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What Are the Coolest Cities in America?

billjacobus1, flickr

The definition of “cool” is rather subjective — for some people, they just know it when they see it. But using its own criteria, Forbes combed through dozens of metropolitan areas to come up with its list of America’s coolest cities.

And the results might surprise you.

Forbes put together the rankings using data like the number of entertainment options and restaurants and bars per capita, recreational opportunities, cultural composition, median age and unemployment rates.

Houston — yes, Houston — took the top spot. Although you may not think of the Texas city as being particularly cool or hip, it has more than 11,000 eateries and its recreation and arts and culture index scores were both very high. Add to that a median resident age of just 33 and an unemployment rate of less than seven percent, and you can see why almost 50,000 people moved there last year.

The Washington, DC metropolitan area took runner-up honors with its 5.4 percent unemployment rate and plethora of arts and culture options. And even with an unemployment rate of nearly 12 percent, Los Angeles came in third, thanks largely to its nearly 20,000 local bars and restaurants and a perfect score on Forbes’ recreation index.

10 coolest metro areas in America:

1. Houston, TX
2. Washington, DC
3. Los Angeles, CA
4. Dallas, TX
5. Seattle, WA
6. San Diego, CA
7. Boston, MA
8. Orange County, CA
9. San Francisco, CA
10. New York, NY


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