10 Great American Shopping Streets

Only a few years ago, cities were declaring their downtowns dead, victims of regional shopping malls, online retailers and suburban sprawl. But some urban shopping districts have come back big time. “They have what I call the X-Factor of Urbanism. Very cool, historic and filled with interesting shops and restaurants, surrounded with walkable neighborhoods,” says Robert Gibbs, an urban planner who has worked with 300 cities and teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He says vacationers spend more time shopping than on any other vacation activity, making these neighborhoods natural for travelers. He shares some favorite downtown districts with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

Lake Street, Petoskey, Michigan

Gibbs says this Lake Michigan community is one of the best small towns in the Midwest. It scores a perfect 100 on walkability, a measure used by urban planners to reflect the ability to stroll to shops, restaurants, parks and other amenities. With mild, sunny summer weather, vacationers come from cities like Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis, to enjoy its bookstores, coffee shops and boutiques.

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