Celebrating walkability, entertainment, housing and natural resources, Livability.com picks the top 10 Best Downtowns in America.
Kent McDill | Livability.com

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.Cities do not have to be metropolises to have downtown areas. Towns and villages can have downtowns or uptowns, whatever they choose to call that centralized area where all the good stuff is.

Livabilty.com is a website that celebrates such living situations, especially when the downtown area is within walking distance or easy transit of the people whose homes surround it.

In order to honor the downtowns that continue to morph into areas of great appeal to nearby citizens, it has released its list of the Top 10 Best Downtowns for 2015.

“We start with our focus on small to mid-sized cities, and we dive into the data,’’ the website states. “Our analysis took into consideration increasing housing values and populations to find cities that are growing and thriving. We looked for areas with new construction because cranes are often a great sign of economic and cultural recovery. We found downtowns with vibrant arts scenes and walkable streets.

“Finally, our well-traveled editors weighed in with their own opinions,’’ it said. “Our journalistic judgment helps determine the final rankings.”

For the sake of appeal, the list also ranges from west to east, north to south, and includes communities of varying sizes.

No. 10 Evanston, Ill. – The home of Northwestern University, with Lake Michigan within range, Evanston has a wide range of cultural offerings along with new and old restaurants. It is also building modern and green condo communities to go with its office buildings. Read more