Which US Cities Have the Biggest Downtowns?

Among its many inventions, one of America's most interesting gifts to the rest of the world was its invention of the modern maga-city downtown. Before Europe and well before Asia, America invented the notion of a true modern "downtown" comprised of abundant tall buildings and a plethora of urban jobs. While Europe has many great cities, America's downtown are unique bastions of density and intensity only today being rivaled by many large Asian cities.

As measured in skyscrapers and jobs, however, which American downtowns hold bragging rights as the "best"? The most intense, the most frenetic, and the most exciting? To find out, we analyzed the 150 largest cities in the country. Only downtowns that are the economic anchor of their region were counted, and they were scored across a range of variables: number of tall buildings, height of their tallest building, intensity of urban development, downtown jobs, and downtown housing. So which cities have the most skyscrapers and the most robust downtowns? Our rankings are below.

(For the purposes of these numbers, a skyscraper is defined as any building over 12 stories tall).

First, America's Grade-A Mega-Downtowns

1. New York City

6,548 tall buildings

1,927,000 jobs

2. Chicago

1,384 tall buildings

572,000 jobs

3. Washington, DC

486 tall buildings

431,000 jobs

4. San Francisco

443 tall buildings

327,000 jobs

5. Philadelphia

449 tall buildings

223,000 jobs

6. Boston

358 tall buildings

265,000 jobs

7. Seattle

314 tall buildings

212,000 jobs

Second, America's Grade-B Large Downtowns

8. Los Angeles

629 tall buildings

164,000 jobs

9. Houston

576 tall buildings

161,000 jobs

10. Atlanta

317 tall buildings

178,000 jobs

11. Denver

270 tall buildings

132,000 jobs

12. Minneapolis

293 tall buildings

109,000 jobs

13. Portland

180 tall buildings

106,000 jobs

14. Miami

411 tall buildings

92,000 jobs

15. Dallas

330 tall buildings

68,000 jobs

16. Detroit

242 tall buildings

74,000 jobs

17. Baltimore

217 tall buildings

84,000 jobs

18. Pittsburgh

170 tall buildings

88,000 jobs

19. Indianapolis

159 tall buildings

87,000 jobs

20. Austin

212 tall buildings

78,000 jobs

21. Cleveland

162 tall buildings

82,000 jobs

22. Honolulu

446 tall buildings

56,000 jobs

23. St. Louis

246 tall buildings

60,000 jobs

24. San Diego

194 tall buildings

57,000 jobs

25. Nashville

175 tall buildings

60,000 jobs

26. Cincinnati

169 tall buildings

60,000 jobs

27. Charlotte

148 tall buildings

65,000 jobs

28. Columbus

95 tall buildings

80,000 jobs

29. Milwaukee

159 tall buildings

57,000 jobs

30. New Orleans

128 tall buildings

59,000 jobs

Third, America's Grade-C Mid-Sized Downtowns

31. Kansas City

179 tall buildings

39,000 jobs

32. San Antonio

112 tall buildings

45,000 jobs

33. Louisville

84 tall buildings

49,000 jobs

34. Jacksonville

83 tall buildings

48,000 jobs

35. Richmond

81 tall buildings

61,000 jobs

36. Hartford, Connecticut

56 tall buildings

63,000 jobs

37. Sacramento

47 tall buildings

69,000 jobs

38. Salt Lake City

63 tall buildings

50,000 jobs

39. Orlando

154 tall buildings

37,000 jobs

40. Tampa

146 tall buildings

32,000 jobs

41. Phoenix

98 tall buildings

32,000 jobs

42. Buffalo

95 tall buildings

36,000 jobs

43. Birmingham

75 tall buildings

33,000 jobs

44. Las Vegas

141 tall buildings

23,000 jobs

45. San Jose

89 tall buildings

29,000 jobs

46. Tulsa

67 tall buildings

30,000 jobs

47. Raleigh

65 tall buildings

30,000 jobs

48. Grand Rapids

32 tall buildings

28,000 jobs

49. Rochester

58 tall buildings

25,000 jobs

50. Memphis

75 tall buildings

18,000 jobs

51. Virginia Beach

37 tall buildings

23,000 jobs

52. Providence

35 tall buildings

22,000 jobs

53. Oklahoma City

64 tall buildings

13,000 jobs

54. Tucson

21 tall buildings

10,000 jobs

55. Fresno

17 tall buildings

10,000 jobs

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