You Can Always Go -- Downtown! But Would You?

Walking around downtown Santa Cruz is always an interesting experience. There are plenty of obscure specialty shops as well as a few chain stores. Lots of different street musicians each day, like a small country band that plays right near the bookshop and a guy with steel drums. There are a few regular weirdos that hang around, like the pink lady, a guy who dresses all in frilly pink and walks really really slowly.

I live in downtown Lafayette. I’m within walking distance of the Tippecanoe County Public Library, several museums (i vote at the art museum), and some decent restaurants. I’ve also bought several gifts at Artists Own, which is one of several galleries featured on the city’s periodic Art Walks. There’s also a good annual art fair on the courthouse square.

I read of fairly frequent crime in the area, but I’ve never been a victim, although I have noticed more begging the last few months. There are always storefronts becoming empty, but also new tenants trying to make a go of startups. A cheese shop just opened on the next street over, but a shop featuring balloons and other gifts had a fire and closed – the building is boarded up, and flame scars are visible.

It takes only about fifteen minutes to walk from one end of downtown to the other, and there’s also a free trolley (operated by the CityBus utility) to the West Lafayette side of the Wabash River. More info here.

My downtown (Bremerton, WA ) died about twenty years ago, when the new mall was built about 9 miles away. It has slowly started to come back, but NOT as a retail area - lots of new condo ‘towers’ (if you call 8 stories a tower), a couple of hotels, a few little shops that cater to ferry commuters (did I mention that Downtown is on a waterfront?). Basically, it’s being turned into a bedroom neighborhood for Seattle.

I work in Downtown LA. In terms of seeking entertainment, it’s pretty pathetic. However, they are trying very hard to revitalize the area.

For example, the area surrounding the Staples Center, which is near the southern edge of what we’d consider downtown, is growing by leaps and bounds. I’ve been hearing talk for years that they’re planning to open a supermarket nearby, something that will absolutely be necessary to support the rapidly exanding downtown loft business (take a drive down 7th Street between Figueroa and Main, if you’re familiar with the area, and you’ll see what I mean).

Personally, the only thing I’d go downtown for in terms of entertainment would be to visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall or one of the other nearby performing arts centers on the northern edge of downtown, or to visit Olvera Street. The only movie theater I know of in downtown proper is inside the Sheraton Hotel, I think. LA is just too spread out to make downtown much of a destination for anyone but tourists and the few folks who can afford to live in one of the new lofts there.

Yes, I was going to say the same thing. The real downtown Denver is all about the arts and sporting events - there’s a big performing arts center (several different venues), the baseball stadium, and the basketball/hockey arena. Also, the convention center. Most business cater to people who go to these places, hence the bars/restaurants.

As far as shopping goes, there is a separate place for that close to downtown, Cherry Creek. All the cool boutique styles stores are there, although I read that they are being pushed out by ballooning rents.

I love downtown Seattle, and the Loop in Chicago is definitely one of the greatest places in the world.

I didnt realize just how lucky those two cities were until I started moving around the couple years - one reason I did not like Phoenix is that they dont have one - government offices and a ballpark aint enough. St Louis is starting to have a renaissance in its downtown - becoming the Loft District, and I really hope it continues to succeed. There are some beautiful buildings down there and its great to see them rehabbed rather than torn down. But it needs more entertainment besides trendy restaurants and the odd gallery to get me to go down there after 6 pm. (The Metrolink running until AFTER the bars closed might help matters too, especially if you want college students to come by.)

I visited my cousin in San Antonio also, and while I like the city, its downtown didnt have much to show for it either outside of the Riverwalk.

I agree completely. I think Portland’s success was a major reason Seattle invested so much in cleaning up theirs, which was starting to get a bit gritty in the 80’s - they didnt want to be overshadowed by the neighbor to the south.

Some towns in suburban Boston have quaint little downtowns full of shops. Mine isn’t one of them. I think “downtown” is officially Route 1, with its malls and big stores. It’s desuignated “Broadway” where it runs through town.

Aside from that, there are two little regions off the superhighway with concentrations of things. There a square with a Civil War Memorial in the center, surroundede by our weird gingerbread City Hall, the new Library, several churches, and a few stores. A couple of miles south of that is another square with the Post Office, more chjurches, and a few more stores.

Heh, I just went Christmas shopping in downtown Buffalo - at the Sabres Pro Shop in the arena. They are making money hand over fist, I tell ya. I couldn’t believe the crowds. Overall though, Buffalo’s downtown is pretty sad due to the Rapid Transit debacle of the 80s. Some of the city’s attempts to inject some life into it are creative and interesting – so in some ways I think it is vibrant compared to what it was in, say, 1988, but not as opposed to other cities. There are some good restaurants, bars, and theaters, music performance, beautiful architecture, & sports facilities but not so much on the shopping, seasonal or otherwise.

