The 20 Best Places for Writers to Live in the U.S

Los Angeles, California

Like other creatives, writers tend to seek out cities which cater to their genre, provide good career opportunities and are affordable. So, as you can see choosing the best places for writers to live is a somewhat subjective matter. Some may choose a city with great opportunities over another, simply because of the weather. To get a better idea of the opportunities per city and state for writers, it helps to take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics breakdown tables. Here, they breakdown employment with regards to city, state, and population concentrations. For instance, according to their stats, the states with the highest employment level for writers are: California, New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania. Thus, when searching for the best places for writers to live, one must consider factors, such as career opportunities, standard of living, and support systems.

Durham, North Carolina

20. Durham, North Carolina

The average monthly rent for Durham, North Carolina is around $1,206, which makes it a somewhat affordable option for many writers. In addition to the affordability of the city, Durham has maintained a rich literary and artistic community. Writers are free to garner inspiration love many of Durham’s live music venues, or visit the Durham Performing Arts Center. Durham also boasts its share of indie bookstores for you to browse. Finally, youthful vibes abound in Durham, as it’s host to both Duke University and North Carolina Central University.

Taos, New Mexico

19. Taos, New Mexico

Not only is Taos, New Mexico a gorgeous vacation destination, but it has a rich heritage with regards to the arts. In fact, Taos attracted artists way back in 1899, with the Taos Society of Artists formed in 1915. Today, Taos is home to creatives of all genres. In July, 2021, Taos will host its 5th annual writers conference, one of the best writing conferences in the country. When it comes to writing, Taos boasts of an extensive support system. To get a better idea of the support writers and other creatives have, take a look at the workshops, classes and tours Taos offers.

New Orleans, Louisiana

18. New Orleans, Louisiana

If your favorite genre is writing horror, thriller or mystery novels, then New Orleans just might be the city for you. Many famous writers have listed New Orleans as one of their favored cities, among them Ann Rice. Compared to New York or Los Angeles, the standard of living is on the the more affordable side. New Orleans also caters to tourists, which makes it easy to meet a variety of people. If you’re looking for some atmospheric inspiration, then you’ll find attending one of its many night time ghost walking tours a good way to get into the mood.

Fargo, North Dakota

17. Fargo, North Dakota

Travel writer Alicia Underlee-Nelson finds Fargo, North Dakota the perfect city for creatives. According to Underlee-Nelson, “We have several universities in the metro, a really vibrant and well established art scene and an active population that likes to get out and do things, so all that brings a great energy to the city.”  A college town bursting with vivacious creative vibes, Fargo is an alternative to the more costlier cities in our countdown. Filled with aspiring and professional writers and artists, you’ll never be short of inspiration.

Nashville, Tennessee

16. Nashville, Tennessee

While Nashville, Tennessee is known as the country music capital of the world, there’s so much more when it comes to cultural diversity to this time honored city. With an average rental for a one bedroom unit going for $952, it definitely caters to those in the arts looking for an affordable place to set up shop. Nashville is packed with fabulous eateries, friendly people and The Porch. The Porch is a great place for writers and readers alike. They offer an assortment of workshops, classes, talks and meet ups specifically designed for writers.

Saint Paul, Minnesota

15. Saint Paul, Minnesota

Saint Paul, along with its twin Minneapolis, make for a stunning pair when it comes to supporting the literary culture. Like Minneapolis, Saint Paul offers good opportunities along with a relatively low standard of living. The home of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saint Paul has several publishing houses, along with indie bookstores, along with more than enough coffee shops to satisfy any writer. Writers may also apply for internships at publishing houses such as Button Poetry and Graywolf Press.

Boston, Massachusetts

14. Boston, Massachusetts

Coffee shops, writing clubs, professional and aspiring writers all populate this historical city. This is a fabulous city for creatives who can afford it. Sadly, the rents and standard of living are up there with Los Angeles and New York, so it’s not too feasible for writers just starting out. If you still have your heart set on Boston and aren’t among the affluent, then do a search online and you’ll find plenty of sites to help you live frugally in this stimulating and vibrant, historical city.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

13. Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge Massachusetts comes with its own rich, literary history. For instance, famed writers T.S. Eliot, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and E.E. Cummings have called Cambridge their home. This college town brings with it the youthful and fresh vibes many aspiring and professional writers crave. Cambridge hosts the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship and Cambridge Writers Workshop for those looking to meet others of their ilk, as well as hone their craft.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

12. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Established in 1937, the Minneapolis Writers Workshop is one of the oldest writers groups in the country. It centers on fostering a healthy relationship and networking community for writers. Another writers group driven to assist writers in their craft is The Loft. Located in Minneapolis, The Loft prides itself in bringing the writing community together. As can be seen, it might be worth taking on Minnesota’s harsh winters, especially with the relatively low cost of living.

Portland, Oregon

11. Portland, Oregon

Take an affordable standard of living and the Heathman Hotel library, and you’ve got a terrific city for writers. Actually, the world’s largest indie bookstore is located in Portland. Powell’s City of Books sits on 1005 West Burnside, and welcomes book worms from all over the world into their doors. This bookstore is huge. It’s one block wide and four floors have more than enough reading and educational material to keep book lovers happy for hours, if not days.

