Depending on how in the know you are, you've either heard that our hometown, Austin, Texas, is the coolest up-and-coming city in America for the past year or the past decade. And we like that about our hometown: It just keeps getting better. (This month alone, Uber, Lyft and the ESPN X Games just arrived in Austin!)
So what makes a city the next big thing? Whether you live in Portland, Oregon, Asheville, North Carolina, Oakland, California, or some place so cool we haven't even heard of it yet, be on the lookout for these telltale signs that your city's becoming a boomtown. (And if you think your city is such a gem that Localeur should exist there, please let us know.)
1. College life is no longer the main attraction
Maybe when you moved to where you live now, it was for college. Student bars and sports games ran the town, right? But like you, a chunk of your former classmates opted to stick around after graduation -- you may have even convinced friends living elsewhere to book it over to your city. Now, college life is a mere fraction of the scene. Gone are the days of standing in line outside of a bar among a dozen kids whose fake IDs won't get them anywhere near a bartender. And hey, added bonus: You don't have to spend your weekends clad in school colors anymore. (We love The University of Texas here in Austin, but a sea of burnt orange T-shirts gets old fast.)
2. The craft-anything scene has gotten out of control
What started as one modestly hip coffee shop has spawned into a downright confounding number of specialty-cocktail bars, farm-to-table restaurants, and craft-beer breweries (see image above). Is Applebee's still in business? You have no idea. In fact, your city's craft scene is so contagious, the town's name has become a verb synonymous with something like "quaint gentrification." And the color palette of everything is starting to look more and more like it was plucked from a Wes Anderson storyboard. You're not imagining things.
3. You find yourself trying to talk people out of moving there
Living in the next boomtown is all fun and games until it comes time to find a parking spot. There comes a point in every city's rise when the infrastructure hasn't exactly caught up with the population influx, and when you hear out-of-towners seriously considering a move, you can't help but gently discourage them from going through with it. "This is a fluke of good weather; it's normally much rainier," you say. "It's never this fun year-round -- this festival makes living her look more fun than it is." Yeah, sure. Talk that talk. Nobody's buying it.
4. Recession? Is that still a thing?
It's not that you don't know that the recent economic recession wasn't a thing -- it's just that you never quite figured out what all the fuss was about. Okay, maybe plane tickets got more expensive, but you didn't know anyone who lost their job, and your day-to-day life never changed all that much. What's more, if the recession is still going on, you're none the wiser. Just be sure and keep this bit of information under wraps, because here's a little secret: everyone else in America hates you.
5. You can't keep up with how quickly things are opening
Hey, you're no slouch. You probably enjoy checking out the latest bars, restaurants, shops, and exhibitions cropping up all over town and wouldn't think of having date night at anything even remotely resembling a franchise. But it only takes a one-week vacation away from home to find yourself totally blindsided by the opening of a handful of new places you never even knew about beforehand. (Are we just describing what's more commonly referred to as "getting old"?) Listen, from one boomtowner to another: It may be time to give up on keeping abreast. You'll get around to trying that liquid-nitrogen ice cream shop (see below) eventually.