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America's Top "Hygge" Cities

"Hygge" is the Danish concept of creating cozy environments that foster well-being and contentment. Many Americans have eagerly adopted hygge over the past few years and Sperling's BestPlaces has now determined the Top Hygge Cities in the U.S.

Hygge experts agree that while the concept is flexible, its most common attributes include relaxing in front of a fireplace, sipping on a warming beverage (tea, wine, coffee, brandy, etc), hanging out with friends and family, and the liberal use of candles, blankets, and comfort food.

America's Top Hygge Cities

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Salt Lake City, UT
  5. Denver, CO
  6. Rochester, NY
  7. Hartford, CT
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Cleveland, OH
  10. Milwaukee, WI
To determine America's Top Hygge Cities, Sperling's calculated scores for each of the Top 50 Metro Areas in four main scoring categories - Cozy Weather, Hygge Pastimes, Hygge Venues, and Homes with Fireplaces.

The "Cozy Weather" score was calculated from each location's average snowfall, precipitation, minimum january temperature, and cloudy days. Hygge is closely linked with cold weather and short days, so cities that have warm and sunny winters were considered to have less cozy weather and ranked lower in overall Hygge-factor.

The study also measured common "Hygge Pastimes" such as Reading Books, Board Games, Card Games, Cooking, and Knitting and Needlework.

"Hygge Venues" was included as a main scoring category because, while it is common to practice hygge in the comfort of your home, you can also get an authentic experience at a bar, restaurant, or coffee shop. The venues included in the study were Cafes/Coffee Houses, Brew Pubs, and Wine Bars, which provide community and togetherness, another key element of hygge.

Finally, cities were given a score for the percentage of homes with a fireplace, a feature which both brightens and warms in the dark and cold of winter.

Here's how each of our Top Hygge Cities earned their ranking.

1. Seattle - Top scores in Reading Books, Knitting/Needlework, and Cafes/Coffee Shops/Tea House. Also a high percentage of homes with a fireplace.
2. Portland - Among the best scores for both Hygge Pastimes and Hygge Venues. Top scores for Breweries and Wine Bars.
3. Minneapolis - Very Cozy Weather, as well one of the best scores in Hygge Pastimes like Reading Books, Card Games, and Knitting/Needlework.
4. Salt Lake City - The highest Hygge Pastimes score of the 50 Metro Areas included in the study. Board games, Card games, Cooking, and Knitting and Needlework are especially high.
5. Denver - A good number of Breweries, as well as residents who love to Knit/Needlework.
6. Rochester - Coziest Weather in the study. That is, cold, snowy, and dark.
7. Hartford - The weather is Cozy and its residents love their Knitting/Needlework.
8. Boston - Reading Books score is among the highest in the nation.
9. Cleveland - Among the coziest weather, as well as high scores for Knitting/Needlework.
10. Milwaukee - Cozy Weather and a high score for Hygge Pastimes, due to plenty of Card Games, Cooking, and Knitting and Needlework.

And here are America's Least Hygge Cities -

50. Los Angeles - Warm weather and a lack of Hygge Pastimes and Hygge Venues, especially Brew Pubs, Card Games, and Cooking.
49. Riverside, CA - Despite a high percentage of Fireplaces, the weather is warm year-round and its residents aren't big on Reading Books and Cooking.
48. Miami - Very few fireplaces and weather that is too warm and nice to be considered "Cozy."
47. San Antonio - Low scores in Hygge Venues, especially a lack of Cafes/Coffee Shops/Tea House and Breweries.
46. Tucson - Some of the least Cozy Weather in the nation, along with a low number of Hygge Venues. Very few Wine Bars.

Other fun facts from our study include -

• The Southern cities of Atlanta and Raleigh have some of the highest percentages of homes with fireplaces. Must be a popular architectural feature of the region.
• The Salt Lake City metro area has the highest rate of Danish ancestry of the U.S. major metros, over 4.2% of the population. That's over ten times greater than the average of 0.40%.
• Though we didn't consider Scandinavian or Nordic heritage in our scoring, it is interesting to see a strong correlation between that and our hygge rankings. You probably can guess that Minneapolis has the highest rate of Scandinavian ancestry (22.8%), but Salt Lake City is 10.2% Scandinavian, followed by Seattle (9.7%), Portland (8.2%), Milwaukee (6.0%) and Denver (5.3%). The average Scandinavian ancestry for remaining 50 largest metros is only 1.8% and none top 4%.

50 Largest U.S. metro areas, ranked by Hygge score -

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Salt Lake City, UT
  5. Denver, CO
  6. Rochester, NY
  7. Hartford, CT
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Cleveland, OH
  10. Milwaukee, WI
  11. Providence, RI
  12. Columbus, OH
  13. Cincinnati, OH
  14. Raleigh, NC
  15. Detroit, MI
  16. Pittsburgh, PA
  17. Washington, DC
  18. Indianapolis, IN
  19. Kansas City, MO
  20. Chicago, IL
  21. Nashville, TN
  22. Austin, TX
  23. St. Louis, MO
  24. Louisville, KY
  25. Philadelphia, PA
  26. Charlotte, NC
  27. Baltimore, MD
  28. Atlanta, GA
  29. Virginia Beach, VA
  30. Richmond, VA
  31. Oklahoma City, OK
  32. Dallas, TX
  33. Jacksonville, FL
  34. New York, NY
  35. Sacramento, CA
  36. San Diego, CA
  37. San Francisco, CA
  38. Orlando, FL
  39. New Orleans, LA
  40. Houston, TX
  41. Memphis, TN
  42. Tampa, FL
  43. Las Vegas, NV
  44. San Jose, CA
  45. Phoenix, AZ
  46. Tucson, AZ
  47. San Antonio, TX
  48. Miami, FL
  49. Riverside, CA
  50. Los Angeles, CA

About Sperling's BestPlaces

Sperling's BestPlaces (www.bestplaces.net) is the nation's premier source for demographic and place data. Founded by author and researcher Bert Sperling over thirty years ago, BestPlaces now helps over two million users a month make informed decisions about their own best places to live, work, and retire. Bert's bestselling books "Cities Ranked and Rated" and "Best Places to Raise Your Family" are published by John Wiley & Sons and he was tagged as the "The Guy Who Picks the Best Places" by the New York Times. Sperling's BestPlaces is responsible for more "Best Places" studies and research than any other single organization.


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