Just when you thought maybe we'd stopped talking hipster to death as a term (haven't we killed it, already?) it rears its head again: This time in Forbes' gleeful list of "America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods," which includes some pretty cool-sounding places we've never even heard of before: Silver Lake, Los Angeles? The Mission District? Williamsburg, Brooklyn? Leave no hipster stone unturned, hipster-searchers!
But what, exactly, constitutes a hipster neighborhood, and how do we make sure to avoid one? These lists have been coming out pretty regularly ever since the apparently never-ending love-hate relationship with hipsters and the term began, and even as the meaning of the word hipster sinks deep into an eternal muck of nothingness-yet-everythingness, a hipster neighborhood is something we can, apparently, identify quite easily. In April, Travel + Leisure put forth their vote for Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and so on. These are whole cities, of course, not really neighborhoods, and they've surely got a mix of so-called hipsters and everyday non-hipster types, too. Forbes' list winnows it down to specific parts of town, like, for example, the H Street Corridor in DC or the North Loop in Minneapolis, so maybe we're getting a bit better at these designations at the same time that each list manages to further in our craw each time.
As for that methodology, Travel + Leisure "ranked 35 metropolitan areas on culturally relevant features like live music, coffee bars, and independent boutiques. To zero in on the biggest hipster crowds, we also factored in the results for the best microbrews and the most offbeat and tech-savvy locals," they explain. Forbes, on the other hand, relied on Nextdoor.com, a San Francisco-based startup, to analyze data on 250-plus nabes (check bolded key words, emphasis ours). Morgan Brennan writes,
We assessed each area’s walkability according toWalkscore.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.
So a hipster nabe is a town you can walk in with lots of coffee, locally grown food and locally sustained businesses, and art and music? What's funny is that none of that sounds bad at all ... until you add the word hipster, and maybe, to a lesser extent, food trucks. (Très Brooklyn!)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.