Those dreaming of running into a celebrity are likely imagining a casual encounter in places like Los Angeles and New York City. Both coastal agglomerations are known for their over-the-top residents who live in areas like the Upper West Side in Manhattan and close to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
From restaurants like Nobu to stores like Louis Vuitton, the chances of a celebrity run-in are high compared to a place like Seattle or Atlanta. In NYC, stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Durant, and Alicia Keys are spotted around town regularly. Meanwhile, LA remains the domain of mega-stars like the Kardashians, LeBron James, and Ariana Grande.
However, that doesn’t mean top actresses, athletes, and artists are confined to one coast or the other—nonetheless confined to only LA or New York. In recent years, locations like Nashville, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana have also started to see an uptick in celeb residents. With unique cultural traditions and a small-city feel, both hubs are great for stars looking for a little getaway.
But what about other larger cities that aren’t located near the Pacific, Atlantic, or Gulf Coast? When it comes to landlocked metropolises, there are three clear winners that some of North America’s biggest stars call home. Let’s take a closer look at the stars who live in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Austin and what the local lifestyle is all about.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Few cities in the world, nonetheless the US, have a reputation quite as large as Vegas. Back in the 1960s and 70s, the location became the prime spot for larger-than-life casino-resorts. One of the city’s biggest attractions was luxury entertainment, with poker at its heart. The World Series of Poker broadcasted major tournaments around the world starting in the 1970s, helping stoke interest in the game.
These early broadcasted games from WSOP inspired the launch of live poker shows from groups like ESPN, which evolved in the 1990s with the invention of the hidden hole cam. These eras contributed directly to the rise of online poker in the early 2000s, as those who had once watched on TV sought to play their own hands online. Today, it’s easier than ever to find a platform that provides Texas Holdem in a fully virtual setting.
Still, poker and the City of Lights still go hand-in-hand. However, the majority of Vegas celebs move to the city limits to launch a musical residency, which acts as a revolving door for stars. Today, Celine Dion, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears grace the Strip with their talent. Meanwhile, Nicholas Cage has called Vegas home for years. Title fighters like Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. also have their residencies in Sin City. Oddly enough, Vegas is also home to Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff, both of whom retired from tennis years ago.
The Windy City, nestled in the Heartland, is often overlooked when it comes to major US towns. This might be due to its location in ‘flyover territory’ or maybe due to the city’s laidback Midwestern culture, which values quality experiences over flash. Still, that hasn’t stopped Chicago from welcoming a slew of famous residents.
Back in the 1990s, the city benefitted from the dynastic Chicago Bulls NBA run, which was led by mega-stars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Throw in the rise of Midwestern comedians like Chris Farley and David Spade, who also rose to fame in the 90s, and Chicago’s cultural influence on US culture comes into focus more.
Though only a part-time resident, Kanye West calls the city home. Meanwhile, former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have also settled down in the city. In keeping with the city’s massive influence on comedy, Tina Fey, Vince Vaughn, and Steve Carrell also live in the city—as did late comic Robin Williams.
When it comes to Texas-born celebrities, most will immediately think of stars like Matthew McConaughey and country singer Willie Nelson. Both are vocal adorers of the Lone Star State… but neither is from Austin. With its moniker ‘Keep Austin Weird’, the city is a cultural outpost that differs greatly from other Texan hubs like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Austin is known for having a massive IT industry (the US’s second Silicon Valley), a booming and diverse music scene, and a huge emphasis on green space and parks within the city. Unsurprisingly, it’s become popular for celebs looking for an alternative lifestyle.
Oddly enough, both McConaughey and Nelson call the city home. Actors like Sandra Bullock, Kirsten Dunst, Emma Stone, and Adrian Grenier also live in the city. Meanwhile, musicians like Paul Simon and Grimes also rub elbows with locals, and athletes like Lance Armstrong, Chris Bosh, and even The Undertaker are seen around town.