Local pride runs deep. After all, you can take the girl out of her hometown, but you can’t take the hometown out of the girl. So when we heard our friends at Lonely Planet just released a list of the ten hottest ’hoods you need to visit (curated by their own travel experts), we had to share. Here, the best neighborhoods in the U.S. to go check out right now. Block party, anyone?
One Michelin-starred Korean restaurant and a brand-new brewery nestled next to the river, coming right up. This low-key northwest Chicago neighborhood about seven miles from downtown is home to Polish Village (who’s up for a pierogi?) and a big Latino presence. Plus, we hear the biscuits and gravy at the Belmont Snack Shop are not to be missed.
SOUTH 1ST STREET, AUSTIN
The tourists flock here for the ever-popular Austin City Limits and South by Southwest festivals. But locals know this city is a slice of Texan heaven all year round. Our favorite stretch of shops, bakeries and boutiques is the quaint ’hood of South 1st Street. On the absolutely-do-not-miss list? The food trucks (specifically Torchy’s Tacos), the “Greetings from Austin” mural and Once Over coffee bar for $3 craft beers.
EAST LIBERTY & LAWRENCEVILLE, PITTSBURGH
Steel City is cool enough to have technically two neighborhoods make the list. Yep, Google’s Pittsburgh campus (in an old factory) and Uber’s city offices (both in the neighborhood) have drawn an impressive migration of entrepreneurs and tech businesses. They’re up-and-coming (read: foodie havens) but still have the old-school blue-collar family vibes that the town has always been known (and loved) for.
We all know Portland is unique in that weird-but-we-know-we’re-weird sorta way. Same goes for this soulful neighborhood on the southeast part of town. It’s blossomed from a not-so-desirable burb to a cultural hot spot. Everything from the weekend blues jams and karaoke at Montavilla Station to the beautifully restored 1940s Academy Theater make this a glorifiably cool area in an already quirky city.
POINT LOMA, SAN DIEGO
The swankiest neighborhood of the bunch, this San Diego zip code boasts some of the best seafood in the city. Located on a hilly peninsula with cliffs overlooking the bay (allll the Big Little Lies vibes), it’s also home to the historic Point Loma lighthouse, marina and the most gorgeous bay-front homes we’ve ever seen. (Reese? Nicole? Is that you?)
This mish-mash of two communities (Fremont + Ballard = Frelard) has a quickly expanding foodie district attracting visitors looking for food trucks, craft brews and bonkers-good pizza pies. Plus we hear the breakfast (and hot sauce selection) at The Dish might be one of the best in the city. (We’ll have the Slacker Especial, please.)
SUNSET PARK, NEW YORK
Welcome to Brooklyn: How sweet it is! This particular patch of green heaven is something to be cherished, away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. We love the giant grassy park overlooking the city, BK’s Chinatown to the east, the old factories and warehouses that have been converted into hip restaurants and family-owned boutiques and the perfectly preserved rowhouses lining the streets.
CAPITOL RIVERFRONT & YARDS PARK, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Since the introduction of the half-billion-dollar Nationals Park baseball stadium, the former Navy Yards (once a bit on the seedier side) has seen a flourish of restaurants, a new boardwalk and a trapeze school (hey, that’s one way to get people to visit). Plus, the riverfront property makes this area prime real estate for new waterside parks and businesses, so we’re expecting the growth boom to continue in the years to come.
EAST NASHVILLE, NASHVILLE
Just across the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville lies this trendier, more alt-rock version of country-crooning Music City. Once dubbed the “NYC East Village” of Nashville, the heart of the eclectic neighborhood is Five Points. There, you’ll find the classic Southern food and bars you’d expect, plus craft beer breweries, family-owned antique stores and a Laundromat-cum-live-music-bar.
RIVER NORTH (RINO), DENVER
Formerly the home of Denver’s industrial center, the abandoned warehouses and factories now house hip restaurants, art galleries and jazz clubs. It’s also dubbed the art district of the Mile High City, which is unsurprising once you walk through its endless street murals that change almost weekly.