Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City - 2015 Great Neighborhood

The Crossroads Arts District is Kansas City’s artistic and entrepreneurial core, a walkable neighborhood featuring hundreds of art-focused entities, regular cultural events and hosting a growing number of tech start-ups. Seeking to create a mixed-use environment while preserving the historic character of older Crossroads buildings—several of which are on the National Register of Historic Places— adaptive reuse projects are converting underused warehouses into residential, retail, and office space. The Crossroads is home to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Crossroads Music Festival, and the monthly First Friday event, a celebration of local artists and businesses. The neighborhood offers several bike sharing stations, public bus transit service, and bike and pedestrian paths, with a streetcar line slated to open in 2016. To learn more, click here.

Central West End, St. Louis - 2014 Great Neighborhood


The 112-block Central West End (CWE) neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, features a European-vibe that includes sidewalk cafes, restaurants, boutiques, museums, and popular visitor attractions between St. Louis's crown jewel Forest Park and St. Louis University. The neighborhood has long been St. Louis's most exemplary "rebound neighborhood," surviving a bleak post-War period thanks in large part to an intrepid group of business owners who began rescuing abandoned storefronts in the early 1970s. This so-called Class of '72 helped to inspire dozens of rehabbers to restore the neighborhood’s stock of ornate Classical Revival style homes to their former grandeur.Today, the CWE boasts more than 14,000 residents (and counting) and twice that in employees at its top-ranked Medical Campus. In addition, the CWE hosts the region’s busiest light rail station and is set to open another station within the Cortex Innovation District in the near future, furthering the neighborhood’s status as a car-optional place. Active neighborhood groups  work to preserve local flavor and host annual events to showcase the CWE, including the risque Central West End Halloween Party (in its 31st year) and the aromatic St. Nicholas Greek Festival (in its 97th). 

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Forest Park, St. Louis - 2013 Great Public Space

Dedicated in 1876, Forest Park's 1,371 acres — which make it roughly 500 acres larger than New York City's Central Park — are home to 30,000 trees and five of the region's major institutions: the Missouri History Museum, the Muny (the nation's largest amphitheater dedicated to musical theater), the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, and the Saint Louis Zoo.

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Ward Parkway, Kansas City - 2012 Great Street

Ward ParkwayWard Parkway is Kansas City's eminent thoroughfare, a right-of-way that begins at Country Club Plaza and transitions to a grand boulevard with manicured lawns and gardens as it follows sweeping curves southward. A commitment by both citizens and city government to maintain the parkway has allowed it to remain one of the area's most coveted addresses with historic homes, neighborhood parks, picturesque fountains, ornamental monuments, and rolling landscapes.

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Washington Avenue, St. Louis - 2011 Great Street

Once mostly vacant and deteriorating, Washington Avenue today has reversed decades of urban decline to become one of St. Louis's most popular districts. This downtown corridor — replete with residential and office lofts, boutiques, restaurants, and nightclubs — pulses with activity not seen since its garment district days, a time when sidewalks were filled with window-shoppers and buyers. A virtual museum of late 19th and early 20th century warehouse architecture clad in brick, stone, and terra cotta, this monumental corridor imparts one of St. Louis's most cohesive vistas.

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Wydown Boulevard, Clayton - 2009 Great Street

Wydown BoulevardKnown as much for its scenery and attractiveness for walking, jogging, and biking as its dignified historic neighborhoods, Wydown Boulevard serves both public and private users equally well.

The street's origins date back to the early 1900s when wealthy St. Louis businessmen sought to escape urban congestion. Four subdivisions were built along the street that reflected the garden city concepts and sensitivity to the natural environment advocated by Henry Wright, Lewis Mumford, and the Regional Planning Association of America.

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Delmar Loop, University City and St. Louis - 2007 Great Street

Not long ago, the Delmar Loop was nothing more than a strip of mostly vacant, boarded-up storefronts. Missing was the energy and vitality of today's street, an eclectic arts, entertainment, dining, and shopping district in University City, Missouri. The American Planning Association has selected the Delmar Loop as one of 10 Great Streets in America because of the sustained efforts of local business, government, and the community to achieve successful physical and economic revitalization.

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