Seattle, Washington

10. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington is another city favored by creatives of all genres. In fact, Seattle is such a great city for writers that it’s known as a UNESCO City of Literature. This means that Seattle has been recognized as a city that supports and nurtures literary culture. In effect, the written word is woven into the overall culture of the city, rather than separate from it. Seattle is filled to the brim with libraries, cultural centers, bookstores, publishing houses and educational opportunities.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Pittsburgh, isn’t that a tough industrial town?”. Well, you’re partly right in that it was a tough industrial town. The Pittsburgh of today has shed its industrial skin and transformed itself into an amazing city for writers. Bursting with culture, free thinkers find Pittsburgh a haven where they can express themselves via the written word. Pittsburgh is loaded with bookstores and writing communities, such as the Pittsburgh Writers Project. Not only that, Pittsburgh’s standard of living is relatively low, so it’s even more inviting to writers.

Miami, Florida

8. Miami, Florida

When thinking of Miami, one might not exactly consider it a city for writers, but lets take a second look. First of all, rent for a basic apartment is on the cheap side, especially when comparing rents in cities like New York and Los Angeles. Second, there’s the Miami Book Fair. The Miami Book Fair isn’t your fun in the sun local book fair. In reality, the Miami Book Fair attracts some of the best publishing houses to the area. Finally, there’s the environment. Miami’s night life is active, and a great place to chit chat with the locals as you discover possible characters for your book. In addition, Florida has a high number of writers support groups to take advantage of.

Iowa City, Iowa

7. Iowa City, Iowa

In 1936, Iowa Writers Workshop was created. The Iowa Writers Workshop laid the foundation for creative writing classes in America, as it was the first program to present a creative writing degree for aspiring writers. The passing years have not dampened the fervor, but only increased it. Today, Iowa City welcomes a constant influx of new and seasoned writers, all eager to live and create among their colleagues. Iowa City is also designated as a City of Literature by UNESCO.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A true city for creatives, Philadelphia is home to the well-known Pen and Pencil Club, where journalists discuss the events of the day. Spring and summer see an impressive showing of art festivals and exhibits. Add to that the fact that Philly is home to more than a few colleges, some of which specialize in the arts, and you have the perfect city for those looking to feel creative vibes. In addition to all of that, know that Edgar Allen Poe resided in Philadelphia for six years. In fact, the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is located in Philadelphia.

San Francisco, California

5. San Francisco, California

Think of San Francisco, and you’ll likely be reminded of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Poet Movement of the 60’s. This is a great city for those of you who are seeking out a free thinking vibe along with some indie bookshops and street art exhibitions. However, it’s also a treasure for those writers who excel at technical writing. After all, don’t forget that you’re in the middle of Silicon Valley, so it’s a good bet that good paying technical writing jobs are readily available. You’re also in the same state as Los Angeles, so if you wish, you could pop over to that city and give it a try while you’re in California.

Austin, Texas

4. Austin, Texas

If braving the harsh chill of Minnesota or New York are more of a creative turn off than turn on, you can consider the city of Austin Texas instead. Austin is a surprisingly affordable place for writers to live. If you think it’s all about cows and BBQ’s, think again. The arts are an integral part of this city. In fact, did you know that the unofficial slogan for Austin is “keep Austin Weird”. Austin is also home to the Harry Ransom Center and a number of indie bookshops.

Washington, D.C.

3. Washington, D.C.

It might just surprise you that Washington, D.C. was rated as America’s most literate city. This survey conducted by Jack Miller, president emeritus of Central Connecticut State University, has been around for a while, and takes a good look at the city’s libraries, online literacy, bookstores, and so on. Not only that, but you have the Library of Congress, the National Book Festival and a plethora of indie bookstores. There are also plenty of groups that welcome writers. In these groups you’ll meet stimulating and interesting people who are interested in all manner of genre’s. In other words, while Washington, D.C. is known as a political town, that’s by no means the extent of the interests that populate this city.

New York City, New York

2. New York City, New York

The Big Apple, America’s hub for about anything and everything. Here, creatives will find themselves at home in this bustling metropolis. But beware, the standard of living in New York is quite high, but then again so are the opportunities. Whether your chosen genre is screenwriting, playwriting, journalism or creative fiction, chances are New York has a place for you. If you’ve decided that New York is the city for you, then know that it’s possible to live on a budget here. Public transportation is amazing, so just ditching your car and taking the bus or subway can be a start when saving.

Los Angeles, California

1. Los Angeles, California

Like New York city, Los Angeles is a city that’s highly populated with creatives. The one drawback to Los Angeles would be its high cost of living, with average rental prices around $2,368. However, if your genre of choice happens to be writing for films or television, then Los Angeles is your city. As such, Los Angeles is filled with supportive writing groups, such as Write Away Tuesdays and the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society.

Final Thoughts

Today’s internet world means that writers have the opportunity to freelance, so can live virtually anywhere they wish. However, there are situations where it’s imperative to reside in a town that feeds your creativity, offers you support, as well as career opportunities. So, when doing research for the best places for writers to live, consider all the factors: Rent, transportation costs, writer support systems, and career opportunities. Finally, don’t forget to check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics for a clear picture of writing opportunities in America. We hope we’ve helped you in your quest to find the best place for writers to live. After all, America is such a culturally diverse country, that with a little digging, we’re sure you’ll find the best city for you.

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