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Old 06-26-2017, 12:15 AM
 
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I am curious to know what downtowns in the US are the largest. I am planning for a trip during August in a big city. However I want to stay downtown in a city with a large variety of restaurants and bars. I have already been to NYC and Miami many times in the past couple of years, but I'm willing to try something new this time around. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:18 AM
 
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Chicago has a very big downtown. I think San Francisco does too. Maybe not size, but in terms of crowd, it will make you feel like it's very big. LA not so much. Big city, but the downtown doesn't feel big.
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:04 AM
 
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Thanks for your input
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:45 AM
 
Location: North America
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Downtown LA is pretty cool. Always changing. It is not the biggest Downtown but top 10 in America, maybe top 5. Lots of restaurants and bars. Yesterday was the opening of the Wilshire Grand Center which is the "tallest" building west of the Mississippi River if you include the spire. On rooftop is an open air bar with views galore. Below are restaurants. but lost of variety from French, Italian, American, Brazilian, Japanese, Chinese and other foods. Grand Central Market is a large popular food hall. Chicago and San francisco are larger downtowns and more compact so there are lots more choices within a compact area.
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:00 AM
 
Location: Brackenwood
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Originally Posted by Einhander View Post
Chicago has a very big downtown. I think San Francisco does too. Maybe not size, but in terms of crowd, it will make you feel like it's very big. LA not so much. Big city, but the downtown doesn't feel big.
Chicago has a large downtown but it's more of a "working" downtown with lots of office space. The core of downtown Chicago is practically a ghost town by 7pm after most people have left work. There's more activity on what might be considered the fringes of downtown, such as River North and West Loop. But most of Chicago's nightlife happens outside of downtown in neighborhoods like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Uptown. My advice to OP if he wants to visit Chicago and have a sense of major activity both day and night, stay in a hotel in River North.
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:14 AM
Status: "Bye Bye Warriors" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: where the good looking people are
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Downtown LA is bigger than dowtown SF.

It's very large, but it is actually on the edge of LA's urban core. So it does not feel like the heart of the city, the way Hollywood and Koreatown feel. It's still a prominent job center, urban neighborhood, and entertainment center. It's just not the only one.
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Lil Rhodey
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I'd say the biggest with most stuff to see and do (from my personal experience) besides NYC :
Boston
Philly
DC
SF
Seattle
Chicago

LA has tons to see and do as well, but it's not as concentrated as the others
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:20 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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Originally Posted by mvpsharky View Post
I'd say the biggest with most stuff to see and do (from my personal experience) besides NYC :
Boston
Philly
DC
SF
Seattle
Chicago

LA has tons to see and do as well, but it's not as concentrated as the others
This is a great list though I'd rank them as such (for a tourist during late summer):

Chicago - Massive brawny downtown with many of its attractions located in and around downtown, also a surprisingly good ersatz beachtown for the summer. Also booming nightlife if you're into it. Events are everywhere in Chicago at this point with some kind of festival every summer weekend. It's true that the immediate downtown towers are much more of an employment center, but there's a sizable population that lives there now and many events and attractions are in or close to downtown. It can get pretty hot and humid, but with the lake to cool off and how bustling the city becomes, it's still great. This is definitely the largest looking and feeling downtown of the bunch.

Boston - Not good for nightlife, but great for a tourist traveling about with really good weather. The restaurants and nightlife aren't the greatest, but there are some highlights. You're more here for how nice the city in general is. This feels like the fourth largest downtown of the bunch to me, but I feel like there's a slight but noticeable gap between this and Philadelphia's Center City.

Seattle - Summers in the pacific northwest are great with extremely long daylight hours and with it seldom being very hot, just warm. Also not a great nightlife town, but not bad at all especially during summer. This downtown feels like the fifth largest of the bunch to me.

Philadelphia - A very good restaurant and bar scene, historic sites is basically the entire urban core of the city. It can get pretty hot and muggy, but slightly better than DC. For such a large metropolis, the city can often feel somewhat quaint. This downtown feels the third largest of the bunch.

SF - Like Chicago in having a lot of its attractions downtown, though it makes sense to take the trip out to Land's End as it's among the most scenic urban parks in the world. The issue is that it's been dry for a while by late summer and the urine and refuse kinda piles up a bit plus some of the beautiful interplay of city and nature is a bit lost at that point as things turn brown. There's also little of that kind of pent up energy from colder seasons. Nightlife is pretty mediocre, but restaurants can often be great. This downtown feels the second largest to me of the bunch.

DC - It's the capital and it has a lot of tourist attractions, though the neighborhoods further out are where the bars and restaurants are. It is hot and humid as balls from what I remember and the nightlife doesn't seem to be that great to me. This feels like the smallest, but still sizable downtown of the bunch. I know it has one of the largest concentration of office jobs, but the low-rise nature of them means a sizable expanse of blocks where the downtown feels relatively sterile and then those are interspersed with large monuments and parks. It's not really downtown you head to for restaurants and drinks.

LA - This wasn't listed, but it is a pretty great downtown just a little more diminished than you'd expect for a city of its size. Like San Francisco, the large homeless population and lack of rain over the summer often means there's a grime that builds with the addition of it getting really hot during the daytime (downtown Los Angeles is fairly inland so it doesn't benefit directly from the ocean breeze). I think I much prefer any season aside from late summer for Los Angeles. Downtown Los Angeles does have a very good restaurant scene and pretty decent bars. This downtown to me feels somewhat similar in size to Seattle's to me, but with it quickly transitioning to rundown parts whereas Seattle's feels better connected to other fairly nice neighborhoods. It's been quickly improving, but I think for a downtown visit, I'd recommend shelving this for a future time and a different season.

Overall, I'd pick Chicago for August.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 06-26-2017 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
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I'm pretty sure in the context of a tourist visiting and asking for restaurants/bars, this question isn't limited to a particularly "downtown" distinction but rather just strong clusters of amenities and attractions somewhere in and around an urban core.

OP, where do you live and where else have you been? I think OyCrumbler gave a good breakdown of all the best options that, imo, are all slightly above the next batch of possibilities and therefore an ideal pool to choose from. My top two for you would be Chicago or SF as it would be a bit of a change from the East Coast you've experienced.
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:43 PM
 
11,171 posts, read 22,363,867 times
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Originally Posted by Bitey View Post
Chicago has a large downtown but it's more of a "working" downtown with lots of office space. The core of downtown Chicago is practically a ghost town by 7pm after most people have left work. There's more activity on what might be considered the fringes of downtown, such as River North and West Loop. But most of Chicago's nightlife happens outside of downtown in neighborhoods like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Uptown. My advice to OP if he wants to visit Chicago and have a sense of major activity both day and night, stay in a hotel in River North.
Well yeah, the Loop/CBD sub-district of downtown is empty at night for the most part because it's the financial center of downtown, all the entertainment and other activities happen in the other areas of downtown.

Don't most cities have this? I mean I don't go hang out in the financial district of NYC or San Fran as a tourist or after dark. I go to the other hopping areas of downtown (if I'm keeping myself specifically in the downtown area).
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