The Cost of Living in America’s Trendiest Neighborhoods (2024 Study)

By Amanda Lutz

October 17, 2023
Drone view of downtown Los Angeles or LA skyline with skyscrapers and freeway traffic below.

Living in the trendiest neighborhoods in the United States often means you’ll have to forgo a walk-in closet, designated parking space, and even an in-unit washer and dryer.

That’s a price many are willing to pay for the luxury of living within walking distance of hip social activities and amenities, such as dining out at five-star restaurants with friends, grabbing a daily latte at the local coffee shop, attending an art gallery opening, or enjoying a craft beverage at the cocktail bar on the corner.  

However, a smaller residence and more crowded spaces are not the only price you’ll pay living in a bustling area. Trendy neighborhoods often come with a higher-than-average cost of living, including sky-high rent.

We examined living and entertainment expenses in 14 of the trendiest cities to get an idea of what it costs to be social in these areas. We assumed the resident would be attending an entertainment venue once a week, an art venue once a week, dining out and buying coffee five times a week, and enjoying a cocktail twice per week. Read on for our findings, and check out our methodology for details on how we collected our data.


Key Findings


A Look at Spending in the Trendiest Neighborhoods in America

The following are the trendiest neighborhoods nestled in some of the biggest cities in America. We’ve ordered the cities from high to low based on the salary needed to comfortably afford rent. We also analyzed the median individual income of each city and determined how expensive social costs were as a percentage of monthly income. 

Williamsburg

Williamsburg became known as the hipster hangout because of its art galleries, locally owned shops, and thriving indie music scene. Although it has become “more refined” in recent years, it’s still one of the trendiest neighborhoods in NYC, drawing in tourists and residents alike with museums such as The City Reliquary, unique restaurants, and upbeat nightlife. It also hosts community events such as its famous Smorgasburg summer foodie market. 

South End

South End is a popular neighborhood that features Victorian brownstone buildings and some of the best dining establishments in Boston. Additionally, its vibrant atmosphere, bustling arts community, and dozens of parks have attracted a diverse population of young professionals and families. Enjoying dinner at restaurants such as the Black Lamb and grabbing coffee from Cuppacoffee or Greystone comes with a hefty price tag. 

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village, also called The Village, is on the lower west side of Manhattan, New York City. It’s known for having a “laid-back vibe that’s youthful and upbeat,” according to NYC Tourism, and it is full of poetry and music history. We considered the cost of dining at chic restaurants, such as Amelie wine bar and Lord’s British pub, and the average admission for a show at The Comedy Cellar. We found that a week out in The Village has the largest price tag among the 14 neighborhoods we analyzed. 

The Mission

Touted as one of San Francisco’s most “of-the-moment” neighborhoods, Mission District comprises several streets with trendy offerings, including The Chapel, an old church that has transformed into a popular live-music venue. The neighborhood is lined with arts and murals and features a wide variety of restaurants and shops—many Latino-owned, such as Limon—as well as cocktail bars, the famous Tartine Bakery, and the nearly 16-acre Dolores Park. 

Venice

“Edgy, artsy, stylish, and a little bit odd” is the descriptor for Los Angeles’ famous beach town, Venice, otherwise known as Venice Beach. Nestled south of Santa Monica, the neighborhood was named after the famous city in Italy and pays homage to its namesake with its Venice Canal Historic District. While this trendy beach neighborhood is known for its quirky street performers and bohemian vibe, those living in Venice can still capitalize on its Italian heritage by enjoying a cappuccino from Menotti’s or dinner at Ospi. 

Logan Circle

Logan Circle has become a “playground for the young and stylish,” according to Washington.org. This neighborhood is the perfect mesh of historic charm and modern necessities, drawing in residents and tourists alike. Logan Circle offers everything you need for entertainment. Its hip nightlife includes venues such as Black Cat and food spots such as Chaplin’s, where guests can feast on Japanese fare and cocktails in a 1920s-themed eatery named after Charlie Chaplin. 

Wynwood

Miami is famous for the beach, but it has a bustling arts and culture scene as well—Wynwood is the main hub of it. Tucked just north of Downtown Miami and west of the beach, this mural-lined neighborhood is full of eclectic bars, restaurants, shops, and art galleries, including the Museum of Graffiti. What was once home to nothing but warehouses has transformed into “one of the world’s hippest hangouts.” The trendy neighborhood features spots such as Kush, a gastropub where residents can sip on craft beer in an art gallery setting. 

