5 Cities Every Creative Should Live In Once

Photo by Shaye Babb

As a creative, finding a city to live in that promotes and fosters creativity is vital for your career. Living in a place that actively supports the artistic community will give you the opportunity to grow your portfolio and business. Whether you connect with like-minded individuals, attend regular artistic events or have the opportunity to work under professionals in your industry – the city in which you choose to reside can make or break your future success. If you’re considering moving and relocating to a city with more creative inclination, we’ve created a list of 5 cities every creative should consider living in at least once.

New York, New York

Although New York City may seem like a no-brainer for artists, it is important to explain why every creative individual should live here at least once. In my opinion, the climate of New York City for artists has changed drastically in the last few decades. Once a melting pot for young, broke dreamers to come and follow their passions – the city has become less of a sanctuary for hungry creators. Mainly due to the high cost of living, that seems to be climbing every day, it is almost impossible for many beginners to come to this city and live off of their personal work alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to deter you from making the move. In fact, the best time to make the move to New York is at the start of your career. I find that more and more artists are coming to New York City for shorter periods of time (a few years), digesting the city and leaving with the necessary knowledge to continue their pursuits. If you choose to make the big leap and live in New York, you will truly learn and grow as an artist. As a city that is always moving, there are plenty of events to attend, people to network with and agencies to work with on commercial, editorial and creative projects.

New York is the mecca of industries such as fashion, art, and entertainment, so no matter which way you approach it, you will have the chance to be fully immersed in your desired industry. You will find your personal style and voice in a way that makes you grow and develop as an artist. New York will challenge you, it will change you and in the process, you will always build from the experience it offered you.

San Francisco, California

Another city worth living in as a creator is San Francisco. Although this city is becoming more expensive with the boom of Silicon Valley – it still remains to be one of the most unique and eclectic places in the United States. The landscape of the city is reason enough to make the move as well as the thriving artistic community.

Known for its roaring music scene back in the 1960s, San Francisco was once home to young artists starting their careers such as the famed photographer, Annie Leibovitz, whose first big job was for Rolling Stone magazine. It continues to play an important role in the creative industry with its universities such as the Academy of Art Institute and artist associations dedicated to helping creatives.

Even with the rise of the tech industry, artists are attempting to maintain a strong hold on the city that has inspired them for many years. San Francisco is a prime city for creatives due to its catch-all nature; appealing to the mass of artists across various platforms. Whether you’re in photography, videography, fine art or fashion – the city is connected with agencies, magazines, top companies and collectives that bring together creatives.

It is a city that will continue to mold and change through the transformation of the industry, which makes it a worthwhile place to consider when pursuing your artistic career.

Portland, Oregon

The creative scene in Portland has slowly risen over the last several years, making it a notable city to consider for budding artists. Known for its alternative viewpoints and free-spirited thinking, Portland is a place that welcomes creatives from all walks of life to set up shop in their city.

As the largest city in Oregon, it is home to creatives in every field and attracts many designers and craftsman. With the city’s landscape and surrounding areas of Oregon – Portland is an ideal city for landscape photographers and videographers. Whether your work is heavily reflected in rural locations or the stunning coastal beaches of the Pacific Northwest, Portland is a visual powerhouse for such photographic backdrops.

In addition, the cost of living in Portland is lower than the majority of bustling, metropolitan areas. The social and local scene is young, fresh and makes meeting and collaborating with other creatives a seamless experience.

Austin, Texas

Austin is known for its alternative and hip culture within the Texan state. With many young entrepreneurs and creatives making the move to this artistically rich hub, it is definitely a city to consider when building your career.

Acclaimed as being one of the top live music cities in the country, creatives with a passion and focus in the music, the entertainment industry is sure to thrive with the expansive amount of opportunity. Specifically for concert photographers, Austin is an ideal city to capture up and coming musicians as well as cover festivals such as South by SouthWest (SXSW).

The social scene in Austin is young and bustling with a nightlife that is full of live musical performances, food trucks and unique outdoor spaces. If you’re looking for a place in the southern United States where creators love to live and work, Austin may just be the best place for you.

Denver, Colorado

The last city on our list that has been growing with creative esteem is Denver, Colorado. Being one of the most populated cities in the state, Denver is home to creators from all over the country. As if the visual appeal of the rustic landscape wasn’t enough to convince you, the city frivolously fosters its creative community and startups

For example, Denver has several co-working spaces such as the Creative Farm, where members can go to network and strengthen the connection between creatives. Additionally, the city has several specific districts that are dedicated to the artistic community. The cost of living is considerably lower, which makes it a great place for creatives on a budget. The city has also been known to grant funding and invest in creative business ideas presented by its community members.

Lastly, Denver is a prime spot for photographers and videographers whose work is heavily focused on nature landscapes. With mountain backdrops, breathtaking lakes and wide open forests – your work will surely thrive in creating imagery and content while living in Denver.

From urban metropolitans to quaint mountain towns, these 5 cities are each great options for creatives and artists to build and grow their careers. Do you have any cities in the United States that you feel promote and support the creative community? Share your thoughts with us below.