from USA TODAY 10Best

These are the 10 best public squares in cities across the U.S.

In cities throughout the world, communities often center on public squares. These 10 outdoor living rooms continue to play an important role as gathering places and event grounds in cities across the United States.

10. Black Lives Matter Plaza - Washington, DC

Image courtesy of Daniel SLIM / AFP

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.

9. Wright Square - Savannah, GA

Image courtesy of Casey Jones / Visit Savannah

At Wright Square, 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.

8. Healdsburg Plaza - Healdsburg, CA

Image courtesy of Dana Rebmann

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.

7. Fountain Square - Cincinnati, OH

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.

6. Jackson Square - New Orleans, LA

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.

5. Campus Martius - Detroit, MI

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 or grab a meal from a food truck.

4. Rittenhouse Square - Philadelphia, PA

Image courtesy of M. Fischetti / ©VISIT PHILADELPHIA

This tree-filled square is surrounded by some of Philly’s top restaurants, as well as high-end shopping and luxury apartments.

3. Santa Fe Plaza - Santa Fe, NM

Image courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe

Styled after a traditional Spanish plaza, Santa Fe’s version is surrounded by galleries, restaurants, bookshops and boutiques.

2. Decatur Square - Decatur, GA

Image courtesy of City of Decatur

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 shops and restaurants, and accented with period street lamps and murals.

1. Centerway Square - Corning, NY

Image courtesy of Brian Maloney / Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

The town of Corning was revitalized in 1989 when two blocks of street were replaced with the pedestrian plaza. This brick-paved area features a 50-foot clock tower, street lamps and a covered stage for live events.

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