America’s hippest city is Vancouver, Washington?

The Portland suburb topped the country when it comes to tattoos, microbreweries and other signs of “hipsterdom,” according to a London-based data company. We in Seattle can appreciate the irony.

By Jessica Lee
Seattle Times Staff Reporter

As your truly hip West Coast neighbors, we can appreciate good irony.

Vancouver, Washington, was recently named the country’s “most hipster city” when it comes to tattoos, beer and other signs of “hipsterdom,” according to a London-based moving-information company. Tacoma and Spokane ranked No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

We (No. 20 Seattle) are collectively chuckling over our flat whites while the latest indie music plays in the background.

The company, called MoveHub, studied rent inflation to measure gentrification and the number of microbreweries, vegan stores, tattoo parlors and thrift shops per 100,000 residents among the country’s 150 most-populous cities for the “U.S. Hipster Index.”

The Pacific Northwest’s concentration of such establishments is unsurprisingly high. Washington is the only state with three top-10 cities.

And with a population around 175,000, the Portland suburb measured supremely for its proportion of microbreweries and tattoo shops. And its 16.2 percent increase in rent within the past year — as part of the region’s rising housing prices — catapulted Vancouver’s score to the top.

A similar city-by-city comparison by Forbes and Sperling’s Best Places in October ranked Seattle No. 2 for its level of “cool,” determined by its restaurants, world-class museums, sports teams, good hiking and reliable mass transit — just behind San Francisco.

But apparently for skinny jeans and fixed-gear bikes, we have to travel south.

“Living in Vancouver for many years, I would have to say that 98% of Vancouverites don’t know what ‘hipster’ even means,” one commenter wrote on MoveHub.

That even included the mayor, The Columbian reported, until media outlets reported on the ranking by MoveHub, a company that gathers data to aid moving decisions, and she did the research.

“There’s no one prevailing definition, but common qualities (of hipsters) are easy enough to spot,” MoveHub says. “Hipsters are a subculture of 20- to 30-somethings who position themselves as non-mainstream pioneers; freethinkers and nonconformist conformists.”

Who knew it’s hip to not be hip.

Here is the full list:

1. Vancouver, Washington
2. Salt Lake City
3. Cincinnati
4. Boise, Idaho
5. Richmond, Virginia
6. Tacoma
7. Spokane
8. Atlanta
9. Grand Rapids, Michigan
10. Rochester, New York
11. Orlando, Florida
12. Portland
13. Knoxville, Tennessee
14. Tucson, Arizona
15. Santa Rosa, California
16. Huntsville, Alabama
17. Tampa, Florida
18. Reno, Nevada
19. Albuquerque, New Mexico
20. Seattle

- Jessica Lee: 206-464-2532 or, Originally published in The Seattle Times

Photo by Morf Morford

Photo by Morf Morford

Note from Index Editor, Morf Morford: 

To see the original Movehub article and their research criteria, check out the website here –

Movehub specializes in assisting those who are considering moving abroad. To see their metric for evaluating cites based on cost of living, crime, pollution, health care and quality of life look here –

If you can’t get enough of (or want to avoid) man-buns, artisianal beards, ironic vintage attire, unpronouncable foods, vinyl records and pretentious (and usually over-priced) alcoholic or caffienated drinks, you know where to go.

In Tacoma, a couple of the most significant habitats for hipsters will be found on 6th Avenue (where else?).

Metronome, at 6th & Union, ( features an open mic on Tuesday evenings 7-9:30ish.

Bluebeard a “253rd wave coffee company” is a coffee mecca promising a “world-class suite of coffees to an expanding market of coffee lovers in and around beautiful Tacoma.” You can find them at 2201 6th Ave. They open at 6am on weekdays, 7am on weekends –

I’ve heard rave reviews of The Triple Knock (2713 6th Ave) for those who love classic pinball machines and mixed drinks – and yes, that means you need to be 21+ to check it out.

Various other shops along 6th Avenue cater to the hipster quotient of Tacoma – especially the eateries and vinyl LP shops.

Photo by Morf Morford

Photo by Morf Morford

If you are willing to venture a bit beyond 6th Avenue,  don’t miss the Eleven Eleven Bar (at 1111 S 11th St) for great sandwiches and beers on tap –

For an unmistakable hipster vibe drop by 1022 South J. What could be more hipster than to not even have a name? Their website says it all –

For live music and a great happy hour (2-8pm Tuesday – Saturday and all day Sunday) – check out the New Frontier Lounge at 301 E. 25th, near the Tacoma Dome (

And for “the best bar food you’ll ever have” check out Top of Tacoma at 3529 McKinley Ave. Menu, schedule and details here –

Bicycles, tech devices and beards are not required but strongly advised.

Just don’t use the word “hipster”…