THE BLOG
04/11/2016 11:23 am ET Updated Apr 12, 2017

10 U.S. Suburbs That Are Surprisingly, Genuinely Cool

By Julia Pond, Managing Editor

If you grew up trawling a shopping mall for fun, or heading to a 24 hour supermarket at midnight because you didn't have much else to do, or feeling surrounded by frustation and isolation adorned with fancy sofas, a la American Beauty, you might have grown up in the American suburbs of the 1980s and 90s. But in 2016, not all suburbs are made of desperation and picket fences. These 10 suburbs (listed in no particular order, gathered by research) are actually genuinely cool: nightlife, craft beer, yoga and young people are anything but foreign. You might even see a hipster beard. Each is also a satellite of a city proper, rather than a destination unto its own. Read our choices, and then let us know... have you encountered any surprisingly cool suburbs?

 

Bellevue, Washington

Photo: Bellevue by: tvangoethem flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Suburb of: Seattle

Why it's Cool: Tech money (Amazon and Microsoft), tons of local craft breweries like Bellevue Brewing Company and big art scene combine to make Bellevue possibly one of the coolest suburbs ever.

 

West Des Moines, Iowa


Suburb of: Des Moines

Why it's Cool: Awesome restaurants, a young population, comic book stores, and a growing reputation for hipster-dom sure to attract more of the same. Plus, the only thing cooler than living in Brooklyn or Oakland is leaving.

 

Royal Oak, Michigan


Suburb of: Detroit

Why it's Cool: Detroit is already a hipster capital, so it makes sense that its suburbs are feeling it, too. Royal Oak has a walkable downtown, lots of nightlife, local shopping, a Drag Queen Bingo Brunch at Five 15 Media Mojo and great live music at Luna Lounge...for a start.

 

Davis, California

Photo: Davis by: Peter Alfred Hess flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Suburb of: Sacramento

Why it's Cool: As a college town built around UC Davis, it's always had lots of young people. And now, it's developed a booming wine and food industry. Vineyards, crops and cows crisscross the hills, and the twice weekly Farmers Market has won national awards.

Somerville, MA 

Photo: Somerville by: timsackton flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Suburb of: Boston

Why it's Cool20 years ago, Somerville was known most often by the nickname "Slumahville." These days it's where all the coolest stuff happens, and it's just outside Boston. Take Aeronaut Brewing for example, where craft beer often mixes with fun stuff like yoga or robot workshops. 

 

Freeport, NY

Photo: Freeport by: Joe Mabel flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Suburb of: NYC

Why it's Cool: The walk in or drive-your-boat-up Nautical Mile is great for oceanside bar hopping. Head off the Mile to find some cool Latin restaurants. And it's still within the realm of possible to imagine buying a house here, at least more so than in Manhattan.

 

Roswell, GA 

Suburb of: Atlanta

Why it's Cool: Canton Street's in the historic district and is known for its shopping and cafes. There's an art gallery with the largest collection of Dr Seuss work in the U.S. (what's hipper than a Sneetch, after all?) and a plethora of Southern architecture like Bulloch Hall (Teddy Roosevet's mom's place), Barrington Hall (home of the town's founders), and the Mill Village (where the mills were). Also, the downtown is super cute, and there's tons of nightlife, AND they have covered bridges.

Evanston, IL 

Suburb of: Chicago

Why it's Cool: They've taken the revolutionary suburban step of getting rid of...cars. Yes, Downtown Evanston is semi-pedestrianized, has ample public transport and bike lanes, and is in the process is proving themselves a thought-leader in (sub)urban development in the process. It's got a few miles of beach along Lake Michigan, and cool restaurants like the upscale Stained Glass and offbeat diner Lucky Platter.

 

Coral Gables, FL

Photo: Venetian Pool by: David C - Courtesy: Trip.com
Suburb of: Miami

Why it's Cool: Nearly every week there is something new going on according to our Miami editor, but aside from that - Coral Gables is a suburb packed with cool stuff to do, from cheap sushi at Obba, to bookstore/cafe Books and Books, to the extraordinary Botanical Garden which regularly hosts concerts and events. Let's not forget the fresh water public Venetian Pool or hipster brunch at Swine.

 

North County, CA 

Photo: Belching Beaver Brewery by: Becky Mahan - Courtesy: Trip.com
Suburb of: San Diego

Why it's Cool: It's been "up and coming" for years now, filled with local colleges and a university, and thus a young, hip crowd. While craft breweries (Belching Beaver, anyone?) are as common as coffee shops in North County towns like Vista, those who prefer a glass of red (or white) should head out to the many wineries in the eastern outskirts like Escondido and San Pasqual Valley. Each city's "downtown" offers everything from art galleries to craft coffee and tea shops to daily farmers markets, and new eateries seem to crop up every week, offering inventive cuisines as noteworthy as the world-class restaurants in the big city downtown.

This piece originally appeared on the Trip.com blog.

Trip.com's mission is to help people find great places to stay, eat and play that are perfect for them - city, country, or suburbs. Explore more cool spots near your favorite city by downloading our mobile app.

 

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