The creative industry contributes a massive $876 billion to the U.S. GDP each year, making it a substantial part of the American economy with a wealth of business opportunities.
Starting a business is an exciting yet challenging venture, and choosing the right location is crucial to its success. While many cities across the U.S. are known for their thriving business communities, some cities, in particular, stand out for their creativity and innovation.
As the creative industry continues to present new and exciting opportunities, we conducted research to reveal the most creative U.S. cities to start a business, while also uncovering what makes them so unique.
So, if you are looking for a great place to get inspired and kickstart your own creative endeavor, these are the best places to do it.
Locations for this index were based on the 30 most populous cities in the U.S. and then ranked based on factors including the number of creative roles currently needed, employment growth, number of art museums, number of artists, and number of film festivals. These scores were then weighted to determine the overall ranking.
Based on the results, the following cities ranked in the top spots:
The Most Creative U.S. Cities to Start a Business
1. Los Angeles
Taking the number one spot on our list, Los Angeles has long been renowned for its cutting-edge entertainment and culture, but it's also a great place to start a business.
With its diverse population, excellent weather, and vibrant economy, LA offers many opportunities for entrepreneurs. It boasts several startup incubators, as well as over 30,000 jobs currently available in the creative sector. It also shows strong economic growth, with almost 6% employment growth year on year.
The city also offers several art museums and film festivals, ranging from the spectacular Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to numerous independent festivals, providing endless prospects for seeking inspiration and delving into business opportunities.
For those interested in starting a creative business, LA provides a whole host of talent, strong economic prospects, and plenty of inspiration!
Home to a fast-developing startup scene, Boston has a supportive ecosystem of investors, accelerators, and incubators. With renowned world-class universities and research institutions, including the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Harvard, there is a steady stream of creative talent on offer.
Boston currently advertises over 25,000 jobs in the creative sector, showcasing just how much creative businesses are growing here. With a flourishing art scene, Boston has over 1,700 artists living here, as well as a variety of great museums to check out, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
With a diverse and highly skilled workforce, a supportive business environment, and a strong culture of innovation, Boston is an ideal destination for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in a creative and dynamic place.
3. Washington D.C.
As the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. has long been associated with politics and government. However, in recent years, it has also become a hub for creative industries, such as art, design, and media.
With a prosperous arts scene - D.C. boasts over 22 art museums - and is home to world-class museums, such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, and the Hirshhorn. For film lovers, there are 19 film festivals across the year to attend - making it a great place to seek inspiration.
Washington DC is a diverse place - home to people from all over the world, which means there is a rich cultural tapestry that creative entrepreneurs can draw inspiration from, as well as a great hiring pool to choose from. Currently, there are over 30,000 creative roles looking to be filled across the sector.
4. San Francisco
San Francisco, also known as the City by the Bay, is well-known for its innovative tech industry. But, it's not just tech businesses that thrive in this city. The creative sector is also booming, making San Francisco an excellent place to start a business in this field.
Offering a vibrant arts scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and cultural events that showcase the work of talented artists, there is a rich pool of creative talent available. With over 20,000 creative sector jobs in demand and a 4.7% employment growth, the success of the creative industry is reflected in the demand for talent across San Francisco.
The close proximity to Silicon Valley also provides an advantage for creative businesses. San Francisco is a hub for innovation, with a thriving start-up culture and a high concentration of venture capitalists. This means that creative businesses have access to funding, resources, and mentorship that can help them succeed.
5. New York
New York City is home to some of the most creative minds in the world. With a population of over 8 million people, it is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and perspectives - and this diversity makes it an ideal place to start a creative business. The diverse nature of New York offers opportunities to learn, grow and collaborate with people from different backgrounds and gain new perspectives.
This exciting metropolis is also home to some of the best universities and colleges in the world, such as the Pratt Institute, the School of Visual Arts, and New York University. These institutions offer top-notch training and education to those who want to start a business in the creative sector and provide talent to the workforce.
With over 49 art museums and 17 film festivals, NYC has a fantastic arts and culture scene that also provides opportunities for startups to showcase their work and gain exposure.