Whether pounding steel into the latest piece of furniture, working wood to create decoration, or even harvesting apples to brew cider, American makers take on a variety of forms. Commonality remains throughout the diversity, though, requiring individuals dedicated to craft working with raw materials and, often, working in a community focused on a spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity.
These communities continue to grow within the U.S., and we’ve selected the 25 best maker cities in the country, the places that embrace the maker culture and let that ingenuity flourish.
Maker: makes modern knitwear with a heritage twist.
Through multiple generations of crafting in the heart of the rust belt, Cleveland was once a major garment-producing city, along with plenty of iron, steel and wire. That historic flavor remains current in a city using scrap metals and heirloom woods to create furniture and goods while still seeing crafters embrace the knitting mills of old.
Maker: uses the materials of the region to create diverse metalwork styles.
A unique mix of European and Caribbean style with over 1,400 historically significant buildings throughout the city, preservation has taken a key theme in the city’s modern craftsmanship movement. Whether metalworks or blacksmith, the historically accurate backbone of crafting in this city spans a diverse style range.
Maker: puts a different spin on transportation using American Chromoly steel.
Arguably the birthplace of American makers, the resiliency of Detroit relies on its newfound maker movement. As craftspeople find new purpose for buildings, entrepreneurs create everything from bicycles to jewelry while still playing off the car manufacturing world. Makers and artists get supported in Detroit through cooperative movements and schooling options.
Maker: As some forge in co-working spaces, check out and a bow tie focus on fashion.
No matter which side of the Kansas-Missouri border, Kansas City, the first city to receive Google Fiber, has a maker movement built on high-tech know-how. Filling co-working space with digital fabrication, accelerator programs have given pop-up stores new homes throughout the city. Plus, there’s always someone working to make the next best thing in barbecue.
Maker: s Howie Sneider partners with the community to turn projects into reality.
Known as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, the home of the steam engine, and the first water-powered mill, the small-community feel remains a key factor in the Providence maker culture that ranges from local artists to designers and enjoys ample outside supports.
Maker: uses mechanical engineering to put a design twist on everyday items.
Paul Revere, a silversmith himself by trade, leads the spirit of a city now backed by a strong education and research vibe strengthening the creative makers of Boston. Whether making bicycles or the latest in mechanical engineering, universities, and organizations have backed co-working spaces for makers of all kinds.
Maker: offers everything from artisanal playing cards to leather wallets.
With a mix of north and south that nobody can quite finger, the nature of Louisville has a long tradition in sports and entertainment. From baseball bats to whiskey and horses to bar games, the makers of this uniquely positioned city still largely place a focus on what keeps Louisville so pointedly Louisville.
Maker: Mark Melonas’ embraces concrete in crafting modern uses.
From grain mills to textile mills and manufacturers of chrome, copper, steel, and concrete, raw materials have always played a role in Baltimore culture. That hasn’t stopped in the modern maker movement. Whether the new Port Covington innovation center led by Under Armour or a mix of companies working in labs, raw materials pave the way for makers in Baltimore.
Maker: from Hayes Shanesy embraces woodworking in its finest design.
What was once the machine tool capital of the world has enjoyed a recent civic movement to encourage shared craftsmanship throughout the city’s makers. From labs to promote community-focused concepts to shops dealing in woodworking, Cincinnati embraces a culture of finding a new path in a traditional venture.
Maker: Clay Bush’s turns junkyard scraps into a wealth of products.
The automotive industry was a key factor in the early days of Nashville and the scraps from that industry still promote a robust maker movement. Salvaging goods remains a theme throughout the maker culture—along with a recent movement in the health startup space—that restores bikes, cars, and all sorts of gear.
Maker: is more than just cabinets.
Old warehouses and factories once used in the flour and textile milling industry were taken over as small-business incubator spaces and studios for makers throughout Minneapolis—and nearby St. Paul—as the area embraces its history of working with materials to create for the local culture.
Maker: embraces woods from Indiana in projects of all sorts.
