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Houston's not as cool as it used to be, Forbes says, but still ranks high

downtown Houston skyline at night
Houston is No. 4 on the 2014 Forbes list of America's Coolest Cities. Photo by © Debora Smail/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

According to Forbes, Houston is no longer the coolest city in America. But we are still close. On Wednesday, the business magazine released its picks for America's Coolest Cities 2014, where the Bayou City secured the No. 4 spot, just behind Austin, Washington D.C. and Seattle at No. 1.

So what makes for a cool city (and what put these East and West Coast anchors ahead of Houston)? Forbes took the 60 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. and ranked them according to six equally weighted factors: entertainment per capita, recreation per capita, "foodie" culture (bonus points for local establishments), population ages 20 - 34, diversity and net migration.

Houston scores a high 91 on the arts and culture index, behind Washington D.C.'s 99 and Seattle's 93. And 75.5 percent of our food scene is made up of local eats, which is lower than Seattle's 81.6 percent, but higher than D.C.'s 68.9 percent. 

While No. 4 isn't bad, it's a drop from the last time Forbes compiled the list. In 2012, Forbes named Houston the Coolest City in America; Washington, D.C. was No. 2, Seattle No. 5 and Austin No. 19.

Here's how Houston, stacks up as a whole. 

Arts and culture index: 91
Recreation index: 94
Diversity index: 74.36
Local eats: 75.5 percent
Population age 20-34: 29 percent
Net migration 2010 - 2013: 4.2 percent

Other Texas cities that showed up on the list were Dallas at No. 10, and San Antonio at No. 15. 

CultureMap Houston editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh contributed to this article.

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