7 Best Millennial Suburbs
On the quest for cheap rent and cultural diversity, 20-somethings are reinventing the burbs. Here are seven of the nation’s finest.
WORDS BY Lauren Boudreau
Daly City, Calif./San Francisco
This suburb boasts a strong Filipino community, which means Filipino cuisine — like lumpia (similar to spring rolls) and pancit (similar to pad thai) — isn’t hard to find. Locals love Fil-Am, a restaurant known for inexpensive but hearty skewers. For music lovers, Alice’s Summerthing, a free music festival in Golden Gate Park, features notable artists such as Ingrid Michaelson and Magic! And for a more rustic experience, residents enjoy the Cow Palace for the Grand National Rodeo and the Grand National Livestock Expo. The San Bruno Mountain State & County Park offers easy hikes and views of both the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay on clear days.
Silver Spring, Md./Washington, D.C.
Silver Spring is known for its cultural diversity and, therefore, for its outstanding ethnic eateries — everything from Lebanese (try Lebanese Taverna) to Burmese, West African, and Ethiopian (try Bete Ethiopian Cuisine and Café or the Aday Abeda Martket for Ethiopian specialty goods). Or you can eat green and organic at Sweetgreen. But Silver Spring isn’t all about the food. Thanks to the American Film Institute, which resides in this suburb, it also possesses some considerable movie cred. The AFI’s annual five-day documentary film festival features renowned directors such as Werner Herzog, Ken Burns, and Errol Morris. The burb’s business center also features parks and hiking trails such as the Maryland National Capitol Park and the HeartSmart trail.
While not technically a suburb, the neighborhood of Bucktown attracts a great deal of young people. It also has a reputation as a “foodie’s paradise” with more than 100 dining options within one square mile. The food options reflect an international palate, but this enclave really loves dessert. Its annual Cupcake Crawl highlights three of Bucktown’s top bakeries. Alliance Bakery features European inspired desserts; the Goddess & Grocer, boasts a flavor-changing surprise cupcake; And Milk and Honey makes a remarkable cupcake with Nutella cream-cheese frosting. There’s also Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, a restaurant and dessert bar that treats diners to specialty hot chocolates (butterscotch, dark chocolate, and Mexican) and creative cocktails (with names such as Good Lookin’Bird, Shakey Dog, and Sunshower).
Dripping Springs, Texas/Austin, Texas
Dripping Springs is full of green prairies, deep lakes, and woodland trails. But what this suburb is best known for is its natural springs. The Hamilton Pool Preserve counts as one of the best. But be prepared to share the beauty: This watering hole often attracts a crop of swimmers, and the admission line can require a 90-minute wait. But it’s not all wet shorts and sunburns; the town also features the Dripping With Taste Wine, Food, and Arts Festival.
Jersey City, N.J./New York
The arts fuel this enclave. Home to the Work And Live District Overlay (a.k.a WALDO) — eight blocks of living and working space for artists — creativity abounds. There’s also the Museum of Russian Art, which was born from human rights activist Alexander Glezer’s collection and served as the location of the first exhibits outside of Russia for the giants of Soviet painting, including Evgeny Kropivnitsky, Lidia Masterkova, and Ernst Neizvestny. Another attraction is the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society Museum, located on the second floor of the Greenville Public Library; it showcases African-American history through books, newspapers, documents, photographs, and memorabilia. A third is the Lenapeeps Art Gallery, which calls itself a gallery for progressive-minded young artists. The Warehouse Cafe also serves as a breeding ground for artists and architects and features food inspired by the owners’ travels to the Philippines, Mexico, Turkey, Singapore, and Spain.
Little Five Points, Ga./Atlanta
PolicyMic writer Candy Washington included Little Five Points in her listing of the top 20-something friendly cities. The suburb embraces its boho-chic rep with vinyl record shops such as Wax N’Fact, which sells used cassette tapes, records, and turntable parts; tattoo parlors such as Kolo and Sacred Heart Tattoo; and quaint art galleries, such as 42 Degrees South where you can view or buy glass art. The suburb also enjoys flying its freak flag during Halloween. Its annual parade and festival is ranked as one of the top 12 in the country by The Huffington Post and attracts over 35,000 people.
Described as “100 years from Nashville,” Franklin, Tenn., takes great pride in putting history on display. The Main Street shopping district features historic buildings like Gallery 202 , which was a federal-style home that entertained three presidents. Now it’s a gallery featuring glass, wood, paintings, and jewelry. For history buffs, there’s the African-American heritage tour, the Battle of Franklin walking tour (which details one of the worst disasters of the Civil War for the Confederate Army), or a tour of the Lotz House, which has been preserved since the Civil War. But everything in Franklin isn’t just old America; it also hosts annual festivals including The Tennessee Renaissance Festival, Pumpkinfest, and Franklin Jazz Festival.
Featured image from livecitron.com
Looking out over Daly City, Calif. PHOTO FROM RAFAEL CASTILLO.
Downtown Little Five Points, Atlanta. PHOTO FROM PAWEL LOJ.
Mindy's Hot Chocloate in Bucktown, Ill. PHOTO FROM ARNOLD GATILAO.
Hamilton Pool in Dripping, Springs, Texas. PHOTO FROM RUBEN GARCIA JR PHOTOGRAPHY.
Franklin, Tenn. PHOTO FROM ROBERT S. DONOVAN.
The Warehouse Cafe in Jersey City. PHOTO FROM THE WAREHOUSE CAFE.
Take some downtime from Silver Spring's cultural scene by hiking up one of Maryland's National Capitol Park trails. PHOTO FROM MONTGOMERYPARKS.ORG.
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