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Best Public Square (2022)

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Around the world, cities are centered around public squares. These outdoor living rooms continue to play an important role as gathering places and event grounds in cities across the country.  

  • Church Street Marketplace

    Church Street Marketplace
    Burlington, Vermont

    Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace comprises the length of Church Street between Pearl and Main. It’s a designated National Register Historic District that welcomes 1.5 million visitors a year to shop, dine and mingle.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Sean Pavone

  • 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

  • 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

  • Campus Martius

    Campus Martius
    Detroit, Michigan

    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

  • 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

  • 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
    Philadelphia

    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

  • Jackson Square

    Jackson Square
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    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
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    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

  • Village Green

    Village Green
    Bar Harbor, Maine

    Bar Harbor’s Village Green is almost picture perfect with its sparkling fountain, old-fashioned street lamps, gazebo and period street clock. The public gathering space offers modern conveniences as well, including free public wifi and a calendar filled with concerts and events.
    Photo courtesy of Dobbs Productions and Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce

  1. Church Street Marketplace - Burlington, Vermont
  2. Centerway Square - Corning, New York
  3. Decatur Square - Decatur, Georgia
  4. Campus Martius - Detroit, Michigan
  5. Healdsburg Plaza - Healdsburg, California
  6. Santa Fe Plaza - Santa Fe, New Mexico
  7. Rittenhouse Square - Philadelphia
  8. Jackson Square - New Orleans, Louisiana
  9. Fountain Square - Cincinnati, Ohio
  10. Village Green - Bar Harbor, Maine
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