Silver Lake

Silver Lake is often described as the “Brooklyn of Los Angeles.” Silver Lake has a creative yet sophisticated vibe that has attracted young professionals, families, and even some celebrities. It features the Silver Lake Reservoir, dozens of coffee shops and restaurants, and many music venues, including Zebulon. California’s visitor’s center touts Silver Lake as “perfect for hipsters, artists, families, boutique shoppers, foodies, and more.” 

West Loop

This former meat-packing district has exploded into a mecca for foodies with its famous Restaurant Row on Randolph Street. West Loop is also home to trendy bars such as Kumiko and La Josie, boutique hotels, cool shops, art galleries, and Greektown. With all these offerings, it’s no surprise this industrial-style neighborhood has become one of the trendiest in Chicago. However, to comfortably afford a one-bedroom apartment in this area, individuals need to make at least $95,000 per year.

Capitol Hill, Seattle

Seattle’s tourism center claims Capitol Hill is “one of the West Coast’s coolest neighborhoods.” This creative epicenter has been a pillar spot for the LGBTQ+ community since the 1950s and has become a hub for grunge music fans and musicians in the 1990s. Now, Capitol Hill is a bustling neighborhood full of boutiques, bookstores, parks, museums, and many cool restaurants and cafes. Dining at Tavolàta or Tamari Bar or catching a show at Neumos are just a few of the perks of living in Capitol Hill. 

River North Arts District (RiNo)

The River North Arts District—or RiNo—is an aptly named neighborhood dedicated to supporting local artists and businesses. The historic neighborhood offered an affordable haven for artist entrepreneurs in the early 2000s and has become quite the hot spot in Denver for those who appreciate art. Car lovers may also check out the Forney Museum of Transportation to view cars of a specific era. Foodies also have a wide array of cuisine options to choose from, including Point Easy for the cavatelli or Lucky Noodles for a curry puff and pork roti. 

Old Fourth Ward

As a historic neighborhood and the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Old Fourth Ward (OFW) once drew people in to see its landmarks, shotgun houses, and Victorian homes. While it still attracts history buffs, it has also evolved into one of Atlanta’s trendiest neighborhoods, thanks to a revamp of the Historic Fourth Ward Park and the emergence of culinary hotspots, alluring nightlife, and unique music venues, including the converted movie-theater-turned-concert-hall Variety Playhouse. 

South Congress

Full of coffee shops, top-notch restaurants, trendy cocktail bars, and live music venues, SoCo is a popular place to live in America’s fastest-growing metro. It’s also nationally known for its “eclectic retail offerings” and the legendary Continental Club music venue. 

Fishtown

This stylish neighborhood was once the working-class center of the commercial shad fishing industry, which is how it got its unique name. Now, Fishtown is known for being Philadelphia’s coolest neighborhood, full of artists, foodies, and musicians. Philly’s tourism board describes Fishtown as “young, hip, and on the rise,” with its many bars, restaurants, venues, art studios, and galleries attracting a rush of new residents. In Fishtown, you can enjoy a local watering hole vibe at Murph’s cash-only bar or a craft cocktail and entree at Lloyd Whiskey Bar.  


In Conclusion

Although the cost of rent in a “cool” neighborhood in America is typically the biggest financial obstacle for residents, enjoying all these neighborhoods have to offer in amenities and venues also has a significant price tag. Of our curated list of trendy neighborhoods, residents spend 13% to 31% of the median local income on social activities.

However, for many people, the cost of having a social life is well worth it. If walking to grab your morning latte, exploring a new art exhibit, and enjoying a post-work dinner or cocktail is a priceless experience, consider a move to one of these trendy hot spots.


Methodology

We researched 52 neighborhoods in the 100 most populous cities in America and focused our list on the 14 most popular neighborhoods across the country. Using Yelp, we researched the 10 most popular and highly rated restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and entertainment venues within each neighborhood to compile prices for social activities such as going out to eat; attending a live concert, comedy show, or art exhibit; grabbing a latte at a local coffee shop; and going out for a cocktail. To source dinner prices, we accessed restaurant menus and compiled prices for an appetizer and entree to determine the cost of a meal for one. A total of 140 restaurant menus were analyzed. 

To find the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment, we used the Zillow rent comparison tool to find the average rent for the whole city and the average rent for the trendy neighborhood. We found the median earnings of full-time workers in each city using data from the U.S. Census. Weekly social costs referenced assumes two nights out for a live show and museum or gallery event, dinner out for one person five times per week, two drinks per week, and the purchase of one latte five times per week. Using the recommendation of housing costs being no more than 30% of gross income, we were able to determine the salary a person would need to earn to comfortably afford to live by themselves in each of the trendiest neighborhoods in America.

Median income: We found the median income of individual, full-time workers from the U.S. Census.