What does it mean to be cool? It’s that certain je ne sais quoi that you either have or you don’t. For many of us, it’s that unattainable quality that we’ve aspired to achieve our entire lives.

And if you’re amongst the unfortunate populace who wasn’t blessed with the coolness gene (like me), maybe you can attain it in other ways. There’s fashion, style, what you read (like Housingwire, for example), what you do, what you eat, who you associate with or even where you live.

Over at Forbes, there’s a list that caught our eye in reference to that last one, “America’s Coolest Cities 2014.”

To find the coolest cities in America, Forbes applied a complex methodology to score the cities in categories like: Arts & Culture Index, Recreation Index, Diversity Index, Local Eats and others.

Using that data, Forbes ranked the top 20 cities. The list contains some surprises, like New York City ranking 11th, which is three spots behind Riverside, California, for example. No slight to Riverside, but in this writer’s opinion, NYC has to be near the top of any “coolest” cities list.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Housingwire’s hometown of Dallas rounds out the top ten, with an arts & culture rating of 95, and a recreation rating of 86.

Boston ranks as the ninth coolest place to live, Riverside comes in number eight, Denver ranks seventh, and San Diego ranks sixth.

But we wondered, how much would it actually cost you to live in one of the five coolest cities in America?

So here are the five coolest cities in America, according to Forbes, and how much it will cost you to live there. Pricing data courtesy of Realtor.com’s June National Housing Trend report.

5. San Francisco


San Francisco ranks fifth with an arts & culture rating of 98 and a recreation index of 99, but it will cost you more than a pretty penny to live among all of that coolness. In fact, it will cost you nearly 90 million pennies. The city ranks far above all of the rest of the cool five in median list price.

The median list price for a home in San Francisco is $899,000 and rising, according to Trulia’s latest Price Monitor Data. The asking prices in San Francisco have risen 12.1% in the last year.

4. Houston


Texas’ largest city ranks fourth on the Forbes list, with an arts & culture rating of 91 and a recreation rating of 94. The Houston Space Center, which is the home of NASA's Mission Control, is not to be missed.

The median list price in Houston is $232,000 and rising as well, but not quite as steep of a jump as San Francisco. The asking price in Houston has risen 10.4% in the last year.

3. Austin


It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who has visited “The Live Music Capital of the World” that Austin would rank this highly on the list. What is a bit shocking is its low rating in arts & culture, 75, and recreation index, 48.

Those ratings seem awfully low, at least according to this reporter, who’s been to Austin quite a few times. But despite those low numbers, Austin still ranks third on the Forbes list.

The average home price in Austin is $298,000 and rising quickly. The asking prices in Austin are up 12.3% in 2014.

2. Seattle


This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who’s been to Seattle either. The city features a gorgeous waterfront, the amazing views from atop the Space Needle, and the exceedingly cool Experience Music Project.

The birthplace of Starbucks and home to the nation’s most famous fish market has an arts & culture index rating of 96 and a recreation rating of 99.

The average home price in Seattle is $399,000 and has risen 9.4% in the last year.

1. Washington, D.C.

Washington DC 2

The nation’s capital comes in at number one on the Forbes list, with an arts & culture rating of 99 and a recreation rating of 93. And anyone who’s been there will attest to the fact that there’s never a shortage of things to do in DC.

But living there will cost you.

The average home in the District price is $475,000, but the prices aren’t rising as quickly as the rest of the cool five. Asking prices have risen only 5.1% in the last year.

So if you can’t be cool, at least you can live in a cool place…as long as you’re ready to pay for it.