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12 Best Cities for Writers in the U.S.

These days, as long as you have a steady internet connection, most writers could write anywhere. However, some cities seem to brim with inspiration at every turn, while some cities seem to fall flat. We looked into what writers look for in a city and compiled a list of the 12 Best Cities for Writers. 

Even if you aren’t looking to pack up and move to a new city tomorrow, one of these cities might be a good option if you are looking for a place to take a writer’s retreat.

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, New Mexico is known for its vibrant creative scene and eclectic art culture. If you are looking to be creative and surround yourself with creative people, you are sure to find that here. The city literally brims with music, from street performers to the Santa Fe Opera.

Apart from the culture and mix of people that make up Santa Fe, the city is a great place for writers to be inspired by the distinct natural beauty of the American Southwest. 

If you are looking to make a move, Santa Fe has one of the more reasonable rent prices, averaging $1,500 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Chapel Hill, NC

Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a beautiful town on the east coast, perfect if you are looking for a beautiful place to explore. While Chapel Hill experiences all 4 seasons, they are mild compared to some areas of the country.

With 8 colleges in the area, Chapel Hill has plenty of affordable housing options for those looking to rent. And with colleges come book stores – Chapel Hill averages 43 book stores per 100K residents. One of our favorite independent bookstores is located in Chapel Hill, Flyleaf Books.

Vancouver, WA

Not to be confused with Vancouver, BC in Canada – Vancouver, WA is just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. The natural beauty of Vancouver, a city surrounded by Mount St. Helens, the Cascade Mountains, and Mount Hood, is a great backdrop for aspiring writers. 

If you are a writer that appreciates good coffee and thrives on finding new coffee shops and other inspirational places to write, Vancouver is the place for you. With its close proximity to Portland and all of its coffee shops, Vancouver has 54 coffee shops per 100k residents. One of our favorite local coffee shops to sit down and write at is Relevant Coffee.

While Vancouver is close to Portland, it has more living space and is considered a more affordable city to live in – which we also love! 

Pensacola, FL

Sun, sand and writing – sounds like a winning combination, right? Pensacola is a beautiful town on the Gulf of Mexico with access to miles of beautiful beaches, perfect for the writer that wants to walk the beach looking for inspiration.

Pensacola also has a great parks system, a lower median house price than the national average, and residents of Florida do not pay income tax – which may be an incentive to writers looking to lower their living costs.

Portland, Maine

Writing in a coffee shop along the northeast coast while the waves crash up against the rocks outside your window sounds like a scene out of a movie. The beauty of both the coast and the town just can’t be beat. 

If you are looking to be inspired by a quaint town with breathtaking coastal views at every turn, Portland, Maine is the perfect destination for you.

Plus as an added bonus, if you are a recent college graduate from any school in the United States, you may have a financial incentive to live in Maine. The Educational Tax Credit applies to graduates from 2015 to the present.

New York City, NY

Writers, artists, musicians and other creatives looking to find inspiration and make it big have flocked to New York City for decades. 

The city buzzes with energy – from its people that gather there from all over the world, to the vibrant art and culture scene, to the historic buildings that make up the city. 

There is a huge community of writers living and working in New York City, so spend some time looking through the options before you get connected. Catapult, the Gotham Writers, and the Writers Studio all offer writing help and community.  

While New York City is definitely not known for being an affordable place to live (an important quality many writers need when they are first starting out), it is still a favorite among writers. Several of the big publishing houses are located in New York City, which might be helpful if you are a writer that has hopes of publishing a book.

Palm Springs, CA

For the writer that is trying to get away to a sun-drenched town and evoke the cool vibes of the past, Palm Springs, CA is the place to go. Palm Springs first became popular when the mid-century modern style was all the rage, back in the 50s and 60s. 

If you can find time to write when you aren’t lounging by one of the many pools, Palm Springs could be the perfect setting for you. Get connected with other writers in Palm Springs by looking into the Palm Springs Writers Guild!

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL is a big city with a vibrant writers’ community. With multiple writers’ communities such as the Chicago Writer Circle and the Writer’s Studio there are many opportunities to write and learn with others that share the same passions as you.

Chicago also rates high on the walkability scale, making it an easy place to live and get around. Located on Lake Michigan, Chicago boasts water views that rival the ocean views of the coasts.

Boulder, Colorado 

With its close proximity to the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is a great place for writers that thrive being outdoors year-round. Colorado’s moderate climate is attractive for writers that incorporate hiking and writing into their daily routine.

Boulder has great local coffee shops to work in and plenty of opportunities to connect with other local writers. We suggest checking out the Boulder Writing Studio for their workshops and community events.

Juneau, AK

Don’t let the cold scare you away, Juneau, Alaska is a beautiful place to live and write. And the good news about the long winter Alaska is historically known for? You will have plenty of time to cozy up by a fire and write.

What distinguishes Juneau from the rest of Alaska is the city amenities and milder climate compared to the rest of the state. 

Connect with other writers in Alaska to continue to refine your craft through 49 Writers – A Community of Alaskan Writers.

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City is a growing city in the midwest. With a small-town feel, but plenty of city amenities, Kansas City is a pleasant and affordable place to live if you want plenty of space to spread out and write.

There are many opportunities to get involved with other writers currently living in Kansas City! Check out The Writers Place to get help working on your next manuscript.

Philadelphia, PA

With its lower cost of living and big city amenities, Philadelphia is a great place for writers to live and work. Traces of US history are around every corner, which is perfect if you are not only a writer but a history lover as well. Or both? Historical fiction writer?

Philadelphia has a thriving community of writers if you are willing to get involved. Look into the Philadelphia Writers Workshop as a place to start getting connected! 

Where is Your Favorite City to Write?

We love these cities for what makes them special – either their history, their beautiful backdrops, or even their coffee shops.

What makes your city a great place to write? Tell us in the comments!

Looking for even more inspiration for when you visit one of these new cities? Try one of these Creative Writing Prompts, in conjunction with Self-Publishing School. 


200+ Fiction Writing Prompts in the 8 Most Profitable Genres  Come up with your NEXT great book idea with over 200 unique writing prompts  spanning 8 different genres. Use for a story, scene, character inspo, and more!  YES! GET MY WRITING PROMPTS!



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