Given the size of the United States, it is perhaps unsurprising that there is a range of counter-cultural places to visit. Naturally, the country that gave the world the 'Beat Generation', 'Hippies', as well as 'Grunge' and, more recently, 'Indie,' has a large counter-cultural community. Although these groups are spread throughout the country, they tend to exist in large communities, meaning that the character of a city is often defined by its ‘alternative’ demographic. Travelling to these cities will give you a taste of the non-commercial side of US culture.
San Francisco has often acted as the vanguard of counter-culture in the United States. It remains to this day the leading city for gay culture, and a trip to Castro Street is a must for those interested in LGBT issues, or those who simply have an interest in the work of important gay figures, such as Harvey Milk. San Francisco’s winding streets feel more European than American, and with a laid-back counter-cultural atmosphere, you can enjoy all that San Francisco’s underground has to offer.
Seattle is another city often regarded as being counter-cultural, despite being home to both Starbucks and Microsoft. The city is particularly known for its liberal youth culture, which gave rise to Nirvana and the grunge movement as well as many of the Indie bands of recent years. Seattle is also home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the Pacific Northwest, meaning that your trip is not solely dependent upon counter-culture. You can spend the day hiking in the mountains, or enjoying the Puget Sound, before heading to a live music gig in the evening. If you are planning a trip to Seattle, then a journey to Portland, down the Pacific Coast, will also give you a chance to see some live music in another counter-cultural city. Although Portland is smaller than Seattle, it has a burgeoning music scene, and is worth a visit.
Finally, Austin is a must for any visitor who appreciates counter-culture. Any city that has as its unofficial motto ‘Keep Austin Weird’ is surely a haven for alternative thought. Austin advertises itself as being the live music capital of the world. If you like poetry, art or music, then Austin’s city centre is the place for you. The city is awash with creative thinkers, and hotels in Austin will be able to advise you as to where to find the best venues. Austin is rightfully proud of its counter-cultural attraction, and as with all of the cities mentioned above, the most exciting thing to do on your visit is to get lost in the city, and explore without a guidebook.
Dave MacKinder writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.