French Quarter; NOLA's brand of hipster hangs here. The neighborhood, also known as the Arts District, touts amazing restaurants (including Emeril Lagasse's original restaurant), access to the Crescent City farmers market, and a collection of galleries and museums that include the Contemporary Arts Center and the National World War II Museum.
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