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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Skylines are great and skyscrapers are cool, but what cities across the U.S. have you been to that are the perfect marriage between street life and city life? I'm talking about your favorite cities to take a walk or bike ride; the places that have a lot going on but have that great balance of natural space to offset the hustle and bustle of urban atmospheres.

Here are my personal Top 10:

10 -->New York, NY
9 --> Palm Beach, FL
8 --> Philadelphia, PA
7 --> Santa Monica, CA
6 --> San Antonio, TX
5 --> Cambridge, MA
4 --> Washington, D.C.
3 --> San Francisco, CA
2 --> Miami Beach, FL
1 --> Boston, MA

What are your 10 favorite streetscapes?
 

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This is for the cities I've actually visited, in no particular order:

NYC, DC, Chicago, Philly, Richmond, Charleston, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Santa Monica
 

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to me New York (Manhattan) is the most incredible!
seriously it just feels like an concrete jungle! it makes does that have passion for skyscrapers feel happy :) lol.

2.Chicago
3.San Fransisco
4.Philadelphia
5.Miami Metro (South Beach, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables)
6.Los Angeles Metro (Hollywood, Long Beach)
7.Washington D.C.
8.Williamsburg
9.Savanna
10.Honolulu/seattle/Las Vegas?
 
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Great choices, here's mine.
1-San Francisco, CA
2-Miami Beach, FL
3-Delray Beach, FL (East Atlantic Avenue area)
4-New York City, NY
5-Austin, TX
6-Portland, OR
7-New Orleans, LA
8-Pittsburg, PA
9-Chicago, IL
10-Boca Raton, FL (until "spine" development completes, I would put the ranking higher.)
 

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its tough for me to rank them in a specific order, but of cities i've been to;
(note: i am leaving new york out of this because its urban fabric is hands down the best in america and one of the best in the world.)

chicago, philly, baltimore, and pittsburg are all first rate. i'm surprised noone has said baltimore. baltimore's urban fabric is stellar.

seattle is right up there, as is portland,or. portland however loses points because much of east portland is post-war suburb-esque.

smaller cities....savannah hands down. i kind of have a thing for syracuse,ny as well.

buffalo has first rate housing architecture, but lots of holes.
 

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What's so great about D.C.? Almost all historic non-government structures are gone at the core, and the European grid with a pukey modern clunk of buildings makes it depressing. It amazes me how a city with such strict zoning codes destroys itself.
Clearly you have never been to DC. Theres much more to the city than you think.
 

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1. D.C.
2. San Antonio
3. Savannah
4. Portland
5. New Orleans
6. Austin
7. Charleston
8. Boston
9. Philadelphia
10. Cincinnati

Usually..the better the skyline, the worse the street level. The better the street level, the worse the skyline. Especially true in the cases of these cities with great street scenes: San Antonio, Savannah, Portland, and DC... and especially true in the cases of these cities with great skylines: Dallas, OKC, Nashville, Kansas City, LA, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
 

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What's so great about D.C.? Almost all historic non-government structures are gone at the core, and the European grid with a pukey modern clunk of buildings makes it depressing. It amazes me how a city with such strict zoning codes destroys itself.
What about outside the core? How about the residential neighborhoods and where natives hang out? That's where the charm is. I don't see what's so great about other cities' downtowns outside of a couple. At least DC's is walkable and there's things to do and there's good mass transit. And I don't know what you mean by destroying itself b/c the city is doing relatively well.

I'd take DC over anything in S. Florida possibly w/ the exception of Miami Beach.
 

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My list, based on places I have visited:

1. NY
2. Chicago
3. San Francisco
4. Boston
5. Pittsburgh
6. Cincinnati
7. New Orleans
8. Grand Rapids
9. DC
10. Seattle

Good small walking cities I've visited: not surprisingly, mostly college towns
1. Ann Arbor
2. Bloomington, Ind
3. Flagstaff
4. Lawrence, Kan
5. Iowa City
6. Madison
7. Findlay, O
8. Jackson, Mich.
 

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I like big, walkable cities. It's so predictable that people will pick more obscure places just to be different. I couldn't care less if my choices are popular ones. And besides, I've lived in Ann Arbor, and I've visited cities like Pittsburgh, Cinci, Charleston, Savannah, I like all of my choices over those places.

And last time I checked, DC, Baltimore, Seattle, Boston, and SF, which I listed twice, aren't in the top 10. To me, it makes no sense to look at metro size for something like this. That only makes sense when you're looking at economy or something related to it. I'd add either Portland or Pittsburgh to that list to replace the 2nd SF I put.
 

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What about outside the core? How about the residential neighborhoods and where natives hang out? That's where the charm is. I don't see what's so great about other cities' downtowns outside of a couple. At least DC's is walkable and there's things to do and there's good mass transit. And I don't know what you mean by destroying itself b/c the city is doing relatively well.

I'd take DC over anything in S. Florida possibly w/ the exception of Miami Beach.
This is a question and not a pun but when did the "murder capital" of just a few years ago turn into this "walkable" mass transit haven? I mean, the mass transit had been there for decades. Could you specifically tell me when this view of DC began to change and why?
 

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Of course there's a pun intended and I have absolutely no idea why you have "walkable" in quotes. Relatively speaking, it is very walkable.

DC and the region has had one of the better economies in the country for years. Whether you see this as a good thing or bad thing is besides the point. B/c of this, I'd say of the larger cities, it's probably gentrified as much as any other city out there w/ the only exception being NYC IMO. Some of the poor people who committed most of the crimes have moved out of the city and into cheaper suburbs. Most of the crime is in an almost segregated part of the city to the far east side. The metro system has always been good, so it's not a question of a perception change in this aspect. It may have improved with the overall perception of the city as a whole but the system itself has always been good. The local gov't is a lot better than it was a couple decades ago, which is a big deal. Crime and bad governance are still issues, but they're not as bad as they were.

I don't know when the last time you were in DC was, but your view is typical amongst the people who haven't been here in a while.
 

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^
I think Chicago's gentrified area is larger than all of DC as a whole and SF is more gentrified than NYC is. I still can believe how fast Chicago gentrifies.

LA beats DC too. You may think DC hang with these large cities and their neighborhoods, but it doesn't. It just doesn''t have that many interesting commercial districts. Woodley Park is small, Cleveland Park is small. NE has barely anything, and SE has Capitol Hill, which is quiet anyway. NW, outside of Georgetown, west on Wisconsin Ave, is about as sleepy as it gets. All residential, nothng to really walk to. Those people must hang onto their cars with dear life.
 

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I don't compare SF a city who's fall was a lot less than cities like Philly, Chicago, DC, NYC, Baltimore, etc. And Chicago and NYC could both very well have more gentrified area, but I'm going on a relative, percentage basis. I've been to Chicago, lived there after college like a lot of Big Ten alums, and while it is very gentrified, I don't think there's as much comparable to an area in DC like around where the Nationals Stadium is or north of Union Station where entire neighborhoods, away from the core, are torn down and basically started from scratch again.

And I also never compared DC to NYC or Chicago or LA. DC just happens to be on my list with them but that's not a direct comparison necessarily. Aside from those three places, IMHO, only SF, Boston and maybe Seattle are in the conversation. And I'm not a anti-car, we must walk and bike everywhere, ideologue. Even if a neighborhood is sleepy and residential, if the homes look nice, are decorated nice, and you can get to your business in your car 5 minutes b/c a bus isn't as attractive a choice, that's not a big deal to me. It still adds to the urban fabric if the environment is dense enough.

At the end of the day, it's all an opinion anyway, people are entitled to their opinions.
 
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