There is a well-established shopping district in the neighborhood one over from “downtown,” (and depending on context, you might also refer to it as downtown) so it’s probably smart not to try to beef up the downtown shopping to compete. Of course, if people stopped going to the malls in the burbs and headed into the city instead of away from it, it could certainly handle two robust shopping areas. I’m not holding my breath, though.

“Rapid Transit debacle”? What happened?

Buffalo has some interesting architecture, and I suspect is rather underrated. It went through a decline after the second world war, no? I still remember my parents talking about the times they would go from Southern Ontario to Buffalo for the nightlife (this must have been the early fifties).

I live in Detroit.
I think that says enough.

To say more, the downtown area is gutted and there are areas that are still scarred from the riots of the late '60s. There’s SOME stuff going on (Lions and Tigers, (and Wings)oh my!) but it’s not nearly as vibrant as some cities. That can be changed with mass transit and the Donut Effect coming into fruition. That states that the rich people moved out to the 'burbs, leaving the poor behind. The rich keep moving further and further out, the poor keep moving out as well, creating a vacuum in the middle. Revitalization is being done (in essence) to prepare for the return of people to the city.

The architecture isn’t bad. They’ve got a few Frank Lloyd Wright houses, which are fun to look at and a Nice modern art museum on Elmwood.

The “mass transit” is a damned joke. It goes up and down one street, Main Street. That’s it. It’ll take you from the University of Buffalo’s South Campus, up the street to the HSBC Arena. It’s essentially useless to get around to, you know, other places.

Downtown? Dallas? Well, to be honest, I’d never given it much thought. Most of downtown after hours is totally deserted, although not as scary as the description of Detroit above. But there is life there, and you get stuff like the Neiman Marcas Christmas displays, and the West End area is probably all Christmassed up, although I can’t seem to find any pics online.

On the other hand, I grew up in the small town of Guthrie, Oklahoma, which has some neat Christmas decorations and activities. I think the combination of small town atmosphere and extensive Victorian era downtown buildings really makes it kind of magical.

Don’t let me completely scare you. Detroit has TONS of history and some very very good museums, culture, and architecture.

However…we can’t act like we don’t have urban blight and historical significance.

Despite this, and how scary some places can be, it’s a great place. I love it.

Well, being in Philadelphia, I guess downtown would be Center City/Old City. Hmmm, lots of shops, great restaurants, bars, museums, yup, it’s pretty great.

Of course the fact that I live there might make me a bit biased. :smiley:

Downtown Honolulu is a grid of office buildings bordered by government buildings on one side and Chinatown on the other. There’s a small Macy’s, Ross’s (like TJ Maxx), and Longs Drugs… but it’s not really a shopping destination.

Two miles to the east (but still in Honolulu) is Waikiki, and the huge Ala Moana Center borders that. Ala Moana is the place to shop. While not technically “downtown”, it’s still in the city.

In New York City, the whole town is “downtown.”

In fact our downtown is less of a “downtown” than most downtowns. Midtown is our “downtown.”

(I’m speaking of Manhattan. Brooklyn does have a “downtown,” although Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island don’t. Manhattan is their “downtown.” Get it?)

Central London is, in my opinion, everything a city should be. There’s good restaurants and great pubs, all the shopping you could want, tons of theater, huge parks, free museums, and plenty of interesting architecture and history. Plus it’s both safe and fairly easy to get around.

I’m unfortunately not living there anymore, and am temporarily in suburban New Jersey, which has absolutely none of the above.

The rectangular building with columns, in the park to the right of your picture, is the Hawaii Legislative Assembly or Capitol or Statehouse or whatever you call it, right? Is that Iolani Palace just in front of it? Must be nice to live in a city with an actual palace. The closest Toronto gets to a palace is Casa Loma and that’s just a fancy house built by a merchant with more money than brains…

Mallworld! It’s everywhere!

As Least Original User Name Ever pointed out, it’s more or less useless because it goes from nowhere to nowhere. More specifically, the debacle was that it took so long to build, and resulted in cars being prohibited on downtown Main Street, that the businesses on Main Street failed at a rapid rate. It was like a ghost town for many years, even in the middle of the day. Now, there were other economic factors at play, and a real public policy analyst could dig down much deeper, but the “common wisdom” is that the Rapid Transit was the last nail in the coffin for downtown. “Rapid Transit” is what it was called when I was a kid, I think it has another name now (Metro Rail?)

I think (fortunately) Buffalo’s architectural legacy is starting to become more commonly known, at least among architecture geeks. And from what I hear, the nightlife was amazing during the time your parents were going there – I have a lot of relatives who still talk about it.

The tore down our downtown and put up housing for the elderly.

Yes, it’s that small a town.