Downtown Asheville, North Carolina: One of the best vacation destinations in the United States, Asheville features a hilly downtown with some of the best shopping and restaurants in the entire country. From the French Broad Chocolate Bar to restaurants featured on the Eater 38, downtown Asheville is hopping come summertime. Speaking of hopping, check out the city’s bevy of craft breweries.
Georgetown, Washington, DC: Strong and steady, Georgetown remains Washington’s strongest urban neighborhood. Difficult to traverse, sans Metro, and burdened by increasing competition from emergent other Washington neighborhoods, Georgetown’s retail significance in the city may be waning. Its canal, brick sidewalks, and lively retail and nightlife scene at all hours of the weekends continue to make Georgetown a crown jewel not just for Washington, but for urbanism worldwide.
Houston: The Eclectic City, Houston only gets more interesting with each passing year. Abundant wealth, robust momentum for growth, and the city’s notoriously light regulatory regime have shed oodles of randomness on this dynamic southern city. Blocks that erratically feature gas stations, motels, and parking garages also contain the most interesting of urban finds, from cafes that sell flowers to upscale restaurants with valet parking, all tucked within an otherwise mundane suburban hellscape. Houston is emerging as America’s answer to London.
Downtown Dallas, Texas: The corollary to Houston, downtown Dallas brings together generations of Lone Star patriotism. From pleasantly scaled Commercial Street to a bevy of creative new urbanism interventions, to miles of concrete construction and surface parking lots, to the OMA-designed Wily Theater, to nearby Deep Ellum, Dallas features pockets upon pockets of differentiated Texas flavor at a manageable scale.
The Short North, Columbus, Ohio: The Shorth North has steadily grown as a retail district for several years, and its evolution has finally given Columbus, Ohio a place for tourists to feel like they’re in the big city, in Ohio. What’s differentiated the Short North’s growth lately has been its continued integration with surrounding urban neighborhoods like North Market, downtown, and the Arena District. Columbus finally is starting to feel like a capital city.
Fourth Street, Cleveland, Ohio: For a city struggling to get by, Cleveland made a smart move concentrating about a dozen restaurants on one block of East Fourth Street downtown, perpendicular to the city’s traditional main street, Euclid Avenue. East Fourth Street is compact, boisterous, and a perfect destination for fans gearing up for the city’s many weekend sporting events.
Minneapolis: For all of its efforts to undue its success, Minneapolis has continued to fly under the radar as the most affordable large city in the world. The best place in the country to buy a single-family home, Minneapolis is a model for the world.
The Battery, Atlanta: It’s not remarkable, but it’s a creative new take on urban sports districts. Unlike previous stadium-bolstered districts, the Battery isn’t a revitalization of an existing place. Rather, the new neighborhood around Sun Trust Park in Atlanta is an entire new neighborhood.