As the younger generation of people increasingly seek urban rather than suburban lifestyles, America’s major cities have responded by giving their downtown areas major facelifts. Upgrading cities’ central business districts lures the educated, young and professional while also providing a powerful incentive for businesses to locate where the best human resources are. These efforts have resulted in the rebirth of a number of American cities, including the following five that are on the rise.
Image via Flickr by Bernt Rostad
Once written off as doomed and decaying, Detroit is slowly becoming a municipal phoenix, rising from the ashes as a vibrant mecca for hip, career-minded people in their 20s. The Midtown area is especially attractive with its expanding residential area surrounded by myriad galleries, eateries, markets and public gardens. Thanks to its chic, upscale shops and focus on small businesses, the area is a hipster haven.
But civic redemption is hardly limited to Midtown. Most of downtown Detroit is changing, largely because of the prodigious investments and donations. Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans has spent millions revitalizing Detroit’s commercial real estate. Quicken Loans, along with four other companies, has pledged $4 million to assist employees with renting, buying and renovating area homes.
Image via Flickr by Larry Johnson
In 1989, business and civic leaders began revamping the lower downtown area of Denver by issuing bonds of $240 million. Now, “LoDo” boasts more than 100 restored Victorian buildings and warehouses that are home to restaurants, nightclubs, galleries and trendy boutiques. City officials hope to replicate the success of LoDo throughout downtown Denver, which is the impetus behind the 20-year revitalization project the downtown district is currently undergoing.
Hipsters will appreciate downtown stores like I Heart Denver, a special retail project in Denver Pavilions that features the wares of local artists and designers. The coolest part, though, is that 70% of sales go directly to the artists to help support Denver’s creative economy.
According to a Realty Trac study, Lowertown, an area of downtown St. Paul, is the number one hipster zip code in the U.S. And with Lowertown’s unparalleled public transportation system, vital music scene, modern restaurants and year-round farmer’s market, it’s no wonder the area has won the hearts of the 25- to 34-year-old crowd. Lowertown is home to several celebrated restaurants including Christos Greek Restaurant, The Bulldog and Heartland, many of which feature “Midwest modern cuisine.”
Image via Flickr by LouisvilleUSACE
Whiskey, indie rock, beer and barbecue are just a few of the selling points making Louisville another up-and-coming U.S. city. Thrillist.com ranked Louisville ninth on the list of the most hipster cities in America, thanks to its abundance of quirks like restaurants with no dress code for the wait staff and boutique hotels such as 21C, a hotel that doubles as an art gallery. In the last 10 years, much of Louisville’s subsidized housing has changed to market-rate property, and the city recently launched an initiative to restore Whiskey Row, bringing whiskey titan Jim Beam back to the area.
Pittsburgh bottomed out in the 1980s because of businesses and residents exiting the area. However, the city has recently started making a comeback with almost 95% of its premium office space leased and PNC Financial building two multi-million-dollar office towers in the last few years. East Liberty is especially on the rise and in the midst of a “metro chic” redevelopment effort that includes the opening of new restaurants and boutique hotels in historic buildings, as well as the debut of Google offices.
Whether you’re a career-minded professional or a dyed-in-the-wool hipster with a case of wanderlust, any of the up-and-coming cities mentioned above might suit you. To find the perfect place in an urban area, try to focus your search in areas undergoing revitalization projects. Public and private funding make these places more affordable, and they are often newly remodeled to attract people like you. Once you’ve found your spot, take advantage of these apps to beautify your house and make it feel like home.
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