Special Report

America's Trendiest Cities in 2021

People are drawn to certain cities for many reasons. They’re centers of commerce and culture, arts and entertainment; they’re places for meeting and mingling. Rural environments may have been attractive during the height of the pandemic, but now that people are able to travel safely again, cities are likely to regain their appeal as destinations — especially for the young. (Coronavirus refugees are also beginning to move back into various metropolises full-time. These are the 50 best cities to live in.) 

Some cities are apt to have greater appeal to Millennials and members of Generation Z than others. 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of those that might prove the most appealing destinations, based on their prevalence of such establishments such as coffee roasteries, farmers markets, craft breweries, wine bars, and tattoo parlors. Call them America’s trendiest cities — cities that are already well-established (to say the least) but who can be described as “up and coming” because their allure is even stronger now than ever.

The two trendiest cities on our list are Long Beach and Oakland, both in California. While they may benefit from their proximity to larger cities — Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively — they’re less expensive and have advantages of their own. Among other things, they share something in common with many other cities on our list: They have good climates and ample recreational opportunities. (Here are the 25 best cities for active people.)

Click here to see America’s trendiest cities in 2021

To determine America’s trendiest cities, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from VacationRenter, a vacation rental search site. The site surveyed 1,000 people to determine what kinds of establishments they would expect to find in an “up-and-coming” city. These included coffee roasteries, farmers markets, craft breweries, wine bars, tattoo parlors, thrift stores, juice bars, galleries, breweries, and cannabis dispensaries, among other places. VacationRenter then drew data from Yelp regarding the total number of these establishments and their average total Yelp rating in the 50 most populous U.S. cities. The country’s five largest cities — New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix — were excluded from the computation.

It’s worth noting that eight of the trendiest cities, including the top six, are located on the Atlantic, Pacific, or Gulf coasts. Coastal states in the U.S. tend to be more liberal than those in the heartland, which may make them even more attractive to the young.