Hipster Cities: Are There Really Places More Hipster Than San Francisco? (PHOTOS)
When it comes to hipsters, everyone's got an opinion.
As the comments to this article will almost undoubtedly make very clear, people either hate hipsters (Adbusters once famously called them, "the dead end of Western Civilization") or really want everyone to know that not only are they not hipsters themselves but, "what even are hipsters anyway? Everyone knows real San Franciscans live in hipster-free zones like the Outer Sunset and would never be caught dead in the Mission."
But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that San Francisco being the best at pretty much anything--or at least beating New York--is an unequivocal positive.
That's why when an article by Travel & Leisure rated San Francisco as only the third best city in the country for hipsters, behind Seattle and Portland, we assumed there was some sort of error.
To quote Woody Allen, "It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham."
Speaking of which, guess where Woody Allen is filming his next movie? That's right, San Francisco. Fact: No one has ever looked like more a hipster than Woody Allen.
While quibbling over placement in a completely arbitrary listicle is beyond pointless, debating the minutia of meaningless lists is what hipsters do best.
Here's what the article had to say about San Francisco:
Hippies, part of another subculture movement, blossomed here during the flower power years of the 1960s. The tech age has certainly morphed the city’s hip denizens, who exist in pockets all over the Bay Area, such as the Mission District and South of Market, known as SOMA. San Francisco also ranked near the top of the survey for its fine dining and its diverse population--and for being easy to explore without a car.
Let's compare that to Seattle and Portland.
Granted, Seattle is famous for its coffee and residents who never stopped wearing plaid, so everyone there was well ahead of the curve when elementary school nostalgia brought flannel back among trendy twenty-somethings; however, the San Francisco Bay Area has Google and the main tech shop up in the oppressively drizzly Pacific Northwest is Microsoft.
If you need help figuring out which one of those two companies is hipper, go up to a total stranger on the street and tell them you work for Google and then approach someone else and tell them you work at Microsoft. The reactions you get will be quite different. The person you tell about Microsoft will likely say something along the lines of, "oh, that's nice." The person you tell about Google will immediately rattle off a list of people they know who also work for Google to see if you have any friends in common. They are doing so to judge your value as a human being because this is how hipsters determine the value of human beings.
(Note: The cultural cache one gets from knowing a Google employee is roughly equivalent to knowing someone whose band got a mediocre rating on Pitchfork.)
Portland, on the other hand, used to be a legitimately hipster destination until IFC made an entire TV show about Portland hipsters. The most important part of being a hipster is doing things before they were cool and, since Portlandia made being a Portland hipster cool, Portland is over.
Besides, San Francisco has so much hipster culture to offer. It was featured in a YouTube documentary series about hipsters, gotten its hipster culture satirized in a parody rap video and saw its mayoral candidates explicitly chase the coveted bike hipster vote.
On the positive side, New York didn't even make the top ten. Filling out the top of the list are New Orleans, the other Portland (the one in Maine), Providence, Austin, San Juan, Philadelphia and Denver.
What do you think about San Francisco's hipster rating? Should it be higher/lower/instead measure the number of children living in poverty because that actually matters?
In the comments tell us your hipsteriest San Francisco experience.
Which -- let's be honest -- probably happened in Oakland.
Take a look at America's most hipster cities according to Travel & Leisure below: