The Dude Resides: The 11 Most Lebowski-Friendly Cities
“Sometimes there’s a man who, well, he’s the man for his time and place, he fits right in there—and that’s The Dude, in Los Angeles.”
Unfortunately for The Dude, that time and place was 1991 in Venice Beach, and in the years since the real estate prices have skyrocketed. This bohemian beach town is no longer priced for the laziest man in Los Angeles County, a man known as The Dude from the movie The Big Lebowski.
Obviously, The Dude is going to have to relocate, so we scoured America for the best cities where he could live out his days in a smoky marijuana haze, sipping White Russians and bowling with friends. We dug through phonebooks for other Lebowskis, sought out fellow travelers for The Dude, and found cities filled with Lebowski fans and festivals. In the end we selected these 11 cities as ideal habitat for The Dude from The Big Lebowski.
While the weather is nothing like Los Angeles, Minneapolis is still ideal habitat where The Dude can be a dude and abide as he pleases. With 13 bowling alleys, the city has no shortage of Lebowski-sanctioned recreation opportunities, and there’s even another seven in neighboring St. Paul. The Minneapolis area has over 40 Lebowski’s in the phonebook, far more than any other major U.S. city, so he can reside amongst his people.
- The Coen Brothers, the filmmakers behind The Big Lebowski, grew up in nearby St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
- The city hosts various Lebowksi-themed events, including live readings, Halloween parties, drinking games, performances, and more.
- The last Lebowski Fest in Minneapolis took place in 2009 (PHOTOS).
If you think there’s a city of Achievers out there that reveres The Dude more than Austin does… well… then that’s just like your opinion, man. Austin’s got eight bowling alleys in town, including Highland Lanes, which has a restaurant called Lebowski’s Grill serving menu items called The Dude Burger, The Donny and The Walter Burger. It’s rumored that there’s a 50-foot mural paying tribute to The Big Lebowski (and Kingpin) at The Goodnight, an upscale Austin bowling alley. Is this true?
- Austin occasionally hosts Lebowski Fest, but can’t be bothered to make it an annual tradition.
- There is one listing in the phonebook for Walter Sobchak. Please do NOT call him, especially on Saturday, because he doesn’t use a phone on Saturdays.
- There’s an Austin woman named Tolly whose spirit animal is The Dude (here’s the proof).
Perhaps the best way to avoid being attacked by nihilists armed with an angry ferret is to live somewhere ferrets are outlawed. Honolulu is such a place, and anyone caught with one faces up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000. The penalty for marijuana possession is considerably less.
- Honolulu also has three bowling alleys, but one is military only so you’ll have to find your own Walter Sobchak to gain admission.
- The vibe is laid back, and the climate’s perfect for strolling about in flip flops and a bathrobe.
- Honolulu is calmer than you are.
You may be thinking Tuscaloosa is out of its element, but the Alabama city most certainly belongs on this list of dude-friendly cities. First and foremost, Tuscaloosa is “The Laziest City in America,” at least according to the good folks at Business Insider. The Dude’s lifestyle of taking ‘er easy would fit well with a city where 29.9 percent of residents don’t exercise. Despite its slothful ways the city is highly motivated when it comes to celebrating the glory that is The Big Lebowski.
- Tuscaloosa’s local Lebowski Fest had to change its name to “Tuscaloosa Abides” after the organizers received a cease and desist order from the (official) Lebowski Fest founders up in Louisville—(related article). This aggression will not stand… wait, yes it did.
- Three bowling alleys—AMF Bama Lanes, Bama Bowl and Leland Lanes.
An affordable alternative to Venice, the southern California city of Ventura offers a warm climate and laid back vibe, a few bowling alleys, and it’s the U.S. headquarters for the slowest-growing religion in the world—Dudeism. This religious philosophy is deeply inspired by The Big Lebowski, as well as various Eastern religions. According to Rev. Oliver Benjamin, The Dudely Lama of Dudeism, there are nearly 200,000 Dudeist Priests worldwide and it’s fairly easy to become one.
- There’s an In-N-Out Burger on Harbor Boulevard. Those are good burgers, Walter.
- Ventura’s got itself three primo bowling establishments.
- There are over 200 convenient ATM locations in Ventura in case you should meet a free-spirited Bunny.
- Learn more about Dudeism HERE.
If any one man’s DNA were secretly implanted into a city’s population it would The Dude’s DNA in Portland, Oregon. This city is Dude-ville, a Lebowski paradise of aging hippies and mildly-employed idealists. Wander into a Portland bar at 11am and you’ll find it packed with knock-off versions of Jeffrey Lebowski in all shapes and sizes. Portland has decriminalized marijuana so nobody much minds if a dude does a J, and there are 10 bowling alleys to roll at (all are open on shomer Shabbos).
- The iconic sweater worn by Jeff Bridges in the movie is produced by Pendleton, a Portland-based company. You can buy a version of it HERE.
- There are numerous Lebowski-themed events at local bars, cinemas and bowling alleys, and even Big Lebowski-themed bike rides.
- Mustached actor Sam Elliott, who plays The Stranger that narrates the movie, grew up in Portland.
Dudes, Houston won’t slow your roll because the city has 20 bowling alleys, an astounding number for a city not in the Midwest. Whether it’s a league game or tournament play, Houston’s got plenty of lanes for everyone, provided they follow the rules. For instance, if you step over the line you mark it a zero or else you are entering a world of pain. Understand? A world of pain.
- Donny will definitely have to “STFU” in Houston.
- There are six listings for Jesus Quintana in the phone book.
- 8-year-olds, Dude.
Chicago‘s winters can be harsh on one’s mellow, but the Windy City would still make a welcome port in the storm for The Dude. The city is home to more than 20 bowling alleys, the ingredients for White Russians can be purchased at any grocery store, and the citizenry displays a high level of enthusiasm for The Big Lebowski.
- Chicago has hosted an annual Lebowski Fest ever since 2008.
- Home of Vaudezilla, burlesque group that performs “Rollin’ Outta Here Naked: A Big Lebowski Burlesque.” Good Lord, you can imagine where it goes from here…
- Homes for sale often come with a basement bar included—here’s proof.
The Dude, along with six other guys, was once a member of the Seattle Seven, a radical anti-Vietnam War group, so he’s already spent time in this rainy city. Perhaps he moved away because of the closure of the revered bowling institutions Sunset Bowl or Leilani Lanes? Or maybe he just sought a sunnier climate, preferring not to live under clouds darker’n a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night. Either way, The Dude should consider a return to Seattle, and not just because the nearby mountains are teeming with nice marmots.
- According to the Rev. Oliver Benjamin, The Dudely Lama of Dudeism, the Dudiest towns would contain “yin-yang opposites… a curious mix of high and low brow, the hedonistic and intellectual… a wide continuum of people with no clear agenda or identity. It would be fluid in manner, like the Dude. Mainly, it would be predisposed to a high quality of life, though one not defined in dollars but in dharma. Also, it would help if pot were legal.” That sounds a lot like Seattle.
- In the past year, marijuana was legalized in Seattle and it became legal to sell liquor in grocery stores.
- There is one other Lebowski in the phonebook in case The Dude wants to team up with him and make a buddy flick.
- Dude Fest is an annual Seattle festival that includes a movie showing, White Russian bar, costume contest, and live burlesque.
- Seattle also has lawn bowling if The Dude wants to start crosstraining.
ANN ARBOR, MI
The Dude believes in pacifism, something that can be studied in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, particularly as it relates to World War I. The Dude enjoys White Russian cocktails, the ingredients of which—vodka, Kahlúa and cream—can be purchased at virtually any grocery store in Ann Arbor. The Dude smokes marijuana, and this hippie haven was named by High Times as one of America’s Best Cities for Pot. This is completely primo Dude territory if ever there was.
- The Big Lebowski still plays on occasion at State Theater—next up… Sept. 7, 2013.
- There are four bowling alleys in Ann Arbor.
- There are seven people in the Ann Arbor phonebook with the last name Lebowski, and five of them are dudes.
The Big Lebowski flopped at the box office when first released, but it eventually developed a cult following thanks in part to the enthusiasm of the fine Achievers of Louisville, Kentucky. Locals rallied around the movie, creating the first annual Lebowski Fest in 2002. That festival was eventually franchised and spread to more than a dozen other cities in the United States and abroad, but Louisville is still home the top one. In 2010, they even gave away the Dude Mobile (pictured above) as a prize.
- If The Dude ever needed a toe, someone in Louisville would get him a toe. He is revered in Louisville and there are ways, believe me.
- According to High Times, Louisville is one “America’s Best Cities for Pot,” probably because marijuana is the state’s number one cash crop. That’s a potential line of work for The Dude.
- Louisville has 12 bowling alleys and was named the “13th Laziest City in America” by Business Insider.
Did we omit any Dude-worthy cities? Let us know in the comments.
– – – – –