Austin neighborhood makes top 10 "hippest" in country


by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATTHEW OLSON

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 10:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 25 at 12:05 PM

AUSTIN -- Austin being cool is undisputed. It was ranked the 11th coolest U.S. city, according to Forbes Magazine. But hip? What does that even mean?

"It means it's a place you can grow chickens," laughed one Austinite.  

"It means people out and about," said another. "Arts, entertainment, culture, you know everybody's out eating."
That could describe most of Austin, but Forbes said the "hip-ness" is best seen on the east side. The neighborhood came in at 7th hippest, judged on a handful of qualities including those who live there, known by some as "hipsters."

"Well I'm an old hipster," said Steve Hansen, who opened his copy shop business on East 6th Street 25 years ago. 

"Most of these bars that are popular now were dives with crackheads and you name it hanging out there," Hansen said. "Now it's great. Things have changed over here and it's a great neighborhood."
Those changes are what's behind the ranking. New business is bringing new life to the area. It's a place where residents ditch the car to ride their bikes or walk to coffee shops, food trucks and bars. 

It takes more than just good music and food to make the hip scale, after all what's more hip than harvesting your own kale at one of Austin's several urban farms?

So it's cool to be hip. Still, it's not for everyone. 

"I don't think I have the right build," said an East Austin resident. "I don't look good in skinny jeans and my taste in music is not sufficiently obscure."
Hip or not one thing is clear, the secret is out on a favorite piece of Austin.

Whether you're an expert in hipsterdom or not, we want to know what you think makes East Austin hip. Share your favorite spots on this post on Facebook on The KVUE Insider.