You can tell me all you want that the hipster trend is over, that the hipster subculture is tired and boring. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter where I am or where I go, I tend to find myself in hipster hotspots in just about every city I visit. And do you know why I look for hipster cities or hipster neighborhoods? Because these are seriously cool, authentic and interesting places.
Whether it’s the chef of a restaurant who cares passionately about serving only local, organic food. Or a vintage shop owner who’s just trying to upcycle, recycle or maybe even just keep the past alive.
Hipsters, trend-setters, millennials, kids, yuppies — whatever you want to call them…these are the locals who are trying to show off the best of their hometown, their neighborhood. And you can’t fault them for that.
I recently shared my top picks for the world’s best hipster cities as part of an article in the NYC Metro newspaper, but I figured it’s also worth sharing here on my blog with some of my additional travel tips (and one additional city!). Enjoy :)
1. Berlin, Germany
Without question, it’s Europe’s coolest city. With 24-hour nightlife, a growing culinary scene and affordable living, Berlin has attracted people from all over the world. DJs want to play Berlin’s clubs and artists want their work shown in the hundreds of independent galleries.
I love Berlin for its independent spirit and creative culture – there is always something interesting happening in Berlin.
Top Hipster Things To Do in Berlin
- Eat at Street Food Thursdays in Markthalle Neun
It’s always crowded but it’s often a good place to sample some of Berlin’s best food trucks. Show up early, though, for a better experience!
- Swim in a pool inside a river at Badeschiff (Arena Club)
Cost is only 5€ and you can take awesome selfies that will make all your friends jealous.
- Shop for your souvenirs at the weekend flea markets
You’ll find everything from vintage postcards, East German bric-a-brac and trendy t-shirts. Makes for great authentic souvenirs!
- Get the ultimate Berlin selfie at a Photoautomat
These old photo machines are scattered all over Berlin and at 2€ for a black-and-white filmstrip, you can take as many as you like until your hair looks perfect. Best done after a long night of drinking and clubbing.
2. East London, UK
Shoredtich and Hackney have turned from working class neighborhoods to gentrified versions of their former selves. Speakeasy bars, food trucks and fashion shops that sell goods not just for you but for your pets are on every street.
And with enough vintage markets to clothe a nation, the fashion in Shoreditch is a big draw – I love the quirky but cool style.
Top Hipster Things To Do in East London
- Take a Shoredtich food tour with Eating London
It’s not the cheapest but it’s a great way to take in the neighborhood with a bit of beer, cider, food, history and street art.
- Shop quality vintage clothes at the Brick Lane Sunday Market
People might tell you that you’re supposed to visit the Camden Market, but all the good stuff is actually at the Brick Lane market each and every Sunday.
- Get cocktails at the speakeasy bar in Breakfast Club (Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town)
The Breakfast Club restaurant serves some decent American food, but the real treasure lies hidden behind the 1950s refrigerator. Reservations recommended. The cocktails aren’t cheap but they’re done well and the vibe inside is super cool.
3. Austin, Texas
The new Portland, Austin attracts freespirits, hippies and more than a few aspiring musicians. Sometimes it feels like there are more food trucks than people in Austin. There’s a reason they want to “keep Austin weird.” I think the coolest part of Austin is probably the foodie scene – you can get everything from trendy foods at a food truck, to Texas-themed sushi.
Top Hipster Things To Do in Austin
- Drink Mexican Margaritas at Trudy’s
These drinks are an Austin institution! The food is really great here, too.
- Swim at Barton Creek
When the weather’s nice, all the locals head to Barton Creek to cool off and show off their bodies. Pro tip: you can avoid having to pay if you don’t mind hanging out in the area that gets all the runoff from those wealthier than you.
- Enjoy the nightlife and live music clubs on Sixth Street
Sure it’s crowded with drunk college kids and a whole lot of “bros”, but it’s still a great place to have fun in Austin. Try the Library themed bar for cheap drinks, a chill atmosphere and a more erudite setting (even if it’s all fake).
4. Somerville, Boston, Massachusetts
It’s where Boston’s hipsters live and hang out, Somerville has the college town’s best coffee and some of Boston’s best restaurants. With Boston’s quirkiest street festivals (such as HONK! Festival), Somerville always has something exciting and interesting happening.
For a fun time, just head to Davis Square and take in the ridiculousness of the locals.
Top Hipster Things To Do in Somerville
- Try the coffee at True Grounds
It’s a great little café to get some work done, enjoy some quality coffee or just sit-back and people-watch.
- Get brunch at Highland Kitchen
With a southern style menu and cou
- Visit during the What the Fluff? Festival (every last Saturday of September)
Located in the heart of hipster Somerville at Union Square, the What the Fluff? festival celebrates that marshmallow goo you used to put on your PB&J sandwiches. The fluff stuff comes from Somerville and the festival includes random events, cool t-shirts and a cooking contest.
5. Toronto, Canada
Sometimes considered a cleaner version of NYC, Toronto’s Queen Street West neighborhood is far from tame.
The Ossington hipster neighborhood is packed full of trendy bars located in-between dive bars, with cupcake bakeries and cute cafes scattered among them.
Top Things To Do in Toronto
- Drink at 416 Snack Bar
It’s a small and often crowded bar, but their menu is awesome. They serve a huge variety of foods and cuisines and still manage to keep it all tasting well. Plus the drinks aren’t half-bad either!
- Eat in Toronto’s massive Chinatown (along Spadina Avenue)
Toronto is famous for being so multicultural (you’d be hard-pressed to find a local Torontonian in town) so it’s no surprise that they’ve got a vibrant (and delicious!) Chinatown.
- Visit during Toronto International Film Festival
The annual TIFF festival (each September) is a great time for celebrity-spotting. But if you can manage to get tickets to some of the premieres, it’s also a great opportunity to catch indie flicks and maybe be the first of your friends to see that next big hit. The TIFF film festival often premieres movies which go on to win other prestigious awards.
6. Stockholm, Sweden
Just maybe the coolest city in Scandinavia, Stockholm seems to get all the latest trends while the news is still hot in Brooklyn (looking at you, Ridgewood). And not just the fashion, but the beer, too!
Brooklyn Brewery even opened up a brewery in Stockholm owing the fact that this hipster city consumers almost as much of the beer as Brooklyn does.
You’ll find most of the Stockholm trendsetters and hipsters in the hipster Södermalm neighborhood. And probably at cafés that also sell clothes, vintage clothing stores with in-house barbers or even hotels that sell their furniture!
Top Hipster Things To Do in Stockholm
- Go shopping at Grandpa
This Södermalm institution sells everything from vintage posters and furniture to fashion finds from local Swedish brands such as Uniforms for the Dedicated. From wandering around their store, though, you can clearly tell it’s not about the brands, it’s about the specific products — all meticulously selected and curated because they’re the best of the best.
- Try the food (and drinks!) at Bröderna Olssons Garlic & Shots
Also in Södermalm, this restaurant & bar serves extra garlic-y dishes, with everything infused with the pungent (but delicious spice). You’ll find speciality garlic-infused drinks and cocktails along with classic cocktails (like the Aperol Spritz). Plus they’ve got a garlic ice cream on the menu!
- Visit the Stockholm Photography Museum
The Fotografiska museum hosts some of Sweden’s best photography exhibitions and the museum is open late (11pm on Thurs-Sat!) so it’s great for tourists trying to fit in a lot of sightseeing. Or for late-night dates. You decide.