Ah, mid-January. That repressively dark time of year when the joy and light of the holidays have settled into the rear view and the verdant splendor that is spring is nowhere in sight. No wonder so many Americans have embraced "hygge,” (pronounced hoo-ga) the Danish concept of creating cozy environments that foster well-being and contentment. In other words, it’s all about enjoying the simpler things…even in winter!
If you ask a Danish person, they're likely to tell you that candles are the most important part of creating a hygge-like atmosphere at home. But cozying up in front of a fireplace or stove, under a throw blanket, with a pair of thick socks (really, anything knitted) on your feet and a mug of something steamy in your hand are other sure-fire ways to make your home-life more hygge. As blogger Alex of Hygge House puts it: “With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit.”
This concept has captivated many comfort-seeking souls, so much so that Sperling's BestPlaces has now determined the Top Hygge Cities in the U.S.
To determine America's Top Hygge Cities, Sperling's calculated scores for each of the top 50 metro areas in the following 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, as well as 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. (Sorry, Los Angeles.)
The study also measured common "hygge pastimes" such as reading, board games, card games, knitting, cooking 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. (Bonus points if there are candles!) The venues included in the study were coffee shops, pubs and wine nars, 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 we know both warms the home and draws families and friends together in the dark and cold of winter. For complete details on how Sperling completed the ranking, head here.
America's Top Hygge Cities
1. Seattle, Washington
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
4. Salt Lake City, Utah
5. Denver, Colorado
6. Rochester, New York
7. Hartford, Connecticut
8. Boston, Massachusetts
9. Cleveland, Ohio
10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
America’s Least Hygge cities
50. Los Angeles, California
49. Riverside, California
48. Miami, Florida
46. Tucson, Arizona
Wondering how you can more hygge in your home? Connect with a Hearth Expert today to learn how easy it is to add a fireplace to your space. Whether your design preferences tend toward traditional or contemporary, electric to wood-burning, including a fireplace in your family’s gathering space ensures a cozy, hygge-like atmosphere for many winters to come.