America's multifaceted cultural districts are home to many fascinating national treasures, including six of the most charming streets in the country. Come with us as we tour some streets you just need to leisurely stroll down.
King Street Alexandria, Virginia
Founded while America was still a British colony, King Street in Old Town Alexandria was once a neighborhood hotspot for some of the country's most iconic historical figures, including George Washington, who helped plan its original construction. The quaint cobblestone path runs westward from the Potomac River and is still surrounded by many 18th- and 19th-century buildings, such as Alexandria Town Hall and Market House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The famous King Street Mile boasts D.C.'s largest grouping of independent boutiques, offering everything from colonial antiques and fine art to modern rock records and yoga gear. This thoroughfare also plays host to the country's oldest year-round Farmer's Market, held continuously at the same spot each week on Market Square. Near the east end of King, you can take a deeper dive into the street's storied past at The Torpedo Factory, a collective of independent art studios and galleries that also houses the Alexandria Archaeological Museum. To round out your visit, try an enchanting tour on one of the Potomac riverboats that dock just behind the museum, and get a sailor's eye view of King Street's picturesque appeal.
Broadway Skagway, Alaska
Broadway's double dose of charm stems from both its stunning Coast Mountain backdrop, and its unparalleled snapshot into one of America's most adventurous historical events, the Klondike Gold Rush. Planned and built with record speed during the height of the prospector influx in 1898, the street became the staging ground for thousands of hopeful treasure hunters. Many of them began their journeys at the Pantheon Saloon, which originated as a hotel of sorts, with men sleeping in a common room before heading off to stake their claims in the wilds of Alaska.
Today the Pantheon is a center for junior rangers of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to learn about the region's rich history. It's surrounded by buildings and renovated store fronts which capture the spirit of those singular years of fortune seeking, such as Boss Bakery. This first-class food service provided both trade goods and delicious breads and pastries to the men who swarmed Skagway's main street. It's now the location of the park ticket office offering passes to the original Native American Chinook Trail that runs parallel to the newer White Pass used by many prospectors during 1898. Broadway also showcases other authentic turn-of-the-century scenes, including an early town life display at the renovated Mascot Saloon, and an exhibit about women and the gold rush at the well-traveled Goldberg Cigar Store.
East Kossuth Street Columbus, Ohio
With its red brick sidewalks and plethora of artistic and culinary gems, East Kossuth is an off-the-beaten path pearl that packs a big punch when it comes to social charisma. Nestled in the heart of the city's historic German Village, the street was the original southern boundary of a neighborhood that was built up during the early part of the 19th century by a large influx of working class immigrants. Because it was developed before zoning laws, you'll find beautifully renovated houses interspersed with brick-architecture businesses that highlight the creative flair of the community.
This artistic genius is on full display at The Red Stable Art Gallery, a collective of over 100 local vendors, and at the acclaimed Helen Winnemore's, where a group of eclectic creators have been crafting unique usable art for over 80 years. The roadway's most renowned gathering spot is Schmidt's Restaurant, a central Ohio treasure that opened as a packing house run by the family of the same name in 1886, before being converted into one of the city's most enduring culinary hotspots in 1967. Another East Kossuth legend is the corner diner Old Mohawk, which officially began serving its Americana fare after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, and unofficially operated as a speakeasy during America's "dry" years. The street's social charm has continued through to the 21st century, with the 2007 opening of the Kossuth St. Community Garden.
Beale Street Memphis, Tennessee
As one of America's most celebrated streets, Beale is probably best known for its varied blends of blues music, from the original Delta style to the electric Chicago technique popularized by virtuosic musicians like B.B. King. Today, King's namesake club can be found in the heart of the street's lively Entertainment District, which houses a hidden gem all its own just up the venue's fire escape — the decadent Itta Bena Restaurant, with menu selections patterned on classic Deep South favorites.
Running nearly two miles from the Mississippi River down to East Street, this iconic strip is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated by Congress as the official "Home of the Blues" in 1977. With a history going back to 1841 when "the Father of the Blues," W.C. Handy, set up roots here, Beale Street offers visitors an unparalleled cultural experience that is part rock concert, part walk through living history, and pure Southern charm.
Canyon Road Santa Fe, New Mexico
With over 100 restaurants, art galleries, and shopping boutiques, Canyon Road is a mecca of peaceful, multicultural charm that's situated not far from the bustling Santa Fe Plaza. The shaded southwestern-style road runs along an original Native American trail, and features many businesses located in one-story adobe houses, some of which were built over two centuries ago by Spanish farming settlers.
Here, you'll find local, national, and international delights, such as the five-star Geronimo Restaurant, showcasing seafood, steak, and vegetarian dishes, served to you inside a 265-year-old adobe wood-beam building. The street's clothing and jewelry boutiques span from classy and comfortable designer apparel, handbags, and footwear to handcrafted stone, bead, and metal jewelry and accessories. Over 80 art galleries light up the street to create a kaleidoscope of artistic flavors, including stunning desert photography, traditional and contemporary Pueblo pottery, and majestic Moroccan interior designs. Canyon Road also features a variety of creative events spread throughout the year for you to enjoy, including the Spring Art Festival, summer Edible Art Tour, autumn Historic Paint and Sculpt Out, and fun and festive winter Holiday Block to Block pARTy.
Front Street Sacramento, California
Running along the banks of Sacramento River in the beautiful Waterfront District, Front Street is home to an eclectic mix of museums, historical sites, restaurants, and venues, all of which helped transform this gold rush town into a thriving center of independent commerce, tourism, and entertainment. On the street's northern tip you'll find the Old Sacramento State Historical Park, featuring several early gold rush buildings, along with the California State Railroad Museum where you can tour an authentic 19th-century Pullman car to experience the luxury travel of the day.
Head south and you'll discover the 1927 steamship Delta King docked at Front and K, which shuttled passengers between Sacramento and San Francisco in the decade before highways and byways became the preferred means of travel. If landmark views are more to your taste, try the old Rio Café, designed to replicate a 19th steamship warehouse. Here, you'll enjoy panoramas of the 1934 Art Deco Tower Bridge and Egyptian-inspired Ziggurat pyramid building, along with savory farm-to-table menu selections paired with award-winning Napa Valley wines. After your meal, take in an exhibition at Front Street's creative Latino Center for the Arts, recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts award. Front Street's rich history, multifaceted appeal, and serene waterscapes help make it one of America's most appealing streets to explore.