With an unofficial motto of "People's Republic of Boulder," this northern Colorado town marches to the beat of its own drum. Boulder's reputation rests heavily on the University of Colorado. While school officials have recently cracked down on the practice, as many as 15,000 participants collectively "light up" on the quad for April 20th.
(image via bouldercolorado)
As is common for many cities on this list, Arcata earns the designation of "college town" with nearby Humboldt State's enrollment equal to almost half of the city's population. Known particularly for its environmentalism, the city is the first in the country to have had a majority of its city council seats held by Green Party members. In 1989, Arcata also became a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone by popular vote.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Ozark Mountain enclave of Eureka Springs is an artistic community all its own from the rest of Arkansas politics. Back in 2006, the city voted 62% in favor of making illegal possession of marijuana a low priority. In 2015, voters overwhelmingly passed a non-discrimination ordinance to cover its LGBTQ citizens and tourists. Both were the first of their kind in the state.
(image via eurekasprings)
As the home of the University of Montana, it might not come as a surprise that the town leans a little to the left. Like Eureka Springs, Missoula has worked to decriminalize marijuana, and the town as a whole voted for a non-binding referendum that urged Congress to withdraw from Iraq in June of 2007. Is it any surprise that the town is also home to Hempfest?
After the mining boom went bust, artistic counterculturists moved away from the ever-growing commercialization of larger Southwest cities to set up this retreat full of architectural charm. Downtown Bisbee, planned before the popularity of cars, is compact and walkable and the perfect location for the Bisbee Poetry Festival that brings hundreds to visit this diamond in the Southwestern rough.
Ithaca, New York
Home to Ivy League member Cornell University, Ithaca is home to farmers' markets, art collectives, and festivals galore. Perhaps the city's liberal leanings stand out more in conservative upstate New York, but Ithaca's focus on community self-reliance shines through in its cooperative programs like the Ithaca Health Fund and Ithaca Hours, an alternative local currency.
(image via downtownithaca)
How strong is the flower power in Burlington, Vermont? Strong enough to keep out McDonald's. If you want a Big Mac, you'll have to go one town over (South Burlington) to get your fix. If head hippies Ben & Jerry call the city home, then it's no wonder many others followed in their footsteps.
Tourist hotspot Berea is a haven for arts and crafts and home to the Kentucky Artisan Center. The arts culture alone is enough to include the whole town on our Kentucky State Bucket List. Nearby Berea College was the first in the South to be both coeducational and integrated. The college itself espouses the town's cooperative mantra by charging no tuition to admitted students.
(image via livingwell_michelle)
Flower children flocked to Oregon and its fertile fields to plant organic farms and participate in cooperative living. Eugene still serves as a model for community ingenuity and urban design. If this image of the Oregon Country Fair doesn't tell you all you need to know, then we're at a loss for words on how to paint a better picture.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is the country's reigning champ of hippie culture. Flooded with farmers' markets, arts and crafts, and live music, this southern gem has a long history of street performance and outdoor festivals. It also led the charge in farm-to-table local food production and microbreweries. In fact, there are more breweries per capita than any other city in the nation. It's no wonder the city has become a popular vacation destination even for non-hippie visitors!