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Here are Curbed readers' 9 favorite U.S. neighborhoods

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Locals explain why they love their communities

The skyline of Jersey City, recently voted one of America’s best “neighborhoods.” We know: It’s a city. But hear us out.

Each year, Curbed cities across the country host a prestigious competition—called the Curbed Cup—to find the neighborhood of the year. The bracket-style competition takes two weeks and uses thousands of votes to determine which neighborhood is the best in San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, and more.

The results show a snapshot of some of the best neighborhoods in America. These aren’t necessarily the most well-known communities. Instead, these under-the-radar destinations keep locals happy thanks to their diversity, outdoor amenities, and friendly neighbors.

In essence, these are places that people love to live, whether it’s a park-filled neighborhood in Chicago or a community in Los Angeles master-planned in the 1920s. In honor of the Curbed Cup and the winning districts, Curbed city sites interviewed locals to find out just what makes their neighborhood tick.

So, without further ado, here are nine of the best neighborhoods in the United States—all winners of the Curbed Cup—and everything you need to know about them from the locals who live there.

Bayview in San Francisco, California

The waterside from Bayview, a southside neighborhood in San Francisco.
Photo by Steve Boland

For the second year in a row, the south-side San Francisco neighborhood Bayview nabbed the Curbed Cup, beating Inner Richmond by less than 100 votes. Unlike many SF neighborhoods these days, lifelong residents actually live in Bayview. That’s partly thanks to the fact that Bayview was one of only two neighborhoods in 2016 where the average San Franciscan could buy a home—i.e., asking prices rarely broke the $1 million mark.

To tell us more about her neighborhood, Curbed San Francisco talked to Barbara Ockel, executive director of the Bayview Opera House, who has been an area resident since 1993. Read why she loves Bayview and all about where to find the best cup of coffee, over here.

Woodlawn in Chicago, Illinois

Jackson Park in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood.
Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Eric Allix Rogers

Sixteen communities competed for the prestigious honor to be declared Chicago neighborhood of the year, but the South Side’s very own Woodlawn pulled off the big win. Despite being an underdog, Woodlawn made headlines in 2016 with some exciting news: The Obama Presidential Center is planned for a section of Jackson Park which faces the Woodlawn community.

A lakeside neighborhood surrounded by two of Chicago’s prettiest parks and good access to transportation, Woodlawn locals have a deep sense of pride for their neighborhood. Curbed spoke with three insiders about what makes Woodlawn so great, over here.

Leimert Park in Los Angeles, California

The historic Vision Theatre in Los Angeles’s Leimert Park Village.
Photo by Elizabeth Daniels

Competition was fierce in Los Angeles’s Curbed Cup, but the sixth-seeded Leimert Park beat San Pedro to become LA’s neighborhood of the year. Anchored by the landmark Vision Theater and Leimert Plaza Park, the Leimert Park neighborhood is a master-planned community full of 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival homes.

Locals love Leimert Park’s sense of community, and the fact that neighbors stick up for one another. Curbed asked two Leimert residents—a newcomer and a 20-year veteran—to dish on real estate, local customs, and Leimert Park’s best-kept secret. Read the full story, this way.

Jersey City, New Jersey

The skyline of Jersey City.
Curbed Flickr Pool/Tectonic photo

We know, we know: Jersey City is, well, a city. In New Jersey.

But for the first time in the cup’s 13-year run, Curbed New York’s prestigious fake award went to a place outside of the Big Apple. That’s right—Jersey City is the 2016 Curbed New York Cup recipient.

Though Jersey City isn’t a New York City neighborhood, there’s a reason it’s been gaining in popularity: It’s more affordable than Brooklyn but offers similar access to Manhattan; it boasts a walkable, historic downtown; and it offers both high-rise rentals and charming Victorian row houses, and even has Citi Bike.

Curbed New York talked to local Janelle Gunther about Jersey City’s kid-friendly attractions and why she loves a hidden, white sandy beach that even has views of the Manhattan skyline. Read more, this way.

Fishtown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A mural in Philadelphia’s Fishtown.
Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Often called the Brooklyn of Philadelphia, Fishtown took the crown in Philadelphia’s Curbed Cup, beating out the popular Brewerytown neighborhood.

To discover what all the fuss is about, Curbed Philly turned to long-time resident Chris Grant, editor-in-chief of Polygon, to tell us everything he knows about Fishtown. From where to eat Philly’s best veggie scramble to who can afford to buy a house, read all about Philadelphia’s best neighborhood, over here.

Anacostia in Washington D.C.

Since its construction in 1959, the 19-and-a-half-foot-high "Chair" has been a part of Anacostia's neighborhood life.
Photo via Ted Eytan

According to Curbed D.C., for years residents and tourists alike viewed the Southeast neighborhood, Anacostia, as a place filled with crime. But today, Anacostia has a reputation for its active, tight-knit residents, smart real estate investments, and new commercial development.

All of these factors catapulted Anacostia to the lead in Washington D.C.’s Curbed Cup. Curbed spoke with a local resident to discover all Anacostia has to offer, this way.

Algiers Point in New Orleans, Louisiana

The view of the Central Business District and French Quarter from Algiers Point.

Algiers Point has been a longtime darling of the Curbed Cup, winning in 2015 and also taking the 2016 title. It’s no wonder, thanks to its relatively inexpensive housing stock, easy accessibility, and amazing views of the city skyline and Mississippi River.

Curbed NOLA checked in with two long-time locals to discover all of the insider secrets of what some consider to be the “Brooklyn” of New Orleans. Read the full story, this way.

East César Chavez in Austin, Texas

The ‘Loteria’ mural in Austin’s East César Chavez.
Kumar Anubhav Jha/Facebook

Austin has a plethora of top-notch neighborhoods, but in Curbed Austin’s inaugural Curbed Cup competition, East César Chavez came out on top. The historic and eclectic neighborhood just east of Downtown is known for amazing murals, political activism, and a rich history.

To discover why Austin locals voted East César Chavez as their neighborhood of the year, Curbed interviewed longtime resident Jen Weaver, principal and owner of design-build firm Weaver Buildings. Read all about Jen’s favorite neighborhood joints and best-kept secrets, over here.

Somerville in Boston, Massachusetts

Via Curbed Boston

According to Curbed Boston, Somerville’s Assembly Row won the Curbed Cup for the second consecutive year, meaning that a plethora of readers consider the newish enclave on the Mystic the region’s best neighborhood.

Locals love the neighborhood’s new restaurants, convenient walkability, and easy access into the city. Curbed Boston spoke with Patrick McMahon, director of development at Federal Realty Investment Trust, to discover what makes the neighborhood tick. Read the full story, over here.