If business keeps taking you back to the same cities, do you spend your free time there revisiting the same old haunts and/or hanging around your hotel? For a bit of urban adventure, why not check out a city’s up-and-coming hot neighborhoods that are loved by locals but still undiscovered by visitors?
Travel publisher Lonely Planet solicited input from its experts and local contributors on the subject, and it came up with a list of uber-cool neighborhoods for trend-seeking travelers. Even if you’re not a hipster, hopping an Uber to these off-the-beaten-path districts could at least make you sound kind of cool and in-the-know to your colleagues back home.
Here are its Top 10 picks, with comments from Lonely Planeteers:
Sunset Park, New York “The success of art and commerce behemoth Industry City has shone a light onto one of Brooklyn’s most exciting under-the-radar neighborhoods. Another favorite from Lonely Planet’s global neighborhood list, Sunset Park sits below Park Slope on the south and western borders of Green-Wood Cemetery, and hosts a heady mix of cultures and traditions…Set on one of the highest hills in Brooklyn, it offers spectacular views of lower Manhattan.” – Robert Balkovich
Capitol Riverfront & Yards Park, Washington DC “One of DC’s most recent reincarnations, the former Navy Yard, a commercial wharf in the 19th Century, has been completely overhauled. Formerly one of the grittier parts of the US capital, the riverfront area began to change in 2008, when it became home to Nationals Park, DC’s major league baseball stadium. These days, there are more reasons to visit here than for sport alone; the entire waterfront precinct now features an attractive boardwalk, small riverside parks and a handful of top-notch eateries.” – Kate Armstrong
River North (RiNo), Denver “Even as the Mile High City expands, RiNo still clings to its punk-rock roots. You’ll find it in the street murals that seem to pop up overnight, in the experimental galleries that play open house on Friday nights, and in the innovative food halls and rockabilly microbrews that play host to the city’s young, bold and tattooed. [RiNo] is playing center stage for the resurgent arts and cultural scenes that have transformed D-Town into the cultural dynamo of the American West.” – Greg Benchwick
Point Loma, San Diego “Point Loma is the conservative neighbor of hippy Ocean Beach, with its sports fishing centers, yacht clubs, and naval base…[it’s] home to a mishmash of New England-style clapboard houses, tropical- themed hotels, and exquisite modern hilltop homes with panoramic views of the city and harbor below. It’s common to see members of the armed forces in uniform around the sleepy town, but foodies also gravitate to Point Loma for the outstanding seafood brought to shore daily by boats, and served in local restaurants.” – Jade Bremner
Frelard, Seattle “A highlight from Lonely Planet’s global list, this new community has slowly taken shape in the space between two of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods. First coined by Seattle restaurateur Ethan Stowell, owner of Frelard Pizza Company, the name Frelard reflects those of its neighbors: Fre(mont) and (Bal)lard…It’s the perfect place to refuel on a day spent exploring beyond Seattle’s main tourist sights.” – Valerie Stimac
Montavilla, Portland “On the far side of Mount Tabor Park in southeast Portland is the quietly cool Montavilla neighborhood…Its core is just a half-dozen blocks along Stark Street, lined with shops, restaurants and bars. The lynchpin of this stretch is the Academy Theater, a second-run cinema (built in 1948, restored and reopened in 2006) … Fifteen or so years ago, this neighborhood had a reputation for crime…Now there’s a busy Sunday farmers market, a handful of craft-cocktail and beer bars, cute little independent shops and a dive bar (Montavilla Station) known for its weekend blues jams.” – Becky Ohlsen
South 1st Street, Austin “At first glance, South 1st Street looks like a ho-hum stretch of cottages, food trucks and weathered buildings. But don’t be fooled by the low-key façade … Chatty locals keep Bouldin Creek Café and the indie coffee shops buzzing while beloved Torchy’s Tacos serves “damn good tacos” from its very first location – a trailer – all day long… It’s an appealing mix of old and new – and a stark contrast to trendy South Congress Avenue one block east.” – Amy Balfour
Avondale, Chicago “Avondale offers no hotels or tourist sights. It’s mostly humble two-flat homes and the occasional smokestack or steeple popping up. But throughout this working-class beat on Chicago’s northwest side, groovy things are brewing…Get here soon though, because Avondale teeters on the edge. Hipster ‘hoods nibble at its borders, poised to spill over. And that may change its scruffy, artsy, lived-in magic.” – Karla Zimmerman
East Liberty & Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh “Pittsburgh won’t be the first American city to beep on your cool-o-meter, but its eastern neighborhoods might just be the sleeper hit your hipster sensibilities have been craving…the influx of moneyed millennials has willed a new food and beverage scene into existence, led by the Ace Hotel, which opened in a once-derelict YMCA in 2015 – all of which is making the Steel City’s reputation considerably less rusty.” – Brandon Presser
East Nashville, Nashville “Music City is known for its country crooners and the honky tonks on Lower Broadway, but just across the Cumberland River in East Nashville, residents march to the beat of a different drum…there are more tattoos, street murals and alternative music venues on this side of town…And if you came to Nashville for hot chicken, the East side has you covered as well, with Pepperfire, Bolton’s and the place that started it all, Prince’s.” – Evan Godt
What’s your favorite sleeper neighborhood that no one really knows about…but should?