The Washington Post

Old Town Alexandria, Frederick among top 10 downtowns across the country

(2012 file photo Daniel C. Britt/The Washington Post) Shoppers stroll along King Street in Old Town Alexandria.

Old Town Alexandria and Frederick, Md., have two of the best downtowns in the country, according to a Web site devoted to small and mid-sized cities. has an affinity for lists – top 10 cities for affordable health care (Charlottesville is No. 6), top 10 places to retire (Roanoke is No. 6), top 10 college towns (Boulder, Colo., is No. 1) – and their most recent list looks at downtowns across the country.

The Web site ranked downtowns based on population growth, ratio of residents to jobs, income growth, home vacancy rates, affordability of housing and retail and office vacancy rates. Then the staff weighed in on the overall livability of the city. Urban metropolises such as New York City, San Francisco and Chicago were not included on the list.

Fort Worth, Tex., came out on top. Besides 3.3 percent average income growth and 6.6 percent unemployment, Fort Worth also has achieved “the cohesion between cowboy culture and urban sophistication.”

Old Town Alexandria was fifth because of its “modern, hip vibe.” Other factors include its Colonial architecture, its appeal to businesses and families, a waterfront setting, sophisticated restaurants and accessibility to the arts (Torpedo Factory Art Center and Birchmere).

Frederick, Md., ranked sixth. The Web site lauded the downtown as a “magnet for East Coast artists.” Carroll Creek Park and the town’s historic architecture also factored into the rating as did its pooch-friendly accommodations.

Find the complete list here.

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
In defense of dads
Don’t be ‘that’ sports parent | On Parenting
Why seasonal allergies make you miserable
Play Videos
The most interesting woman you've never heard of
Urban Blight: Philadelphia’s promising fix
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
What you need to know about trans fats
5 tips for using your thermostat
What's fishy about fish oil
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
The drug war had its own board game. Yes, really.
If you oppose Black Lives Matter, you would've abhorred Martin Luther King
Next Story
Dan Wittenberg · March 19, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.