20 Most Beautiful Main Streets in America
There's nothing better than strolling down a cute main street in a new town. But where should you go? Here are 20 of the most beautiful main streets in America.
Bath, Maine, looks like what you would imagine a cozy New England town to be. Gardens, brick buildings, and church spires dot the main street, along with a variety of businesses and outdoor spaces. The buildings are a mix of Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival, late Federal and Greek Revival style, with some notable buildings like the Sagadahoc County Courthouse, an Empire-style building designed by Francis Fassett in 1869. A walking tour of the city is available, a good way to keep your spirits high during your trip. Here are some more small American towns you'd swear were in Europe.
Not without rustic charm, Franklin looks to distinguish itself from its neighbor Nashville. The city has a blend of historic preservation and modern sophistication, with a mix of antique shops, gift and bookstores, fashion-forward boutiques, art galleries, and restored homes that line Main Street. The city offers free rides in a charming green and red trolley to explore the district, built in the 19th century. Some of the oldest buildings include the public square and courthouse, and the architectural styles differ as downtown expanded its reach. The Downtown Local Historic District is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If you love to read, you'll definitely want to check out the most beloved bookstore in your state.
One of the oldest towns west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton remained nearly unscathed by the Civil War. Now, Staunton has six historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its Main Street, with an eclectic mix of architectural styles designed by TJ Collins from 1891 to 1911, showcases the compactness of the 19th century. Collins designed or remodeled about 200 buildings in Staunton, many of which are still in use. Visitors can check out the American Shakespeare Center, home of the world's only authentic recreation of the Blackfriars Theater, step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, an outdoor living history museum illustrating the daily lives of Shenandoah Valley's earliest settlers, and discover the life and legacy of President Woodrow Wilson at his library and museum.
A quaint and quiet town, Woodstock is home to a myriad of historical brick homes, a covered bridge, village green, and a small main street. Visitors and locals alike can explore the small, locally owned shops, art galleries, and country stores, all within walking distance. There are no big-box retailers in sight! While visitors can take horseback riding lessons in the town, the main street gives off a vibe that horse-drawn wagons aren't too far in the past. Check out these astonishing facts about each of the 50 states.
Silver City, New Mexico
Vibrant and so-very southwest, Silver City's main street is a colorful array of restaurants, galleries, studios, and shops. Listed as one of the 100 Best Art Towns in America, the main street features some of the 50 murals woven throughout the city. The newly renovated historic Silco Theater, which was built in 1923, is one of the major theater landmarks in the city. A few other theaters make up the Theater District, with some undergoing renovations. The city has also hosted its annual Lighted Christmas Show since 1991, which displays impressive lighted floats and brings around 12,000 people to the main street each year. Take a step back in time in the oldest historic town in every state.
Charleston, South Carolina
Teaming with Southern charm, Charleston is brimming with beautiful homes and gardens along its charming avenues. History buffs will particularly enjoy Chalmers Street, one of only eight remaining cobblestone streets in the city. It also features the Old Slave Mart Museum, a massive structure where enslaved people were sold off to work on plantations at the Antebellum Slave Auction Gallery. Now, the market serves as a meeting place for sellers to hawk their goods, and visitors can take a self-guided tour to learn about America's history of slavery. The museum adds extra context for visitors who tour homes of plantation owners after the fact. Consider a trip—or even moving!—to these small U.S. towns that are about to get more popular.
About 120 miles from Boston by car, this Cape Cod vacation town is known for its vibrant arts scene and friendliness to the LGBT community. Commercial Street, the town's main street, has cute buildings in the Queen Anne style to denote that the beach is nearby. Homes, bed and breakfasts, art galleries, shops, and restaurants mix seamlessly on this bustling main street.
Known as Salt Lake City's devious little sister, Ogden's Historic 25th Street was once home to brothels, political scandals, and gang rivalries. Now, 25th Street brings together more than one million travelers, art collectors, and food and outdoor enthusiasts each year. The event calendar is packed, with art gallery exhibits open nearly every day and major events like Xterra USA Championship and USA Cycling Masters Road Championships taking place. Famous figures have also paraded along 25th Street, such as Presidents Taft, Hoover, and Teddy Roosevelt, along with William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. You won't believe these funny town names from every state are real.
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Take a stroll down bustling M Street and take in the sights: Packed sidewalks (on the weekends, mostly), stores like Urban Outfitters, Lululemon, and Kate Spade New York, and cobblestone streets. The neighborhood is home to a world-class higher education institution, making it one of the best college towns in the country. Make sure to check out to historical standouts on M Street. The first is Old Stone House, a pre-Revolutionary War home and one of the oldest buildings in the District. Despite being operated by the National Park Service, it's one of the District's most haunted locales. The second, made famous by The Exorcist, is the terrifying stone stairs that joggers and movie buffs frequent. Do you know the most famous movie set in your state?
Fort Pierce, Florida
On the verge of discovery, Fort Pierce has been compared to other notable small towns with charming main streets. Main Street, Fort Pierce has seven National Register of Historic Places locations downtown, which includes the Sunrise Theatre, Moore's Creek Bridge, and the site Fort Pierce is named for, the original Army post during the Seminole War. There's also a ghost walking tour through the historic area! Events like the town's annual celebration, Friday Fest, and its annual reverse raffle auction keep the downtown area lively, along with a farmer's market—one of the largest in the state—that brings nearly 5,000 people to the main street on Saturdays.