USA Today's Up and Coming Neighborhoods

May 08

9:00 AM

By Erin Piscopink

Tagged: All Neighborhoods

Read the USA Today article in its original format HERE

10 Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods around the USA

Leif Petterson for
USA Today

Debates about gentrification notwithstanding, watching a blighted area get a new lease on life can be awfully heartening. We've listed a few of the most promising and unlikely rebirths below.
Cleveland: Located across the Cuyahoga River, west of downtown Cleveland, Ohio City is home to the bustling West Side Market, a six-acre urban farm, a growing number of ethnic eateries and some of the city's trendiest nightlife. Its growing reputation as an outstanding brewery district, filled with local breweries and hipster-dwelling beer bars, earned it a coveted spot on USA Today's list of the "10 great places to bar hop around the world."

Detroit: The heart of the city, Detroit's Midtown is rapidly developing into a surprisingly well-rounded residential area while featuring an abundance of restaurants, galleries, community gardens and markets. Dedicated local entrepreneurs have made Midtown an attractive hub for small businesses with high-end shops like Hugh and Nora, eateries like Maccabee's at Midtown and Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company and Shinola, which makes American-made bicycles, watches, leather goods and journals. Midtown is at the core of the city's M-1 Rail development and non-motorized transportation plans will soon connect the district to Eastern Market and other neighborhoods via greenways and bike paths.

Kansas City: The Westside neighborhood, radiating out from the intersection of 17th & Summit Streets, has filled up with pioneering urban dwellers of various ethnicities and infused life into the area. Beautiful homes abound, ranging from historic Victorian and Colonial to postmodern. Centrally located, within walking distance of downtown and adjacent to the Crossroads Arts District, Westside has an eclectic mix of restaurants like Chez Elle Creperie & Coffeehouse, Blue Bird Bistro, and Westside Local Restaurant & Beer Garden as well as a variety of Mexican restaurants and bars on nearby Southwest Boulevard.

New Orleans: Freret Street, from Jefferson Ave. to Napoleon Ave. in New Orleans' Uptown neighborhood, got a booster shot five years ago when Neal Bodenheimer opened Cure, a refined cocktail bar on one of the least refined stretches in New Orleans. Neal's success prompted others to take a chance on the area. A gas station was transformed into a hip hot dog joint, while an old tavern became a popular sushi bar. With new eateries like Vietnamese-leaning Mint Bistro, Midway Pizza, and music venues Gasa Gasa and Publiq House, Freret Street is transforming into a legitimate nightlife destination.

Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh's East Liberty suffered a dramatic failed urban renewal plan in the 1960s after its "golden era" in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, this culturally diverse neighborhood is undergoing a monumental "metropolitan chic" redevelopment effort, including boutique hotels opening in rehabbed historic buildings, new restaurants popping up and Google establishing offices here. The neighborhood's greatest landmark, the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, has survived, embracing a diverse and socially active congregation who have dubbed it "the Cathedral of Hope."

Portland: Southeast Portland's Division Street has been slowly evolving into Portland's hottest food neighborhood for more than 10 years, led by now legendary pioneers Pok Pok and Stumptown Coffee. Nowadays, much of Division between 12th and 45th avenues has filled in, including Sen Yai, Chef Andy Ricker's Thai noodle house, Yataimura Maru, a Japanese-style pub and offshoot of the popular sushi and ramen focused Shigezo Izakaya, Bollywood Theater, serving buzzworthy Indian street fare, and the Italian-inspired menu at Ava Gene's, opened in 2013 and hailed by the likes of Bon Appétit.

Raleigh: The North Person Street Business District, about 5-10 minutes walk from downtown Raleigh, was once home to boarded-up store fronts and struggling businesses. Within the past year it has begun a transformation into a vibrant area that appeals to both residents and visitors. Highlights include the Raleigh City Farm, an urban farm with the goal of transforming unexpected downtown spaces into nourishing farmland; Pie Bird, serving homemade savory and sweet pies; Oak City Cycling Project, a local, independent cycling project; and Slingshot Coffee, which sells hand-bottled, cold-brewed iced-coffee.

Richmond: Richmond's increasingly hot culinary scene is well represented in Church Hill, one of the most historic parts of the city, where Patrick Henry gave his "Give me Liberty" speech. When The Roosevelt opened in July of 2011, serving its highly regarded "untraditional celebration" of Southern food, it kicked off a surge of new ventures like WPA Bakery, run by Roosevelt co-owner Kendra Feather, Proper Pie Co., and the hipster, high-American cuisine at Dutch and Co. Other great spots in the Church Hill food scene include Sub Rosa Bakery, Patrick Henry Pub, Anthony's on the Hill, and the place that started it all, The Hill Café.

St. Paul: St. Paul's Lowertown was recently crowned America's top hipster zip code according to a study put together by RealtyTrac, which noted its age range (high proportion between 25 and 34), number of people who walk or use public transportation to get to work and ratio of rental housing units. Lowertown is home to the Union Depot, served by the city's new Green Line light rail, Amtrak trains, and bus companies Jefferson Lines and Megabus. Other noteworthy attributes include the St. Paul Farmer's Market (open year-round), Mears Park, a summer-long outdoor music venue, artist lofts in restored 19th century buildings, Nice Ride bike-share stations and great restaurants like Barrio, The Bulldog, and Heartland Farm Direct Market and Restaurant, pioneers of "Midwest modern cuisine."

Santa Fe: The Santa Fe Railyard is a newly created 50 acre neighborhood on the edge of downtown Santa Fe that's quickly developing into a district for shopping, attractions and events. Enticements include the wildly popular Santa Fe Farmers Market, a public plaza, brew pubs and restaurants, a 10-acre xeric park, a boutique bowling alley and a bike path connecting the Railyard with the rest of the city. The formerly abandoned Jean Cocteau Cinema is now owned by George RR Martin, of "Game of Thrones" fame, which will soon reopen as a multi-screen theater.