9 Hip American Neighborhoods With Reasonably Cheap Rent

Do you wear Wayfearers? Ironic topsiders? TOMS? Do you remember the last time you went to the dentist? If you answered "yes" to the first three questions, and "no" to the last one, you might be a hipster. Hipsters come in all types — Corporate Hipster, Unemployed Hipster, Artist Hipster, Scenester, It Girl/Guy, Social Media Consultant, Pirate/Cowboy, Pirate Cowboy and the like. But there's one thing they have in common: an unwavering yen to live near the cool spots (and, hopefully, for the best price). If you long to be part of the new urban renaissance and you're looking for a place (and, of course, if you fit the hipster bill), you'll love these nine hip neighborhoods with reasonably cheap rent.

  1. SoCo

    South Congress, called SoCo, is an area of Austin with a hippie legacy — and a hipster present. The most beautiful, often tattooed, people enjoy life in the capital city with culture, independent retailers, and restaurants just blocks away. With its rich tradition of "keeping it weird," funky neons, and a "takes-all-kinds" attitude, this area of The Live Music Capital of the World attracts a smattering of personalities and lifestyles. While the cost of living in SoCo is just below the national average, safety and proximity to culture and amenities make this neighborhood hip and happening. If the big bands of tomorrow like to hang out there today, you know it's a neighborhood with some street cred. Note: The east side of Austin has recently had a resurgence, and the rents are dirt cheap there. But you'll likely have several roommates, and be more exposed to crime.

  2. Highlands/Lo-Hi

    Denver is a flat-out gorgeous and mountainous cousin to Austin, often catering to the more "crunchy granola" and outdoor types. The Highlands is home to extremely reasonable rents, safe neighborhoods, many nightlife options, and convenient shopping. Colorado is a place for the cool, and Denver's Highlands residents are seemingly the cream of this crop.

  3. Bushwick

    Just east of former hip haven Williamsburg, Bushwick is the new hot spot to find cheap rent in Brooklyn. A historic spot of looting and riots, Bushwick has a rich history and is enjoying a revitalization. Many of the hip and up-and-coming young creative professionals have left Williamsburg for the close-by neighborhood, in search of frugal living and the same cool.

  4. Logan Square

    This neighborhood in Chicago is home to the Illinois Centennial Monument, and many recent artist transplants from nearby neighborhoods, such as Bucktown and the famous Wicker Park. Lots of breweries, bicycles, bars, and rents for the budget-conscious make this a great place to rent, buy, or even visit. Note: While Bucktown certainly has a cooler name, the rents there are considerably higher than in Logan Square. If you're a "bushy beard," Logan Square is for you.

  5. Hawthorne

    A fan of Portlandia, are we? Hawthorne has been likened to the Greenwich Village of Portland. Better for biking than cars, and a great area for the counter-culture feel characteristic of Portland, here you'll find a Powell's — and pubs aplenty.


  6. Montrose

    The Montrose area of Houston is the place that makes a big city feel like a small, hip town. Proximity to everything the sprawling city has to offer, as well as a burgeoning new media crowd that hangs tight are some of the neighborhood's greatest attractions. Texas has relatively low cost of living comparatively, and this neighborhood is no exception. In Montrose especially, it's even a good time to buy. And when there's a PBS documentary on the place, you know it's a friend of the hip. Note: While Montrose is good, Houston's Heights neighborhood is also a good bet — it's undergoing a reasonable real estate renaissance, as well.

  7. North Park

    In San Diego, there are several (comparatively) affordable hip neighborhoods. North Park is one of the most lively, with lots of dive bars, small galleries, and nightlife. Thirtieth Street is walkable and fun; it's perfect for a diverse mix of restaurants and people. Expensive here to buy, it's a great idea to rent before you leap into long-term living in North Park.

  8. Old Town

    The Old Town neighborhood of Fort Collins, Colo., has workably cheap rents, is hip, and close to all of the sleepy town's amenities. While the cost of living here is a bit higher than the national average, you can easily have the laid-back feel of the Pacific Northwest with the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Fort Collins has been made hip and brought to national attention by the new reality television show on National Geographic's cable channel, American Weed — showcasing some of the city's more beautiful and industrious entrepreneurs.

  9. Fremont

    Seattle, a hip one's haven, is full of funky neighborhoods like Ballard and Capitol Hill. Try Fremont for reasonable rent — rates are usually about $1 per square foot. You'll find techie professionals, artists, foodies, and graduate students — the best of Seattle's uber-hip bunch.