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Houston: More Hipster-Friendly than Salt Lake City and Dallas, at Least

Houston: Home of this hipster OG but mercifully few others.
Houston: Home of this hipster OG but mercifully few others.
Photo illustration by Monica Fuentes

Earlier this month Travel and Leisure asked their readers to rank 35 American cities on the quantity and quality of their live music scenes, coffeehouses, microbrews and independent boutiques. They also asked their readers to quantify more ineffable qualities such as the quirkiness of a city and how offbeat the locals are.

It will come as no surprise to hipsterologists that Seattle and Portland came in one-two at the tippy-top.

Nor will it shock Texans to find Austin at the head of the quartet of Texas cities ranked. The capital cracked the top ten, coming in at number seven between such well-known hipster burgs as Providence, Rhode Island, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After Austin and before we arrive in our own fair metropolis, a cavalcade of cities follows, including Nashville, San Diego, Las Vegas, Baltimore and Honolulu. And there's H-Town at number 26, just ahead of Anchorage and Miami.

Here's what the writer had to say about us....

Like many cities, Houston gives nicknames to its trendy neighborhoods. Case in point: LoWe, short for Lower Westheimer, where you can hang out at Mediterranean-themed coffee shop Agora, dive lounge Catbirds, or El Real Tex-Mex within a historic 1930s theater. Houston also has two seemingly incompatible draws, according to readers: it ranked well for both luxury shopping and for being affordable.

LoWe? LoWe? Ooh-wee. The first person who utters that abomination in my presence will be force-fed a supermarket Antone's po' boy. And that's a fact, Jack.

On the other hand, T&L readers found us not all that offbeat and somehow ranked us less diverse than New Orleans, Santa Fe and Las Vegas. They must not have been privy to that Rice report that ranked us number one in the nation.

San Antonio came in at #30, and most amusingly, "tragically mainstream" Dallas came in dead last, behind Mickey Mouse squaresvilles like Orlando and Salt Lake City.

To be fair to DFW, just making the list is an achievement of sorts: The list pretty much ignores the Rust Belt entirely. Those once-brawny, now-gothic metros like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Detroit were not mentioned at all.

Or is making this list an achievement at all?

As the epitome of hipsterdom, the article cites some pretentious Seattle microbrew that comes in an old-timey can that requires an antiquated church-key can opener. And you thought Portlandia stretched its case....

In the end, hipsterdom is all about insecurity, adhering to a precious, alternate middle-class mainstream that remains, nonetheless, a middle-class mainstream, one that is often even more tyrannical in its fashion codes and etiquette do's and don't's.

So in the end, we won't be losing any sleep over this list. The Texas cities at least seem to be ranked in the correct order, and we enjoy living in a town that doesn't give a crap about Edwardian facial hair, just-so scarves, Day-Glo shades and unopenable beers.

This city would rather smile than smirk and we like it like that.


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