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Culture / Newsy

Texas Boasts Two of the Hippest Neighborhoods in All of America

New Rankings Heap Praise on Houston and Austin’s Hipster Meccas of Cool

BY // 07.30.18

What’s cooler than being cool? No, it’s not ice cold. It’s being the coolest.

Two funky Texas neighborhoods take those hip honors. Take two wild guesses as to which Lone Star State spots are ranked in the Top 14 Coolest Hipster Neighborhoods in the USA.

Houston’s very own Montrose and East Austin are two of the hippest spots in the US of A, according to new rankings from TripAdvisor. Texas and Pennsylvania are the only states to put more than one neighborhood in this elite hip pantheon.

So, what exactly makes for a hipster paradise? A few gritty Insta-images spring to mind: grungy tattoo parlors buzzing with late-night energy, legendary, offbeat honky tonks, the most authentic vintage and thrift clothes (little) money can buy, bars with craft cocktails featuring ingredients even the most learned hipster can’t decipher.

Taken together, Montrose and East Austin have all that in spades.

Montrose earned a coveted spot on the list of quirky meccas for its restaurant diversity, showcased in upscale bistros and head-turning eateries like Nobie’s, Riel and recently opened Chris Shepherd knockout UB Preserv.

And you can’t forget its artistic cred —a hipster must-have — via The Menil Collection and the Houston Center for Photography. The free art institutions encompass a variety of mediums and moods.

This TripAdvisor shoutout isn’t Montrose’s first claim to fame. Way back in 1973, Texas Monthly dubbed it “the strangest neighborhood east of the Pecos” and more than 40 years later, many argue it’s still the Heart of Houston. The vibrant neighborhood rose to neighborhood acclaim in the 1980s as the hub of Houston’s gay culture.

Neighborhood Cred

Montrose is the first place you take your out-of-town friend who thinks Houston culture starts and ends with longhorns and cowboy boots. After snapping a splattered pic at Biscuit Paint Wall, meditating in Rothko Chapel and sipping on an 1838 Julep from Anvil, they’ll be singing a different tune.

That’s just one Texas neighborhood that’s on fire. Of all the Austin neighborhoods, East Austin definitely does the most to keep the city weird. East Austin hits every part of the laundry list of things people who only like things ironically truly love.

austin white horse
The White Horse is the height of East Austin revelry.

TripAdvisor points to the blend of South-by-Southwest influence and old barrio culture. That fusion has bred the Austin Gem Bike Tour, the eco-friendly way for the eager devotees to visit local breweries and much on classic Mexico City-casual dishes at Licha’s Cantina. For those of you who want to dine with your feline friends, feel free to hit up Blue Cat Cafe.

Of course, there’s the iconic Franklin Barbecue — if that’s not too mainstream for your tastes.

And TripAdvisor’s East Austin love note wouldn’t be complete without The White Horse, the eclectic, storied and hipster-friendly honky tonk that defies definition.

The hip list is rounded out with the neighborhoods of Wynwood (Miami), East Nashville (Nashville), Rino (Denver), Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), Little Five Points (Atlanta), North End (Boise), Fishtown (Philadelphia), Ballard (Seattle), North Loop (Minneapolis), North Park (San Diego), Pearl District (Portland, Oregon) and Marigny (New Orleans).

The writers of the list may have created some thick-framed-wearing, clove-cigarette-smoking, goatee-sporting enemies. Shining a spotlight on these hipster havens is just the way to tank their cool factor. From boho to basic in one fell swoop.

But hey, at least you can say you heard about them first.

Home, chic home.

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