Last week hipster Seattleites shrugged indifferently at the news that our city had been named by Travel and Leisure as America’s best city for hipsters.
Seattle took the prized vegan cupcake for first place, and was lauded by the site for our brains, Mac products, coffee snobbery and unique “buttoned-down” brand of hipster.
We even beat out our ever-quirkier southern neighbors, despite Portlandia. (The ensuing roller derby standoff is bound to be fierce).
But cool knows no borders, so here is a list of global hipster enclaves that might just give us a run for our money:
The capital of Iceland is Seattle’s sister city in the upper echelons of hipsterdom.
If Seattle ranks highest in national standing without having to consistently reach for the lime-green plaid leggings then Iceland takes international title without even having to lift a nearly-arctic finger.
Case in point: The Iceland Airwaves Festival: bringing together dozens of bands that you can’t pronounce but will still pretend you’ve heard of.
Intimate coffee shops, ample thick, patterned sweaters and the enviably hip factor of speaking a language that just over 300,000 people understand.
One blogger describes seeing a Belle and Sebastian show in a herring storage shed with strips of shark meat hanging out to dry just outside the door. Enough said.
Suddenly, the emergence of daily direct flights from Seattle to Iceland makes a lot of sense.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico
Seeking hipsters south of the US border, one might do well to move towards this colonial city nestled in the highlands of the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Potent coffee beans roasted close to the source, check. Hand-hewn leather satchels, check. Abundant NGOS, check.
But most importantly, San Cristobal is the nerve center of the Zapatista revolution. You just might run into infinitely hip poet, philosopher, anti-capitalist sex symbol Subcomandante Marcos chilling out in the town square on a break from leading the revolution.
Amazing story of a ghost town reborn into Bohemian paradise.
Marcus Westbury, a festival director in Newcastle, came up with an ingenious tactic for reinvigorating the over 150 empty storefronts of the city’s derelict downtown.
Securing agreements from landowners he invited fledgling artists, designers and food cooperatives to use the storefronts for free, or until their businesses were stable enough to pay rent.
Dilapidated buildings turned vibrant arts district; like a hipster fairy tale come true.
Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa area rivals Williamsburg, Brooklyn as the hippest neighborhood in the world. Shimokitazawa is a labyinth of tiny streets filled with live music venues.
One blogger says it all: “The only way to explain Shimokitazawa – it’s what the world would be like if it was run by hipsters.”
Described as the “undisputed Elvis of South Asian megacites,” Bangalore boasts all the eccentricities needed to sustain a healthy ex-pat and local hipster culture.
Maybe some of our hipster culture rubbed off during all of those calls we made to tech support centers in Bangalore.
Check out outdoor fleamarket and bazaar, the Sunday Soul Sante. One blogger writes that “anyone with more than trace elements of hipsterness” would be gleeful to rummage through instruments fashioned from junk and paper made from pure elephant dung, and get inked in sanskrit at one of the outdoor tattoo stalls.
That rounds out the top five. Any bastions of global cool that we snubbed?