Alaska Life

Who knew? Anchorage among 'America's best cities for hipsters'

Get on your skinny jeans and head to the record store -- Anchorage has been named one of the best cities in America for hipster living by Travel and Leisure, which may or may not be a good thing, depending who you talk to.

What's a hipster? Well, a brief definition from Urban Dictionary classifies a hipster as "Someone who thinks their (sic) cool because they aren't 'mainstream' but in reality have become mainstream by trying not to be mainstream."

In reality, Hipsters are defined for most people by a group of stereotypes: they're young, they wear glasses, they drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, they're underemployed, they listen to obscure bands, and they spurn anything popular with the masses. So what makes Anchorage a safe haven for hipster living? Well, look no further than Spenard, according to the folks over at T&L:

These Alaskans got credit for being different — after all, this may be the only big U.S. city where dogsledding counts as a major sport. In the Spenard neighborhood, you'll find the highest concentration of microbrews (try Spenard Roadhouse), interesting cuisine (such as Himayalan-style Yak and Yeti), and one low-tech hipster magnet: Title Wave Books, a huge used bookstore.

That's even leaving out hipster hotspots like Organic Oasis, Tap Root, and Middle Way Cafe. It's true that hipster culture embraces locally grown food and a tasty microbrew like the offerings at Spenard Roadhouse. The city has a few things about it that might fly in the face of typical hipsters, however. After all, we don't wear Xtratufs to be ironic, and our hipster-style headbands are actually meant to keep our ears warm. It's also hard to find a faux-military jacket from Urban Outfitters that keeps you warm at 20 below.

But maybe hipsterism is a West Coast thing: the top three hipster cities on the list -- Seattle, Portland, Ore. and San Francisco -- are all on the left side of the U.S. It was a bit of a coup for Seattle, since Portland has inspired its own television program that is pure homage to hipsterism, "Portlandia."

Anchorage squeezed in at position number 27 out of 35, right between Houston, Texas and Miami. Left off the list is perhaps the birthplace of modern hipster culture -- the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. But maybe that was intentional, since it wouldn't be hipster if it were on some list, man.


At least Anchorage-ites can now say "I lived in Anchorage before it sold out."

Read the whole list of "America's best cities for hipsters," at Travel and Leisure.

Ben Anderson

Ben Anderson is a former writer and editor for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.