The home of the first railroad union station helped bring in a diverse mix of original culture makers. That theme continues as Indianapolis has seen a recent rice in a maker culture, one found most prevalent in its furniture making.
Maker: makes “furniture from the urban forest” from brothers Ted and Zeb Esselstyn.
If it can be made with wood, there’s a maker in New Haven crafting it. The heavily forested region—six of every 10 acres in the state is forested—wood remains the key commodity leading all things maker in New Haven.
Maker: creates fine-art printing as part of the maker culture.
While folks may move to the mountains of North Carolina to slice out a bit of their own style of life, they do so while creating their own way too, whether breweries or sustainable-minded startups. Of course, public-private partnerships have helped bolster the culture.
Maker: The space in Des Moines broadens the opportunities for the area’s creators.
The makers in Iowa have gone largely techy as apps and software dominate the maker space with economic development authorities and university research helping start new businesses. Still, though, the relatively inexpensive cost of living and focus on the outdoors have helped broaden the horizon of the maker culture.
Maker: shows off one of many in the metal fabrication world home in Oakland.
The history of the blue-collar workforce in Oakland dates back to building Navy ships during World War II. Those same spaces once reserved for massive building now house a growing manufacturing maker industry. With CNC routers run by MIT grads, industrial space aplenty lends itself to those looking to create while the sparks fly.
Maker: offers a space for Portland’s rising food scene, complete with a list of graduates now serving the Portland community.
The port-based city once held tool and dye factories. Those factories still remain, but now broken up and filled coffee roasters, breweries, digital startups, artists, woodworkers and metal workers all creating side by side.
Maker: , with its big-name collabs, shows off a local flare on the outdoor community.
Portland has long wanted to live life its own way. Whether a unique food culture led by brewers and food truck entrepreneurs to plenty of fresh faces in the outdoor industry playing off the resources of an economy driven by Nike, Columbia and Adidas. The diverse maker culture of Portland mixes the food scene with the outdoor industry to create something uniquely Portland.
Maker: offers leadership in the maker culture while still crafting.
Founded by fur traders, the maker culture in St. Louis had a long, sad history. But that has started changing with tech startups and makers now filling old, downtown buildings and giving new life to an old city.
Maker: gives a down-home, Texas-style spin to the maker culture.
From venture capitalists to the tech-savvy, Austin and its well-known SXSW has attracted a mix of talent to the city. Now one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country, the entrepreneur way — from tech to food — leads the modern Austin movement, one always on the lookout for something different.
Maker: offers the oldest makerspace in the city, a location full of high-tech creation.
Co-working spaces fill the city, from digital startups to self-driving car creators. Pittsburgh has capitalized on public-private partnerships, local university research and a wealth of interest in rebuilding the city to create a diverse mix of makers in what was once simply the Steel City.
Maker: creates award-winning artisan cheese in the heart of Pike Place Market.
We all know about the tech and aerospace industries of Seattle, but the Emerald City has plenty in the way of makers, artists working with glass to crafters embracing the local nature to create products fitting of a growing workforce affluent enough to embrace all levels of maker culture.
Maker: shows off the dedication to craft of working with wood.
Life science and aerospace have a home in San Diego. While home to those looking to find new ways to accelerate their businesses, some have turned to a complete maker culture to enjoy life on the Pacific Ocean. Of course, when rela on the beach enters the fray, expect to find one of the more robust craft beer movements, too.
Maker: This designer traded in art for food in making
When it comes to makers, don’t forget artists. And nowhere can you find a more diverse mix of creatives than in Santa Fe, where art, history and culture merge together in a way that is unlike any other city in the country. The artistic nature of makers comes alive on the streets and in the galleries and museums that fill Santa Fe.
Maker: opened a retail store to show off their diversity of wares.
Local officials have pushed the idea of Knoxville as a Maker City, embracing the idea of local crafters and artisans filling the city. From official government support for makers to gather together to actual spaces where creative minds can work together, Knoxville hopes to grow in reputation as a true Maker City.