Great Places. You know them when you see them — but how do they become great? All the decisions we make influence the quality of our neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces.

Great Places in America

APA's flagship program celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America's truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement.

Great Places in America by state

2015 Great Places in America Slideshow

Click on the logo to see this year's designees.

2015 Great Places in America

Great Neighborhoods

Phoenix, Arizona

Roosevelt Row

Miami, Florida


Kansas City, Missouri

Crossroads Arts District

Plano, Texas

Downtown Plano

Great Streets

Los Angeles, California

Olvera Street

Jacksonville, Florida

Laura Street

Asheville, North Carolina

Lexington Avenue

Dayton, Ohio

Fifth Street

McMinnville, Oregon

Third Street

Great Public Spaces

San Diego, California

Balboa Park

Boulder, Colorado

Pearl Street Mall

Chicago, Illinois

Millennium Park

Flint, Michigan

Flint Farmers' Market

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe Railyard

Houston, Texas

Hermann Park

What Makes a Great Place?

Probably we all can think of a street, neighborhood, or public place that is unique or memorable, but what makes it special? What elements combine to produce a place that not only works for people in the community but rises far above the ordinary?

APA's selection guidelines will be considered in addition to other important factors such as geography, population, demographics, and setting (urban, suburban, rural). Consider these guidelines not as a checklist of "must-haves," but rather as important principles from which we will base our judgments.

Characteristics and Guidelines of Great Neighborhoods

Characteristics and Guidelines of Great Streets

Characteristics and Guidelines of Great Public Spaces

Suggest a Great Place

Know of a Neighborhood, Street, or Public Space you think merits designation as a Great Place in America? Suggest it today! APA accepts suggestions year-round.

Get all the details and download a nomination form

Members of the APA Board of Directors and AICP Commission are not eligible to submit a Great Places nomination during their term of office.

Previous Designees

See a list of the Great Places in America by state

Bronze Plaques for Great Places in America

Plaques to mark these recognized places may be ordered by local governments, businesses, donors, or organizations. 

Learn more

Celebrate Your Great Place in Style!

APA offers a wide selection of clothing and office products featuring Great Places in America.

View the full line of products