Best Public Square (2021)


In cities throughout the world, communities often center on public squares. These outdoor living rooms continue to play an important role as gathering places and event grounds in cities across the United States. 

  • Centerway Square

    Centerway Square
    Corning, New York

    The town of Corning was revitalized in 1989 when two blocks of street were replaced with the pedestrian plaza known as Centerway Square. This brick-paved area features a 50-foot clock tower, street lamps and a covered stage for live events.
    Photo courtesy of Brian Maloney / Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

  • Decatur Square

    Decatur Square
    Decatur, Georgia

    Decatur Square sits in the heart of the historic downtown. Centered on the old DeKalb County courthouse, this 15-block, leafy space isn’t so much a square as a pedestrian promenade lined with more than 85 local shops and restaurants and accented with period street lamps and painted murals.
    Photo courtesy of City of Decatur

  • Santa Fe Plaza

    Santa Fe Plaza
    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    The Santa Fe Plaza is the most historic part of the city, centered on the 400-year-old Palace of the Governors. Styled after a traditional Spanish plaza, Santa Fe’s version is surrounding by galleries, restaurants, bookshops and boutiques. Local Native artisans often sell their goods along the side of the square.
    Photo courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe

  • Rittenhouse Square

    Rittenhouse Square

    William Penn, founder of Philadelphia, planned for five city squares as he designed the city in the 17th century. Today, Rittenhouse Square ranks as the most popular (in the heart of the city’s most exclusive neighborhood). This tree-filled square is surrounded by some of Phily’s top restaurants, as well as high-end shopping and luxury apartments.
    Photo courtesy of M. Fischetti / ©VISIT PHILADELPHIA

  • Campus Martius

    Campus Martius

    Campus Martius Park serves as Detroit’s gathering place, where locals and visitors alike can come to take in the skyline views, people watch around the Woodward Fountain, grab a meal from a food truck or go ice skating in winter.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / SerrNovik

  • Jackson Square

    Jackson Square
    New Orleans

    No image of New Orleans is quite as iconic as that of Jackson Square. This National Historic Landmark in the French Quarter covers 2.5 acres and gets its name from the bronze statue of Andrew Jackson at its center. An estimated two million people visit the square each year.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Art Wager

  • Fountain Square

    Fountain Square

    Fountain Square sits at the heart of downtown Cincinnati, anchored by the historic Tyler Davidson Fountain, dedicated in 1871. Grab lunch at one of the outdoor tables in the square, attend a live concert during the warmer months, or go ice skating in winter.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / jplank1807

  • Healdsburg Plaza

    Healdsburg Plaza
    Healdsburg, California

    Healdsburg Plaza in downtown centers on a pretty gazebo surrounded by trees, benches and turf. The 1-acre square plays host to a variety of special events and live music performances throughout the year.
    Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann

  • Wright Square

    Wright Square
    Savannah, Georgia

    Savannah has no shortage of pretty squares, but Wright Square in downtown ranks among the best. A central monument depicts William Washington Gordon, founder of the Central of Georgia Railroad, while a boulder in the corner of the park commemorates Tomochichi, the leader of the Yamacraws.
    Photo courtesy of Casey Jones / Visit Savannah

  • Black Lives Matter Plaza

    Black Lives Matter Plaza
    Washington, DC

    The section of 16th Street in front of Lafayette Square has been a gathering place in our nation’s capital long before it was officially named Black Lives Matter Plaza in 2020. While the space remains a site for political activism, it’s also used for numerous community events, including movie nights, yoga sessions and dance classes.
    Photo courtesy of Daniel SLIM / AFP

The top 10 winners in the category Best Public Square are as follows:

  1. Centerway Square - Corning, New York
  2. Decatur Square - Decatur, Georgia
  3. Santa Fe Plaza - Santa Fe, New Mexico
  4. Rittenhouse Square - Philadelphia
  5. Campus Martius - Detroit
  6. Jackson Square - New Orleans
  7. Fountain Square - Cincinnati
  8. Healdsburg Plaza - Healdsburg, California
  9. Wright Square - Savannah, Georgia
  10. Black Lives Matter Plaza - Washington, DC

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning public squares!

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AlertThe Experts

James Brasuell

James Brasuell

James Brasuell

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors