Site ranks Huntsville 16th on list of most hipster US cities


The Garage at Clinton Row, taken on December 6, 2017
Photo: Kristen Conner/WHNT

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Rocket City is getting noticed not just for tech jobs and startup friendliness, it is also on a list that celebrates the "quirks" that make a place unique and appealing to hipsters.

MoveHub, which follows the shipping and relocation industry, put together a ranking of cities in the United States according to qualities hipsters find attractive. It's called the US Hipster Index.

MoveHub used factors like rent availability and the number of tattoo parlors, vegan stores, microbreweries, and thrift shops to evaluate cities for the index.

Huntsville ranks 16th, making the site's top 20.

Business Insider wrote about this, calling Huntsville one of the "hippest cities everyone under 30 wants to move to."

The article stated, "Huntsville is a bustling city in northern Alabama. With farmers' markets, coffee shops, and local breweries, there's plenty to do. Plus, the city has 9.3 thrift shops per 100,000 people, making it a great place for fashionistas and creatives."

Chad Emerson, President and CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Inc. said Huntsville should be proud to be on this list.

"We really focus a lot of our attention on quality of life," he said, "bringing quirky, interesting, and innovative things to Huntsville, and to the city center."

Emerson added that this ranking shows the hard work his group and its partners have put into the city and its downtown area is paying off.

"We have focused on bringing those quirky, innovative, ecclectic businesses and events to downtown, but if you do it you have to be authentic," he explained. "If you try to focus or do it quickly, people will see through that. So we think it has taken longer, it's been 3-4 years now. But that authenticity of quirkiness is really coming through."

Eliah McCutchen, Media Coordinator at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment, isn't surprised Huntsville made the cut on this ranking.

"In the past few years, it has grown tremendously. I left for college 4 years ago in Birmingham, and coming back here I was like, 'Oh my gosh, there's all kinds of new stuff to do!'" he said. "It was on the list with a lot of bigger cities that you wouldn't necessarily think Huntsville would be in the same pool as, but it was very cool seeing someplace that I love so much and have lived for so long being represented like that."

McCutchen said that through his work at Lowe Mill, he knows the things Huntsville has to offer people with creative spirits.

"If you're an actor, an artist, a musician, there is something for you to do here," he said of Huntsville. "At Lowe Mill, we are the largest privately-owned arts facility in the nation. We have 150 working studios with more than 200 artists in those studios."

But others said they don't think Huntsville is as cool yet as this list makes it seem.

"There needs to be more things to do. More fun stuff for youth," said Michael Amerson, a Huntsville resident. "You can kind of see they're trying. They built the Top Golf and all that-- so they're trying."

Amerson said he doesn't think Huntsville is quite there yet, and he sees it more as a place to settle down than a place to move while young.

Tareik Smith agreed.

"It has a long way to go," Smith stated. But he added hopefully, "It will get there."

Emerson said this list is valuable to Huntsville, and can create more interest in this area.

"I think what it is-- it raises your reputational value," he said. "Huntsville as a whole and a downtown, is becoming a more interesting destination. You're seeing more lofts, more businesses, and activities that appeal to everyone but especially appeal to young professionals." He added, "This is a piece of the puzzle to compete with other cities for a great workforce."

To see the other cities included in the ranking, click here.

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